6: Can you taste the ice-cream?
BoJack’s relationship with his mother is one of the most emotionally traumatic in the whole show, and the whole thing came to a head in the show’s fourth season.
The idea of mental illness being a cycle of destruction is something that BoJack has touched on several times, and it was never more apparent than in season’s four’s finest episode, Time’s Arrow. The episode explores the life of Beatrice Horseman, BoJack’s mother, as she reflects on it sitting in a care home. Except, we don’t see events exactly how they happened, but rather through the way she remembers them, and she is now wrestling with dementia.
It provides us with some incredible insight into her mind. One of the most notable things is the way she sees BoJack and his father, who left Beatrice, often as the same person. BoJack’s father, like Beatrice, was a complex man and one of the show’s strengths is the way that it never paints anybody as a villain.
The episode’s final moments are its strongest though, as BoJack’s mother recognises him for the first time in the season, just as he goes to walk out of the door. In a rare moment of kindness, BoJack opts to break the cycle and goes over to tend to his ill mother, playing along with the fantasy that she is sat on a porch eating ice-cream with the family. It’s an incredibly powerful moment and a massive turning point for BoJack as a character.
7: You make me too sad
The final episodes of BoJack season 2 are among the most difficult to watch in the show’s history, and the penultimate episode, where BoJack runs away to New Mexico is particularly heart-breaking.
BoJack heads out to New Mexico under the false belief that maybe he can save his own life by trying to rekindle an old fling. Sadly, for BoJack, his old love, Charlotte, has found a new life for herself, and there is simply no room for BoJack in it. The two briefly reconnect and share a kiss, but seconds later, Charlotte pulls away, asking BoJack to leave and telling him that he makes her too sad. It’s a tragic moment and just one of many attempts by BoJack to rewrite his previous decisions.
8: You are all the things that are wrong with you
Todd, the lovable goof of BoJack Horseman, has been known to deliver some of the show’s most devastating moments over the years, and his explosive outburst at BoJack at the end of season three is one of his finest.
BoJack has always treated Todd like a bit of fool and presumed that because of his silly antics, that he was incapable of feeling pain in the same way as a lot of the show’s other characters. BoJack soon learns his lesson at the end of season three though, when Todd explodes at him after he sleeps with Todd’s friend, Emily.
Todd drops some serious truth-bombs on BoJack here, telling him that he is the problem, not the alcohol, not his childhood, not his failed relationships, but him. It’s a powerful scene and one that only adds to the complexity of both characters.
9: BoJack’s mom’s childhood
BoJack Horseman had a pretty rough childhood but its arguably nothing compared to what his mother had to endure. A wartime baby, Beatrice Horseman had to sit and watch as her mother was lobotomised and deal with the aftermath of having her brother killed in the war.
It’s truly heartbreaking stuff, and it paints an effective picture as to why she treated BoJack the way that she did. Watching Beatrice’s mom weep over her son’s death is difficult enough, but then watching a young Beatrice being told that her mother’s mind has been fixed is enough to break even the hardest of men.
10: You were born broken
BoJack’s self-doubt, as we have learned over the years, is largely a result of a difficult childhood. BoJack never received the love he needed from either of his parents, and his mother has shown in nothing but contempt as the years have worn by.
In one episode, BoJack finally reaches out to his mom about his issues, only to be told him that depression is effectively his birth-right, and that like her, he was simply born broken. It’s a shocking, and heartbreaking piece of parental neglect, and it really highlights the troubled relationship that BoJack not only has with his mother but also with himself.