The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: That Went Well

With Sarah Lynn’s death leaving him feeling guilty and regretful, BoJack decides to connect with one of his other Horsin’ Around co-stars to make the spin-off Ethan Around. Meanwhile, it’s Mr Peanutbutter’s spaghetti strainers to the rescue when a pasta spill threatens Pacific Ocean City.

If you found the last episode emotionally intense, you might be hoping for things to let up a bit. But this is BoJack Horseman, a show that knows that “sometimes life is just one long, hard kick in the urethra”.

BoJack is at his lowest ebb, mourning Sarah Lynn’s death with his typical comfort behaviour – watching DVDs of Horsin’ Around. We already knew that BoJack wasn’t particularly nice to Sarah Lynn during their time on Horsin’ Around, and that it was the bender he instigated that led to her death. But, as it turns out, this wasn’t the only time BoJack messed up in his relationship with Sarah Lynn.

Back in 2007, with The BoJack Horseman Show tanking in the ratings, Cuddlywhiskers suggested that what they needed was a big guest appearance – and who better than pop star Sarah Lynn? Even though they haven’t spoken in years, BoJack is persuaded to go and visit her to ask for her help.

And herein lies the tragedy. Sarah Lynn is surrounded by sycophants and admirers, people who just want to be friends with her because she’s world-famous. Erroneously believing he’s just visiting as a friend, Sarah Lynn expresses her delight at seeing BoJack again. The crushing disappointment of learning that even BoJack is only here to ask a favour is heavily implied to be the thing that shattered her mental stability and led to her subsequent substance addiction.

Now that it’s too late to make amends with Sarah Lynn, BoJack turns instead to fellow Horsin’ Around co-star Bradley, who is looking to make the spin-off show Ethan Around. BoJack goes into the project determined to get it right this time, even deliberately being nice to the new show’s child star, Chloe. But the experience is tainted by his memories of Sarah Lynn, and he ultimately abandons the set during the filming of the first episode.

We end the episode with BoJack deep in the desert, far from Hollywoo and all the mistakes he has made. He seems about to drive his car off the road, only to spot a group of wild horses running in the distance. The simplicity and purity of their efforts clearly speaks to something within BoJack, and perhaps within us, the viewers, as well.

As befits the show, this episode also comes with a zany B-story, this one tying up various threads introduced throughout the season. Thanks to the unique combination of a huge pile of spaghetti strainers and a cab company with killer whale employees, Todd and Mr Peanutbutter are able to save Pacific Ocean City. This plot line felt completely stupid the first time I saw it, but actually second time around it proves amusing rather than irritating.

Ready for next season?

As is customary for a BoJack season finale, various plot elements are put in place to be picked up for the following season. Here’s a round-up:

  • Diane gets a job writing for ‘Girl Croosh’, a feminist website. There are already hints that Diane’s feminist writing might clash with the actions of her husband at some point in the future. This development also lets Mr Peanutbutter to utter the line “Oh, my God! Can you believe it? In the same week, I sell a company for millions of dollars and you get a job writing for a blog”. Only Mr Peanutbutter could say something so completely sincere and come across as such a jerk.
  • Although Princess Carolyn claimed to be enjoying her downtime, she becomes re-energised by a change of career direction – from agent to manager. Although the difference seems negligible, it’s enough to make her re-open Vim. Ralph doesn’t seem too keen on this, but promises to support her anyway.
  • Mr Peanutbutter is approached by his ex-wife Katarina, who wants him to run for governor of California.
  • In a discussion with Emily, Todd explains “I’m not gay. I mean, I don’t think I am, but I don’t think I’m straight, either. I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing”. Todd will properly come out as asexual next season, so while I’m really keen to discuss this plot development, I’m going to save it for the s4e3 blog.

First appearances

  • Stefani Stilton: Ralph’s sister, who is currently setting up a new website called GirlCroosh. She hires Diane to write content for it.
  • Hollyhock: A mysterious young horse girl who wants to get in contact with BoJack.

Did you notice?

  • The staff issues at Elefante persist. The donkey kid whose mum was made a waiter in Best Thing That Ever Happened is seen waiting tables, while the meals that are served are either disappointingly basic or simply on fire. The dog valet is now the bartender.
  • Elefante’s former head chef is now opening his own restaurant.
  • Whether intentionally or not, Mr Peanutbutter and Cabracadabra driving in to the rescue has a very Mad Max feel.
  • Tom Jumbo-Grumbo once again chastises Randy during a news broadcast.
  • Sarah Lynn no longer appears in the intro sequence.
  • Character Actress Margo Martindale crashes into a Cartindale Cargo boat.

Summary – That Went Well: “It doesn’t get better and it doesn’t get easier. I can’t keep lying to myself, saying I’m gonna change.”

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