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Introduction

The Old Sugarman Place is the 2nd episode of Season 4 of Netflix original series BoJack Horseman, and the 38th episode overall.

Synopsis

BoJack goes off the grid and winds up at his grandparents' dilapidated home in Michigan where he reflects on his family legacy and befriends another soul haunted by the past.

Plot

Continuing from the last scene of That Went Well, BoJack is about to join the horse runners only to be interrupted by a call from Diane. He hesitates to reply, and it goes to his voicemail.

There is a montage of BoJack driving across the country to Harper's Landing, Michigan and arrives at his old grandparents' summer home which looks that it hasn't been used in a long time.

It then cuts to 1944 where a young Beatrice is helping her mother, Honey, serve breakfast to her father Joseph. Her mother playfully warns her to not eat any of her father's breakfast.

While Beatrice eventually becomes an abusive and bitter woman—here she is shown as a sweet happy little girl. Her mother is shown to be a sassy, spirited woman. Joseph wonders where Crackerjack, Beatrice's older brother, is because the photographer is ready to take their family portrait, and he has to go back to Indianapolis for work.

Honey wishes he could ration work since the government is now rationing sugar. Joseph agrees, but he says only he can make the numbers add up, and compliment his secretary on her tight sweaters. Honey admits they do appreciate the sacrifices he makes for them.

4x02 - Warm molasses

The Sugarman Family in the summer of 1944

Crackerjack then arrives with his friend Sal. They are both wearing their soldier uniforms and Crackerjack is talking about how great it will be to fight Nazis. Joseph gives Sal some money to get a freezy pop when he leaves. Beatrice complains that she wants one too.

Honey tells her that ice cream is a boys' food, and instead, she could suck on a sugar-coated lemon wedge—because that's a good healthy girls' snack.

Honey then joins her son at the piano and they begin to sing their favorite song, I Will Always Think of You.

However, Joseph even interrupts them, saying time's arrow neither stands still not reverses, it merely marches forward. Honey jokes about how she didn't know arrows had legs. Joseph puts his arms around her and wonders how someone with a sweet face could end up with a smart mouth.

Honey says she doesn't know, but she says she has half a mind to kiss him with her smart mouth, and before they do, Joseph says, “Well that half you can keep!” Honey then offers to giver Crackerjack his old baby blanket, “Blinky," but Crackerjack decides to give it to Beatrice for safe keeping. The photographer tells the family, ”this is for prosperity, so don’t forget to look faraway sad!” They do, and he takes their photo.

4x02 - Look far away, sad

Sugarman family

Cutting back to the present, the Sugarman family photo is seen above the fireplace. BoJack finds that the plumbing has gone bad, and goes to a local hardware store to get the proper parts while trying to keep a low profile.

Two hardware store workers named Tamara and Tamera ask him if he's BoJack and the fact that he brought a dead Sarah Lynn to the hospital—but BoJack tries to deny it. BoJack tries to fix up the place, but it's shoddy at best. He ends up doing even more damage.

He goes outside, and a dragonfly named Eddie, who lives next door, says if it was up to him the house would have been torn down years ago—he tells BoJack to fix his door. BoJack goes inside and tries to fix the bathroom sink, but his attempts fail and he ends up falling through the floor.

Another flashback shows the Sugarman family leaving the summer home for the year. Beatrice tries to lift a heavy suitcase, but Honey, who is smoking a cigarette—tells her not to because she'll rupture her uterus. Beatrice says she's sad to leave the summer home, and her father assured her it'll always be there, "like polio and blackface."

BoJack goes outside to have a cigarette. Eddie demands that BoJack put his door back on before winter, or he'll freeze to death. BoJack stubbornly refuses and tells Eddie to mind his own business.

Indeed, during the winter, BoJack starts freezing to death, while watching a mini-series about Sarah Lynn, where he is played by Paul Giamatti.

