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"The View from Halfway Down" Explained | Confronting Mortality

the

view

from half way down is an exploration of bojack's psyche his fears his insecurities and it's the culmination of everything that's defined him as a person if you haven't seen the final eight episodes of Bojack horseman this is your final spoiler warning as I'm sure you know this episode all takes place in beau Jack's mind as he's drowning in his pool through his near-death experience beau jack goes on an existential exploration of accepting the life we've
the view from halfway down explained confronting mortality
lived and our own

mortality

beau Jack walks up to what I believe is the sugarman estate where Beatrice grew up notably beau jack has shown up to the dinner party with Sarah Lynn in tow Bojack understandably blames himself for saralyn's death and that's fully represented by the fact that he literally brought her to this afterlife party the interior of the house merges many aspects of Beau Jack's life we see paintings furniture and objects from his childhood home the kitchen is mainly
the one from horsing around but it also contains aspects of his childhood kitchen throughout the episode black tar drips from the ceiling often onto beau Jack himself eventually chasing and consuming him back in season ones the telescope Charlotte talks about Los Angeles and how it's a flashy place that sits on top of all this black tar but in season two's escape from LA she amends her feelings and tells beau jack that he's the Tarpan this seems to have manifested itself as this
looming threat throughout the dream and it eventually consumes everyone in his life including himself on arrival beau jack gives his mother pink hydrangeas and there's a lot of symbolism embedded in these flowers in Japanese culture hydrangeas are often associated with apology subconsciously bow Jack still feels guilty for leaving Beatrice in a nursing home to die on top of this pink hydrangeas tend to represent heartfelt emotion this guilt and attempted apology is something Bo jack
genuinely feels in his heart other cultures have different beliefs about this flower Victorians are known to feel negatively about hydrangeas they represent boastfulness in vanity these are also descriptors of Beatrice's lifestyle growing up historically hydrangeas were given to people who turned down love interests representing those people as cold and frigid well this is certainly a dated concept it also fits Beatrice's description she is a cold and frigid character particularly
towards beau Jack and because of her pregnancy with beau Jack she turned down a potential love interest Corbin creamer Minh another interesting superstition about hydrangeas is that if they're planted near the front of your house you might risk your daughter growing up to be a spinster which is another dated term for an elderly unmarried woman Beatrice ends up leaving the hydrangeas in the front of the house and after bojack's tar drips into them they grow large and obstruct the exit
trapping everyone inside while Beatrice did end up marrying butterscotch I think she often felt like a spinster she was trapped in a marriage she didn't actually want and felt like life and opportunity had passed her by this final hydrangea observation may be a stretch but it's interesting to note that in order for hydrangeas to grow and become pink they must be planted in alkaline soil alkali is a chemical compound that's typically corrosive perhaps a metaphor for Beatrice's
attitude towards Bojack and the effect she had on his life in the living room there are an array of paintings and photographs that we see throughout the series there's bojack's family portrait as well as Beatrice's from the old Sugarman place there's the photo of bojack's family at the lake house a portrait of crackerjack and a framed photo of the establishing shot of the horse in a round house there's even the silhouette portraits of Bojack butterscotch and beatrice from
his childhood home these are obviously images that represent many aspects of bojack's life Beatrice is broken family and the loss of crackerjack informed how Bojack himself was raised Cracker Jack was immortalized and put on a pedestal so that beau Jack could never live up to him beau Jack's family life growing up was tumultuous and the portrait of his family shows how disconnected they were then we come to some of the more interesting portraits there's of course the Hockney that was
hanging in beau Jack's office in his house the narcissus painting but this time beau jack is drowned in his pool obvious foreshadowing into what's actually happening in this episode but in addition to this we see Joseph's Sugarman's old painting that Beatrice gifted to Beau Jack after Joseph's death this is one of the few things that Beatrice passed down to Beau jack and it's representative of his lineage possibly his only material connection to his grandfather and while
