With its third season, the animated Netflix original surrealist dramedy Bojack Horseman reaches stunning new heights with the unique mix of clever animal humor, and crushing existentialism more brilliant here than it has ever been. The dark parts of the story are darker, the funny parts are even funnier, and the result is certifiable proof that Bojack is one of the best shows currently on TV.
The season begins where it left off: with Bojack in the Oscar race for playing Secretariat (though most of the film was made without him). It’s all downhill from there, as Bojack’s hubris and lack of empathy drive him further away from his personal relationships.
The writing, while it struggled somewhat in season one, is fully on course now and top-notch. Nearly everything works this time around. Highlights include painfully accurate flashbacks to 2007 when the failed “Bojack Horseman Show” premiered, an absolutely brilliant episode that takes place underwater with almost no dialogue, a jaw-droppingly provocative episode on abortion (featuring the new pop hit “Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus”), and, of course, a plethora of animal puns . While the show uses each of these premises to make a statement about current issues, whether it be one-off jokes or full episodes, it never feels heavy-handed, and it’s often laugh-out-loud hilarious.
In the latest few episodes however, Bojack hits rock bottom, and it’s even more gut-wrenching this it’s been before. The show expertly tackles topics like depression, addiction, loneliness and lost potential to extreme effect. As Bojack continues to sever each and every one of his relationships, ever going so far as to ruin a couple people’s lives, he’s faced with the fact that maybe he himself is the problem, and maybe there is no way out. The final scene of the season is artful in and of itself. I never thought a cartoon about a horse would cause me to tear up but here we are.
The final scene also includes a glimmer of hope that mayybe things will start to look up. There are some hints that maybe Bojack will have a way to redeem himself in the next season. Whatever happens, it will no doubt be thoroughly well written and nuanced, and, if it continues its upward trajectory as it has the past three years, Bojack Horseman could ween its way even farther into the ranks of excellent modern television.