BoJack Horseman is a Netflix Original Series that began running in 2014. On Sept. 14, the platform released the fifth season of the show. Season five is one of, if not the most, compelling seasons. Here’s how the episode’s ranked on a scale of worst to best:
12. “Planned Obsolescence”
I don’t like Todd episodes. I especially don’t like this Todd episode. Last season, Todd came to terms with his asexuality. The episode abandons the seriousness of that arc and turns it into a punchline. Whether the arc was never explored because audiences didn’t care for it or the writers were too afraid of the challenge, the audience will never know. All I know is this episode fell flat on its face.
11. “The Lightbulb Scene”
The first episode or two of any season of BoJack Horseman tends to not hold up well against later episodes. That is largely because they’re spent establishing stakes that will pay off later. In this case, “The Lightbulb Scene” establishes that BoJack is shooting a new television series and is falling for his co-star, Gina. Certainly not the worst season opener, but far from the best episode of the season.
10. “Ancient History”
Hollyhock returns to Los Angeles to spend time with BoJack. For a character that received a lot of attention last season, Hollyhock barely had a presence in this one. Has she sought help for trauma she endured last season? Has she made contact with her birth mother? Instead, this episode just uses her as a device to help the audience realize BoJack has a pill problem. Wasted potential.
9. “BoJack the Feminist”
This episode is loaded with some incredibly poignant commentary about the sordid powerplay in Hollywood. The seriousness of this topic, however, is offset with some jokes and gags that just do not fit. Part of the inherit humor of BoJack Horseman is that the bright colors and funny character designs offset the darkness of the writing. This episode, however, shows that the writers are not yet entirely comfortable with addressing issues outside the show’s universe.
8. “Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos”
I would argue that anyone could jump into BoJack at anytime and enjoy what they’re watching. This episode, however, was made for the long-time fans — there are easter eggs galore. We get some insight into the cyclical nature of Mr. Peanutbutter’s failed relationships. Though this episode is the most development Mr. Peanutbutter gets in season five, I have a feeling season six will have much more in store for the character.
7. “INT. SUB”
The framing device for this episode makes it seem unassuming at first, but things get dark very quick. Diane forces BoJack to confront a dark part of his past that he purposely hid from her. The episode marks a huge turning point in the season. BoJack spends a large part of season five internalizing his distress. And, though he may not actively be creating new demons, old ones are still haunting him.
6. “The Stopped Show”
This season finale episode is far from the most exciting conclusion the show has had, but it is by far the most hopeful. For five seasons, the audience has watched BoJack continue to be a toxic presence in his own life and the lives of others. BoJack finally checks himself into rehab and, while he admits it may not work, he realizes it’s the first step to being a better person.
5. “Head in the Clouds”
Life seems perfect in this episode for BoJack. His new television show is a success and he’s in a happy relationship with Gina. This episode was nice because we finally got to see the character be happy. Nothing special. An interaction between BoJack and Diane, however, hints at the sinister tones that will arise in later episodes.
4. “Free Churro”
Don’t get me wrong — this episode was incredibly ambitious and highlights Will Arnett’s voice acting talent. It takes a lot of factors to keep an audience enthralled with an episode that’s just a 25 minute eulogy. “Free Churro” is a somber, haunting and humanizing episode that ends with that signature BoJack Horseman twist. And though it’s good, it’s not the best season five had to offer.
3. “The Dog Days are Over”
I’ve never really understood Diane’s motives as a character. She’s spent the past four seasons desperately seeking happiness everywhere and anywhere but could never really find it — until now. Upon realizing her newly ex-husband is in a relationship, Diane goes on a “work-cation” to Vietnam to find herself. The listicle format of the episode was incredibly clever, and it’s good to see Diane finally be truly content for at least a moment.
2. “The Amelia Earhart Story”
Throughout the series, Princess Carolyn has proven to be almost as much of a compelling character as BoJack. Though she is a successful businesswoman, Princess Carolyn lacks fulfillment because she’s never experienced motherhood. In this episode, we get a more in-depth look into why she feels this way and also get to see how she started her journey to chasing her career above all else.
1. “The Showstopper”
Episode eleven of any season of BoJack Horseman always has the biggest payoff. Stakes that were built up in earlier entries come crashing down on characters and it never gets easier to watch. BoJack’s pill addiction reaches its peak when he is unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy. This is all conveyed masterfully through the animation and makes for a truly heartbreaking penultimate episode.
BoJack Horseman season five is available to stream on Netflix.