Warning: Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. Come back after you've had a chance to catch up!
Well, we've finally seen Sheldon and his big brother George interact as adults on The Big Bang Theory, and how they ended their feud was quite surprising. We had already suspected that there would be some hurt feeling on both sides of the Sheldon vs. George divide, but we didn't know just how deep things would get. It turns out that after all the bullying Sheldon felt he had endured from his older brother, George actually wanted Sheldon to thank him for their childhood relationship. Here's what went down.
When the episode opens, Sheldon is on the phone talking to Mary, and she's made it clear to him that she will not attend his and Amy's wedding next week unless he actually extends an invitation to George, which he hasn't done at this point. Sheldon really wants Mary there, so he makes several attempts to call George to no avail, telling Raj and Leonard that his brother is now actively avoiding his calls. When they ask how he knows this for sure, he calls George on speaker and lets them hear his outgoing message, which says that if Sheldon is calling, he should try him at his new number: 1-800-suck-it.
Leonard tells Sheldon that he's made a good effort to invite George now so he shouldn't worry about it, but in the very next scene he and Sheldon are on a plane flying to Texas to see his brother. When they get there, it's obvious that George has done quite well for himself; he owns a chain of tire stores and is known in the area as Dr. Tire. After asking to see him when they go into one of his stores (and the clerk tells them that she'll see if the doctor is in), George comes out and is clearly amused that Sheldon actually came all the way down there to talk in person. George isn't swayed, though, noting that they haven't talked in 10 years, but that as soon as he needs something from him, Sheldon expects George to just drop everything and accommodate him.
Because Sheldon still doesn't have the greatest instincts when it comes to human interaction, he makes the mistake of freely telling George that he didn't want him at his wedding and is only inviting him because Mary won't go if he doesn't do this for her. George tells him he only has to ask nicely, but when Sheldon does, he replies, "I would rather swallow a pregnant wildcat and spit out a litter of kittens." So, yeah, George is determined to make Sheldon work for this one.
After Leonard and Sheldon get back to the hotel, Sheldon talks about how badly George bullied him and recounts the time he threw away Sheldon's Halloween costume when he was 8-years-old, forcing him to go as a ghost and be afraid of himself for the whole night. Leonard says he knows what it's like to be bullied and offers to talk to George alone to see if he can change his mind.
It's during Leonard's conversation with George that we see there's a lot more to him than even Sheldon realizes. It turns out that a lot of what looked like bullying to Sheldon was actually George protecting him. He threw his costume away because Sheldon was planning to go as Marie Curie, and George knew he would get beaten up if he dressed like a woman. George also tells Leonard that he got into fights standing up for Sheldon and frequently had to apologize to people when his little brother was rude to them. He also tells Leonard that he's so successful now because he had to work his ass off since all the family's money went to Sheldon's education, like paying for him to go to school in Germany.
Leonard and George bond over all the ways they've protected Sheldon, and George asks if he's ever thanked Leonard. Of course, he hasn't, and this prompts Leonard to head back to the hotel with George in tow and announce to Sheldon that he needs to apologize to his brother. Sheldon refuses and tells George that he's just upset at what he's making Mary go through over this wedding. George notes that he wouldn't know anything about what Mary has been through, because he was away at college when their dad died, and George was the one who took care of everything at home; Mary was a mess, it turns out, and Missy was a "stupid teenager." Not telling Sheldon how hard things got at home after George Sr. died was yet another way he protected him, and George added that he knew Sheldon didn't have it easy as a kid, but he also never thought about what anyone else was going through.
As you might imagine, this really made Sheldon think. Within seconds, he apologizes for being thoughtless, George thanks him and then agrees to go to the wedding.