BoJack Horseman has ended, and everything is worse now.
It’s been nearly a year since the final episode of Netflix original series BoJack Horseman aired, and I think it’s clear that the cultural impact of the show will be strong and long lasting. No piece of art has shaped my worldview more than BoJack has, and I’ve heard countless stories from others detailing how the show has changed their life.
However — and I think anyone who has tried to recommend BoJack knows this — it’s kinda hard to recommend the show because the pilot episode is very much not indicative of the show to come. I often find myself saying something like, “watch the show, the first episode is only okay but just keep watching it, I promise you it gets insanely good.”
In the hopes of doubling down on that promise, I want to tell you exactly where and when the show gets good by ranking every single one of the seventy-five episodes of BoJack Horseman. Spoilers for seasons one through six ahead.
Quick note: I won’t be including the Christmas special (BoJack Horseman Christmas Special: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish) or Horsin’ Around because they are not technically part of the show, but if you already love BoJack Horseman, both are well worth a watch.
75. S01E01 BoJack Horseman: The BoJack Horseman Story, Chapter One
74.S04E08 The Judge
73. S02E06 Higher Love
72. S01E03 Prickly-Muffin
71. S01E02 BoJack Hates the Troops
70. S01E07 Say Anything
69. S01E10 One Trick Pony
68. S04E01 See Mr. Peanutbutter Run
67. S01E09 Horse Majeure
66. S04E04 Commence Fracking
65. S02E02 Yesterdayland
64. S03E03 BoJack Kills
63. S02E05 Chickens
62. S01E05 Live Fast, Diane Nguyen
61. S03E01 Start Spreading The News
60. S03E08 Old Acquaintance
59. S01E04 Zoës and Zeldas
58. S03E02 The BoJack Horseman Show
57. S02E03 Still Broken
56. S05E01 The Light Bulb Scene
55. S05E03 Planned Obsolescence
54. S04E05 Thoughts and Prayers
53. S03E06 Brrap Brrap Pew Pew
52. S05E09 Ancient History
51. S01E06 Our A-Story Is a ‘D’ Story
50. S05E04 BoJack the Feminist
49. S02E04 After the Party
48. S06E05 A Little Uneven, Is All
47. S06E06 The Kidney Stays in the Picture
46. S03E07 Stop the Presses
45. S05E08 Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos
44. S06E03 Feel-Good Story
43. S06E09 Intermediate Scene Study w/ BoJack Horseman
42. S03E05 Love And/Or Marriage
41. S06E13 The Horny Unicorn
40. S06E11 Sunk Cost and All That
39. S04E03 Hooray! Todd Episode!
38. S02E10 Yes And
37. S02E12 Out to Sea
36. S01E12 Later
35. S06E01 A Horse Walks into a Rehab
34. S02E07 Hank After Dark
33. S06E02 The New Client
32. S02E01 Brand New Couch
31. S03E09 Best Thing That Ever Happened
30. S06E08 A Quick One, While He’s Away
29. S05E07 INT. SUB
28. S06E04 Surprise!
27. S02E09 The Shot
26. S04E10 lovin that cali lifestyle!!
25. S05E10 Head in the Clouds
24. S03E12 That Went Well
23. S06E14 Angela
22. S06E12 Xerox of a Xerox
21. S05E02 The Dog Days Are Over
Now we enter the Top 20:
20. S04E09 Ruthie
This episode has one of the best twist endings of the entire series. Princess Carolyn’s final line — pictured above — always hits hard.
19. S06E10 Good Damage
I love Diane’s search for meaning in the darker moments of her life and how that theme is paralleled in Penny’s subplot. Also, Guy is such a kind and supportive boyfriend in this episode.
18. S05E12 The Stopped Show
I think about Diane’s quote from this episode often:
“There’s no such thing as ‘bad guys’ or ‘good guys!’ We’re all just guys who do good stuff sometimes and bad stuff sometimes. And all we can do is try to do less bad stuff and more good stuff.”
17. S03E10 It’s You
Not only are there hilarious Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter antics in the first half of the episode, Todd’s closing monologue is also insanely memorable. Throughout the show, we see BoJack believe that if you do bad things, you can just apologize for them and move on with your life like nothing happened. The source of this belief is shown to be sitcoms, where everything is wrapped up cleanly in 22 minutes. You can do bad things and apologize for them because characters have to remain the same at the beginning of the next episode. But in that speech, Todd rebutts this idea and conveys that real friendship is not doing bad things and then just saying “I’m sorry,” it is consistent work to be kind to the people around you.
16. S04E12 What Time Is It Right Now
Memorable moments from this episode include Princess Carolyn’s opening monologue, Todd motivating Princess Carolyn, seeing Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s marriage fall apart, and BoJack giving Hollyhock her mom’s contact info even though he had nothing to gain from it himself. This selfless act was a really important moment of growth for him, and it ultimately reconnects him with Hollyhock. Lemme just say: the smile on BoJack’s face at the end of this episode after Hollyhock tells him that she’s never had a brother kills me every time.
