Spoilers ahead for Season 6, Part 1 of “BoJack Horseman”
Part 1 of Season 6 of “BoJack Horseman” has left him in his most precarious position yet.
The season begins with a flashback to his worst action: facilitating the death of Sarah Lynn. As the season goes on, we learn that he had a much larger part to play in her downfall, catalyzing her substance abuse by carelessly letting her have her first drop of alcohol on the set of Horsin’ Around.
More or less causing Sarah Lynn’s death weighs heavily on BoJack, and his stint in rehab is not as wholesome and helpful as it appears to be. Doctor Champ, voiced by Sam Richardson, runs the rehab clinic and provides BoJack with superficial counseling over the course of his 12 steps. Throughout his entire time at the clinic, the only time BoJack is able to reach any clarity on how to better himself is after Doctor Champ relapses on his past alcoholism and helps BoJack realize his lack of meaningful relationships with other horses.
After leaving rehab for good, BoJack embarks on a nationwide journey to right his past wrongs and become happier, by visiting his half-sister, Hollyhock, at college and assisting Diane in the midst of her depression.
He couldn’t fix all his mistakes, as the final episode of the series showed the ramifications of many of his actions. Gina Cazador, his Philbert co-star who he violently choked during a scene while losing his mind on drugs, ends up losing the opportunity for a breakthrough role after her trauma from the incident makes her hard to work with on set. Two eccentric journalists begin to slowly uncover the truth behind Sarah Lynn’s death and actually end up in New Mexico after hearing about an incident involving a famous movie star there. Hollyhock, at a party in New York City, ends up meeting Pete Repeat, the seemingly one-off gag character from that infamous prom night in New York, and begins to tell Hollyhock the story of that night, before the episode ends.
All these past mistakes starting to catch up to BoJack leave his future in question. When everything inevitably comes to light, will he finally accept responsibility for the worst of his actions? Will Hollyhock be able to forgive him? Where will his public image end up? Will he truly become a better person or will he end spiraling back into substance abuse and depression again?
Aside from BoJack, the rest of the colorful cast looks to be moving toward closure for their arcs as well.
Diane moves out to Chicago to live with her coworker/boyfriend Guy, voiced by LaKeith Stanfield, and begins work — or tells him she’s beginning work — on her personal memoir. After he leaves for a photo shoot across the country, she falls into a deep depression and tries to take better care of her mental health, to varying degrees. She refuses to take her prescribed medication as she believes she doesn’t need it, but when Guy gets back from the trip and sees that she’s gained some weight, a slight smile on her face hints at some happiness she’s beginning to reach.
Todd, with his always outlandish shenanigans, gets some long-needed insight on his family and upbringing. His stepfather comes knocking at the door when Todd’s mother needs a kidney transplant. But, because Todd sold his kidney, they have to embark on a caper to retrieve it from the Disney-esque conglomerate, Whitewhale Consolidated Interests.
After they retrieve the kidney, Todd opts against visiting his mother in the hospital due to how he was unceremoniously disowned as a teenager, providing some depth to Todd’s decisions and showing that he is capable of being petty and hurting others.
Princess Carolyn deals with her typical day-to-day stress, but the added work of caring for a child begins to push her over the edge and cause her to question her decision to adopt and become a single mother. This stress sets the stage for a mesmerizing episode where she goes through her workday while caring for her child simultaneously, with various shadows of her doing tasks filling the screen and showing the immense amount of stress she is under.
However, this portion of her character is stunted during the season as she gets wrapped up in dealing with a Hollywoo-wide assistant’s strike, taking up most of her character’s time in the half-season. While the assistant’s strike is hilariously satirical, her character growth played second fiddle in favor of a wild gag. Whether or not this matters is up to personal preference, but to see one of my most anticipated plotlines this season get the cold shoulder left me with a sour taste in my mouth.
Mr. Peanutbutter further deals with the guilt of cheating on his current fiancé, Pickles, voiced by Julia Chan, with his ex-wife. When he finally comes clean, it leads to what is easily the best episode of the season. The rest of the cast is hiding in Mr. Peanutbutter’s home for a surprise wedding orchestrated by Todd, but when the pair walk in and Mr. Peanutbutter immediately admits what he’s done, the partygoers humorously hide around the house as marital strife ensues, with many ridiculously close calls only being saved by the couple’s incredible aloofness.
The episode ends with the two deciding that the only way for them to move forward happily is by Pickles cheating on Mr. Peanutbutter to get even. That decision leads to about as healthy and fulfilling of a resolution as one would expect.
Despite this half-season dropping the ball a bit on Princess Carolyn’s character, it set itself up well for the second half and provided both heartbreaking moments and rewarding moments.
If any of the beloved cast will resolve their issues and end up better off is still as hard of a question to answer as it was in the first season, BoJack especially. But, the show maintained its characteristic subversion and uniqueness that has made it such an engaging watch in the first place, with running gags and real issues mixing perfectly.
Come Jan. 31, we’ll see if this horse can finally face the music and buck what’s holding it back.