Bojack Horseman is one of the most despicable characters in TV history—that I’ve been rooting for since day one. The first half of the final season saw Bojack find sobriety and finally become a protagonist worth championing.
The second half, however, was a quick reminder that Bojack is a monster and the damage he’s done to everyone around him isn’t washed away by a trip to rehab and no longer dying his hair.
After watching the final episode of this series I loved so much, I couldn’t help but question whether or not Bojack deserved the happy ending he received.
In the brilliant penultimate episode of the series—after signing away his legacy as the star of Horsin Around, falling off the wagon, driving drunk to his Hollywood mansion that he sold to pay his Xerox lawsuit and passing out in the pool—Bojack walks into a dinner with his mother accompanied by a young Sarah Lynn that we later find out is Bojack’s visualization of the afterlife.
It was the ending we all figured Bojack would face. We’ve seen him drown in his pool from the first intro sequence of episode one. Relapsing and overdosing on pills was the only way his story could end.
As beautiful as that episode was, as much as I loved the idea that before we die we are joined by our passed away loved ones in final dinner and a show before we are finally consumed by sweet sweet death.
But after re-watching the finale, I realized that Bojack dying would have actually been the happy ending that he did not deserve.
Earlier in the second half of the season, in a sit down interview with Biscuits Braxby, Bojack’s history of abuse with women is fully fleshed out and presented to him and instead of truly changing and accepting responsibility for his past destructive patterns of behavior, he attempts to blame Hollywoo(b)’s takedown of powerful men.
“So, I can’t be with any woman I might have power over? – Who does that leave me with?”, Bojack retorts in his interview as he clearly refuses to recognize that maybe he shouldn’t have banged Sarah Lynn after being her TV dad in the 90s and then, ya know, killing her.
But what makes that interview scene so amazing was that it was the perfect pregame to the final episode that saw all of the characters affected by Bojack’s bullshit finally move on without him.
In the interview after Braxby lays out all of his gross relationships, including his seven years with Princess Caroline, Bojack shouts out “Sarah Lynn wasn’t like those other girls. I loved Sarah Lynn.”.
That moment was immediately followed by what appeared as the last straw for Princess Caroline as Bojack openly admits he never really loved her in an interview that PC advised Bojack not to take in the first place.
The happy ending in the finale wasn’t Bojack’s: it was for the people Bojack took advantage of for six seasons.
When Bojack gets a night out of prison to go to Princess Caroline’s wedding, they share a touching dance together in which Bojack tells her he had a fantasy that PC would have cold feet at her wedding and he thought he’d have to convince her to go through with it like in a sitcom.
Princess Caroline gives the perfect response to his little fantasy: “It’s a better story for you, I think I like it better this way.” And when Bojack says he’ll need representation once he’s released from prison, PC tells him that she’ll look for someone to help him.
Princess Caroline, a character who started the show by doing anything Bojack asked of her and dating Vincent Adultman—three little boys standing on each other’s shoulders in a trench coat—has truly found her own independence from her attachment to the toxic TV horse dad that she had previously dedicated her life to.
Which makes the final scene of Bojack even more powerful as we see Diane also separate herself from her Bojack responsibilities.
Diane has a new life with her husband in Houston and admits to Bojack that she almost gave that up and questioned everything after Bojack called her moments before his almost-drowning.
“For seven hours, I couldn’t get in touch with anyone and I was sure you were dead, and it was my fault for leaving you, for feeling good, for not worrying”. Damn.
As much as I loved the View From Halfway Down, it was a selfish way out of everything. It would have been a peaceful ending for Bojack but how would that have impacted PC and Diane? Would they have been able to transition into these new levels in their life if they had the burden of Bojack’s death weighing on them?
And to make a real life comparison, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein dying instead of facing the actual consequences they deserve for their actions would’ve been bullshit for the victims whose lives they derailed.
There’s a great moment in the finale when Mr. Peanut Butter picks up Bojack and asks him what he was sentenced for and Bojack replies “Officially, breaking and entering, but I think it was kind of for everything”.
So no, Bojack Horseman didn’t deserve a happy ending but after his casual leeching off women for decades, Princess Caroline and Diane deserved their endings and ultimately their peace from the years of Bojack trama.
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