he did hang it in his house he didn't take great care of it in season 1 we see that Sara Lynn's house party guests actually drilled holes through it later in the episode when we see beau Jack trying to escape we see those same holes drilled through the painting again now I think the actual most interesting painting is the one we don't see until beau jack is trying to escape here on the wall is a young horse who looks very much like beau Jack crying while holding a clown mask this was
a painting we saw in bojack's childhood home before butterscotch accepted a job with the Sugarman's this image absolutely represents beau Jack and the attitude that Beatrice instilled in him as a child when beau Jack was sad or upset he used performance as a coping mechanism he was a clown a jester and those things were fueled by pain and insecurity the painting sits on the wall it stretches and grows before revealing the pathway to the kitchen from horsing around this fully represents
how this aspect of personality led him to his life as a sitcom star and it's brilliantly showcased as a literal doorway into a sitcom house as Beatrice and Bojack walked into the living room Beatrice remarks that a bird flew into the house through the window and they're trying to chase it out there's a lot to unpack in regards to the bird for one an own superstition about birds flying into houses is that they're meant to foretell an important message but if that bird dies while
still in the house it foretells death other Celtic superstitions associate birds flying into houses with death as well and though Bojack was able to chase the bird out of the house initially it's later seen stuck within the house and dies before it's able to fly out the window I think that it's possible there's even more to this bird symbolism found within the 1920s novel siddharta the birds beak suggests that it's some type of songbird and in the novel siddharta a songbird
is present in a dream much like in this very episode in Siddhartha the songbird is dying in a golden cage which is symbolism of the characters imprisonment in a world of wealth and luxury the bird is effectively trapped by worldly vices this is sound familiar Siddhartha's spiritual life is dying because of his worldly life and I don't know if anything has more perfectly described Bojack horseman as a person exploring the themes in Siddhartha relates even further to the ideas found in
the view from halfway down explained confronting mortality
this episode the word Siddhartha roughly translates to he who has found meaning of existence and the book philosophically explores what makes a meaningful life this question is pretty directly debated at the dinner table which brings us to our dinner guests the first guests we see is Sara Lynn when they arrive she's the cute little three year old we know from the horse and around days and the longer they spend in the house the more we see her grow up Bojack knew Sara Lynn at every stage of
her life they worked together on horsing around for nine seasons and maintained a friendship up until her death so it makes sense that she grows up throughout the dream herb is wearing the same outfit he wore when he told Bojack he was going to star in horsing around a pretty important moment in beau Jack & herb's relationship and their attitude towards each other seems to be filled with camaraderie there's even a sequence where they perform a bit together about asking the question
can I ask a question it feels remarkably similar to a flashback scene from the telescope when they comedic ly complain about the phrase here's the thing just say the thing you don't need to introduce the concept that there's going to be a thing quarter I Jackson Jackson is wearing the outfit we saw him in when he gave Bojack his box of autoerotic fixation tools and is presumably what he was wearing when Bojack found his body zach braff is wearing what seems to be a butler's
uniform but when he died back in season four he was wearing a tux at mr. peanut butters black-tie event crackerjack is wearing his army uniform and Bojack grew up seeing photos and portraits of him in that very uniform beatrice is wearing the outfit she wore to her debutante ball the same night she met butterscotch when Bojack was conceived while at the table beatrice asked Bojack if he's going to sing the lollipop song at the show later which is a callback to this sequence from downer