Another flashback shows the Sugarman family coming back to the summer home during the winter as a frantic Honey tries to look for Crackerjack's blanket—with the reveal that he was shot and killed in the war. Honey believes she has failed her son—Joseph tries to reassure her that's just how war is, and that if anyone is to blame it's the Jews for peeving off Hitler so bad.

Beatrice returns from upstairs with Crackerjack's blanket, saying she kept it in the closet for safe keeping. This flashback happens simultaneously with the present, as BoJack gets another call from Diane, but he ignores it. Joseph says they should leave, because there's only ghosts there in the winter. The flashback ends, and BoJack lays down to sleep.

The next morning, BoJack finds that Eddie fixed the door for him, and BoJack is angered and breaks the door again. Eddie repairs the door again, and goes inside and sees BoJack's shoddy attempts at repairing. BoJack reluctantly allows him to help out with the repairs. While fixing up the house, BoJack asks Eddie how come he doesn't go away during the winter, with Eddie simply stating "I don't fly."

Eddie later asks BoJack if he's related to Joseph Sugarman. BoJack says he was his grandfather, and that he used to come here in the summers as a kid. Eddie says the house hasn't been used in twenty-five years, except for the termites. BoJack then says he's the last of his line, once his mother dies and he dies that’ll be the end of his family, which he thinks is for the best.

Eventually, by summertime, they finally finish fixing. While BoJack goes inside to look around, another flashback with the Sugarman Family happens. Honey is still depressed over Crackerjack's death, saying it's the first summer they'll spend without him. Joseph tries to cheer her up by referencing her time's arrow joke. However, Honey goes to the piano and starts crying after playing a few notes.

Joseph says he's love to stay, but as a modern American man, he is woefully unprepared to handle a woman's emotions. He was never taught, and he will not learn. He then runs out the door and drives away, as Honey begins crying again.

BoJack notices from a photograph that the weather vane on the roof is missing. Eddie remembers that he saw it on top of a local barn and the two head out there. Another flashback shows Honey and Beatrice on the front porch as fireworks go off in the distance to celebrate the end of the war. Honey decides they should be celebrating, and that she's got half a mind to paint the town redder than the banks of Normandy. She and Beatrice he'd to the same barn BoJack and Eddie are in the present, where the end of war celebration is happening.

HoneyEddieDuet4x02

Honey and Eddie singing “I Will Always Think Of You” in different periods of time

As Eddie plays the piano as a distraction while BoJack gets the weather vane, the superimposed flashback shows Honey singing the same song. Afterwards, Honey breaks down, drinking a whole pitcher of alcohol. She kisses one of Crackerjack's war friends, after pleading him to tell her what happened when Crackerjack was shot—then starts crying hysterically.

This again happens simultaneously juxtaposed with the present, as Eddie is crying after BoJack returns with the weather vane. The crab owners of the barn notice and BoJack fights him off. He and Eddie escape as Honey in the flashback is asked to leave.

Honey tells Beatrice to drive them home, as BoJack and Eddie drive with the weather vane. BoJack and Eddie drive alongside Honey and Beatrice, while the latter end up crashing into a gas station shed due to Honey telling Beatrice to go faster because she wants to feel alive, and slamming on the gas pedal to do so.

The weather vane is fixed, and BoJack, trying to thank Eddie, gets him to fly again. Eddie, however, is furious over it. He reveals the reason he didn't want to fly anymore is that he caused his wife's death by flying too high and she got sucked into a jet engine on their wedding night. Eddie decides to do the same to BoJack, but BoJack's pushes him off—which causes them to fall into the lake. BoJack pulls an unconscious Eddie out of the lake, and after he wakes up he starts crying and says he doesn't want to live.

Then there is another flashback to Honey and Beatrice, who are now bloody and broken from the car crash. Joseph is furious over Honey's actions and behavior, saying she could have killed Beatrice—asking how he's supposed to sell sugar and compliment his secretary when she's having fits of hysteria. Honey says she doesn't know how to feel better, she can't stop thinking about Crackerjack. She can't be with people and she can't be alone. She tearfully begs her husband to fix her.

