The cartoon horse has done it again - the final installment of BoJack Horseman is devastatingly perfect.
On January 31st, 2020, episodes of Netflix’s animated sensation BoJack Horseman dropped for the final time. Ending with the second installment of the sixth season, the time came to say goodbye to the characters we’ve invested in emotionally for the last few years, and to tie up all the tragedy we never expected to find in a cartoon horse. And in short, it couldn’t have come to a more bittersweet and triumphant conclusion. In Season 6, Part 2, the writers and actors created some of the best television that we’ve ever had to bid farewell to.
Of course, with every final season, loose ends need to be tied up. For our titular protagonist, this meant that Hollywood/Hollywoo/Hollywoob had to uncover all his awful actions of the last six seasons – his inappropriate relationships, his violence, his addictions – all came to light in the most explosive way possible.
BoJack is undoubtedly a difficult character to write an ending for. After all he’s done, the audience both hates him and just wants him to get his life together. This complexity was handled incredibly well; the audience is not expected to forgive the character but can rest easily in seeing supporting characters like Diane, Princess Carolyn and Todd all move on with their lives and finally break free of his toxic influence. In the end, we are left with the belief that BoJack can cause no more harm to the people around him, and can rid himself of the self-destructive path that he has walked down since the very beginning.
As usual, the supporting characters give BoJack Horseman its heart and soul. Diane has always played a key role in BoJack’s development, but in Season 6 we get to see her own character arc as she comes to terms with her depression and finally builds a life for herself. Her solo episode, ‘Good Damage’ hits incredibly hard, as we meet ‘Diane, Antidepressant-Style’, who feels like she is losing herself in her recovery. She believes that she is not ‘using her trauma for good’, a perspective that we’ve never seen portrayed on television before. BoJack Horseman, until the bittersweet end, gives us characters with ever-surprising depth.
No review would be complete without a look at the series’ masterpiece of a penultimate episode, ‘The View from Halfway Down’. Centred around a near-death experience dream state in which BoJack is confronted by everyone he has ever lost; it takes a moment to dawn on you just how overwhelming this episode is. Full to the brim with subtle references to previous episodes and a stunning animation style which shows death as all-consuming darkness, the episode reaches its creative peak with the titular poem, read by Secretariat. Even at the end, BoJack Horseman breaks the barriers of what we expect from animation, its ingenuity disturbing, devastating and breathtakingly beautiful all at once.
In the finale, we finally see BoJack pay for his actions, as he is let out of prison briefly to attend Princess Carolyn’s Wedding to her assistant, Judah. This is a real highlight of the show as a whole; we’ve waited a long time for Princess Carolyn to be happy, and after the finale there’s no doubt that we have left her living her best life. BoJack’s conversation with Diane on the roof is as striking as ever. Feeling responsible for someone self-destructive is devastating, and to see her finally move on from this relationship is cathartic. In the end, it’s clear that this episode is really a goodbye from BoJack to the people in his life, who can move away and distance themselves from his past toxic behaviour.
Saying goodbye to one of the most incredible TV shows of our generation wasn’t easy, but truly, it could not have ended better. From start to finish, BoJack Horseman has been an emotional journey that never let up for even a minute. It will be one that is celebrated for years to come and has no doubt had a significant influence on the animation that we see from Netflix and beyond in the future. Its effect was unprecedented – emotional investment in (and 700-word reviews about) a cartoon horse isn’t something that anyone expected; but personally, I don’t regret it for even a second.
All 6 Seasons of BoJack Horseman are available on Netflix now.