ending you go out there and you do the only thing you're good for which is singing that goddamn lollipops the last arrival to the party is butterscotch who and bojack's dream has merged with Secretariat given that butterscotch wasn't really around or a good father to Bojack Bojack basically made secretary at his role model and father figure each character is also eating something that in some way relates to their death or is possibly their last meal Bojack has served pills corduroy
the lemon he would bite down on when autoerotic asphyxiated himself herb ate peanuts which he was allergic to and ultimately caused his death Beatrice has an unappetizing cafeteria style spread you might find in a nursing home Cracker Jack a can of rations he would have eaten in the war saralyn is eating a fast-food burger and fries some people speculate this was the last thing she ate on her bender with Bojack Secretariat is eating two eggs in a whiskey coffee which I think may have actually
been butterscotch his last meal the only time we saw a butterscotch eat breakfast he was served an omelet and we know he liked Jack so this lines up pretty well the dinner starts out with the guests playing a game called best part worst part and this really begins to get to the core of the existential questions this episode asks the characters talk about the best and worst part of their lives which evolves into a conversation about what makes life meaningful it raises important philosophical
questions like is sacrifice inherently good is bringing joy to others through art and media important is authenticity if you get joy out of the things you do are they actually selfish these questions are all intelligently explored through the characters who properly represent them all while Bojack explorers if his life was ultimately good or meaningful the joy he brought to others through his work the help he gave people after rehabilitation the friendships and bonds he formed the fun and
excitement he experienced his own suffering and sacrifice do these things outweigh the pain and toxicity he otherwise brought into the world and are any one of those things the key to a meaningful existence this brings us back to the themes of siddharta which very much grapples with these big-picture meaning of life questions ultimately the book determines that there isn't one specific aspect of life that makes it meaningful rather it's a combination of all life has to offer that helps
you attain understanding this also ties into the larger themes of the final eight episodes of Bojack we see Diane grapple with these same ideas and good damage and repeat them again in nice while it lasted we even see it in action in Xerox of Xerox Todd and Princess Carolyne struggle with their complicated relationships with Bojack but ultimately their reflection on that relationship leads them to a greater understanding of what they want in life PC seems genuinely happy to be with those who are
most important to her Ruthie and Judah Todd's reflections help him decide that moving into his own place with Maude is the best way to move forward in his life their past experiences helped determine their trajectory I think the most interesting thing about this dinner conversation is that we know the entire episode takes place in beau Jack's mind the questions that all of these characters pose also reflect different aspects of beau Jack himself it simultaneously explores all of the
characters who have passed on and Beau Jack when Secretariat shows up the conversation turns to suicide and herb admits he considered killing himself after he was fired from horsing around ultimately herb continued to fight simple reasons to stay on earth Secretariat criticizes him for lack of follow-through and relishes in his own decision to end life on his own terms to me this is a reflection of bojack's feelings on the subject there are three events in the series that could be perceived
as suicide attempts from beau Jack back in season 3 he let go of the wheel of his car on the highway and also drove that same car into his pool and then in season six he goes swimming while overly inebriated leading to this very episode in the highway incident he gives himself leeway to change his mind and ultimately he does he doesn't choose a method that would end his life instantaneously in both pool incidents he gives himself further outs he drives his car into the pool during a huge
party and it would be expected for somebody to pull him out of the pool when he goes drunk swimming he calls Diane effectively begging her to tell him not to go swimming in every perceived suicide attempt Bojack seeks a way out he isn't fully committed herbes story seems to be Bojack acknowledging this about himself while Secretariat's seems to be him questioning if he's weak for not following through dinner finishes with Bojack finally giving his best part of his life being young
the view from halfway down explained confronting mortality