15. S05E05 The Amelia Earhart Story
In this episode, we get a glimpse into the environment Princess Carolyn came from as she attempts to adopt a baby. Seeing the ambition, drive, and resillionance of Princess Carolyn makes me tear up every time. That moment where she sees her UCLA acceptance is particularly impactful.
I love the contrasting of Princess Carolyn’s Los Angeles life with North Carolina as she constantly has to keep putting out fires that come up back home, and the miscarrage in this episode also adds a lot of context to Princess Carolyn’s previous failed attempts to get pregnant.
14. S04E06 Stupid Piece of Sh*t
This is an entire episode where we can hear BoJack’s internal monologue as he’s going about his day. It’s such a cool concept for an episode, and I think that internal monologue is something that many people, myself included, pretty strongly relate to. There are many smaller moments in this episode that really stick with me as well, like when Mr. Peanutbutter tells BoJack that he deserves love and when BoJack and Hollyhock bond at the end talking about that voice in their heads.
13. S02E08 Let’s Find Out
I love this episode so much, and I think that’s because it’s a quintessential BoJack Horseman episode. You have these really funny, absurd antics for most of the show — from novelist JD Salinger running a game show to Todd trying to get JD Salinger’s pen — but then the episode ends an impactful revelation on depression and self worth. I will forever remember BoJack’s line: “I want to feel good about myself. The way you do. And I don’t know how. I don’t know if I can.”
12. S01E08 The Telescope
This was the episode that made me realize BoJack Horseman was gonna be an incredible show. The history and friendship of BoJack and Herb Kazzaz is on full display here. Their chemistry at their best is incredible and the decisions BoJack makes which lead to their falling out are portrayed empathically yet very painfully. Additionally, Herb’s closing monologue where he calls out BoJack for being someone who does whatever he wants and doesn’t care who he hurts is so telling of BoJack’s character and really makes the audience internalize how damaging this personality trait is.
11. S03E04 Fish Out of Water
This is probably my hottest take on this list; I can almost feel people calling me out right now for not putting it closer to the top, but let me explain.
I have nothing negative to say about this episode. Seeing BoJack try to communicate with Kelsey and BoJack connect with this newborn kid and finding fulfillment in caring for him all while not talking is very moving. Not to mention, the animation in this episode is some of the show’s best; so many scenes are stunningly beautiful. Perhaps the reason this episode isn’t closer to the top on my list isn’t because of any fault of its own, but just because other episodes are so phenomenal. We are at a point where every episode I mention is absolutely superb and flawlessly executed.
10. S01E11 Downer Ending
Downer Ending is a drug-fueled hallucination of an episode that has some of the most powerful scenes in the entire show. Those scenes include the prolonged bit where BoJack lives out the life he’d live if he moved to Maine with Charlotte, or the very end where BoJack pleads Diane to tell him that deep down he’s good and there’s still hope for him and he’s just met with silence. Not to mention, this episode has the most memorable line I’ve ever seen in a TV show.
BOJACK: “Good grief. I’m so depressed. I just want people to love me, and I don’t know how to make them do it.”
DIANE: “You can’t force love, you blockhead. All you can do is be good to the people in your life and keep your heart open.”
I think about that line very often. Also, I love the inclusion of the Death Grips song. As a big Death Grips fan myself, it was sick to see a song of theirs included.
9. S02E11 Escape From L.A.
In this episode, BoJack just inserts himself in the lives of the Carson’s — people he, for the most part, only barely knows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this goes absolutely terribly, causing that selfishness that Herb Kazzaz called out in The Telescope to be on full display. As a result, the audience really internalizes how damaging this BoJack’s mindset and selfish personality is.
8. S05E11 The Showstopper
In this episode, BoJack’s life as Philbert and his real life blend together as a result of BoJack’s addiction. BoJack’s face at the end of this episode will haunt me forever. I also really love the “Don’t Stop Dancing” musical number in this one.
7. S04E02 The Old Sugarman Place
I absolutely adore this episode. BoJack finds a sudden fascination with the concept of place as he seeks to restore his grandparents’ house. That’s actually a good one word descriptor of what this episode is about: place. BoJack tries to find a home in a place that was meaningful to his relatives, but that only leaves him thinking he doesn’t belong anywhere until he talks with Diane and finds comfort in their friendship.
I love the contrast between BoJack’s life and Henretta’s life as the two seap together, the connection he forms with his dragonfly neighbor, and the insanely dark yet somewhat hopeful ending.
6. S06E16 Nice While It Lasted
This was just the perfect ending to the show, but even apart from the fact that it’s the series finale, this episode is insanely good in it’s own right.
When discussing my favourite parts of this episode, I could talk about Todd’s commentary that art is more about what people get out of than what people put into it, uh, I could talk about BoJack’s final moments with Princess Carolyn, I could talk about the fact that only the 5 main characters have any lines, but the most impactful part of this episode for me is BoJack’s final conversation with Diane, something I find myself rewatching multiple times a month.
