Last night's Wilfred felt like a bit of a step back from the hilarity of the previous two episodes. There were still some amusing moments, but the attempts to force a reconciliation between Ryan and his sister Kristen (motoring...what's your price for flight), felt, well...forced.
Was there any real hurry to resolve the conflict between the two? With the disappearance of asshole neighbor Spencer, Ryan has lacked a true antagonist (Wilfred himself doesn't precisely qualify), and Kristen filled that role capably, even if Dorian Brown's performance is pretty one-noted.
The path to this détente is paved by the ghost of Ryan's long-dead Jack Russell terrier Sneakers, who drowned 20 years ago thanks to Ryan's negligence. Or did he?
And this week promises "Strong language and nudity?" Hot damn.
The guilt from Sneakers's death has plagued Ryan his entire life, giving us the foundations of his adult depression. It might also play into his inability to stand up to Kristen, who ropes Ryan into helping set up for the party she's throwing for her boss.
Wilfred has other ideas, telling Ryan, "Anger is like herpes; you're not meant to keep it to yourself." I sort of agree with this (not that I know anything about herpes, of course, ha ha): it's unhealthy to bottle up your emotions, but Ryan's resolve always weakens in the face of Kristen's harangues.
Adding to the stress of the situation is Sneakers's attempts to possess Wilfred via his old dog collar. Makes sense. Through Wilfred, Sneakers tells Ryan it was Kristen who actually left the gate to the pool open, and she's been letting him live with the guilt all these years.
We can attribute the relative weakness of this episode to the absence of Wilfred. Oh, he's there physically, but Sneakers-as-Wilfred is merely an annoying and vaguely unsettling character with slightly more malevolent intentions that his host. The show needs the interaction between Elijah Wood and Jason Gann, and that was lacking this week.
Nestor Carbonell shows up as Kristen's boss, Dr. Ramos, for his party. Sneakers-as-Wilfred wreaks havoc, of course, but is unable to get revenge upon Kristen. When she goes off on Ryan about ruining her party, he throws Sneakers in her face and she confesses. And to assuage her guilt, she offers to forgive his debt to her for paying off his car crash. All's well that ends well?
[Aside: Shark Night 3D is going to be awesome.]
The week's sole tender moment comes during the stoner denouement, when Sneakers shows up to say goodbye to Ryan in a dream. It was really kind of sweet, and if you don't agree, kiss my ass. You obviously never had a dog when you were a kid.
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And apparently the only nudity was when Sneakers pulled the obese woman's skirt down. Dirty pool, FX.
Next week: Two episodes! Mary Steenburgen! Mass hysteria!