Disclaimer: The article contains spoilers.
After season four of Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” ended with an image of BoJack smiling, there seemed to be hope that season five would be a season of learning and acceptance of his problems.
Give it one episode for it to knock you back to reality.
Season five of “BoJack Horseman” follows BoJack, voiced by Will Arnett, as he attempts to jumpstart his “Hollywoo” career by starring in the new hit show “Philbert.” With the stress of the show and his past coming back to haunt him, BoJack spirals in a way only BoJack can, making you laugh, cry and wonder what’s coming next.
BoJack isn’t the only character to have to face adversity throughout season five. Diane, his on-and-off again love interest, comes face to face with the reality of being a divorcee. Todd Chavez, his former roommate, continues to explore his asexualilty.
Princess Carolyn, his manager and the producer of “Philbert,” deals with stingy reception as she gets closer to adopting a child. Mr. Peanutbutter, BoJack’s “friend” and co-star, starts to doubt his new relationship after making a grave mistake.
BoJack’s demise begins after suffering an injury while filming a stunt for “Philbert.” In an attempt to keep the filming on track, Princess Carolyn gets him a doctor who gives him extremely powerful painkillers, and BoJack’s drug addiction starts there.
Throughout each episode, the viewers watch BoJack take more pills, his addiction growing so strong that he drags his half-sister, Hollyhock Manheim-Mannheim-Guerrero-Robinson-Zilberschlag-Hsung-Fonzerelli-McQuack all around Hollywoo after she accidentally gets rid of his pills in episode nine.
The addiction culminates in dreaded episode 11, when BoJack hallucinates between his own reality and the “Philbert” universe. His struggle reaches a new level as he strangles his co-star/girlfriend, Gina Cazador, while on set and needs three different people to pull him off her. Ironically enough, in episode four, BoJack talks about how it’s bad to choke and strangle women after he becomes a self-proclaimed feminist.
Possibly the hardest scene to watch in the show’s history, Gina drops the one f-bomb the show uses per season, asking “What the f— is wrong with you?” while holding back tears, marks all over her throat. BoJack immediately realizes his mistake, and starts profusely apologizing. This is the first time he has made a grave mistake and realizes it right away, unlike in the past where he’s come up with excuses for himself.
Usually, episode 11 is the most powerful episode in each season; however, episode six takes the cake for the best episode this time around. Titled “Free Churro,” BoJack goes on a 25-minute monologue while giving a eulogy at his mother’s funeral. To people who have watched the show, it’s been very obvious that BoJack never had a healthy relationship with his parents, specifically his mother.
So, when it comes time to pay respect to his mother, BoJack continues to ask her why she never loved him, or why she never noticed any of the good things he’s done in his life. He ponders what he could have done differently even though he says he knows there was nothing he could do to get his mother to say something positive about him. The dialogue continues and it becomes more apparent that BoJack’s addiction is growing, as he takes his pills once during the episode and is very erractic when he talks. Finally, despite his mother never giving him any gratitude towards him, he decides to do her final bidding by giving her an open coffin, which is when he realizes he’s been at the wrong wake the entire time.
Arnett is the only voice in episode six, speaking for the entirety of the episode. “BoJack Horseman” was nominated in 2017 for an Emmy, but has never won. This episode shows so much depth and range within Arnett that it should win an Emmy, and Arnett should win the award he has deserved since season one of the show.
Season five ends with a bunch of questions unanswered, as per usual. BoJack must finally face his demons as he enters rehab for the first time with the help of Diane, Princess Carolyn finally gets her adopted baby, but questions linger as to how she’ll balance her extremely difficult work life and raising a child.
Mr. Peanutbutter gets engaged to his significantly younger girlfriend in a panic instead of telling her that he slept with Diane, his ex-wife, multiple times in previous episodes. Todd decides to join an asexual dating app, something he was very adamantly against throughout the whole season.
Diane’s story arc is the most interesting one to watch, as the audience is left to wonder what’s next for her. She doesn’t like the life she lives in Los Angeles, but she knows escaping it won’t let her get rid of her personal demons. The season ends with Diane driving into a tunnel, setting up for a possible next season with even more questions than answers.