A Quick One, While He's Away is the eighth episode of Season 6 of the Netflix original series BoJack Horseman, and the 68th episode overall. It premiered with the rest of Part 1 of Season 6 on October 25, 2019.
On a convent on an island, Mother Superior and Sister Marguerite are walking together. Sister Marguerite is telling the Mother about how a hummingbird smiled at her on her walk. She then says such simple pleasures remind her of the Lord.
Sister Margurite hesitates and the Mother tells her to let it out, saying to hesitate is to waste time which is a sin when they could be praying, or hand-washing Monsignor's Tuscani's 1962 Alfa Romeo, gesturing towards a red convertible another nun is giving a car wash to, saying washing it is in itself another form of prayer.
Marguerite starts talking about her past regrets. The Mother tells her she has no past because she has already confessed. She wonders about the people she may have hurt and the lives she may have ruined. She wonders if those sins are washed clean as well. The Mother tells her that her regrets are of no benefit to the Lord.
She tells her that ruminating in so is solipsism unbefitting to a sister of the cloth. Marguerite says one might argue cloistering oneself from the world is itself a form of solipsism if one were being ungenerous. The Mother reminds her of when she didn't talk for two years and Marguerite tells her she will trouble her no further. The Mother prays for help with dealing with such a vexing pupil.
The Mother then hears the car engine start. Sister Marguerite is sitting in the driver's seat and pulls off her robes to reveal she is actually Character Actress Margo Martindale. She tells Mother to look her up when she gets to heaven because she won't be there, but her movies will as she drives off.
At the Hollywoo Reporter, star reporter Paige Sinclair announces she is quitting, as she is getting married and feels the newsroom is no place for a domesticated woman. Another reporter, Maximillian Banks, reveals Sarah Lynn's mother Carol Himmelfarb-Richardson keeps calling the publication to get information about the details surrounding her daughter's death. This gets Paige's attention and she decides to investigate it further. The Editor-in-Chief tells her there's no story, just an open-and-shut about a pop star who overdosed. Paige replies that the case is all the better for opening and shutting. She then calls her fiancé and postpones the wedding to investigate the case.
Hollyhock is in New York waiting to go to a party. She tells her best friend Tawnie that she didn't come to Manhattan to watch Tawnie watch her boyfriend Trey be on the internet at his fancy house, as the two were watching Sarah Lynn's music video for her song Prickly Muffin, and Trey made a comment about how the video takes place in a planetarium and Sarah Lynn died in a planetarium. Tawnie tells Hollyhock not to parent shame Trey, as it's not his fault he grew up in an Upper Westside brownstone. Trey adds that he is not her boyfriend, and they are uncomplicated like that.
Hollyhock insists that they get going, or they will miss the whole party. Tawnie replies if they show up before two o'clock everyone will think they are losers. Hollyhock suggests they explore the city. Once outside, Trey suggests going to a bar and Twanie says a real New York bar might be cool. Hollyhock points out it's not every day they are in New York and suggests they go to the Empire State Building.
Kelsey Jannings is in a meeting in the editing room for the new Chicken-4-Dayz immersive product placement journey she is directing. She is questioned about why it is not as Chicken-4-Dayz focused as it seemed in the outline stage. Kelsey asks if she should include a closeup of the bucket and she is told that would make it seem much more like a commercial.
Kelsey is told that their target demographic responds poorly when they feel like they are being advertised to. However, they love stories that engage them on their level and utilize themes of inclusivity and dunking the olds. Kelsey says they are already done shooting the immersive product placement journey, however, she can maybe find takes that are in more of a dunking tone and shots that highlight more prominently but do not feature the chicken-bacon finger-blasters. Kelsey is then thanked for sharing her vision.
After coming out of the editing area, Kelsey talks to fellow director Justin Kenyon, in the smoking area about her current directing job which he describes as “bullshit." Kelsey dismisses him saying that a gig is a gig and Vassar won’t accept film credits in lieu of her daughter’s tuition. Justin goes on to tell Kelsey that she’s a much better director than he is, saying that if she had told him that she would be directing a “commercial” and he would be directing another blockbuster, he would be excited but then get around to being outraged. While he is talking to Kelsey he gets a call about his lead actress Gina Cazador.
