Warning: This review contains spoilers of the final season of BoJack Horseman.
Series finales are often anticipated with dread. We want our favorite shows to last forever; when we come to terms with the fact that they can’t, we wait with bated breath for the finale, praying that the final moments reaffirm our love rather than mar everything the show once was (see: Game of Thrones).
But I wasn’t worried about BoJack Horseman. As a longtime all-time favorite of mine, I had grown to trust the creators. Since the Netflix original premiered in 2014, almost every episode of BoJack has seemed to outdo its precursor. When the second half of season six dropped on January 31, I was ready for more mastery.
After the cliffhanger ending of “A Quick One, While He’s Away,” released back in October, I felt sure that the Penny Carson ordeal in New Mexico was going to be the final straw that broke the horse’s back. The real kicker, however, ends up being the death of Sarah Lynn. Don’t get me wrong: Penny’s still relevant. In fact, everything is relevant in these final episodes, everything bad BoJack’s ever done, everyone he’s ever hurt. We as viewers know the context for all that stuff. We’ve made allowances and tried to understand. But it’s clear that now, at the time of BoJack’s reckoning, no allowances will be made.
And so everything crumbles when BoJack is subject to two Biscuits Braxby interviews, the first a formality and a recovery, the second a brutal #MeToo-era interrogation that dashes any hopes of the happy ending hinted at in previous scenes of post-rehab college professor BoJack. But maybe we weren’t hoping for a happy ending. Maybe we shouldn’t have been. Still, I found myself yelling at my TV when BoJack relapsed and went on his worst bender yet.
“The View from Halfway Down” is one of the best—potentially the best—episodes of the entire series. The “feature” episodes, which break from the traditional A-plot and B-plot formula of the show, have historically been the best of BoJack (I’m talking “Fish Out of Water,” “Free Churro,” etc.). From the moment the second-to-last episode began, I felt myself shift to the edge of my seat, palms sweaty and eyes afraid to blink. This episode was what I wanted and expected from the end of BoJack. The details recalled from past seasons were exquisite, the pacing was exceptional, and refrains of numbers like “Don’t Stop Dancing” and the hauntingly catchy ditty from the “Time’s Arrow” episode reminded us of how truly tight-knit this story is.
Still, BoJack Horseman outdid even the best of itself when it brought me to the verge of tears, the moment that Secretariat read out the lines, “But this is it, the deed is done / Silence drowns the sound / Before I leaped I should have seen the view from halfway down / No! I really should have thought / About the view from halfway down.” Suddenly, the epiphany hits: the opening credits that have played since the very first episode were showing BoJack halfway down, sinking in his pool the same way the show’s penultimate episode reveals his almost death, his reckoning, his delivery to justice.
BoJack’s death wouldn’t have felt like an easy out; sometimes that’s just how a story has to end, especially with such a complex and broken protagonist. But I’ve made peace with BoJack living on, guided by the growth of characters like Princess Carolyn and Diane, both happily married in the end (but, importantly, not in a “we married off the female leads” sort of way). He’s around to see the independence of Mr. Peanutbutter and the (relative) emotional maturity of Todd. He’s around to get sober again, and to hopefully stay that way. v