BoJack Horseman Season Six, Part One Review: A Surpisingly Happy First Half… Until The End.

4 and a half stars
At the end of BoJack Horseman‘s fifth season many of the characters looked like they were in happier places.
BoJack (Will Arnett) was finally going to rehab to get the help he needed, Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) proposed to his girlfriend Pickles (Julia Chan), and Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) had adopted a child.
However, based on what I knew about these characters, I highly doubted these instances would make the characters happy in season six.
This was because after all BoJack had been through and done I was unsure if he ever could change, and both Mr Peanutbutter and Princess Carolyn appeared to be ignoring their own problems by taking on their new responsibilities.
So, imagine my surprise when all three characters did end up happy in this season.

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Despite characters like Mr Peanutbutter looking like they were heading in an unhappy direction at the end of season five, they are happy in season six.

Granted, this was probably because Netflix had decided that this sixth season would be the final one but creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and the other writers really wrote these characters emerging happiness right for the most part.
The one exception to this is definitely Mr Peanutbutter because the story they seemed to be building up for him in season five is pretty much ignored in favor of improving his relationship with Pickles, which I am not sure was the right decision.
However, this is only the first half of the final season so I cannot judge Mr Peanutbutter’s storyline too harshly because it has yet to be completed.
And, other than him, I loved the direction the sixth season took, especially with BoJack as by the end of the season it is clear that he is a changed horse.
This resulted in many heartwarming scenes like the final interaction between BoJack and Mr Peanutbutter.

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BoJack’s scene with Mr Peanutbutter pays off a scene that I never thought would be and I love it.

Then there is Diane’s (Alison Brie) sweet, growing relationship with the buffalo Guy (Lakeith Standfield) and Todd’s (Aaron Paul) relationship with his stepfather and mother, which looks set to be expanded upon in the final half.
All of this builds to put all the characters in happy positions at the end of the fist half, most of all BoJack… only for the final episode just tears that all down.
“A Quick One, While He’s Away” has to be one of the most gut wrenching episodes of the entire series.
Just as BoJack is redeeming himself and becoming a better person his past truly comes back to haunt him, with many of his darkest secrets looking to be exposed in the second half.
And, as someone who considers the final scene of season four to be the most heartwarming moment of BoJack Horseman, the last scene of the final episode made me feel like I had been sucker punched.

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I loved the season four finale so much that it made me cried so to see that happy ending threatened by the the last episode of the first half really worries me.

I am now genuinely scared about what is going to happen to BoJack in the final season.
One thing is for sure, though, and that is that the first half of season six has built up to whatever this finale will be nicely.
It started by building up a feeling of hope before pulling the rug out from under us with a crushing final episode that has me eagerly anticipating the final half.
I know it will crush me emotionally but I have to see it through.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Review. The Fitting Conclusion we didn’t Know we Needed.

4 stars
Breaking Bad 
is one of the greatest television series of all time.
The story of chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) deciding to break bad by selling Meth, after he receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, is a thrilling one of crime, betrayal, and amazing moments.
It also has an incredibly well done ending.
Unfortunately, when it comes to many other great TV shows, they fizzle out during the final seasons, resulting in many less than stellar finales.
This is, thankfully, not the case with the Breaking Bad finale, which tied up all of its loose ends perfectly.
Such can be seen with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who rode off into the night, towards an ambiguous but optimistic future.

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Jesse driving off laughing and crying hysterically is the last we saw of him until El Camino.

No follow up was required.
And then the Netflix movie was announced.
Honestly, when I first heard of El Camino and how it would finish Jesse’s story, I was concerned.
Even though it is directed by Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad‘s creator, to me, Jesse’s story had already been told and I was worried that adding anything could ruin the stellar ending he had.
But, a few days ago, I watched El Camino and found it to be a great follow up to that ending.
It also preserved the ambiguous but fitting conclusion for Jesse, which I really appreciated.
El Camino follows Jesse after being freed from Jack’s white supremacist gang in a final, sacrificial act from Walter, leading to him trying to find the money he needs to start a new life.

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Aaron Paul is great as Jessie, struggling through trial after trial to hopefully get somewhere better.

From there, Jesse experiences interference after hectic interference with him being helped and stalled by familiar characters from the series.
It was good to see these characters again, like Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), Badger (Matt Jones), and Ed the disappearer, whose actor Robert Forster tragically died from cancer recently.
However, while it was great to see old characters return, some of them look very different to how they did in the show, which can be quite distracting.
This is especially the case for the shilling sociopathic Todd Alquist, whose actor Jesse Plemons does not match how he looked in the series.

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As you can see Todd looks quite different from how he appeared in “Felina” the final episode of Breaking Bad.

Despite this distracting detail, though, Plemons scenes with Aaron Paul are some of the best in the film.
There is also a mini action scene toward the end that I found quite surprising because of the direction it took, making it highly entertaining.
This said, not everyone will find El Camino to be so enjoyable, like I did, because of its slow pace.
Still, for fans of Breaking Bad it is a must watch.
El Camino wraps up the story of Jessie Pinkman in a fitting way that does not ruin the original series’ ending, giving us the conclusion for Jessie we did not know we needed.

 

BoJack Horseman Season Two: What is Happiness?

4 stars
“What does it mean to be truly happy?”
This is what I found asking myself after watching the second season of BoJack Horseman.
Picking up where the first season left off, this one sees BoJack acting in the role he has been pursuing for years, that of Secretariat.
However, even though this is what he always wanted, BoJack still struggles with the meaning of happiness and how to get it, resulting in often disastrous consequences.
The second season picks up brilliantly from the thought provoking cliffhanger of the first one with BoJack’s struggles, which make him even more sympathetic.
One feature I particularly liked was how the relationship between BoJack and his mother is portrayed and the effect this has on BoJack.
It was this portrayal that allowed me to understand many of the actions BoJack took, even the reprehensible ones.
I was shocked that, even after he committed an absolutely disgusting breach of trust in episode 11, I still found myself feeling sorry for him, which shows just how great his characterization is.

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BoJack’s breach of trust in episode 11 is reprehensible but somehow, even after this, the show managed to make me feel sorry for him.

BoJack is not the only great character this season though, as many of the other main characters grew exponentially making me care for them a lot more.
This was achieved through the portrayal of relationships.
Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Thompkins) and Diane’s relationship was done a lot better than in the first season and one of their final scenes together had me grinning from ear to ear.
As for Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), her growth through her relationship with a workmate had me cheering for her by the end.
Finally there was Todd (Aaron Paul) whose friendship with BoJack not only made him grow as a character but also helped BoJack be more sympathetic and relatable.
Even the side characters shined this season with me coming to care for many of them like Kelsey (Maria Bamford).
Even background characters who barely speak stand out on occasion.

It Gets Easier
“It gets easier” this character who is often seen in the background tells an exhausted BoJack, providing a double meaning about happiness that shows the importance of even background characters in this show.

The humor this season is also good but not as good as the first, with the series’ main selling point being its complex characters and relationships that speak volumes about what it is to be happy and the dangers of celebrity status.
One criticism I do have though is how the Secretariat storyline played out, which kind of went off the rails half-way through the season.
It was set-up that this storyline was where BoJack would pursue his happiness throughout the season but it got pushed to the side by the end only to suddenly reappear.
All in all though, this was another great season of BoJack Horseman that brought up complex questions about happiness.