Justin is in Gina‘s trailer and he struggles to get a word in edgewise while she continues ranting about the fact that she has new pages in her script. When asked why he was giving her new stuff, Justin explains that the insurance company wants to get rid of the car chase scene, so they had to add in a hand-to-hand combat scene that is going to go along with the meringue number. Justin tells a clearly upset Gina that he thought she would be excited about it because he is, explaining that it’s more time spent on her face.
He tells her that he’s been thinking about giving Gina her close up ever since he directed her in an episode of FBI: Female Body Inspectors. Justin assures Gina that April will be on set to make sure she understands the stunt and they won’t shoot until Gina is 100% comfortable. When Gina apologizes to Justin for yelling at him, Justin takes full responsibility saying that he should’ve warned her. Justin goes on to ask Gina if there is something he should know about and she says that she’s fine.
Gina goes on to explain that she thinks she’s being “really cool“ saying that as number one on the call sheet she’s entitled to respect. She goes on to explain that she has worked on projects where the number one on the call sheet was “an actual crazy person“ and she believes she’s being really cool in comparison. Justin agrees that Gina was being “so cool." However once Justin walks out of Gina’s trailer he lets out an exasperated sigh, only to be told by an annoyed Gina to at least get out of earshot before he sighs, and Justin apologizes.
At Elefante, Kelsey is having lunch with Rutabaga Rabitowitz. Rutabaga tells Kelsey she can't compare herself to Justin Kenyon. Rutabaga jokingly says the difference is he has a great agent. He then apologizes, as he sees Kelsey is not in the mood for jokes. Kelsey then says she's a good director. Rutabaga agrees but says Justin's films make real money. He reminds her that the last big movie she was on she got fired from.
Kelsey then asks Rutabaga how she didn't break into Richard Nixon Presidential Library alone yet, her career is the only one that has suffered. Rutabaga tells her he doesn't know how fate pushes people in their great cosmic dance. Kelsey asks about all the stories she keeps hearing about people wanting to hire female directors. Rutabaga tells her they do, just not for this particular project. She then asks Rutabaga to get her out of "director jail."
At another table, Sarah Lynn's mother Carol is telling Maximilian and Paige that she doesn't understand why her daughter would start using again. Paige asks if she suspects foul-play. Carol then plays the voicemail on her phone from Sarah Lynn, a month before she died: Sarah Lynn says she's making amends with someone else and sarcastically apologizes for being such a disappointment and gives examples of never being good enough for her mother. Carol calls her daughter an angel, doesn't pick up on the sarcasm and says Sarah Lynn just wanted her mother to be happy. The reporters point out Sarah Lynn mentioned a "we" at the beginning of the recording: who's the other person?
On the top of the Empire State Building, Hollyhock is approached by Tawnie, who tells her they don't have to go to the party. Hollyhock insists, pointing out she's the one who keeps saying they should go. Hollyhock then says the only reason she came was so that she could go to the party and drink. Tawnie counters this by saying they have been to many parties together, and while Hollyhock says she wants to drink she never actually does. Tawnie adds that it's fine if she doesn't want to.
Hollyhock says it's because she wants someone to offer her a drink and she keeps hearing about peer pressure, but it never happens to her. Tawnie then jokingly says she is Hollyhock's peer pressuring her to have a drink. Hollyhock then says she is nervous about losing control. Tawnie then suggests drinking might not be for her. Hollyhock says she doesn't want to be scared of something that's supposed to be fun. She says if she does lose control she wants it to be in front of people she doesn't know. Tawnie and Hollyhock then head to the party.
Kelsey is editing the immersive product placement journey when she gets a call from Rutabaga about directing a film called Fireflame which is about a lady superhero. Kelsey is hesitant because she doesn't want them to hire her just because she's a woman. Rutabaga tells her Justin wouldn't worry about whether they are hiring him because he's a man, he'd just take the job for the money. He continues saying it's different because it's a superhero movie with a twist. Kelsey asks if they want her to pitch the twist, and he explains the twist is that the hero is a woman. Rutabaga tells them they want to hear her take, by which he means as a woman, Kelsey is supposed to tell them their take.
