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Introduction

The Showstopper is the eleventh episode of Season 5 of BoJack Horseman, and the 59th episode overall. It premiered with the rest of Season 5 on September 14, 2018.

Synopsis

Philbert is a hit, and filming begins on Season 2. But as BoJack spirals deeper into addiction, he loses his grip on reality.

Plot

The episode begins with a recap of Season One of Philbert which ended with the reveal that Philbert shot Fritz after he strangled the former's wife, and as Philbert revealed this to Sassy the nuclear bombs were dropped on the city.

BoJack and Gina are now filming Season Two of Philbert, which begins with Philbert, now living in a post-apocalyptic city six months after the bombs dropped.

He is wondering as to why Sassy hasn't turned him into the chief for killing Fritz. He believes it's because she likes him.

BoJack and Gina are driving through Los Angeles. BoJack (as a voice-over) says it's been two months since Philbert came out, and it's a huge hit.

He explains its good for him, but even better for Gina, who is getting a lot of positive press and attention. Gina tells BoJack she can't believe this is the first show that's actually made her a star. BoJack continues to narrate that he's really happy for Gina, but he feels like something isn't right—as he is seen popping a few painkillers. This shows his addiction has done anything but wane. He very briefly flashes to the empty Philbert set before returning to his car.

Philbert picks up the landline phone in his bedroom, where he gets the news that the police chief was murdered. When Sassy asks him why he still has a landline, he says it was his wife's, and Fritz is seen strangling her. He tells Sassy to get dressed so they can get to the bottom of this because this times it's "personnel."

Flip yells cut. BoJack asks if he's supposed to say "personal," but Flip says that's cliched and clarifies that it's "personnel," not "personal." He also tells Mr. Peanutbutter his strangling doesn't look real enough.

BoJack asks Gina if the new scripts feel weird to her. She agrees because Diane left and Flip's writing leaves a lot to be desired. BoJack says he feels like the new storyline was taken from his own life. The police chief died, and so did BoJack's old boss Herb Kazzaz.

Gina doesn't think they would write something from his personal life into the show, but BoJack says Diane would. Gina points out Diane isn't on the show anymore and asks what wrong with him. BoJack says he's going to get to the bottom of this.

BoJack asks Flip where he gets his ideas from, questioning if he makes them up or gets them from other people. Flip tells BoJack the popsicle guys signed a release form, which confuses BoJack.

BoJack sits in his trailer and ponders over what Flip is hiding. Princess Carolyn enters and asks BoJack if he's okay because he's in the wrong trailer. She warns him to keep it together and not ruin it like he always does.

She shows concern when BoJack takes more of his painkillers, and BoJack bitterly tells her he needs them ever since he fell off a building due to her negligence of being away from set that day, and sarcastically tells her she'll be a great mom.

She tells him to take the night off, because he's being a jerk, and that when he returns he better be courteous and have his shit together. He agrees and apologizes for the mom comment, but she just angrily tells him to get some sleep.

Later, BoJack is laying in bed, next to Gina, but can't sleep. He tells Gina he's suspicious of Flip, and now Princess Carolyn. He pales to the bathroom and takes more pills he had hidden in a shaving cream can.

The imagery around him becomes disoriented, and the light goes dark. He tries to turn them back on, but the bathroom wall becomes a set-piece as BoJack is now in the empty Philbert set. He sees a golden staircase leading up to the light.

He goes back to reality when Gina enters. She tells him she thinks he feels weird because he's bringing his character home with him, it's happened to her a few times. BoJack quickly hides his pills and says she's probably right.

The next day, BoJack's addiction is shown to keep growing, as he has pills hidden everywhere, and he's now taking bags full of them at a time. After taking a very large does, he becomes a little disoriented and hears music with a woman singing backward. Just then, someone slips a note under BoJack's door. It says, in cutout letters from magazines, to his shock, "You did a bad thing and I'm going to tell." A voice-over of BoJack says "The BoJack mysteries will continue after this."

An ad featuring Todd, at the desk of his office, appears. He tells the audience he hopes they're enjoying Philbert, but begins to freak out because he was supposed to sell ads for the show and didn't. He says that he needs to get thirty million dollars worth of ads, so if anyone out there wants to he's willing to say yes to anything.

BoJack, to himself, says that he has to find out to sent the letter, for Gina's sake or else it could ruin the show.

Philbert and Sassy pull up outside of the coroner's house. Philbert says she used to be a close friend.

BoJack goes to Diane's apartment and tells her that he knows she's the one who slipped the note under his door. She tells him she didn't and asked who else he pissed off that week.

BoJack's voice-over says she's right, and Philbert wonders why someone would hurt the chief because of it. Philbert and Sassy find that the coroner has been strangled to death. Sassy tells him they need to put together a list of suspects.

