Should go without saying, but MAJOR SPOILERS!!
Well. It’s over.
I don’t know why I thought BoJack could actually end up having a happy ending. As he said, every time he thought he hit rock bottom, he found another rockier bottom underneath. And this show, I realized, has never been about redemption.
The second half of this season did an excellent job of reminding us of nearly every shitty thing BoJack has done throughout the series. But most of all, how horrible he was towards Sarah Lynn. And how much he failed at actually redeeming himself.
It might be somewhat of a controversial opinion, but I don’t think BoJack really deserved a happy ending.
My memory of the show isn’t great especially since it’s a show I find difficult to rewatch, but while BoJack does good things and improves himself, he always ends up back in his old habits. And despite his inner monologue, he never really blames himself. He says he feels guilty, but he never really takes any tangible actions to make up for and assuage that feeling.
And once we find out the truth of what really happened that night at the planetarium, I don’t know if I could ever forgive him. I could have sworn we knew this information beforehand, but “Xerox of a Xerox” reveals that BoJack waited 17 minutes to call 911. He waited outside.
All because he didn’t want to be caught.
And he told nobody.
Honestly, after thinking about this conclusion for a good long while, I’m really happy with the direction they took. There have been so many shitty redemption arcs in media lately: I’m still not crazy about how rushed the Diamonds’ arc was in Steven Universe and don’t even get me started on Kylo Ren.
They wanted to make the next Zuko, but they understood the character less than the live action adaptation did.
But, back to my main point before I go on an unrelated rant.
There are a lot of asshole protagonists in media these days. And a lot of media-illiterate jack-asses, seem to think that because a character is a protagonist, they’re justified in acting the same way.
I admit I occasionally have trouble distinguishing when an asshole protagonist’s actions are supported by the writers or not. But to not realize that somebody who doesn’t acknowledge their actions have consequences or to think that being dismissive makes them superior…it’s frustrating.
It’s found in characters like BoJack, Rick Sanchez, Ted Mosby…Almost always the cynical, pseudo-intellectual type who thinks that they’re better because they read Latin or don’t consume mass media. I once saw a profile on a dating app where the guy described himself as a combination of Ted Mosby and Sheldon Cooper as if that was a good thing!
(I didn’t swipe right.)
So, the fact that Raphael Bob-Waksberg gave BoJack an ending where he still personally has to live with the information of all his past deeds out in the open (though by the final episode, it’s been forgotten by the public) is really important.
It’s made incredibly clear that BoJack can easily fall back into his toxic behaviors, especially if he remains in Hollywoo. And he also has to live without the two people who meant the most to him: Hollyhock and Diane.
Both choose to cut him out of their lives. For their own sake. And I can’t blame them.
Hollyhock cuts him out early on. Which makes sense: she doesn’t need him for support or love. She has eight loving dads, she found her birth mom, and she has friends. Even though she has issues, I think she’ll be just fine in the end.
And every other main character gets a pretty happy ending, because they did their best to make up for their flaws, and they managed to stay that way, even though it’s still hard for them to be good sometimes.
Todd is happy after he found his calling running a daycare for VIM and reconciles with his mother; Princess Carolyn remains good at her job and manages to have it all as a successful mother and business woman and marries Judah (not what I expected, but they work well together. I now also want to see Ruthie when she gets older because that girl is going to be someone to be feared.)
They both forgive BoJack and will support him in what he wants, but it’s also clear that Todd’s support isn’t unconditional. Princess Carolyn’s might be, but that’s not really the support BoJack needs.
I mentioned Diane earlier. She decides to end things with BoJack, but it’s because she ended that toxic relationship that she gets to be happy. The ending scene, where the two sit by each other in awkward silence as music plays is really emotional.
But I’m happy for her.
After years of putting her hopes and dreams on hold for BoJack, and after a genuinely shitty childhood, she manages to find love and fulfillment. Rather than writing biographies or cracking open big news stories, she ends up as the author of a successful middle-school book series about a young Vietnamese-American girl who solves mysteries at the mall.
It’s the kind of representation she needed when she was young and it does perhaps more good in the long run.
I’ve always felt a strong connection with Diane. I don’t share her same background of being from an abusive and neglectful family; but I’m a writer at heart. We share the same mindset of wanting to do good, wanting to do something meaningful but always feeling like a failure.
My childhood wasn’t horrible. It was pretty good. Except for the shitty parts. Which sucks because you tend to remember the shitty parts more. I am going through a few mental health struggles but I’m doing much better than a few months ago.
And since I just resigned from job, at a place that I loved at the beginning but became overwhelming and was forcing me to ignore myself and needs at the sake of getting work done, this episode couldn’t have come at a better time.
It was hard deciding to resign. But, it just wasn’t a good fit anymore. And now, I just need to figure things out. And that’s scary.
And seeing Diane’s thought process while she’s off her anti-depressants play out and how much better she’s doing on her meds, gives me a sense of hope. The idea that things will get better.
But, my favorite episode was “The View From Halfway Down,” because it was utterly brilliant. BoJack in a dying dream joins a dinner party attended by all the characters who have died in his life.
Each gives a performance before going through a door that’s filled with a seemingly sentient black goo that envelopes people, chasing down those who try to avoid it. But that isn’t the most horrifying part.
It’s the silhouette BoJack’s body, floating in his swimming pool above everyone. All the performances are horrifying in their own way seeing how some go willing and others don’t. Sarah Lynn’s is of course, the most heart wrenching.
She didn’t stop dancing until the curtain call. And that happened to be her death.
I should have seen the drowning coming. I know plenty of others did. There was so much foreshadowing. But for some reason, it never really hit me until I was about halfway through.
I think it would have made sense to kill him, but it took more guts to keep him alive and have him actually deal with the consequences. And live the guilt. And Hollywoo has shown that it martyrs the dead.
Which isn’t the message they want to get across. BoJack’s already lost his house, his show, and many people’s respect. Having him die would make his story a tragedy. Not an Aesop.
My only complaint is that I wish they had more episodes even just one or two to kind of focus on how BoJack’s misogyny and his relationships with women. It’s bought up but never really dealt with in the season.
But otherwise it was the perfect and necessary harsh conclusion we needed.
And that’s the scoop!
Year of release: 2020
Length: 8 episodes: 26-27 minutes
Creators: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Executive Producers: Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen, Blair Fetter, Jane Wiseman, Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Andy Weil
If you liked this review read: Bojack Season 6 is near perfect.