Bojack Horseman 5:09 Ancient History
The ninth episode of season five, Ancient History, is all about reuniting old relationships. Bojack, Todd and Princess Carolyn all end up back with old friends, family and lovers this episode. For Bojack, it's the return of the much loved Hollyhock. For fans (and let's face it, how could you not be), it was lovely to see her finally return.
What's lovely for us isn't so lovely for Hollyhock though, as her PTSD from being drugged by Beatrice comes back in full force on entering Bojack's apartment. Events of last season also resurface when Hollyhock sees Bojack's medication bottle and she assumes Bojack is about to drug her too. In a fit of panic, Hollyhock pour the pills down the sink, only to realise afterwards that the situation was not at all what she perceived it to be. Unsurprisingly, Bojack isn't a big fan of this - it's become more and more apparent that he is highly addicted to his pain medication.
Princess Carolyn and Ralph are also reunited this episode, albeit briefly. In a convenient twist, Princess Carolyn needs to get Ralph to sign off on her optioning one of his cards ("Happy Birthday Dad") and so the two meet for dinner. They barely begin to discuss business before Princess Carolyn's phone is ringing (does that thing ever stop?) and Tracy from the adoption agency is telling her to get to the hospital now now now, if she wants a baby. Ralph, being the sweetest mouse in the world, offers to drive her and the two of them show up to collect the baby, but like, not together of course. Princess Carolyn's rousing speech about bringing up the baby on her own actually convinces the mother that she will be able to do it herself, and so another baby dream is dashed for Princess Carolyn. Moral of the story is: if you need a pep talk, Princess Carolyn is the one to call.
It's devastating for her, but it also throws her desire for a baby into a new perspective - Ralph questions why she wants one so desperately now, but refuses to do it with him. Though they are on good terms now, there's still clearly a lot bubbling away beneath the surface.
The final reunion of the episode is Todd and Emily. Though the pair were shown to be on good terms at the start of the season, they get closer during Ancient History and the potential of rekindling their relationship is floated. Since the demise of Todd and Yolanda's relationship, and Emily getting rid of her latest fire-fighter, the two feel out whether a relationship may work between them. Todd, as he so regularly does, decides that he can fix the issue of sex between them by inventing something. This time, it's a sex robot. Not just any sex robot, mind, this is something to be beheld. Comprising of several dildos, a plunger, an iPod and a voice automated phrases, the sex robot is funny, functional and terrifying all at the same time. Oh and it's called Henry Fondle.
The creation of Mr Fondle is adorable - Todd is so keen to do something nice for Emily, yet has cannot grasp the concept of sex ("I do know what sex is, I'm just not great at building robots"). Instead, he throws all the things he does know together and glues them onto a hoover. It's a gesture that is so typical of Todd, and although Mr Fondle may not be everyone's dream date - it's yet more insight into the fun house that is Todd's mind.
This gesture stands in stark contrast to Bojack's treatment of Hollyhock - not only does he blame her for throwing the pills away, he insists on dragging her to a sketchy car park in order to buy more pills to feed his addiction. Even when Hollyhock tells Bojack she loves him at the end, he can't bring himself to even say 'me too', let alone the full sentence. Bojack's eternal flaw will always be that his pain has to exceed everyone else's around him - "You don't understand anything, I am in pain... all the time, my whole life". This is the story of Bojack's life and it's exactly why Princess Carolyn, Diane and even Todd have grown tired of him. He expects so much from others but it isn't willing to try and help himself. This is most obvious in how badly he treats Hollyhock, who is a child in comparison to Bojack.
We're getting close to the end of season five now and after the events of season four, I had anticipated that Bojack might get some way to sorting his head out in this season. So far that hasn't materialised - in fact, he's got significantly worse, particularly with his newly formed addicton to pain meds. It also seems improbably that Bojack Horseman could exist in the form that it does if Bojack does get the help he sorely needs, as the vast majority of the show works because it's characters are so flawed, flailing and unable to help themselves. The next two episodes are mystery at this point but it seems inevitable that something will shift - either for better or worse.
Contenders for best line of the episode goes to either Todd and his PA: "Emily is here to see you", "Blunt?" "well, she is a little curt..." or the Dr Hu regeneration shtick, which really tickled me.