This article contains spoilers for BoJack Horseman seasons 1–4
The season finale of BoJack Horseman season 3 saw BoJack in his default position: in the midst of a nervous breakdown, a toxic stew of self-pity and guilt. And, being a horse, he does what horses do — he runs. Or rather, being a horseman, he drives. Letting go of the wheel, he closes his eyes and leans on the gas. He is moments away from finally achieving complete self-destruction when he sees a sight that seemingly grants him an epiphany, and we are left with the hope that BoJack has learned to just keep moving forward.
But this is BoJack Horseman, and things are never what they seem. Plus, BoJack is a slow learner, whose depression causes him to reject any ideas rooted in positivity. And so, the fourth season premiere doesn’t feature BoJack at all — he is MIA, yet life goes on in Hollywoo.
“Mr Peanutbutter seems to be employing some sort of awkward, falling-down technique.”
This sentence sums up both the life and career trajectory of the loveable pooch portrayed Paul F. Tompkins. It also extends to his skiing, and his nascent political career, which are now inextricably linked for reasons which would once have only made sense in the world of post-modern animation, but which are in fact totally plausible by the standards of today’s real world politics.
A gubernatorial race is to be decided via a ski race, thanks to a constitutional amendment. Keith Olbermann shines as always, as meta MSNBSea news anchor Tom Jumbo-Grumbo. There is ultimately an upset in the race, and California is tossed into a leaderless state of confusion and turmoil that will take several turns before the season ends.
The animated world resembles the one which we inhabit more than ever, and is made all the more so by the relationships which frame this BoJack-less episode. Todd has grown into a star in his own right, and is coming go terms with his sexuality (or lack thereof). Things are looking bright for the cat and mouse couple of Princess Carolyn and Ralph Stilton, and even as it looks as though they may be ready to start a family, the marriage of Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane Nguyen is undergoing a serious stress test.
The stage is set, the players are in position, and the best season of Bojack Horseman to date is ready to begin. It’s time for us to find out what’s up with BoJack, and it’s time for him to make an appearance on his own show already. Episode 2: The Old Sugarman Place, catches up with the titular horseman, and goes far deeper into his family history than the show has ever gone before.