There’s this running theme in BoJack Horseman which is basically fostering emotional intimacy and human connection through mundane, everyday experiences. What I mean by this is in BoJack and Diane’s conversation, they begin by confronting all of the emotional baggage between them, and BoJack could’ve very easily left after that, ending it there, but instead he sat back down and talked to Diane about The Family Stone and various other minute aspects of his life in jail. This is a real moment of compassion for BoJack, and we see him and Diane truly connect.
Moment like this happen fairly often in the show; BoJack and Hollyhock bond over honeydew at the end of the season 4 finale, BoJack and Diane bond over a stupid web series at the end of Old Sugarman Place, stuff like that, and there’s something really meaningful and beautiful about that to me. Also, I absolutely adore the music choice in BoJack and Diane’s conversation. The song is Mr. Blue by Catherine Feeny.
5. S03E11 That’s Too Much, Man!
This episode is rough, excelling at everything from contrasting BoJack’s life on Horsin Around and his real life to addiction to his relationship with Sarah Lynn. I won’t say much about this episode, but I’m sure any BoJack viewer has that last moment of BoJack and Sarah Lynn together in the planetarium burned into their brains forever.
4. S04E11 Time’s Arrow
Everything about this episode is either very chilling or very sweet. Mostly chilling.
As we take a trip back through Beatrice’s life, we see the series of events that made her the horse she is today. Standout moments include when we realize that BoJack’s father is Hollyhock’s father and the burning of all of Beatrice’s stuff as well as the pain that causes. Again in this episode, we see BoJack’s attempt to connect with his mother through small, everyday details, where he ends the episode by describing the aspects of her Michigan home, which was featured in Old Sugarman Place. In doing so, he extends the most compassion to her we ever see him extend in the whole series.
3. S06E07 The Face of Depression
Maybe this episode is a bit closer to the top than you expected, but I think it’s superbly well-earned. This is an episode I find myself coming back to time and time again and not finishing without tearing up.
Personal growth in this show is not something that comes easily to anyone. If someone wants to get better, they have to work hard at it, and they have to work at it consistently. Characters, just like in real life, don’t become better people over the course of episodes, but over the course of seasons, and only if they put in the work.
While he’s certainly done some very bad things over the course of the show, BoJack has been working very hard to be a better person and very, very slowly getting better. This episode really hit me hard because it’s where we truly internalize how far BoJack has come since the beginning of the show.
Can you even imagine season one BoJack being the person to indulge Mr. Peanutbutter’s crossover episode fantasy? Or to try to set up Todd with a random person he thinks would be good for him? Or to show himself enough respect that he forgives himself, which he does at the ceremony at the end of the episode when he says “peace be with you” to other horses but is overcome with emotion when he realizes he’s really saying it to himself? The character growth exhibited in this episode is so impactful because it is so earned.
2. S05E06 Free Churro
This episode is basically just BoJack giving one long monologue as he speaks at his mother’s funeral, and it’s incredible.
What holds the entire speech together is the theme of being seen, as BoJack reflects upon his mother’s last words “I see you,” only to realize his mother was reading a sign for the intensive care unit, uh but before that, he reflects upon the various significances of the phrase “I see you” and this fundamentally human desire to be seen. Indeed, the title of this episode “Free Churro” refers to a churro given to BoJack by a Jack in the Box employee once she found out his mom died. The act of giving BoJack a free dessert is an act of kindness symbolizing that he’s seen by this person he barely knows, which he then contrasts with the lack of kindness from his parents.
I also want to point out that BoJack brings up how he used to always wish his parents did some grand gesture to show that they loved him and that event would make up for all their poor parenting, which is the same thinking we talked about earlier when discussing the episode “It’s You.” Despite what BoJack thought, one grand gesture can’t make up for all the bad things you’ve done, you have to be consistently good.
Some other great moments that come to mind: Henreitta saying “My husband is dead, and everything is worse now,” the opening bit with BoJack’s dad, also voiced by Will Arnet, and BoJack saying that he’s felt his whole life like he’s drowning, which, funny enough, connects very well to the episode at the number one spot.
1. S06E15 The View From Halfway Down
Without exaggeration, this is one of the greatest pieces of television I’ve ever witnessed. This episode basically answers the question “what revelations can you have on life when you’re at the brink of death?” and it does so by bringing back everyone in BoJack’s life who has passed away over the course of the show.
There’s so much eerie imagery in this episode, from characters being served their last meal at dinner — where everyone shares really poignant insights into what gives life meaning — to the black tar that was first introduced in the Telescope that slowly encapsulates everything.
Of course I have to mention the actual poem “The View From Halfway Down,” where Secretariat talks about ending his life and not being ready for death. It’s super powerful and masterfully voice-acted. The whole thing really communicates the horror and fear associated with this subject matter.
And once again we come back to this theme of finding comfort, and friendship, and meaning in the small, everyday aspects of life, as seen in the final lines of the episode when BoJack asks Diane if there’s anything she can do to save him. Diane says no, and BoJack just hopes to stay on the phone and talk about their day. I find this moment exceedingly beautiful.
And with that, the list is done. I love this show so much. I hope you do too.
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