Why BoJack Horseman Ended The Way It Did

All good things must come to an end. Let's discuss this one!

After six seasons on the air, BoJack Horseman aired its final episodes on January 31, 2020. When the show's cancellation was announced a few months before, fans were eager to find out how the story wraps up.

The final season covers a lot of material, so much that it had to be split into two parts. The final season strays away from the show's normal 12-episode format and instead contains 16 episodes — eight in part one and eight in part two. The creators wanted to cover all the bases and give the show a proper ending, which couldn't really be done in the normal 12 considering all that was left to cover.

Most fans are happy with the way the story ends. Although devastated about never getting new episodes again, fans felt satisfied with the way things were left off. However, some viewers may have a few questions about the conclusion, so let's discuss what happens at the end of BoJack Horseman and why the show ended with a specific pivotal event.

How Does BoJack Horseman End?

bojack horseman the view from halfway down
Image Source: Screen Rant

At the beginning of the final season, we see BoJack checking into rehab in an attempt to finally get clean. As we watch his progression at Pastiches in Malibu, the show also gives us the backstory on BoJack's relationship with alcohol through various flashbacks. We get to see how alcoholism plagued both of BoJack's parents, and how many times it was pushed on him throughout his life before he finally gave in and started drinking as well.

We also learn a little more about BoJack's past in this season, as he reveals almost everything about his life during therapy sessions with Doctor Champ. He really puts in the work to get better, and by the end of his stay, he seems to have a handle on his addiction. However, he becomes comfortable there and does not want to leave. He thinks things are easier in rehab, and is afraid he won't be able to apply his knowledge in the real world. He's afraid he will slip up.

While BoJack struggles at Pastiches for a couple of months, his friends and associates fight their own internal battles back home. The first half of the final season splits its attention between BoJack's road to recovery, and the new changes Diane, Princess Carolyn, Todd, and Mr. Peanubutter are all facing.

We watch Diane as she takes on a new role at Girl Croosh and finds new love in her cameraman. While things seem to be looking up for her at the beginning of the season, eventually we begin to see her depression creeping back up and beginning to affect her life. This season sees her final attempt to write her memoir, however, her depression prevents her from writing, and she begins to worry that she won't be able to write her memoir after all.

Princess Carolyn finally has the baby she's always wanted, but the reality of motherhood proves to be too much for her in the beginning. She struggles to balance her work life with her new mom's life, and the difficulty starts to get to her. She doesn't understand why other women or so good at juggling everything while she isn't, and she begins to doubt whether she made the right decision. What if this isn't actually the thing that will make her happy?

This season, we get to see more of Todd's parents and we learn more about his relationship with them. As Todd comes back into contact with them after all these years, we watch as he struggles to prove himself to them and gain their approval. We also get to observe Todd's broken communication with his mother, and how this has affected him and his self-image. Lastly, we continue to watch him struggle to find love as a romantic asexual man. 

Season 6 shows us the dark side of Mr. Peanutbutter, as he sleeps with his ex-wife Diane and cheats on his girlfriend for the second time. His yearning for something familiar after an emotional rollercoaster with his current girlfriend leads to this moment of weakness, and at the beginning of the season, we see him dripping with guilt. He eventually admits to everything, and the public backlash he receives briefly affects his Hollywood reputation. 

The creators use the second half of the season to really wrap things up. Post-rehab, BoJack takes a job as a drama professor at Wesleyan University. He lets his grey hair out and treats this new position as a new chapter in his life. Things seem to be going well for him as he explores this new role and attempts to connect with his half-sister, but things do not go well for long.

A persistent reporter starts asking questions as she investigates the death of Sarah Lynn, and eventually the tracks all lead back to BoJack. She releases an expose detailing his alleged involvement in Sarah Lynn's death, and his career is put in turmoil. At first, he is able to clear his reputation by doing an interview. However, his decision to do a second interview is what leads to his downfall, as the talk show's host sets him up to tear him down live on the air.

She exposes the multiple times he has exerted his power over women during the course of his career and lays out all his dirty laundry for the world to see. His reputation is tarnished and everyone except for his closest associates hates him. Not to mention he pays a hefty price in a settlement with Sarah Lynn's family only to be hit with a larger lawsuit directly after.

