S01E05: We’ve known all along that Wilfred was a dark show. After all, the show opened with Ryan revising his suicide note. But I had no idea that the show could and would and gleefully go THIS dark. We had jokes about abortion, Haitian earthquakes, pill popping, salad tossing, dog farts, and suicide. And that was on top of the main story involving elderly euthanasia.
And you know what? I loved it.
"Seek respect mainly from thyself, for it comes first from within." - Steven H. Coogler
So to start things off, Ryan is having a pleasant Monday dinner with Jenna. Only it’s Thursday. Ryan cleverly manages to save himself but lo and behold, in walks the catalyst for the episode, Charles Esten -- the guy who used to be on Whose Line is it Anyway and the Stamford branch manager on The Office. He’s basically the great white Oprah and Ryan feels compelled to make his life better. So he goes off to volunteer at a Hospice because that’s what makes a person feel better -- dying old folks who have nothing better to do than remind you that no matter what you do with your life if you end up lasting this long your body basically fails on you and death is inescapable and we’re all just going to die! Again, this show is really cheery.
Then enters Rashida Jones (playing another nurse, but this one is different! She has glasses! Also, a really dark demeanour. She should do this more often.) and that’s when things get dark. She doesn’t believe Ryan will stick around, but soon enough Wilfred shakes things up when he visits an old lady who happens to die while he’s there. Ryan doesn’t have the heart to tell the suddenly happy Rashida Jones that Wilfred was there to sleep after getting baked on the roof. She makes the connection that Wilfred can sense when people are about to die and suddenly Wilfred and Ryan are heroes. Which is just what Ryan wanted.
"These people are ready to die. Hope is the last thing they need." - Lisa
"Nah, a coffin is the last thing they need. Up top." - Wilfred
Except Wilfred grows a God complex and might have actually killed the lady. He starts making demands (cheese, which then leads to fart noises. Cheese and fart noises: my bread and water) and Jenna takes notice. She wants to do a profile on them for the news and it turns out that’s what Jenna does. Good to know. Ryan has doubts, but Wilfred won’t let that stop him. He’s got some old people to send to heaven. Unfortunately, a Haitian nurse (who’s been kind of a bitch since that whole earthquake thing) sees through Wilfred and about ruins their plans. But she conveniently commits suicide. And that’s a better story for Jenna and Ryan is let off the hook. So then he and Wilfred go and get baked where he kinda but not really and almost sort of admits to killing that old lady. But not really. But he did. Not do it.
While I found this episode a vast improvement over last week’s, there were a few holdups for me. The ending felt a little too coincidental for me. Up until that I was baffled at how they were going to get out of this situation because murder is a very tricky thing to just sweep under the rug. But then the nurse falls to the ground. It seemed a little too unnatural for my tastes but since the main story involved killing old people and that’s such a risk to take, I’ll overlook the ending. Which goes to show, the bigger risks you take the more I’ll allow you to get away with.
Other things that worked for me? Rashida Jones in glasses, though I might have said that before. Wilfred’s comment about Labs was hilarious too. As noted at the AV Club, I really liked the depth they gave Jenna at the end. She’s not some do-gooder any more. She’s willing to bring down a hospice for a story. Also, she’s still really cute. And the rain scene on top of the roof was one of my favorite scenes of the show so far. That was absolutely brilliant. Could Wilfred actually be a god? Nope, just a coincidence. Bloody brilliant.