BoJack has done the same at his home, wondering who else has it out for him. He scrolls through his contacts on his phone and finds Charlotte. He quickly decides calling her is a bad idea, but he calls anyway. To his relief, her husband, Kyle picks up.

BoJack speaks with a fake voice, and tells Kyle he's doing a survey for his cable company. BoJack asks him about his marriage and daughter's sexual life, and the possibility if she was scarred by an older man she trusted and wants to reveal the bad thing he did before he hangs up.

Philbert hangs up and tells Sassy they have no lead. Sassy says there has to be something they're not seeing, and they have to stop them. BoJack wonders who else could have sent the note. He's having one of the production assistants help him compile a list. He realizes he has to get to set, but the assistant tells him they are on set.

He walks through the set, where he's once again transported to the empty set and golden staircase, he saw earlier. He rubs his eyes and he's back in reality. He tries to eavesdrop on Flip and Princess Carolyn but Mr. Peanutbutter arrives. He tells Mr. Peanutbutter he thinks someone is hiding something. Mr. Peanutbutter thinks he knows about something between him and Diane, but BoJack doesn't.

At night, BoJack is in bed with Gina. He tells her the whole thing is rotten. In reality, he's actually on the Philbert set. Flip tells BoJack to stop calling her "Gina," as the character's name is Sassy. After Sassy goes to bed, the real Fritz shows up and cocks his gun at Philbert, and then threatens to shoot Sassy. Philbert uses his landline phone to hit Fritz in the face. Fritz escapes by jumping out the window. Sassy wakes up, and Philbert tells her the pieces are starting to fit together.

BoJack realizes that all his suspects: Flip, Princess Carolyn, Diane, and Mr. Peanutbutter, revolve around the show—developing the conspiracy theory the whole show was created to reveal his secrets. BoJack tells the production assistant to write all this down. She tells him she actually came to take him to set, which BoJack thought he was on.

On set, Gina asks him what going on. BoJack says out loud to himself, that he can't tell her the truth, she's safer not knowing. He then comes to the strange realization that Todd is behind this. He drives away, and as he does he swallows another bottle of pills.

He barges into Todd's office and goes off on a tangent as Todd tries to say it wasn't him. Todd does end up revealing that he gave a pharmaceutical the rights to use Philbert characters to sell their products. BoJack accidentally knocks over multiple cardboard cutouts made for this, and Henry Fondle turns on, with a Fritz cutout stuck to the front of him. BoJack thinks "Fritz" is going to shoot him.

As he tries to chase the robot, Todd and the walls around BoJack become set pieces, and fall down around him, leaving him in an empty set.

The lights go out and BoJack is in pitch blackness. Gina, wearing a tuxedo jacket, fedora, stockings, and heels, approaches him. BoJack tells her someone is trying to take him and the showdown.

Gina says he doesn't want to fix anything, because that would be boring. BoJack then sees caricatures of everyone in his life he thinks he's hurt in some way. She then performs a song and dance number called Don't Stop Dancing Till The Curtains Fall, taking BoJack through his past bad deeds, including the settings from his life, which are all set pieces, and telling him his grief and demons will consume him, as the song suggests.

In the grand finale, she dances on top of a glowing sign of his name while Popsicle stick dancers dance around it. The BoJack balloon that was let loose at the Philbert premiere then deflates and hits BoJack, waking him up from his dream.

Philbert gets out of bed, and it transitions to daytime with him standing on his balcony. Sassy tells him she's made progress on the case, it's about Fritz, and she points her gun at him.

BoJack is standing on the balcony when Gina walks out. She shows him the stash of painkillers she found and confronts him about it, asking how many he takes a day. BoJack demands that he needs them, and tries to take them back.

Philbert tells Sassy he isn't the bad guy, and Fritz is back. Sassy says she went through the police records, and no one named Fritz was in them nor was any record of him having a partner. She tells Philbert she learned he killed his wife and everyone else because they knew his secrets. Philbert throws a ball at Sassy, causing her to lose her grip on her gun, and then he chases her.

BoJack chases Gina for his painkillers, insisting he needs them. He tells her that she doesn't understand and that someone is trying to blackmail him. He shows her the note but she reveals that everyone got a copy of that note because it's part of the show.

Sassy tells Philbert he sent the note to himself because he couldn't handle the grief.

BoJack says he doesn't remember filming that scene, and Gina retorts back it's because he's been high. She angrily tells BoJack he's a mess and it's going to ruin her show. This sets BoJack off, as he sarcastically apologizes for his debilitating drug problem ruining her show. He demands she give him his pills back.

Sassy tells Philbert he needs to turn himself in because she knows there's a good man in him. Philbert says that man is dead as he slaps Sassy.

