Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The BoJack Horseman Episodes Fans Want First-Time Watchers To See

Considered by many to be one of the best cartoon comedy shows in recent years, with a stellar 93% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix's "BoJack Horseman" has proven time and time again that the genre can gracefully delve into sensitive topics and convey impactful messages. The series carefully treads the line between the funny and the somber, exploring themes such as addiction or depression while retaining its unique humor. As viewers follow the story of BoJack (Will Arnett), a washed-up "one-hit-wonder" actor, light-hearted plotlines frequently take some dark turns, revealing the complexity of each character, as well as quite a few strong statements about Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

It is safe to say that for a TV show that represents the same genre as "The Simpsons" or "Family Guy," "BoJack Horseman" isn't afraid to step out of the box and affect the audience beyond merely amusing them. This is part of why it has amassed a large, dedicated fanbase that remains active even two years after the airing of "BoJack's" final episode. With dozens of great entries to choose from, it's hard to pick out the best. Although it's intended to be viewed chronologically, first-time viewers wishing to dive into the high points should focus on the four episodes fans on the "BoJack Horseman" subreddit deemed the best. 

Downer Ending (Season 1, Episode 11)

This fan-favorite episode, aptly titled "Downer Ending," starts with BoJack insisting on being able to write a better version of his memoir than Diane (Alison Brie). In a true BoJack fashion, the actor decides to try and get over his writer's block with the help of copious amounts of recreational drugs with Todd (Aaron Paul) and Sarah Lynn (Kristen Schaal). The episode takes viewers into the intoxicated mind of BoJack as he explores his feelings for Diane, hidden fears, and past regrets. 

It is one of the first "BoJack Horseman" episodes that give viewers such explicit insights into the main character's psyche, unsurprisingly making it one of the must-see parts of BoJack's saga in the eyes of long-time fans. Before this episode, the series hinted at its aspirations of being more than a funny cartoon. Still, it was the "Downer Ending" that erased any doubts one might have had about the ultimate direction of the show. Reddit user u/_time_to_ranch_it_up summed it up best: " I was slightly skeptical of the show because I don't like 'Family Guy'/adult swim type of humor, and I was worried it would be like that (...), but 'Downer Ending' sealed the deal and turned 'BoJack Horseman' into one of my favorite shows (instead of one I just watched casually) within the first season."

Fish Out Of Water (Season 3, Episode 4)

In this Season 3 episode, BoJack is sent to an underwater film festival to promote "Secretariat," his comeback movie. It revolves around Horseman's much-dreaded meeting with Kelsey Jannings (Maria Bamford), the movie's former director, who got fired in Season 2 for a secret filming session that BoJack insisted upon. Though the prospect of talking to Kelsey filled him with anxiety, he was equally determined to clear the air. After he lost track of Kelsey at the festival, he decided to go on an alcohol-fueled chase, which ended with him waking up on the bus next to a baby seahorse that wouldn't leave his side. BoJack has done some horrible things throughout the show, but in "Fish Out of Water," he proves he can actually be a pretty good guy. 

As BoJack tries to help the child finds its father, all the while trying to return to Pacific Ocean City and find Kelsey, the journey reveals a side of the character previously hidden away from viewers. Throughout "Fish Out of Water," he is driven by the need to reconcile with Jannings while caring for and protecting the baby seahorse. According to Redditor u/nvwls300, this is the iteration of BoJack who's free of all his vices, as Horseman was "for once able to be the best version of himself like he always wanted to be and not the a**hole he always hated being." 

Free Churro (Season 5, Episode 6)

Whenever "BoJack Horseman" tackles the theme of death, it almost always manages to be profound and inappropriately funny at the same time. The case is no different with "Free Churro," an exceptionally loaded episode with BoJack delivering a eulogy at his mother's funeral. By the time Season 5, Episode 6 rolled around, careful viewers were already well-aware of the complicated relationship between Horseman and his mother, Beatrice. Her death was always going to be a pivotal moment for the plot of the series, and "Free Churro" handles it exceptionally well by intertwining BoJack's eulogy with some of the key memories of his mom. 

It is one of the most (if not the most) emotionally hard-hitting episodes of the whole series and has a special place in many "BoJack Horseman" fans' hearts for precisely that reason. As u/2hourstowaste put it in a Reddit post, his state after viewing the episode without seeing any other ones exactly matched its overarching theme: "I have every symptom of crying without the actual tears. Sadness, tension, and a lump in my throat (...) all of the pain yet none of the relief." As evidenced by this post, "Free Churro" is capable of evoking powerful emotions even in people with no attachment to the characters, which perhaps serves as the best encouragement for first-time "BoJack" viewers to give this one a shot.

The View From Halfway Down (Season 6, Episode 15)

The penultimate episode of "BoJack Horseman" overshadowed the series finale for long-time fans, and many deemed that one to be its best episode ever. With a near-perfect score of 9.9, "The View from Halfway Down" is the highest-rated "BoJack" episode on IMDb. There isn't a shortage of possible reasons why people loved it so much, and anyone whose interest wasn't piqued by the high IMDb score should only look to the reactions of loyal "BoJack" fans.

Users praised this episode on Reddit almost immediately after its release. U/lumboister called it "a perfect 25 minutes of television." The musings on life, death, and suicide contained within the episode seem to have left a lasting impact on most fans, with u/lilyxbuggg going as far as saying that it "had more impact on me than any anti-suicide message I've ever heard" and u/We_didnt_know admitting that they "thought about it non-stop for 20 hours." From the stunning visuals, through the appearances of most fan-favorite characters, to the heart-wrenching dialogue and the entire theme of the episode, "The View from Halfway Down" epitomizes everything that "BoJack Horseman" represents as a work of art.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.