The flashback ends as BoJack enters the house and decides to call Diane and apologies to her for everything. Diane tries to convince BoJack to come home, but BoJack believes that there is nothing for him there anymore though he does admit he misses her.

There is another flashback to the next morning with Beatrice out on the back porch, and her father comes out and tells her mother is OK, she just let her "womanly emotions" get the better of her. He says a broken heart cannot be fixed but the brain can, Honey is a brand new woman and she'll like to meet her.

Beatrice goes to her mother, who is sitting at the piano, but it seems she cannot remember how to play. It is revealed Honey was lobotomized, and it is shown she is now a dazed and empty shell of her former self, along with having a large scar on her forehead, much to the horror of Beatrice, who begins crying in her mother's lap.

The now dazed and monotone Honey says she's better now and asks Beatrice to never love someone the same way she loved Crackerjack, as love does terrible things to a person, and a tearful Beatrice promises. Honey says, “Why I have half a mind...!," but cannot finish the sentence.

In the present, BoJack calls in a demolition crew to tear down the house. When Eddie asks what's going on, BoJack tells him that he has decided to stop wallowing in the past and move forward in life. As the house is torn down—a flashback is seen of young Beatrice going outside to play, BoJack drives back to Hollywoo.

Cast

Actor Character
Will Arnett ... BoJack Horseman
Amy Sedaris ... Princess Carolyn (absent)
Alison Brie ... Diane Nguyen
Paul F. Tompkins ... Mr. Peanutbutter (absent)
Aaron Paul ... Todd Chavez (absent)
Colman Domingo ... Eddie
Matthew Broderick ... Joseph Sugarman
Jane Krakowski ... Honey Sugarman
Wendie Malick ... Young Beatrice
Paul Giamatti ... TV BoJack
Grace Parra ... Tamara
Gabourey Sidibe ... Tamera

Trivia

  • Princess Carolyn, Mr. Peanutbutter, and Todd do not appear in this episode.
  • BoJack's imaginary daughter from Downer Ending was named Harper, the same name as the town where his family's cottage is located, Harper's Landing.
  • According to the sugar cube label, the “family” currently owning Sugarman Sugar is the Fukasaka Family of International Conglomerates.
  • The Sugarman summer home has wallpaper with horseshoe and acorn design. Background artist Kelly Wine states she chose this design because acorns are poisonous to horses, so it foreshadows the doom and tragedy that would eventually bestow the Sugarman Family within the lake house.[1]
  • Destruction of the Sugarman summer house continues over the ending theme song.
  • This is the first appearance of BoJack's maternal grandparents, Joseph and Honey, and uncle Crackerjack.
    • This is also the first time we’ve seen Beatrice's childhood.
    • It is revealed Beatrice's older brother, Crackerjack, was shot and killed while fighting in World War II. This led to their mother, Honey, becoming depressed and emotionally unstable, which led to her getting lobotomized and telling Beatrice to never love anyone as much as she loves her son.
    • This gives some context on how Beatrice eventually became such a miserable and abusive woman and mother to BoJack.
  • I Will Always Think of You is an original song written for the show.
  • Michelle Branch's cover of the band America's A Horse With No Name plays over the montage of BoJack driving to Michigan.
  • The voice actors who play Beatrice's family (Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, and Lin Manuel Miranda) are all Tony Award winners.
  • In the diner BoJack stops at on the way to Michigan, one of the pies in the window at the counter is a cow pie.
    • In the same scene, BoJack uses a Sugarman's Sugar Sugarcube, and his mother as a child is on the wrapper
Sugarman's Sugar wrapper

Sugarman Sugarcube wrapper

  • The newspaper Joseph is reading during breakfast reads “Gal Shows Gams: Crowd Goes Wild” on the front page.

Gallery

References

  1. http://kellywinebackgrounds.tumblr.com/post/165442073292/here-is-a-fuller-view-of-the-background-i-designed
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