Bojack Horseman, “The View from Halfway Down” review

Annabel Williamson, Managing Editor


Bojack Horseman is an adult animated series first released in 2014. It is centered around a self-loathing humanoid horse once famous for his role in the 90’s sitcom Horsin’ around. While it may seem like a strange premise, the show’s dark humor and themes that connect to the difficulty of living in the world today give the viewer much to appreciate. 

Bojack’s story is told in six seasons as he is shown struggling with depression, addiction, and PTSD from a traumatic childhood. Bojack’s life is interesting enough to take over the entire show, yet each individual character is given his/her own unique stories and struggles.

The final season, season six, was split into two parts. The first part was released in October 2019 and ended on a giant cliffhanger. Then, the second part and final episodes came out in January of 2020. There were already some episodes watchers found particularly intense in the earlier seasons, but nothing could compare to the second to last episode of the series, The View from Halfway Down. 

For some context, and spoilers, the episode previous to The View from Halfway Down, ends on a cliffhanger with Bojack Horseman overdosing on pills then going for a swim in his pool. The audience expects The View from Halfway Down to pick up where the show left off, but that is not at all what happened. 

The episode begins with Bojack knocking on the door to an unknown house while accompanied by Sarah Lynn, his friend and co-star who passed from an overdose a couple years back. The door opens to reveal Bojack’s mother, who lost the battle to dementia the previous season. He is also greeted by his ex-best friend Herb Kazzaz, who was killed in a car accident in season two. 

Immediately after the intro was a shot of a black tar-like substance dripping from the ceiling onto a table, the substance is ignored as Bojack heads to dinner with all of his deceased loved ones. Additionally among the group is Bojack’s uncle Crackerjack, his former coworker,  Corduroy, and his idol Secretariat who was also merged with his dad. 

At the dinner table, the group played the game, Worst Part-est part, sharing the highs and lows of their lives. This then leads to the discussion of what is true sacrifice and the importance of morals. This discussion alone shows a lot of truth of the reason behind charity, which ultimately is a selfish act. Corduroy said, “feeling good is inherently selfish,” bringing up an interesting thought of what truly makes one a good person. 

During the recap of those at the table’s lives, the tar-like substance begins to drip again, this time falling on Bojack’s head. 

After dinner, they began to get ready for the “show.” Bojack responds to his invitation with, “this is the part where I wake up. You all go to the show… then I wake up.” This time though, he doesn’t wake up. The drip continues as he walks into the auditorium for the show. Unaware of what he is going to witness. The first performance is Sarah Lynn, before her performance, he began to apologize for all of the times he has wronged her, but he was shut down, and Sarah Lynn began to sing.

She sang of her childhood stardom turning to exploitation, which left alone in an industry with only drugs to cope. Her entire performance portrayed the true immorality of fame as she died too young from the inability to ever truly be a child.  A door to nothing but darkness appears, and once she finished her song, she willingly fell into the nothingness and disappeared. 

Corduroy performed his dance routine then swung into the door, and Secretariat/Bojack’s father stepped outside to grab a smoke. 

They go out to a bride and light a cigarette, allowing for the audience to believe a simple conversation will occur. It does for a little bit, Bojack and his dad make amends, he takes this heartfelt moment and says, “least we got [to talk], before I wake up” to which Secretariat/Bojack’s dad responded, “Wake up? Oh, you’re not getting it, are you?” Bojack looks down and finds the bridge overlooking his dead body in his swimming pool. The audience is hit with the shock and realization that this isn’t a dream, Bojack really is dead. 

They then walked back into the auditorium, and it’s time for Secretariat’s final performance before succumbing to the darkness. 

He walked up to the stage, stood on a single stool, and with a shining spotlight, began to recite an original poem titled The View from Halfway Down. This poem is perpetually perspective-altering as it tells the story of Secretariat’s last moments before hitting the water after throwing himself off a bridge.  The poem starts before his jump. “His feet shift, teeter-totter, deep breaths, stand back, it’s time.” Then, he jumps. “Toes untouch the overpass, soon he’s water-bound.” Initially, he feels free, “a flood of fond endorphins brings a calm that knows no equally.” Immediately after, the regret sets in. As he begins to want to go back, the door into the abyss shows up right behind him on stage. He yelled that he’s not done yet as he hurriedly finished his performance with the abyss quickly approaching. Panic creeped into his voice as he reached the end of the poem. “But this is it, the deed is done, silence drowns the sound…. I wish I could’ve known about the view from halfway down.” as the performance ended, he fell into the void, and was gone. 

This sent Bojack into a full panic as he tried to escape but was continuously stopped by Herb. Eventually, he gives up and asks Herb, “Has anyone ever come back from this place.” Herb responded, “there is no place, it’s just your brain going through what it feels like it has to go through.” After his mom and uncle succumb to the abyss, it is Bojack’s turn to perform. He walks over to the door. “Is it terrifying?” he asked Herb. “No, I don’t think so”, he replied. “It’s the way it is, you know? Everything must come to an end, the drip finally stops.” Herb began to enter the door. Bojack said his goodbyes, “see you on the other side.” Herb looked at Bojack one last time and pitifully said, “oh, Bojack, no, there is no other side. This is it.”

With just Bojack left in his afterlife reality, he rushes to make a call as the black drip quickly chases after him. He called his friend Diane, who informed him she can’t save him from drowning. He spoke his final words to Diane as the drip fully consumed him. 

 This episode is arguably the most unique and equally disturbing take on the “afterlife.” Each rewatch there is another detail or symbol found as so many events occurred in just 22 minutes. The View From Halfway takes a grim approach to death, skipping the often comforting idea of forever peace and painlessness. Instead, Bojack is forced to face all of the people he wronged and watch them perform before death until Bojack himself is taken. With all the darkness in this show’s interpretation of the final stage before death, a unique yet brutally raw perspective showed the true horrors of suicide through the poem the View from Halfway Down.   Most suicide stories focus on the before and after, the victim was alive, then suddenly they were not. Instead, this poem focuses on the during. The split second of regret before the inevitable. The part never talked about yet so crucial to the true understanding of the horrors of suicide. 

In just over twenty minutes, Bojack Horseman managed to create a cynical reality of death, devoid of the often naive wonder of the afterlife. It analyzed death in all forms, while creating an idea of the true purpose of living. With that purpose being there is no purpose, and no matter what you do and who you are, the drip will always, finally stop.