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21st of November 2018

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7 of the most heart-crushingly sad moments from 'BoJack Horseman' Season 5

2017%2f09%2f12%2fd7%2fsambwBy Sam Haysom2018-10-15 07:30:00 UTC

Warning: Contains spoilers for BoJack Horseman Season 5.

BoJack Horseman is a funny and consistently entertaining show, but I'd be lying if I said those were the qualities I love most about it.

Nope: it's the heart-shredding poignancy I can't get enough of. Don't ask me why, but ever since I watched that crushingly sad episode of Futurama with Fry's dog Seymour, I've had a real soft spot for emotional cartoons.

And when it comes to animated animals tugging at your heartstrings, BoJack Horseman has some impressive form.

Season 5 is no exception. From problematic parents to a giant floating balloon, these are some of the moments that hit me hardest...

1. The breakdown of Diane's marriage (episode two).

The last time we saw Diane and Mr Peanutbutter in Season 4, their marriage was steadily crumbling. And any hope of a cheerful resolution is pretty much snuffed out in episode two of Season 5, which sees Diane travelling to Vietnam in an attempt to connect with her roots/run away from the knowledge that Mr Peanutbutter is seeing someone new.

"So you go to Vietnam," says her voiceover towards the episode's conclusion. "You think you might find community: a connection to something bigger. But, you don't. In fact, you feel even more alone than you were before you left. But, you survive... you learn that you can survive being alone."

The final shot of her telling Mr Peanutbutter she's happy for him is just the type of understated sadness BoJack Horseman does so well.

2. A young Princess Carolyn leaving home (episode five).

Image: netflix/mashable composite

Difficult parental figures are a recurring theme in BoJack. 

Sure enough, when we're introduced to Princess Carolyn's mother through a sequence of flashbacks in episode five, we discover her relationship with her daughter is not a happy one.

Cutie Cutie Cupcake is a controlling and bitter alcoholic, but it's the fact she's not all bad — the fact that she still, in a moment of kindness, encourages her daughter to go to university — that makes her all the more tragic.

The final scene, when a determined Princess Carolyn refuses to give in when her mother changes her mind and begs her to stay, is pretty upsetting for everyone involved.

3. BoJack's monologue about his mom (episode six).

Image: netflix/mashable composite

"Free Churro" begins with a bleak reminder of just how unhappy BoJack's childhood was, then plunges into an even bleaker — but undeniably brilliant — present-day eulogy, which sees BoJack speaking at his mother's funeral.

The monologue slips seamlessly between anger, bitterness, humour, and sadness — but it's this last emotion that comes through the strongest as BoJack brings his diatribe to a close.

Image: netflix/mashable composite

4. BoJack struggling to tell Hollyhock how much she means to him (episode nine).

Image: netflix/mashable composite

Parental relationships leave permanent scars. That's another cheery recurring theme in this show, and it's evident in BoJack's struggle to show affection towards his sister Hollyhock when she comes to visit him in episode nine.

He starts off the episode unable to hug her, and finishes it unable to say "I love you" when she gets back on the plane.

The shot of him half-raising his hand as she gets out of the car, as if he wants to say something but doesn't quite know how, is perhaps the most poignant moment of all.

5. Princess Carolyn hugging her baby seat on her way back from the hospital (episode nine).

Episode nine is pretty sob-inducing all round, to be honest. While BoJack is struggling to connect with Hollyhock, Princess Carolyn is learning that the mother whose baby she was previously set to adopt has changed her mind.

Instead of travelling home with a new child, she's left to travel home clutching the box for her new baby seat.

6. BoJack confronting himself (episode 11).

This episode, just like the penultimate one in Season 4, makes for a fairly harrowing journey through the mind. This time a drug-addicted, hallucinating BoJack is the focus, as we watch him struggle to differentiate between the show he's acting in and his own real life.

Throughout the episode, a giant balloon left over from the "Philbert" premiere party seems to be following him around — and in the episode's final moments, he comes face-to-face with that balloon after ascending a shining staircase.

Obviously there are a whole bunch of ways this could be interpreted, but it felt to me like BoJack was finally coming face-to-face with himself — staring unhappily at a blown-up, untethered representation of his own likeness in the same way someone might peer at their flaws in a mirror.

7. Diane taking BoJack to rehab (episode 12)

Image: netflix/mashable composite

The end of Season 5 is bittersweet. On the one hand, Diane and BoJack are both still fundamentally unhappy. But on the other hand, they seem to be taking steps towards getting better.

For Diane, it's a case of helping BoJack despite the things she doesn't like about him. And for BoJack, it's finally admitting that he needs serious help in order to get sober.

Here's hoping they're both in a better place by the time Season 6 rolls around...

All episodes of BoJack Horseman are available on Netflix.

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