The Series Finale of 'Bojack Horseman' Review

Kicking off the year right, Netflix’s animated hit “Bojack Horseman” has come to a thoughtful and satisfying conclusion — with many viewers considering its sixth and final season to be its best. In case you haven’t seen it, “Bojack Horseman” tells the story of a sit-com actor from the 90’s struggling to adapt to a post-fame lifestyle. He fits the typical anti-hero role: a selfish, washed-up alcoholic with little empathy or insight into the consequences of his actions. Throughout the series, Bojack is continuously hurting the people he cares about, falling into the same cycles of toxic behavior again and again. While this may sound boring or even painful to watch, the show has managed to write the main character with such depth that it’s easy to empathize with him. We see how his parents abused and neglected him, how big Hollywood producers manipulated him and how his need to be loved has destroyed him. This is what sets the series apart from most adult cartoons today — the characters are written with an intense level of depth and compassion. This attribute was especially highlighted in the final season, where each character’s unique arc would come to an end.

The challenge of the final season was finding a balance between redemption and punishment. Bojack wanted a happy ending for himself, one where all his friends forgave him and his celebrity status was restored. But this obviously couldn’t happen. What kind of story would we have if the lying, cheating and backstabbing drug-addict never faced any real consequences? At the same time, a cynical ending filled with suffering and hopelessness wouldn’t have been satisfying either. The audience needed to see Bojack pay for his actions, but they also needed to see him grow. We needed to see him learn and ultimately become a better person. But that was easier said than done — Bojack had been trying to be a better person for five seasons already. Season six was tasked with finding a singular, meaningful conclusion to a cast of emotionally complex and dynamic characters. 

In the end, I would say the show succeeded completely in ways the audience may have never expected. In the final episode, Bojack is finishing a sentence in jail (technically for breaking and entering, but symbolically for everything else), he is widely hated by the public and he has lost many relationships he once had, including his long-lost sister Hollyhock. It is bitter, but it has its sweetness too. He is finally sober, for example. He has a few conversations with his old friends, where he is finally able to give meaningful apologies. Additionally, his fall from fame seems to be a good change. Instead of internalizing and hiding all his guilt and shame, it is finally out in the open for the world to see, allowing true healing to take place. Bojack is noticeably older in the finale, not just in his appearance but in his attitude. There is an air to him that implies he is truly tired of being a bad person. The show leaves us with a tone of hope. The past feels settled, and the future seems relatively bright.

But the ending wasn’t perfect. I was especially disappointed with how season six treated Todd, whose usually whimsical adventures must not have fit the somber mood of the conclusion. Instead of giving him his own growth plot, we waited around for his mother to open up to him, and their relationship is still rocky by the end of the show. This is only one of a few loose ends — Bojack still fears he will relapse after he is released from prison, Dianne is still struggling with her depression, Princess Carolyn is still learning how to balance motherhood and her work life. Plus, there are some characters without meaningful closure, the most notable examples being Charlotte, Hollyhock and Gina. till, there is something satisfying about the loose ends —It gives the illusion that the Bojack universe will continue even after the series ends. The characters, like real people, still have a lot to learn, and there will probably never be a final and perfect version of them. The semi-open ending seemed to reflect the entire premise of the show, summed up in Dianne’s iconic penultimate line: “Sometimes life’s a bitch and then you keep living.”