BoJack Horseman Recap: Whale World

Bojack Horseman

BoJack Kills
Season 3 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Will Arnett as BoJack, Alison Brie as Joelle Clark.
Fred Savage as Goober, Alison Brie as Joelle Clark, Will Arnett as BoJack. Photo: Netflix

This season is going right for the emotional jugular, isn’t it? After three episodes, the characters are already struggling with questions of redemption, happiness, and purpose, all while trying to figure out what’s worth doing when satisfaction is so fleeting.

Oh, and it’s also really funny.

BoJack is attending an all-inclusive, non-denominational winter pageant at an L.A. middle school, where he’s hoping to rub elbows with Oscar voters. He suddenly gets a phone call from Jill Pill, who reminds him that he’s supposed to check on Cuddlywhiskers, and she gives him the added task of grabbing a letter off of Cuddlywhiskers’s desk for her. After all, they were — prepare yourself, I’m about to type lovers — lovers. Anna Spanikopita lets BoJack take the afternoon off, as long as Diane is prepared to keep him trending.

Diane seems to be losing a bit of herself in the social-media world, even finding herself saying hashtags out loud. Besides Twitter jargon, she and Mr. Peanutbutter are bogged down in marriage-counseling jargon, going so far as to have a “daily download” in which they stiltedly acknowledge and accept each other’s feelings. As soon as Mr. Peanutbutter hangs up from their phone call, though, he calls Princess Carolyn in a panic. He and Todd accidentally got skunked, just as Diane had specifically asked him not to.

On their way to Cuddlywhiskers’s house, Diane confesses to BoJack that she’s been avoiding him because she thinks they bring out the worst in each other, and she thinks it’s better that they stay professional while she tries to get her life on track. They arrive at Cuddlywhiskers’s house to find it ransacked and empty, save for a drowned whale in the pool. The police arrive moments later, arresting Diane and BoJack on suspicion of their involvement. Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface interrogates them, but Diane looks up their rights and gets them out of immediate trouble. She also swiped the dead whale Nadia’s phone, and realizes the last text she sent seems to frame BoJack for murder.

They rush off to Drake’s cousin’s Bat Mitzvah to raise “BoJack brand awareness,” but Diane is much more concerned with the murder. Who was Nadia? Why is BoJack being framed? And where is Cuddlywhiskers? Nadia’s phone receives a phone call, which appears to be from Whale World, a Seaworld-esque strip club owned by Goober, the Kimmy Gibbler of Horsin’ Around.

Meanwhile, Princess Carolyn helps get rid of the skunking evidence, even though Mr. Peanutbutter and a very high Todd aren’t much help. A tomato bath only makes things worse, so Princess Carolyn calls a cleaning service while Todd and Peanutbutter get rid of their clothes. Unfortunately, they do so by building a massive bonfire in the front yard. Princess Carolyn sees the silver lining, of course: She’ll frame it as Mr. Peanutbutter’s decision to ditch grass in favor of drought-resistant landscaping.

When Diane and BoJack arrive at Whale World, they quickly meet a sad, aging Goober. (BoJack doesn’t remember his name, naturally.) They buy a private dance with Skinny Gina, Nadia’s friend who may have some information about her death, and she reveals a few important details: Nadia wanted to be in show business, Cuddlywhiskers had a “system” for helping girls, and his house has been abandoned for months. She also invites them to a Whale World party later that night.

Back on the schmoozing circuit, BoJack and Diane visit a retirement home for aging Hollywood types to talk up his Secretariat performance. Diane apologizes for telling BoJack that she wants to keep their relationship professional, but she felt embarrassed about who she was when she stayed with him. She confesses that she may not believe in real, lasting happiness. BoJack tells her that’s why you have to focus on the small things … like winning an Oscar.

At the Whale World party, BoJack and Diane follow a rabbit into a seedy backroom where graffiti reads “BoJack Kills.” That’s when they realize that BoJack wasn’t being framed for murder — but there is a new drug called BoJack on the market. After getting knocked out by a goon, they’re tied up by Goober, who explains the name: BoJack is a horse and the drug is heroin. The police bust in and arrest Goober (real name: Reggie), thanks to Diane’s geotagged publicity tweets.

Diane and BoJack go back to Cuddlywhiskers’s house and take the letter from his desk. It mentions Cuddlywhiskers’s Ojai property. They go to check it out, and Mr. Peanutbutter calls Diane angry that she disappeared without any notice. He had tried to avoid a fight, but it turns out he wanted one anyway. Just then, Cuddlywhiskers shows up. He reveals to Diane and BoJack that he retreated to Ojai after The BoJack Horseman Show failed, then turned his home into a halfway house for addicts. (He calls it the “System.”) Before they leave, he also gives them some parting advice: “Only after you give up everything, can you find a way to be happy.”

It’s the advice Diane needs, but probably not the advice she wants. She’s relatively comfortable right now. If she doesn’t believe in “actual lasting happiness,” is that worth giving up? It’s interesting that BoJack is the one advocating for happiness at episode’s end. BoJack finally has aim in his life, and it seems like it’s really turning things around for him, which makes it all the more unfortunate that this Oscar season cannot last. But if he’s happy in the moment, isn’t that all that matters?

Well, isn’t it?

Other Thoughts:

  • Everything about the non-denominational pageant is amazing. “The three wise people going to visit the regular baby.”
  • Does anyone know where I can get Diane’s hilarious Terry Gross ringtone?
  • Some really fantastic signs in the background so far this season. In this episode, my personal favorite was “Bat Bat Mitzvah — yes two bats because she’s a bat,” although “A Gluten-Free Learning Experience” comes close.

BoJack Horseman Recap: Whale World