hanging with herb and trying to figure out life bojack's best part was the time after his toxic childhood and before future toxic decision-making plagued his life before he started to make the kinds of mistakes that he couldn't take back the event of the evening is of course the big show where all of our dinner guests perform in honor of Bojack horseman this sequence is so jam-packed with callbacks and brilliant imagery and it all starts out with saralyn's reprise of don't stop
dancing the original version was of course played in season 5s eleventh episode showstopper for the performance saralyn is wearing a variation of the outfit she wore at herbs funeral this one's sporting white flourishes making it a little bit more angelic this makes a lot of sense as in a way this entire episode is sort of a funeral for Bojack the lyrics read life is a never ending show old sport except the minor detail that it ends the overture is a lifetime the show is short here with all
your family and friends you run the race you blurt your lines they put your face on shirts and shrines and giant signs a thousand feet tall and don't stop dancing don't stop dancing until the curtain call this effectively describes the life of a celebrity like Bojack or Sarah Lynn how they do their job and are put on a pedestal and when you're thrust into the public eye as entertainment you're pressured to keep performing until you're dead the second verse transitions into a
remix / mashup with Sara Lynn's song prickly muffin and speaks to legacy shows are a never ending life of course a silhouette that stays when you were gone what uses the struggle in the strife old horse ended and your legacy lives on the idea that your art will outlive you is really interesting especially in regards to your legacy Sara Lin had toxic traits and behavior and she died tragically young but because of her death her legacy shines a bright positive light on her Bojack has lived
such a long life since his early success and completely tainted his legacy he's grappling with the idea that if he hadn't gone on living his legacy would have had a positive impact and he wouldn't have caused as much pain and suffering the chatter stops the crowd departs a needle drops the music starts a song you taught me when I was small a song you taught me when I was small is directly referencing two things in Bojack horseman the obvious one is this harsh lesson Bojack gave
saralyn when she was young you don't stop dancing and you don't stop smiling and you give those people what they want but interestingly this exact same idea was hammered into Bojack by his own mother when he was young you got an audience out there and they want to hear you sing these are essentially the same lesson you perform until nobody wants to see you perform anymore and this lesson was incredibly detrimental to both Bojack and saralyn's development as people saralyn ends her
performance falling into the door on stage and disappearing into the abyss next to the stage is corduroy Jackson Jackson doing an aerial dance on a ribbon reflective of the way he died it's short but it's haunting especially here where his body goes limp before swinging through the door and into the abyss next is Zach Braff and while this was mostly played for laughs I think some of the things he said are still relatively profound loss is a collaborative art between the people who leave
us and those who remain we dance with the shadows of their absence I think if we're feeling a significant amount of loss a lot of what we do can be dictated by those feelings if you're feeling the loss of a relationship or friendship you might avoid doing things that remind you of those people Zak's fall into the abyss is definitely played for laughs as he tongue twist his way through the things he never got a chance to do before death while the tongue twister is funny I think we can
all relate to the fear of leaving this world before we've accomplished the things we set out to do while Zach Braff takes the stage Bojack and Secretariat take a smoke break the conversation returns to whether life has meaning or purpose or if true peace is attainable if Secretariat could start his life over again he says he wouldn't care as much because ultimately everyone ends up in the exact same place and as we know this means that Bojack is pondering this exact same question
Secretariat briefly transitions into being butterscotch again and tells Bojack that he really did care about Bojack and Beatrice I think the saddest and most profound thing about this moment is that we don't actually know if butterscotch felt this way it's essentially how Bojack hopes his father felt about him Bojack laments that they never had any conversations like this when he was a lot but as we know they never had any conversations like this at all next we get to the titular

