Not many things in life are truly black or white. There will always be more unanswered questions than answered, and the ethics behind our choices are often what make these questions nearly impossible to solve. Despite this headache that morality drags us into, many would agree that part of our responsibility on Earth is, to some extent, recognize that working to solve moral dilemmas is far better than ignoring them altogether. “Bojack Horseman” knows this and, through its entire six-season run, has never been afraid to shout into the void to try and get the message across that “the truth is none of it matters and the truth is it all matters tremendously.”
In this eight-episode conclusion to the show’s final season, everything is the same and everything is different. The first half of the final season left us in a transition period in each character’s life and with a cliffhanger that hinted at the fateful culmination of Bojack’s (Will Arnett, “Riviera”) mistakes. The second half leans into the anxiety that was built up surrounding Bojack’s rocky attempt to be a better, sober person and capitalizes on the fear but logical expectation he’ll relapse into the “old Bojack” that everyone’s so resentful of.
In the last season in particular, the show begs the question of whether people should be allowed to move on or should have to remain plagued by the mistakes of their past. Bojack, caught up in the wake of the #MeToo movement, finally faces legal and societal backlash as the secrets surrounding Sarah Lynn’s (Kristen Schaal, “Bob’s Burgers”) death air to the public. Bojack, like all flawed characters, causes internal conflict for the show’s viewers and at times forces them to choose whether they stay hopeful that Bojack will improve, or hold him to the same cancel culture standard most powerful Hollywood men have been held to in the past few years. It makes us wonder whether people can really change, or if they’re bound to the chains of their toxicity. And if people really can change, to what extent should we hold them accountable for the actions of their old self?
A distinctive characteristic of the show is its consistently unforgettable penultimate episodes. Always pivotal, always poignant and always action-packed, these episodes have been a marker for how meticulous the creators can be and how human this fantasy-like show really is. Each character, no matter how profusely they deny it, is a product of their past. In between the puns, the movie references and the absurd escapades, the show is filled with existentialism and profound one-liners that make “The Good Place” seem like a children’s show.
This final season is different in that it intentionally includes all the ethical discussions the show kept relatively subliminal in prior seasons. In its penultimate episode, characters — which I’ll leave undisclosed to avoid exposing crucial plot points — are literally having these discussions around the dinner table. In a game called “Best Part/Worst Part,” the characters debate sacrifice, happiness and the best and worst parts of their lives. It emulated what the fans have been doing over the past six years — analyzing, discussing, interpreting.
Even though I know all good things must come to an end, I can’t help but pine for more. This last season is the most precise, carefully-crafted the series has ever been, and yet there’s a part of me that knows it wasn’t their peak. Thankfully, the creators tied all the necessary loose ends to wrap up the show in exactly the way it was supposed to be, and we can only hope television doesn’t peak with this series. Good things are fleeting and their fleeting nature is often what makes them so special. And like Diane (Alison Brie, “Horse Girl”) says, some things “were never meant to be in your life forever.”