S1E13: Well, it’s been a whole season for Wilfred and we haven’t really got much to show for it. There were a few moments that eluded to the true nature of Ryan’s “friendship” with Wilfred, but ultimately those instances were dropped and turned into neat, happy little endings with little hope of our questions ever finding any ground or any real answers. But finally, Wilfred changed its tune, and it’s a tune I could really get used to.
“This are big existential questions, best left for boring Russian novelists and teenagers on acid. Real people don’t think about this s**t.” – Wilfred
For no reason at all, that we know of, Wilfred is writing his will while Ryan preps for Jenna’s deposition. He decided to represent Jenna after the court of imaginary Wilfreds made him feel guilty, there’s just one small problem: they don’t have a case. Jenna thinks they do because she has no idea that the candy she ate was a marijuana edible. Then we find out why Ryan was disbarred: he used to tamper with evidence and dig up dirt on his opponents in order to win. He’d put these things in a black file – though I’m wondering what kind of office supply store sells black folders – and he doesn’t do that sort of thing anymore. Wilfred says if Ryan uses the black file just this once, he'll do everything he can to get Jenna to dump Drew.
Then of course we get the bit from the commercial: Wilfred puts on sleazy late night mystery jazz and tells Ryan that the pills he took in the first episode actually worked and that he’s somewhere in the in between. Wilfred says the only way he can move on is if he accomplishes this task for Jenna, then he slips it in: the Lost joke we saw during the preview, which is still pretty funny for us nerds. Then again, it’s pretty ballsy to take such a dig at television royalty in your first season. Bravo, little man-dog series.
This little interlude almost convinces Ryan to do the wrong thing to help Jenna, but it’s the ridicule from the opposing lawyer the next day that makes him pull out the black file which Wilfred is supposed to have obtained without telling Ryan. This gets Jenna full reinstatement, but it turns Ryan into the evil mastermind we’ve seen Wilfred as this whole season.
“If you think I’m just gonna stand by and watch you– BUBBLES!” –Wilfred
Now that Wilfred’s little bouts of evil have finally had an effect on Ryan, Wilfred is trying to undo his convincing. Wilfred does these terrible things, but Ryan is supposed to be a good person (and a person in general). Ryan invites Drew, Jenna, Kristen and Mr. Patel over to celebrate Jenna’s victory, but really he’s using Mr. Patel to drive a wedge between Kristen and her husband so that Jenna will see how awful marriage is and turn down Drew. Oh, and he pushes Drew to pressure Jenna for good measure. It all seems to work out when Jenna dumps Drew and agrees to go to dinner with Ryan.
The best part of this whole exchange -- besides the fact that we’re finally getting some real conflict -- is Wilfred’s bubble obsession. Every time he tries to tell Ryan to stop, Ryan uses bubbles and Wilfred's a slave to that adorable bubble-catching game that dogs always play. I think these little depictions of canine-isms are the one thing that’s kept me hanging on through all the times Wilfred disappointed me this season. Jason Gann has really got it down.
“You’re a good person, Ryan. And you’re a person.” -Wilfred
After Ryan asks Jenna out, they find out the news station’s insurance company insists Jenna takes a drug test. Of course, she immediately accepts because she thinks she’s never taken drugs. Wilfred and Ryan decide they need to get her clean pee, so they invite Kristen over.
After Ryan drove a wedge between Kristen and her husband, she cancels her trip to India and admits she actually had an affair with Arturo. As she’s pouring her heart out, Wilfred notes that Jenna needs clean pee NOW, so Ryan interrupts his sister’s very important conversation to demand her pee for Jenna. He uses the”it’s just this once excuse” yet again and when she refuses, he blackmails her with the information about her affair. It's a switch in Ryan that finally makes use of Elijah Wood's knack for unsuspected sinister behavior. When he misses the chance to make the switch, Ryan yells at Wilfred to do something. Wilfred jumps in front of the insurance rep’s car and Ryan makes the switch, just one small problem: this lands Wilfred in the hospital.
If this wasn’t bad enough, then all Ryan’s work really gets washed down the drain. Jenna hears back about Kristen’s pee thinking it’s hers and they say it also shows that she’s pregnant, which means she’s going to marry Drew after all. Then Kristen calls and says she told Leo about her affair because she didn’t want Ryan to hold it over her head. They’re breaking up now, but it’s actually Kristen who’s pregnant and will now have to raise her child by her lonesome. He’s completely screwed everyone’s lives up. Then he goes to see Wilfred and says he gets why Wilfred is there – he’s there to keep him on the right track. But Wilfred seems to have amnesia and begins barking at Ryan (which we hear as him crying for help).
Ryan runs home to find the will Wilfred was writing at the beginning of the episode. When he goes to run down to his basement, he opens the door only to find that the it’s only a closet. A tennis ball falls out and he just stares and the space which is filled with coats and pillows. The episode actually ends on that note. No resolution. No cute, little stoner moments. We’re left with a cliffhanger where we wonder what just happened this whole season on Wilfred. We even further question the reality of the show we’ve devoted 13 episodes worth of our lives to. Was Ryan even spending time with Wilfred? What was going on when he imagined they were smoking in the basement together? What’s real and what’s not? Everything’s uncertain and it’s forcing us to hypothesize and think and wonder, which is what I think most of us were hoping for when we signed up for the mangy little ride. (Well, that's what I was hoping for.)
Thank you Wilfred, for finally living up to your potential. It only took you an entire season, but I’m glad I stuck around.