This leads to him losing his house, which is the beginning of his spiral out of control. During a spontaneous trip to a different college in California, BoJack reads a letter from Hollyhock, his half-sister who has cut off all communication with him after the news of his wrong-doings goes public. We don't get to see the contents of the letter, but whatever she wrote pushes him over the edge and his world crashes down around him.

He immediately breaks his sobriety and begins to drink at the college. He ends up breaking into his old home in a drunken stupor and almost drowns in the pool. Luckily he is discovered and saved by the new inhabitants before he dies, but he earns a 14-month prison sentence for breaking and entering.

In the last episode of the season, BoJack is still serving his prison sentence, but Princess Carolyn is able to get him out for one day so he can attend her wedding. It is at the wedding that we say our final goodbyes to the characters.

As far as we can tell, everyone gets a satisfying ending. Princess Carolyn ends up married with a baby. Todd stabilizes his life, finds love with another asexual, and restores his relationship with his parents. Mr. Peanutbutter's Birthday Dad project is taking off and the negativity from his cheating scandal has blown over. Lastly, Diane is married (or engaged, they weren't super clear about it) and living in Houston, where she is finally writing a series that she is proud of.

As for BoJack, Princess Carolyn tells him that the industry is buzzing about his comeback as his pre-prison project, The Horny Unicorn, received pretty good reviews. All in all, it seems everyone receives what they deserve.

Why Did BoJack Horseman End Like It Did?

bojack horseman narcissus painting
Image Source: Reddit

In an interview with Vulture, the creator of the show, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, speaks about his vision for the end of the show:

"I think I always had ideas. You know, I think every season I was working on, I thought, oh, you know, this is kind of where it might go. But I never wanted to decide too early, because I didn’t know how many seasons it would be going for, and I didn’t want to lock myself into an ending that then, years later, was no longer relevant or didn’t make sense."

When Netflix broke the news of the show's cancellation to the cast, he ran with the same general ending he had been contemplating from early on. Later in the interview, he reveals that even if the show had kept running, the ending would have remained the same:

"I think if we’d had more seasons, we would’ve gone on more detours to get there, and maybe had time to do a Lenny Turtletaub episode. I feel like we got through a solid ending that I feel good about, and like it’s a nice cap on the show. More or less, we probably would’ve ended up in a similar place."

This isn't surprising, considering there is plenty of foreshadowing of BoJack's near-death experience throughout the show. 

In the very first episode, the painting on the wall behind BoJack's desk grabs our attention. It is a 1970s Narcissus rendition featuring a horse instead of a human. Early on, we are getting imagery of BoJack in the pool. Not to mention, the title sequence features him falling into his pool, with a concerned Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane looking down on him. 

Additionally, towards the end of the first season, when asked what his perfect ending would be, he reveals that he would prefer to die by drowning: 

"When I get too old to take care of myself, I go for one last swim. I know I can't make it back to shore. I'm too weak, too tired. So I just let the water take me under."

During this same episode, he becomes the horse in the Narcissus painting, which further insinuates he will ultimately end up in the water. Lastly, he purposefully backs his new Tesla into his pool when he becomes discouraged about his post-Oscars future in season 3. 

It seems the show insinuated all along that BoJack might die from drowning, but the creators throw us a curveball by having him survive the encounter and go to jail instead. 

BoJack Horseman ended the way it did because the creators knew what direction they wanted to take things from the very beginning. We get to see BoJack be held accountable for his actions, as well as a generally happy ending for almost everyone (depending on what your definition of "happy" is). We see every character at their lowest and highest point and are left with a pretty clear idea of what their futures look like.

It seems the writers didn't want the ending to be too close to a "happily ever after," so ending the show with a few months remaining on BoJack's prison sentence gave it just the right amount of roughness to make it bittersweet. Additionally, the implication that Diane and BoJack will probably never speak again was enough to bring me to tears, so it's safe to say the finale brought about a variety of emotions for fans around the globe.

Writer, blogger, and content creator from Sunny San Diego. When she isn’t writing, you can find her exploring, eating, and watching Netflix.

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