It had to end this way. Partly unfulfilling, but what finale isn’t? There’s that dread of knowing you’ll never be able to spend another moment with these characters again. Sure, you could relive the stuff from before, start the whole series over again, but it won’t be the same. Like the best shows before it, “Bojack Horseman” knows this.
Despite the massive feeling of dread that most fans might have going into this season, things haven’t been rushed at all. Each character continues on their journeys in ways that make sense and are true to the spirit of the show. Some of them are more comedic than others, but it never feels inconsistent or fake. Every silly moment of animal word puns that directly follow an earth-shattering emotional revelation feel like something only this show could do.
Without spoiling anything, suffice it to say that the darkest moments of the series lie here. It’s a testament to the skill and raw talent of the voice cast that none of their performances ever waver. Will Arnett (“The LEGO Movie,” “Arrested Development”), Alison Brie (“Community,” “GLOW”), Amy Sedaris (“Strangers With Candy,” “The Mandalorian”), Paul F. Tompkins (“Mr. Show with Bob and David,” “There Will Be Blood”) and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad,” “The Path”) never falter for even a moment in their delivery.
However, it’s the smaller roles that pop up for one of two episodes that are pure excellence. Arnett’s double role as Secretariat and Bojack’s father is simply astonishing, as is Kristen Schaal (“Gravity Falls,” “Bob’s Burgers”), delivering one more run as Sarah Lynn in what is easily the finest performance of her lucrative voice acting career. Stanely Tucci (“The Lovely Bones,” “Spotlight”) also makes a long overdue return, showcasing yet again why he was one of the best things about the first season.
If things are coming to a close, it’s important to address the dangling threads. However, Raphael Bob-Waksberg and his crew of insanely talented writers know that addressing these darker moments, both currently happening to these characters and that have happened before, isn’t enough. Just because someone’s sins have been addressed doesn’t mean they’ve been put to rest. Addressing them is not the same as atoning for them. It’s painful to watch, but it’s what needs to happen.
That’s what makes “Bojack Horseman” end so gracefully. It uses so many different and complex emotional layers to get at one specific point. In between all the exposes, the interviews, and the hundreds of Frito pies, there’s this sense that nothing will be able to recapture those moments again. In order to succeed, these characters must move beyond who they used to be.
Hell, there are multiple conversations where the characters themselves seem to address that their relationships could never go back to where they used to be. It won’t be the same. Yet, there are also just as many moments of unknowing. One of the biggest emotional breaking points of this season is something that likely won’t ever be revealed, to anyone. And that lack of closure is essential here as well.
In the penultimate episode of this final season, the show’s creative team puts Bojack through one of the most creative and tumultuous events of the entire series. It’s a roadmap of the show and himself, bullet pointed with song and speech and big fat salty tears. Its virtually impossible to see how someone could escape from something this searing and traumatic.
One character, in the show’s finale, says it best, “Maybe its everybody’s job to save each other.” Despite its deft and cynical view of celebrity, Hollywood, accountability, trauma, and a whole bunch of other terrible things, the legacy of “Bojack Horseman,” the animated show about a horse-man who was in a 90s sitcom, living in a world of humans and animals, will be one of redemption.
Back in the 90s, Bojack was in a very famous TV show. But now that cliché, the joke of “I’m Bojack…Horseman, obviously you knew that,” is the last thing on the show’s mind. There’s so much to resolve in the lives of these characters that it is sometimes jarring. It’s natural that some of the subjects addressed are less crucial than others, leading to a bit of tonal inconsistency when flipping in between plots. But it never feels forced, more like a respite. A safe haven away from the depression.
None of this matters. Yet, it all matters. “Bojack Horseman” is one of those shows so excellent that it makes me question the point of even reviewing it. The state of bizarrely hopeful melancholy it left me in as credits rolled on the 16th episode of season 6 are unlike anything I’ve experienced before. “Bojack Horseman” is a show that legitimately changed me and how I approached my own life.
Yet, some people will never see it because it’s that animated adult show on Netflix with the talking horse. As Bojack himself might say, don’t worry about it. “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” That might be true, but I won’t let this sleeping horse lie. I won’t stop dancing; I won’t stop shouting this show’s merits from the rooftops. Because, quite simply “Bojack Horseman” is the greatest television show of the 21st century.