view

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down Secretariat's poem about jumping off the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville this poem obviously describes Secretariat's mindset as he jumped off that bridge and how his perspective changed on the way down the first verse describes Secretariat's mindset as he prepares to jump ii describes that shift in his perspective as he sees the water approaching it's all okay it would be were you not now

halfway

down the third verse describes the last-minute
flailing and thrashing in hopes that he'll survive the fall the final verse is all about that immense regret he feels now that it's almost over and how he wishes he'd known the

view

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down before he jumped before Secretariat to falls into the abyss this line of thinking is reaffirmed by many people have survived suicide attempts like this one as many say that on their way down they feel regret and hope to survive the fall one of my favorite details about the sequence is
how the door to the abyss actually chases Secretariat after the first verse it's on the far side of the stage and each subsequent verse it moves closer and closer much like the water approaching Secretariat as he fell Secretariat's method of death wasn't instantaneous but he also couldn't take it back so we see his impending death approached him even as he regrets his decision this performance is also reflective of bojack's journey through his near-death experience he's
just realized what exactly he's experiencing recognizing that he might not be waking up he's metaphorically

halfway

down and subsequently starts to verbalize that same regret the Secretariat laid out in his poem the final performance of the evening is crackerjack and Beatrice Beatrice does a ribbon dance while crackerjack plays I will always think of you on the trumpet a song that he used to sing with their mother honey during the climax of the performance Beatrice says now the hard part
before leaping into the air after she performs the leap and before going through the door herself she says and now the easy part I think this is meant to represent that life itself is the hard part and death that's easy as she spins in the air her ribbon wraps her in a cocoon cracker jack'd eyes the other end around his waist and jumps through the door the tar from the abyss seeps back up the ribbon and stains the ribbon cocoon which then unravels entirely it falls to the ground and is
then pulled through the door itself this represents how Cracker Jacks death tainted the remainder of Beatrice's life which subsequently unraveled as we know crackerjacks death led to their mother honey Sugarman being lobotomized died early affecting the remainder of Beatrice's life this is all very creatively represented by the unraveling ribbon that surrounded Beatriz she never really came back from it following their performance herb introduces Bojack himself listing out all of his
insecurities husband to no one father to no one that we know of crippling alcoholic and a stupid piece of the last was obviously a reference to the season four episode of the same title which showcases bo Jackson securities through his inner monologue he asks herb if it's terrifying and herb says everything must come to an end before placing his hand through the door showing that the darkness has turned into the same dripping tar from throughout the episode Bojack says see you on the other
side hobo jack no there is no other side this is him bo jack is all alone once again a recurring event in his life usually because of his own toxic behaviors he walks up for his final performance but panics running through the house desperate to call Diane as he runs the tar chases him and begins using throughout the house when he gets back to the living room we see that even the paintings and photos of him are oozing tar often very specifically from the image of Bo Jack himself reinforcing that
fear instilled in him by Charlotte after the clown painting opens up into the horse in a round kitchen the bird tries to escape the window before being consumed by Bo Jack star the final omen Bojack grabs the phone and talks to Diane begging her to save him this is when he remembers what happened Diane didn't pick up the phone he quickly shifts from panic to calm he slowly walks outside looking over the bridge down into his own body in his pool as he looks down we see the cord to the phone
is wrapped around his neck a very deliberate image showing that Bo Jack twisted himself into this situation he talks to Diane but as we know he's really just talking to himself in his last moments as he accepts his fate he just wants to talk to Diane his best friend his conversation with her seems to stem from one they had back in season 2 episode yes and when Diane was at her lowest point crashing at Bo Jack's house for months she says she wishes she could go home to mr. peanut butter
and not have to explain anything he would just say how was your day I would just say my day was good in these last moments bo Jack just wants to ask Diane how she's doing and not have to explain anything how is your day my day was good he just wants to be present with someone he cares about as he listens to Diane he lets the tar consume him accepting his fate and accepting his

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as the screen goes to black we hear the heart rate monitor flatline but if we watch the credits in their
entirety we hear it start to beep once more hinting that he hasn't quite met his ultimate fate bojack's journey through his near-death experience showcased his own grappling with his past the meaning of life and his own

mortality

through this experience Bojack comes to a greater understanding of himself and of what a meaningful life means for him the important thing about this episode isn't that Bojack did or didn't die the important thing is that Bojack accepted his own

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Bojack opened his eyes and took a peek at his own

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down unlike Secretariat Bojack survived and has given one more chance and just maybe this deeper understanding will lead Bojack to live a less selfish more fulfilling life hey thank you all so much for tuning in to this breakdown of Bojack horseman is incredible the

view

from

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down if you liked this video please remember to Like comment and subscribe because there are about a dozen more episodes of Bojack that
I'm really excited to analyze in a similar way so stay tuned for those thanks for watching peace