Kelsey goes to the meeting at the studio. She is told that now that the studio has run out of male characters, they want to do a movie about the character Fireflame. Kelsey tells them she thinks that's edgy. She is told they think Fireflame can relate to today's "Yas Queen culture." Kelsey says she got a real "Yas Queen" vibe from the character. She goes on to elaborate Fireflame saves the day and everyone loves her. They then thank Kelsey for her time and telling her they are going to hear a lot of takes, but they feel she has a special connection to the material. Kelsey then leaves the meeting.
Paige and Maximillian find their way to an AA meeting. Maximillian tells Paige he wants a drink. Paige reminds him to stay focused on their mission, as there was another person with Sarah Lynn who wasn't mentioned in the police report. If Sarah Lynn came to this same location for AA meetings, someone might have seen her. They interview people coming out of the building and make a list of celebrities who have attended meetings there.
Finally, Bird Man confesses he saw Sarah Lynn a month before she died and she was clearly using. They ask him if she said anything and he says she didn't but her friend did. They press him on who this friend was, but he says he can't remember, but the man told the people at the AA meeting a story about when he went to New Mexico and met a mother and daughter and had sex with one of them but he can't remember which one the man had sex with. The girl's name was Penny Carson and the narrator of the story was weirdly proud of it. The bird man told the reporters that the narrator told the people at the meeting they could look her up, "Penny Carson" was her real name, and he wondered why the narrator wanted them to look her up. The reporters then decide to go to New Mexico.
At the studio, Kelsey bursts in just as another director is being interviewed. She tells the interviewers that the movie they want is just not realistic. The other woman being interviewed says the backstory is realistic and logical. Kelsey goes on to tell them they are approaching this all wrong. The storyline of the character saving the world and everyone loving her would make sense if she was a man. Kelsey says it's never worked like that for her. She is then told it isn't about her.
Kelsey explains the rules are different for women. If a woman saves the day, nobody loves her. She then goes on to say people take her for granted, or become resentful towards her, or try to punish her. Kelsey then says the more powerful a woman is, the more they try to take that power away. Kelsey then tells them if their movie is smart, it'll acknowledge that.
The other director comments that sounds like a bummer. Kelsey says it is a bummer because being a superhero is hard and if it were easy everyone would do it. Kelsey says maybe that would be a bad film but it's real and different. Before she runs off she also adds in her version Fireflame would be gay.
Later that day while filming the dance scene between Gina and her co-star, Gina’s co-star dips her, causing Gina to flashback to a previous incident that was traumatic for her. Gina screams, startling her co-star, who then drops her. Justin calls cut, asking Gina if she was okay. When Gina freaks out, and her co-star gets upset, and Justin tells both of them to calm down. When Gina ultimately decides to go home, Justin tries to convince Gina to stay, saying that they were already behind schedule, and Gina simply tells him it’s not her problem.
Hollyhock, Tawnie, and Trey arrive at the party. Trey and Twanie walk off together and Hollyhock helps herself to a beer. She gets an anxiety attack when she sees people getting drunk and passing out. A man walks up to Hollyhock, explains to her she is having an anxiety attack. He asks her to describe the room around her and she describes objects in the room they are standing in. He then asks her name and she tells him.
He asks for her last name, and she tells him no because they will be here all night if she tells him her very long last name. He asks if she feels calmer, and she admits she does feel better. He explains he used a grounding technique his psychiatrist taught him to help her. He then admits he added the telling her name part only because he wanted to learn her name. The man finally introduces himself as Peter. He suggests they go outside for fresh air and Hollyhock agrees.
The reporters arrive in New Mexico. Paige is talking from a phone booth telling her fiance to postpone the wedding a little while longer, as their story has led them to New Mexico. She tells him she hasn't sorted out when they'll return.
