To say that the final episodes of BoJack Horseman address the show itself would be an understatement. For years, BoJack -- the character -- managed to skirt by without really resolving his worst possible actions. Every time something bad would happen, often instigated or at least participated in by BoJack, it would be managed just enough to disappear for a time. Like a kid, pushing all of the terrible clutter of their room into the closet or under the bed. But like clutter that was hidden, and not actually dealt with or reconciled, BoJack’s most heinous actions seem to have finally caught up with him like so much crap spilling out of the closet.
That’s not hyperbole, either. Basically every single awful thing that BoJack has ever done is tackled in some shape or form. Not because this is a particularly fun thing to do, but because the show is ending, and to leave all of that unresolved would likely come across as somehow condoning those actions, fictional or not. To everyone that’s ever had an issue with the way BoJack, who has largely been a real butt to anyone that’s ever taken even a mild interest in his life, has constantly and consistently gotten away with devastating, harmful actions to little to no repercussions, this season is for you.
But the show doesn’t wallow in that comeuppance either. Instead, it embraces change, and change is hard. Every single day it’s hard, and the hardest part is maintenance. This isn’t some new recognition or theme for the show, but the last episodes of BoJack Horseman understand this at a fundamental level. More than once, progress is made, only for things to slide back to a previous status quo. This isn’t just a BoJack problem, either; Princess Carolyn, Diane, Todd, and even Mr. Peanutbutter deal with their own growth in their own ways, ultimately putting in the work to move forward despite the difficulty.
And yet, that temptation is always there to return to bad habits. While I won’t get into specifics, there’s one scene in particular that encapsulates this perfectly, as BoJack finally seems to have been freed from all the terrible, self-harming addictions and patterns only to immediately and excitedly entertain the thought of indulging one of the prime motivators behind his worst impulses. It makes for a harrowing watch that I likely won’t soon forget.
BoJack Horseman goes out the same way it’s come and gone over the past several years: imperfectly, masterfully, flawed and broken in a way that’s difficult to put into words, but so often feels like more than the sum of its parts. And yet, what can really be said that hasn’t already been said? Maybe there’s value in the not saying. Maybe this is all just… saying nothing to say nothing.
The final episodes of BoJack Horseman are ambitious, but not because there’s some grand design to come to a valuable, teachable conclusion. Instead, it simply feels real, as much as a show about a horse that walks and talks like a man with a name like Horseman can be. People come and go from your life, and they are all important. Not because they need to stick around, or you need them, or they were even good for you, but because they were there at that time. Sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, it was nice while it lasted.
Rating: 4 out of 5
The final eight episodes of BoJack Horseman are set to release on Netflix on January 31st. At that point, the entire six-season series will be available to stream. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the animated show right here.