WARNING: This review contains spoilers for seasons one-six (part 1) of “BoJack Horseman.”
“BoJack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg was surprised when Netflix told him last year that season six would be the animated dramedy’s last.
Executives told him this at the same time the show would be renewed for a sixth season, and he told Vulture that he was grateful for the heads-up.
While it feels like that heads-up was at least two seasons too late, the writers deserve credit for (mostly) doing all they could to give the show a proper ending.
The second half of season six, released Jan. 31, succeeds in delivering its signature Hollywood satire: exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness yet remarkably believable.
The key to what made this season work is that humor’s refusal to leave touchy subjects…well, untouched.
It forces viewers to question aspects of the American entertainment industry, the culture of its consumers and current social expectations that are taboo to question in real life.
The new episodes poke fun at female-led movie remakes and story-hungry reporters. Much of the latter involves unethical journalism practices that reputable news organizations would never engage in. However, there is also a lot of truth in a broadcast entertainment outlet’s abuse of sensationalism.
“BoJack Horseman” season six continues the story arc for BoJack that encapsulates the nuances of the #MeToo era. At the end of season five, we saw rising star Gina Cazador insist to BoJack that the two publicly shrug off the choking incident to avoid cementing it as her reputation.
In the first half of season six, Gina goes on to star in a new film, but she struggles to act while shooting for the film due to post-traumatic stress disorder from what happened during the “Philbert” shoot.
the final episodes of “BoJack Horseman” leave Gina behind.
But they force the audience to remember all of BoJack’s past misdeeds—in particular, those involving Sarah Lynn and Penny. It leaves viewers no choice but to face a question: should BoJack Horseman be forgiven?
It’s a question that fans of revered entertainment icons must answer when their idol is held accountable for abusing their power. It is a very real question, and, as in BoJack’s case, the answer isn’t always clear.
The evidence to weigh comes largely in the form of how the story is told. We continue to see Paige Sinclair, the fast-talking, 1940s-esque reporter based on the “His Girl Friday” character Hildy, dig for the truth behind Sarah Lynn’s death along with Maximillian Banks. The implementing of their story arc and its consequences often feel gratuitous, but ultimately necessary.
This is also true for many other choices made in the show’s final episodes. Along with BoJack himself, the show follows four others. The fast pace allows viewers more time with Princess Caroline, Todd, Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter without burying BoJack’s past.
The two journalists with the Hollywood Reporter create circumstances that serve as a test of BoJack’s moral compass. The end of season five and the beginning of season six tease the possibility of change.
The final episodes of the show tell fans if that happens. The answer will either satisfy or disappoint. But regardless of which reaction it elicits, the show illustrates what might be its best depiction of BoJack’s complex mental state yet.
Paige and Maximillian are also in tune with the lively, wacky comedy that supplements the drama in a show that might otherwise be absolutely depressing — especially considering the themes dealt with in season six, part two. These last episodes are also brightened by the return of running gags, including fan favorite Esteemed Character Actress and Fugitive from the Law Margo Martindale.
With the exception of one romantic pairing, each of the main characters gets an ending that is fitting without being too predictable. The paths some take are frustrating, but ultimately realistic.
And while there are still many story threads left to fan speculation, the reality is that, even with additional seasons, the nature of “BoJack Horseman” could never allow everything to be answered. It is a show which, for all its absurd humor, represents the lives of real people. The series leaves every character at an age with futures too long to provide all the answers.
To the very end, the show reminds us that life is complicated; not everything has a clear answer. It’s impossible to say definitively whether each character’s ending is “good” or “bad,” or whether the fate of the titular character is justified. In that vein, “BoJack Horseman” got the perfect ending.