The following afternoon, Justin is having lunch with Kelsey. Kelsey informs Justin that she’s directing the new movie Fireflame much to his excitement. Kelsey goes on to tell Justin that he needs an actress that is tough but vulnerable and asks Justin what he thinks of Gina Cazador. Justin tells Kelsey that Gina is very versatile and very talented, but tells Kelsey he ultimately can’t recommend working with her, especially if she has to do a lot of stunts. Justin tells Kelsey that Gina is difficult saying that he doesn’t know what happened as when he worked with her a few years ago she was great. Justin then recommends Courtney Portnoy to Kelsey instead, saying he has heard nothing but good things.
Peter and Hollyhock sit on the fire escape. Hollyhock takes a sip of her beer but coughs it out. Peter tells her it's supposed to taste better over time. He then tells her he didn't actually drink all throughout college, because of some things that happened in high school. He then starts telling her the story of a girl in his town. He hesitates, saying it's a long story. Hollyhock insists she wants to hear it.
Peter starts narrating the story of a girl from his town who had a man living in her house. Hollyhock asks if the girl had more than one dad and Peter explains there was just one dad and then this other guy. Hollyhock comments that's weird. Peter explains the girl was best friends with his girlfriend and that they all went to prom together: him, his girlfriend, the other girl, and the guy living with her. Hollyhock expresses disbelief that the man went to prom with them. Peter then tells her the man bought them bourbon and practically forced them to drink it. He then tells Hollyhock his girlfriend got alcohol poisoning and he just ditched them at the ER.
Hollyhock asks if Peter's girlfriend was okay. He tells her it was scary at the moment it was happening and his girlfriend Maddy had her stomach pumped and she survived. Peter also tells her himself, the other girl, and Maddy are all fine now. Peter then says it wasn't anyone else's fault just some bad guy's fault. Hollyhock agrees with this. Peter then tells her the craziest part of all, the guy is famous and he's actually a movie star.
The episode ends with Hollyhock questioning who the famous person was by saying "Who is he?" Peter is very hesitant to tell her. Hollyhock asks again, "Who is he?" the screen cuts and goes to black before Peter says anything.
- None of the five main characters appear or are mentioned by name in this episode (outside of the title sequence).
- Even though BoJack isn't seen or mentioned by name it is heavily implied he is being referenced by other characters.
- This is the third of three episodes in which BoJack Horseman does not appear physically at all:
- The title of this episode is a reference to the song of the same name by The Who.
- The title is also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that neither BoJack (the eponymous "he") nor any of the other central characters feature in the episode.
- The fact that Hollyhock says "Who is he?" twice at the end of the episode is a clever wordplay because she was talking to Peter Pocket who formerly went by "Pete Repeat" in Escape from L.A. when he was a teenager, hence her saying it twice.
- This is the sixth episode where the word fuck is used:
- The writers have a rule which is that this word can be used only once per season, and only when a character's relationship with BoJack, is permanently ruined. However, this season seems to break the rule, for the first time in the show's history. This time, it is said by Gina's co-star, although it is said exactly like how Gina said it to BoJack in Season 5.
- When Paige Sinclair and Maximillian Banks ask the AA members to reveal what celebrities they've seen at the meetings, one of the AA members mentions having seen "the IKEA monkey," referencing a viral news story from December 2012 about a real monkey that was seen walking around an IKEA store wearing a winter coat.
- It is revealed by this point in the series, it's been two years since Character Actress Margo Martindale washed up on the island.
- Based on their fast and witty repartee, outdated speech and technology, and Paige's perpetually-delayed marriage situation, she and Banks appear to be a pastiche of the screwball comedy genre of films from the 1930s and 1940s.
- In particular they seem to be inspired by the 1940 film His Girl Friday.
- The beer Hollyhock, Peter, and other partygoers are drinking, Blue Stripe is a combination of two well known real-life brands; the Jamaican lager Red Stripe, and the American wheat ale Blue Moon.
- This is the first series appearance of Paige Sinclair and Maximillian Banks.
- This is the last series appearance of Gina, Rutabaga, and Kelsey.
- When BoJack falls into the pool, Diane's hair seems to have grown longer and the shaved undercut has grown back out, a new jacket, and has visibly gained weight from her antidepressants, as seen at the end of the previous episode.
- Mr. Peanutbutter's facial expression has been reverted to the one used in previous seasons.