Horseman Episode 11 Review
Featuring unironic Death Grips.
Why I watched it:
If there ever was a time for there to be some random act of yiffing, it would be near the end. I suppose I'm waiting for the producers to go tits up and broadcast porn like the iOS messenger.
How it works:
The Gang gets really fucking high and Bojack ends up on the worst trip of his life, telling the audience that drugs are bad (or really fucking good) and that you're a dumbass if you expect to do anything good while high. I suppose it was their fault for snorting ten lines of cocaine and huffing four pill bottles worth of drugs, though they should be lucky that all they suffered was a horrible trip as opposed to, you know, immediately dying.
Bojack is pissed off that his book was well-written, and so snorts up everything and hires a bunch of slaves to write it for him, the net result of which being three hundred pages of gibberish and a publication which I would buy as official merchandise. He wouldn't have to hire slaves if he wasn't dick at writing a book, spending six hours choosing the typefaces and not fucking writing. I get it, writing is a bit hard. Coming off of a Richard relocation over here, I haven't written a review in four days! And coming back to it is like wading in syrup and seeing what floats.
So after getting high off Death Grips (which wasn't the best-fitting soundtrack idea compared to what Hotline Miami would offer, though a damn decent one), everything gets fucked up. The Gang tries to kill Bojack, reality itself ends up tripping like a bad VHS, we see the best animation the series has to offer (they must have found a dollar in the couch cushions), Bojack ends up melting, and then a combination of flashbacks and what-ifs occurs which make Bojack really rethink his life - which would be a really clever way to contrast the person that Bojack wants to be, and the person Bojack is, IF we had been properly tuned into his horrible past as opposed to how horrible of a person he is in the present day.
I suppose that the writers had a dilemma - should we make the audience hate Bojack for what he is now, and not how he was, or should we showcase how much of a scumbag he was in the past and just have Bojack act like a natural dickbag in the present day. It isn't much of a dilemma - if he's a piece of shit in the 90s, and we don't see any reconciliation flashbacks, it's safe to say that he will continue to be a piece of shit now, and as such we don't need to dwell so much on it like we did in the pre-06 episodes.
The hesisitation of the writers when showcasing Bojack's past life, as opposed to showcasing what he's doing now, makes for a really weak moral in this episode. We know that Bojack had some fucked up parents and some fucked up life decisions, but we never got to see intimately why it was such a bad life to live. We don't understand the full depth of emotion that Bojack felt when growing up from a child to an adult to an old man, and so whatever qualms he has about making the bad choices in life don't resonate as well with the audience.
There was a sequence near the end where Charlotte and Bojack hook up, get married, and cuddle with each other, before Bojack realises that everything he ever wanted is just a fantasy he could have made true, if only he had the motivation to. It's a really sweet sequence, and one which helps me understand what the show was driving at better than any Bojack freak-out could have. It's a showcase of the consequences of making poor life decisions, about the "what if", and about why it's important to think about what you really want to do with yourself. If the whole trip was this scene, I would prefer it very much, as it actually shows the qualities of Bojack we can root for, and not just be told that he has said good qualities.
And after this sequence, we have Bojack begging Diane to tell him he's a good person.
What I felt:
I have several concerns, and though I can't address them all, I can provide a decent enough illusion of what I felt.
The focal point of the episode is first and foremost the drug trip. Remember kids: getting high is fun! But only if you're watching somebody else get high. And only if you have the opportunity to see into their mind. And only if you get to bend reality as they do. And there are no guns or knives around. So I guess what I'm saying is, do drugs and dance like a monkey.
Although it makes sense in the context of the story, all of the hallucinations come out of left field, with little relation to each other except to showcase how balls-off-the-wall high Bojack is. It creates some great spectacle, but when you step back and think about your impression of a work, it's rarely the spectacle that leaves you impressed, but how well it fit within the context of the story - unless you happen to be impressed by flashing lights and colours like a baby would.
I found the trips interesting, but not revolutionary. When you raise the bar to "anything can happen" levels, the audience will expect that anything can happen, and trying to get a jaded audience to appreciate what spectacle you're trying to show them when they expect that some shit is about to go down, is a task for a person who is very confident in their ability to manipulate the hearts of a wide swarth of uninterested people.
The medium awareness that the animators and writers have demonstrated with this episode shows that my faith in their artistic potential has not been wasted. It may be shocking to hear, but we are indeed inside a cartoon, and though the show has used this fact thus far to draw in furries and little else, it is only with this episode that it takes a break and uses animation to its full potential - comically or otherwise.
As for how they relate to the plot, the entire trip sequence could have been replaced with a black screen that said "and then I got high", followed by a cut to the last two minutes of the episode. But then, it was never about the ending, but about the journey - and the journey was more focused on drilling in the themes of the show in the penultimate episode as opposed to shotgunning the themes out over the course of the series, as a naturally paced show would do.
The interesting thing about this episode is that you can't just look it up on YouTube and have any idea what's going on in it, so the spectacle isn't even interesting enough to show a friend and be like "fuck dude I am so high" like you would with an episode of Major Lazer. The noncontextual events in this episode fits in as part of a very context-heavy canon, so as to what this show is trying to accomplish in the way of being dramatic, showing all of Bojack's mistakes, or in the comedic, showing Bojack being a fucking idiot while high, is accomplished in a way that feels like it's a good use of the animator's time, but not a great use.
What I learned:
I envision an ideal version of this episode would be with Bojack getting high, writing that book with his cronies, reading some gibberish about Caroline, realises he needs to go see her that instant, then catch up and living out the rest of his aging life in Maine, only for us to find at the end of the episode it was all one bad trip, him lying face-up in the parking lot as he takes one final swim in the pond at Maine, letting his body fall into the water, the same as it did the title sequence. It's a simple story that ties so much into the motifs of the stories, using the drugs as an opportunity to play on the audience's expectations, and would teach us a hell of a lot more about Bojack's desires than we would with the poorly-connected series of bad trips that we got today.
And for all the flaws of the episode, most of it related to the potential of the concept being wasted through irrelevant events, it is still a good one that is very entertaining, much like Hotline Miami was a very good game, not because of its brilliant plot and themes (there were little of either beyond the aesthetic sense), but because of the aesthetic and gameplay combining to make a unique experience despite its own flaws. I suppose this means that things don't have to be perfect to be worth watching.
High off slime - Froghand.
Today's page was updated on September 16, 2016!
Bojack already fucked Charlotte - it's not right to cuck a dream horse.