Bojack Horseman’s self-hating, drug-fueled antics have finally caught up with him as he finds himself in a Phyrric slide towards a decision he has to face for real. And he can’t escape that decision anymore.
This review of Bojack’s fifth season will jump around a bit between spoilers and analyses as I follow Bojack’s path towards stunted redemption, straining relationships, identity-searching, and conclusions that are either progressive or stagnant.
As a whole, this season of “Bojack Horseman” is focusing on present events after the end of Season 4. Bojack starts with a positive attitude as he is cleaning up his act in his own way for the sake of his half-sister Hollyhock. But true to life, one’s plans do not come together as we think it should. He is also cleaning up for his portrayal as the eponymous Philbert from the series “Philbert.” However, he becomes seriously confused when he discovers that Philbert is based on Bojack himself.
Meanwhile, Diane has divorced from Mr. Peanutbutter and goes on a trip to Vietnam to discover her ethnic roots. However, she finds that Vietnam isn’t any different than Hollywoo and returns to her new apartment so that she can try to move forward with Bojack’s “Philbert.” Mr. Peanutbutter also tries to move on from Diane by doing what he does best: getting people to like him. However, he still has feelings for Diane while pursuing a new relationship with a waitress named Pickles Aplenty. Princess Carolyn decides to adopt a child as a single mom, but her work in Hollywoo shows that she has to decide on raising a new family or sticking to her fast job. As for Todd, his wacky business ideas start getting him into higher paying jobs and yet, he is struggling with his sexuality as an asexual.
This season’s theme is about moving forward from the darkness of Season 4, only to encounter new types of darkness. Diane looks like she is getting attracted to Bojack in one episode, only to discover later on about Bojack’s “adventure” in New Mexico after she confronts him about it. Mr. Peanutbutter’s prior marriages are revealed during a Halloween party at Bojack’s with common themes within each revealing. Todd breaks up with his love interest Yolanda Buenaventura and wants to date his friend Emily without having sex but to no avail, prompting him to create the sex robot Henry Fondle; Henry uses his sexually explicit words to become the CEO of WhatTimeIsItRightNow.com and becomes Todd’s boss. Princess Carolyn does not want to commit to adopting a child as she initially thought due to her work. She even burns bridges with her ex-boyfriend Ralph Stilton when he suggested they get back together to raise the baby together as previously suggested. Bojack tries very hard to “move on” from his past mistakes, but a combination of Diane’s confrontation and Flip McVicker’s “Philbert” shadowing Bojack’s harmful lifestyle puts Bojack over the edge with his addiction to painkillers, leaving his new relationship with his half-sister Hollyhock a bit strained; the drugs take their toll on him as he distorts fiction from reality to where he chokes his costar/girlfriend, Gina Cazador.
In the end, everyone sheds their mistakes and tries to move on in their own way, but some characters create new problems for themselves. Mr. Peanutbutter cheats on Pickles with Diane on several occasions. Instead of telling Pickles the truth about the affair, Mr. Peanutbutter decides to propose marriage to her instead. What I got from this is that Mr. Peanutbutter would instead evade damaging situations instead of facing the truth of his actions head on. Todd had to kill Henry Fondle before he causes too much damage, but he sheds the business suit and starts all over again with a little optimism. Princess Carolyn finally adopts a child from Sadie, a woman who lives in Princess Carolyn’s old hometown of Eden, North Carolina. Now she has to think about how good of a single mom she has to be in Hollywoo. Diane and Bojack have a heated argument before Bojack stares at the pile of pills he plans on taking, leading to a decision he believes he has to take on without turning away: rehab. Diane drops him off and has a little chat with him, telling him of her old best friend and how even though she hated her friend for dumping her for the popular kids Diane stood by her side after a family tragedy. SO even though she hates Bojack for what he did to her, she still considers him her best friend and that she still cares for him. As Bojack heads to rehab, Diane drives away with an indifferent face and heads to an unknown destination, much like Bojack did at the end of Season 3.
I really hope that there will be a 6th Season of Bojack Horseman as there are big questions that are left unresolved:
Will Hollyhock see Bojack again the same way after her dark adventure with him in the search for painkillers?
How will Mr. Peanutbutter keep his relationship with Pickles afloat while hiding his affair with Diane? Will he ever change his pattern of dating young women until they bore him?
Will Todd be satisfied with himself both asexually and as a person? He has many options, but now his optimism is shaken.
Can Princess Carolyn be a good mother to her new adopted child? Will it affect her job as a Hollywoo manager?
Now that Bojack is in rehab, will he stay clean this time? Will his outcome on Hollywoo life change? Can he salvage or recover his strained friendships, especially his bond with Diane?
Will Diane disappear as Bojack did? If so, for how long? Will she come back? Will she keep Bojack in her life or will she move on permanently?
To conclude this review, the much talked about episode of “Bojack Horseman” was the episode called “Free Churro.” In it, Bojack delivers an episode-long eulogy at his mother’s funeral. He describes how having a dead mother can lead you to get a free churro. However, Bojack also describes how his mother affected his life with such negativity that he believes that the only way she treated him like a valid, living being was when her last words, “I see you,” came out. At first, Bojack thought that she finally sees that she has a son to be proud of. But then Bojack rips that apart because he remembered that he was with his mother in the I.C.U. This episode is, essentially, Bojack in a fractured nutshell starting to mold. At the end of the episode, his monologue was all for nothing since he was in the wrong room all along.
So that’s Bojack Horseman’s fifth adventure this season, filled with positive progression spiraling down to really dark themes that occur in today’s world: it will not get any better. In Bojack’s world, the main characters try to move on from their mistakes with either some success to none. As German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz once said, “This is the best of all possible worlds.” If there is a sixth season of “Bojack Horseman,” let’s hope that the main characters find their ways to somehow grow more productively on a personal level.