by Mary Cox
This episode finally gives us all of the missing pieces we’ve been looking for in understanding Beatrice’s backstory, which is also effectively Bojack’s origin story. I don’t know if dedicating the bulk of an entire episode to the tragedy of Beatrice’s life was the best choice they could have made, but for what it’s worth, the pacing and visual storytelling here works well.
It’s impossible to really know what experiencing dementia is like from an insider’s perspective, but the perpetual hell we see Beatrice living through is genuinely chilling. The astounding revelation that Hollyhock is Bojack’s sister, and not his daughter, hinges a little on the side of melodrama, but it’s not to the point of eye-rolling soap opera nonsense.
What makes this episode work is it’s final sequence where, after we’ve seen and heard everything, Bojack still makes the choice to show kindness to his mother. He’s given an open, consequence-free opportunity to punish Beatrice for a lifetime of cruelty, and he still makes the right decision. This is possibly the biggest moment ever in Bojack’s emotional growth across all four seasons of this series.
So much of Season Four has been centered on Bojack’s anxieties over how much his inner “sickness” has been inherited by Hollyhock. The end of “Time’s Arrow” shows us that trauma ends when we actively make the choice to break the cycle of abuse, and that people can surpass their circumstances with time and healing. The endless march of time is a major focal point of this season, and for Bojack at least, time does heal all wounds.
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t