Episode Title: "Sacrifice"
Writers: Sivert Glarum & Michael Jamin
Director: Randall Einhorn
Out of the blue, Ryan (Elijah Wood) meets a beautiful Italian woman named Cinzia (Gabriella Pession) on the beach and she is immediately taken with him. Wilfred (Jason Gann) also seems charmed by her, until she asks Ryan to spend the day with her. Using his mastery over Ryan to play on his guilt, Wilfred convinces the hapless man to blow Cinzia off in favor of picking up Jenna's (Fiona Gubelmann) dry cleaning and staying in her home until the cable guy shows up.
And that in a nutshell describes the type of man that Ryan has been throughout the entire series. Whether Wilfred is real or just a delusion of his mind, Ryan needs someone to order him around or else he won't do anything but sit around and smoke weed.
But for once, Ryan rejects Wilfred's emotional blackmail and he returns to the beach to find Cinzia. She sees through Ryan's desperate attempt to reconnect with her "by chance" and it doesn't matter. They enjoy their time together so much that they're quickly in bed together and even Wilfred's refusal to leave them alone or stop chanting Jenna's name can't deter Ryan from his newfound happiness. When Cinzia offers him the chance to travel to Italy with her, he accepts fairly quickly.
In dog terms, Wilfred explains to Ryan that they are both meant to serve and protect Jenna. More specifically, Ryan is supposed to serve her and Wilfred protects her by watching cat death videos on Youtube all day. Jenna seems like a sweet girl, but she's clearly taking advantage of Ryan's infatuation with her. Taking care of Wilfred is one thing, but asking Ryan to pick up her dry cleaning and wait for the cable guy are far beyond the call of duty for just a neighbor. Jenna may not even be conscious of how deeply Ryan feels for her but she can't be naive enough to think that he would do this for anyone.
Wilfred eventually warms to the idea of going to Italy with Ryan (if Jenna lets him). But when Ryan sells his flatscreen TV, Wilfred does complain that Ryan has just destroyed the cornerstone of their relationship. Meanwhile, Jenna accidentally ingests a drugged piece of candy at Ryan's apartment and she flips out on her first day as the midday TV anchorwoman. Wilfred and Ryan can only watch helplessly as Jenna seemingly throws her career away in under two minutes.
In the aftermath, Jenna is accused of being on drugs and she is fired. In theory, she wants to sue the TV station because she doesn't use drugs. But if she were to be tested, the drugs from the candy would obviously show up. Jenna's dick boyfriend, Drew (Chris Klein) thinks that this is the perfect time to ask her to marry him and move away. However, Jenna refuses and she attempts to find a lawyer to help her reclaim her job.
Of course, Ryan rejects Wilfred's idea that he represent Jenna almost immediately. And yet, when he goes to sleep that night, he finds himself on trial with his friends and neighbors as his jury, the stuffed and silent Bear as his attorney and Wilfred as the court reporter, prosecutor and the judge. This bizarre sequence was easily the highlight of the episode, with some of Gann's best incarnations of Wilfred.
That scene was also very revealing about Ryan's past as an attorney and why he was driven to attempt suicide. Apparently, Ryan worked at his father's law firm and earned the nickname "The Archeologist" thanks to his ability to dig up dirt on anyone. It's also a terrific explanation for Ryan's self-loathing and the dream ends with everyone chanting Jenna's name. Ryan may want to escape with Cinzia, but in his heart of hearts, Jenna is clearly the woman that he wants.
Early in the episode, Cinzia tells Ryan that he shouldn't underestimate the power of a dream. And it's lightly implied that Wilfred himself sent the dream to Ryan in order to get him to resume his life as a lawyer and represent Jenna in court against her old bosses. That's actually a great set up for a story and I'd like to see that play out in the season finale next week.
The last few episodes of "Wilfred" have been steadily reclaiming some of the ground the series lost since its debut earlier this summer. If the season finale can keep the hot streak going than the series will have earned its place as one of the best comedies of the summer.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.