Wilfred: "Identity" Crisis
For its entire first season, Wilfred has played with our conception of what is and isn't real to Ryan (Elijah Wood). Is he hallucinating? Dead? The only sane man in an insane world?
I'm not sure we got much closer to the truth last night, as the series ended its first season on something of a down note: a hospitalized Wilfred waking up and not recognizing his former pot-smoking pal. Now that's how you do a cliffhanger.
The episode opens, morbidly enough, with Wilfred writing his will (he doesn't want Ryan and Bear to fight over his shit...or anything else). Ryan, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how to handle Jenna's case (the station fired her for obscenity -- feeling her boobs on camera -- and being under the influence of drugs) but refuses to go back to his old ways to win. Turns out his old modus operandi (legal term!) was to keep a dirty secrets file on his opponents.
Wilfred needles Ryan for not playing dirty, so he, in turn, finally loses it and interrogates Wilfred as to the nature of his...Wilfredness. For his part, Wilfred half-convinces Ryan he actually died the night he took all the pills, then screws everything up by bringing Lost into it.
"Look out! Smoke monster!"
Ryan gets Jenna reinstated in her job, thanks to dirt Wilfred obtained about the opposition, but Wilfred balks at "delivering" Jenna as promised.
Wilfred's malign influence is finally too much for Ryan, who pulls out the big, manipulative guns. He invites Jenna, Drew, Kristen and neighbor Mr. Patel over for dinner. Of course, Mr. Patel is only there to plant the seed of distrust of marriage in Jenna's ear. Ryan then "bro"s it up with Drew, convincing her to give Jenna an ultimatum about his proposal. This has the intended effect.
Throughout this scheme, a suddenly hesitant Wilfred attempts to convince Ryan to back off his plan, but Ryan is able to distract him through the use of bubbles. Which as we all know are one of a dog's thousand weaknesses. Here we see the darker edge Wood is capable of bringing to Ryan, and it all smacks of his performance in Spider-Man 3.
Oh wait, that was the other guy.
As a condition of her rehiring, the station insists on a drug test, which Jenna insists on taking because she doesn't realize she ate pot candy. Kristen has come over to admit her affair with her boss, which Ryan used to blackmail her into providing urine to swap for Jenna's. But in order to distract the insurance investigator, Wilfred jumps in front of her car, becoming seriously injured.
Things fall apart rapidly, of course. Jenna now thinks she's pregnant, and decides to make it work with Drew. Kristen, who obviously doesn't know she's pregnant, has confessed her affair to her husband and wants nothing more to do with Drew. Wilfred wakes up either brain damaged or amnesiac, and when Ryan returns home, he finds the door to the basement he and Wilfred spent too much time together actually leads to a closet.
Who or what is Wilfred? More to the point, what is up with Ryan? I have to say I found this first season of Wilfred to be pretty enjoyable, overall. It found its footing again after some mid-season stumbles, and has done a good job gradually making the move from screwball comedy to darker themes. We'll see how it all plays out next season.