Ryan is trying to make some positive changes in his life in this week’s episode of Wilfred, and the obnoxious man-dog Wilfred is having none of it. Not only that, but he will use Ryan’s self-doubt to keep him just where he wants him.
It starts innocently enough, with Ryan cleaning out his basement fun room and laying off the pot. Wilfred becomes alarmed, attacks the vacuum cleaner (typical behavior for him) and starts to give Ryan a hard time about his new “lifestyle” experiment.
When Wilfred hears that Ryan is thinking about getting a job, he decides to take steps to keep Ryan his old slacker, pot-smoking self.
Ryan keeps noticing some strange guy everywhere he goes, and he’s getting a weird vibe from him. When he takes Wilfred to the shoe store, which Wilfred treats like a buffet, the stranger is there and he confronts Ryan, calling himself Bruce. He tells Ryan he sees Wilfred too, and that Wilfred ruined his life.
Trying to shake off the weirdness, and in keeping with feeling better about himself, Ryan goes online and gets a date. Wilfred consequently tries to sabotage him by setting him up with the wrong girl, and then putting a faulty condom in his wallet.
Meanwhile Bruce keeps popping up in the strangest places and telling wild stories about how Wilfred is trying to ruin Ryan’s life too, and Ryan is finding himself more and more torn between believing Bruce and suspecting Wilfred doesn’t have his best interests at heart, and trusting Wilfred.
Torn by doubt, the episode ends in a showdown between the three. Ryan takes Wilfred out to a pot field and tries to leave him there, deciding he’s had enough. When Wilfred catches on, Bruce pops out of the bushes with a gun. A struggle ensues, and Ryan grabs the gun.
As Bruce wrestles with Wilfred, and picks a rock to finish him off, Ryan has to make a decision about which one to shoot. He chooses to shoot Bruce, and when Bruce rolls off Wilfred, Wilfred bounds up and says he won.
Wondering what the heck just happened, Ryan realizes Wilfred has taken the gun. Wilfred shoots Ryan, and Ryan notices that the gun is loaded with blanks. Of course Bruce pops up and comes over, and says something to Wilfred about it being “well played”.
Though Ryan doesn’t really understand what is going on, Wilfred explains that they both won because Ryan chose faith over doubt. Ryan’s faith in Wilfred, proved by his decision to shoot Bruce, is what made them both winners.
We ask the usual questions in this episode but in spades; is Wilfred really trying to help Ryan by constantly setting him up and making trouble for him? Or is Wilfred really just trying to ruin Ryan’s life and keep in in his power?
This episode was one of the weaker episodes so far. Perhaps if Bruce had been legitimate and Ryan had really discovered something sinister about Wilfred it might have been more interesting. As it is, it still leaves everything in this fugue state where Wilfred is a slightly suspicious character that definitely has Ryan under his thumb.
Jason Gann never disappoints as the crude obnoxious man-dog, and Elijah Wood is always on point as the sweet every guy. The special guest star this week was Dwight Yoakam, playing the crazed Bruce. Yoakam does crazy surprisingly well.
In the last few weeks we’ve seen some great guest stars. Mary Steenburgen played Ryan’s crazy, institutionalized mother in the episode ‘Compassion’. She was wonderful as the open, slightly quirky free-thinker, who we discovered sees her cat as a talking woman dressed in a cat suit. Hmmmm…
In last week’s episode, which saw Ryan dealing with isolation and being disliked by his neighbors because of his hermetic lifestyle, both Eric Stoltz and Peter Stormare guest starred. Stoltz played a suspicious neighbor hosting a block party; Stormare was hilarious as Trash Face, a homeless man that gives Ryan some choice words of wisdom.
All and all, so far in the season we have seen some subtle clues as to Wilfred’s true nature, but we’re still not sure if he’s entirely good for Ryan. Regardless, he keeps Ryan on his toes and is usually the force that gets the sensitive loser to face some internal issue. And, as always, there are plenty of laughs and bizarre (if crude) black humor.