BoJack demands to Gina to give him his pills as he punches a hole in the wall. Gina says he's out of control.

Philbert lunges for Sassy.

The bag of pills is shown being dropped.

Sassy tries to fight off Philbert, but he pins her down and begins violently strangling her. Flip yells cut, and tells Mr. Peanutbutter that's what real strangling looks like.

Gina begins to storm out, and tells BoJack to stay away from her, and get help, or not, because she doesn't care anymore. She leaves, and BoJack swallows a few more pills.

On set, BoJack is still strangling Gina, even though the scene is over. Princess Carolyn reminds him of this. Mr. Peanutbutter tells Flip he thinks he's actually strangling her. Flip tells the cameraman to turn the camera back on.

As Gina is gasping for breath, Mr. Peanutbutter intervenes. He sternly tells BoJack "OK, that's enough." Mr. Peanutbutter and a few crew members then pull BoJack off of her. Gina's eyes are watery and bloodshot, and she has dark red bruises around her neck. As BoJack is struggling against the crew members, Gina says "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Thus ending their relationship.

BoJack is sent back to the golden staircase again. This time, he goes up them, heading towards the light. After he enters the light, he is in a pale green/blue space, and the stairs are now two dimensional and crudely drawn. BoJack looks up, and he sees the big balloon of him floating above and staring back at him.

Cast

Actor Character
Will Arnett ... BoJack Horseman
Amy Sedaris ... Princess Carolyn
Alison Brie ... Diane Nguyen
Paul F. Tompkins ... Mr. Peanutbutter
Aaron Paul ... Todd Chavez
Stephanie Beatriz ... Gina Cazador
Rami Malek ... Flip McVicker

Trivia

  • For the first five seasons, the 11th episode of the season is very significant and is usually very bad for BoJack. In this episode, BoJack strangles Gina Cazador, his co-star on Philbert in a drug-induced rage, which leaves her cutting all ties with him.
    • In Downer Ending, BoJack goes on a frenzy trying to get closure from Diane, which end up ruining their relationship temporarily
    • In Escape from L.A. BoJack reconnects with his old friend Charlotte in Tesuque, New Mexico and he becomes very close to her and the rest of the Carsons over the two months BoJack lives there. But in the end, BoJack kisses Charlotte, he tries to elope with her but she pushes him away telling him to leave. He leaves to his boat, and Penny follows him. Charlotte sees a glowing balloon floating and follows it and goes onto the boat, she opens the door to BoJack's room and sees Penny is about to sleep with BoJack. Charlotte says "If you don't get off my driveway in thirty minutes I will fucking kill you [BoJack]".
    • In That's Too Much, Man! BoJack and Sarah Lynn go on a month-long bender trying to make "amends" for people they hurt. They visit Princess Carolyn, Ana Spanakopita, Diane, Mr. Peanutbutter, and Penny before going to Sarah Lynn's favorite place, Griffith Park Observatory, where they stare into the planetarium sky as Sarah Lynn lies on BoJack's shoulders, she overdoses on BoJack's heroin and dies.
      • Although it is worth noting that in Xerox of a Xerox, it is revealed by Biscuits Braxby that Sarah Lynn did not actually die resting her head on BoJack's shoulder that night, but due to BoJack waiting seventeen minutes to call for medical help, she died at the hospital.
    • In Time's Arrow, it is the first significant episode that is not centered around BoJack, instead, it is centered around Beatrice Horseman, and we learn about her troubled childhood, her pressurized debutante ball, and how she met Butterscotch Horseman and BoJack's childhood. In this episode, the existence of Henrietta Platchkey is revealed, who was temporarily the Horseman's housemaid until she was fired for being pregnant with Butterscotches child (and gives birth to Hollyhock). Due to her dementia, she calls BoJack "Henrietta" until she finally recognizes him in the same episode.
  • The lyrics of the woman's vocals being played backward are "Never-ending show, my friend.," which are from the song Gina sings later in the episode during BoJack's painkiller-induced drug trip.
  • Gina becomes the fifth character to say the word "fuck" to BoJack, which happens once a season and whenever he irrevocably destroys a relationship (excluding Season 4), after he nearly strangles her to death while high on pills.
    • She is the fifth character overall to say "fuck" in the series.
    • This is the second time "fuck" is said in the penultimate episode of a season, the first being Escape from L.A..
  • Gina's outfit during Don't Stop Dancing Till The Curtains Fall is Judy Garland's outfit from the musical number Get Happy from the movie musical Summer Stock.
    • During the time of shooting Garland herself was struggling with personal issues and addictions to prescription medication.

 Intro Differences

  • The intro is replaced with an in-universe intro for Philbert.
    • This could be due to BoJack's life merging with Philbert's life, as many of the events in Philbert happen to BoJack
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