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'BoJack Horseman' recap: A fitting finale

Season 1 | Episode 12 | “Later” | Released Aug 22, 2014

With 11 funny, sad, and meaningful episodes now struck from the Netflix queue, the season finale of BoJack Horseman has the tough task of tying it all together. Luckily, it does so beautifully.

We open in 1973, as Secretariat is doing an interview on The Dick Cavett Show. After some banter, Dick reads a heartwarming letter from a nine-year-old BoJack. BoJack asks Secretariat if he ever gets sad, and if he does, how he fixes his case of the grumpies. Secretariat stares into the camera and tells BoJack to keep moving forward. People will try to slow him down, but if you keep your eyes on the prize, nothing will stand in your way.

Episode 12 - Dick Cavett

Fast forward a month, where we see Secretariat, disgraced and banned for life for betting on horse racing, plunge head first from a bridge. Somewhere, a radio DJ comments on the traffic his parked car has caused.

And the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy is … BoJack’s book! Despite it being neither a movie nor a musical, BoJack excitedly accepts the award. His acceptance speech is pure BoJack: self-congratulatory and lacking humility. He grabs his trophy and never lets it go for the entire show.

Episode 12 - BoJack Globe

After the ceremony, everyone is hanging out at BoJack’s after-party. The only one missing is Diane. After hesitant BoJack asks how she is, Mr. Peanutbutter reports she’s doing great. The book has caused her career to skyrocket. Thoughts of Diane and a raucous night of random lovemaking give BoJack an idea for his next project.

As BoJack gets his freak/think on, Diane gets a call from Sebastian Sinclair, a famous adventurer. He needs a journalist to follow him around and document all of his daring deeds. She’s hesitant, but Sebastian explains she’s perfect for the job. If she can make the world care about BoJack Horseman, she can make anybody a sympathetic character.

Episode 12 - Missing Limbs

After the call, Diane tells Mr. Peanutbutter about the offer and how excited she is about doing “important work” and getting out of L.A. for a few months. Mr. Peanutbutter isn’t so enthused. If she wants to sleep on the ground and poop in a bucket, she can do so in L.A. Besides, there’s nothing better than the beauty of a brainless existence surrounded by distractions and creature comforts. Diane promises to keep her options open.

Meanwhile, opportunities are rolling in for BoJack. After turning down a James Bond movie and scoffing at a Coen Brothers project, BoJack tells her he wants to make a Secretariat movie. It’s all he’s ever wanted to do.

We then cut to Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter having a meeting of their own. Mr. Peanutbutter’s gift baskets are doing great, but it’s time for a new venture. Todd has the perfect idea: a Halloween store that’s only open in January. It’s so crazy, it just might work!

Episode 12 - Halloween in January

After pitching the Secretariat film to Lenny Turtletaub with the intention of playing the lead, BoJack returns home to find Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd in his living room. They give a Shark Tank–worthy pitch about their store idea. Despite some compelling reasons for it to exist (including January suicide rates), BoJack is uninterested.

We also see that things are getting rocky between Carolyn and Vincent. She needs to see the “real him,” and all of his talk of business and soda is growing tiresome. After Patrick admits to not understanding the word “matrimony,” Carolyn takes the hint and tells him to leave.

Back in Lenny’s office, BoJack is ready to do a screen test for the role of Secretariat. After delivering a stunning read that captivates everyone in the room, a text comes in. Andrew Garfield has agreed to do the part. Immediately ignored, BoJack is crestfallen.

Episode 12 - BoJack Audition

After getting prepped for her trip abroad by Sebastian, Diane takes a call from Carolyn. Since Diane is the Secretariat expert, Carolyn wants her to be the movie’s character consultant. Diane is leaning toward her three-month excursion, but Carolyn makes an interesting point: With the cash she’d earn from the shoot, she could save all the orphans she wants later. There’s always later.

Not content with being miserable alone, BoJack has lunch with Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter. The Halloween store fell through (literally), so they have a new idea: Smoodies! It’s a mood you drink like a smoothie! They’ve gone public with their non-product and are throwing a big launch party that evening.

Episode 12 - Smoodies

At the Smoodie shindig, BoJack sees Diane from across the room, but is interrupted by a newly single Carolyn. As she celebrates her independence, Vincent barges in and, in a moment of childlike honesty, professes her love for her. Carolyn walks off with him and the party explodes in applause. He’s so mature!

BoJack then gets a phone call from the film’s director. Andrew Garfield has had an accident, and they want BoJack to play Secretariat. The only condition? He has to work at it. Lose 50 pounds, gain back 20, and no drama. A shocked BoJack accepts.

BoJack goes to the roof to share the news with Diane and learns that Diane has accepted the consultant gig for the movie. The two talk about life and the nature of desire: When you get what you want, you inevitably end up wanting something else.

Episode 12 - BoJack Roof

Diane then answers BoJack’s question from the end of episode 11. Is he a good person deep down? She doesn’t believe in a “deep down.” We are only the things we do. BoJack sighs, tells Diane her work is important, and admits that all he wanted to do was have her like him. Diane replies, “I know.”

A montage of moments follows Diane and BoJack’s deep conversation. Everyone is moving on with life: Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter are hatching new ideas, Vincent and Carolyn are planning a trip, and Herb is still telling jokes and living life. And when we see BoJack for the final time in season 1, he’s standing at the spot where all his fame started. A young horse walks up, asks for an autograph, and tells BoJack that he’s his hero.

Episode 12 - Final

As BoJack looks off to the distance, we know he’s learned something. He doesn’t have to watch old reruns of Horsin’ Around anymore. He has let go and allowed life to rumble on. Just like Secretariat told him at the episode’s opening: All you need to do is keep moving forward.

The finale of BoJack Horseman is a wonderful ending to a show full of honesty, humor, and a healthy helping of heart. Can’t wait for the recently announced season 2 to hit my Netflix queue.

BoJack Horseman on Netflix