TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 11

 

Time's Arrow Poster
In 1963, young socialite Beatrice Sugarman meets the rebellious Butterscotch Horseman at her debutante party.

Director:

Aaron Long

Writers:

Kate PurdyRaphael Bob-Waksberg (creator)

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

by Mary Cox

 “Time’s Arrow”

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

bojack horseman 1.jpg

Advertisements

TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 02

 

The Old Sugarman Place Poster
BoJack goes off the grid and winds up at his grandparents’ dilapidated home in Michigan where he reflects on his family legacy and befriends another soul haunted by the past.

Writers:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator), Kate Purdy

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

Review by Mary Cox

“The Old Sugarman Place”

Bojack is back! The second episode of this series sits somewhat uncomfortably for me. “The Old Sugarman Place” seems to be jumping back a little from the weight and drama of the previous season, but it’s right now, it feels the direction of the show is kind of still in limbo. Bojack Horseman is half-in and half-out of being a serious drama.

In the flashback scenes with Bojack’s grandparents, the recurring “it’s the past, so everyone is sexist” jokes start to wear a little thin. This isn’t because the repeated references to “womb problems” are offensive or in bad taste, but it’s that the jokes are somewhat one note. After the fourth or fifth antiquated riff, this episode starts to somewhat literally beat a dead horse.

Bojack’s grandmother getting lobotomized at the end of the episode is melodramatic and out of place. This scene is clearly supposed to be evocative of Rosemary Kennedy, the younger sister of JFK who was famously lobotomized against her will, but certain tragedies don’t translate when it comes to cartoon horses. Touching on such a dark and serious topic would be okay if it wasn’t just a throwaway moment in a flashback, but the way Bojack Horseman handles this scenario makes the weight and tragedy of the lobotomy somewhat cheap and unnecessary.

Clearly, there exists a balance between comedy and tragedy, and in the past, Bojack Horseman has successfully walked that line. However, things aren’t looking so hot based on how the content of this episode has been handled. There’s a chance that the flashbacks at the Sugarman cabin will have some greater thematic significance later in the season, but I’m not holding my breath.

******
“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

bojack horseman 1.jpg