Episode Title: "Letting Go"
Writers: Reed Agnew & Eli Jorné
Director: Randall Einhorn
In this week's episode, Wilfred (Jason Gann) actually appeared in the flesh as opposed to being one of Ryan's (Elijah Wood) strange dream visions. Seriously though, Ryan has major problems if he can't even make it through a meeting at work without finding himself in a dream world where a Robin Williams-like therapist is treating him for mental illness. What does he think this is? An episode of "Awake"?
Thanks to FX's strange scheduling, "Letting Go" is the official kickoff for "Wilfred" season 2. While last week's "Progress" was one of the weirdest episodes to date, "Letting Go" seemed more firmly steeped in the weekly comedy hijinxs of Wilfred and Ryan. While some of the more intriguing questions about Ryan's sanity and who walled up the basement are ignored, the bulk of the story focused on getting Ryan and Wilfred back together as friends while setting up a reboot for Ryan's romantic prospects.
The last time that Ryan saw Wilfred, his canine companion had thrown himself in front of a car to allow Ryan enough time to swap out the drug results for Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann). That had the unintended side effects of convincing Jenna that she was pregnant with Drew's (Chris Klein) child and it seemingly erased Wilfred's memory of Ryan.
Apparently, Drew took good care of Wilfred during his recovery in Wisconsin, as Wilfred is now devoted to Drew in a way that outshines his destructive friendship with Ryan. In short, Wilfred is more like a dog than ever, although he can't resist making Ryan think that he still can't remember him for a few minutes. I remain unconvinced that Wilfred ever forgot Ryan in the first place.
Ryan believes that Jenna and Drew are only together because of his deception and that they're clearly heading towards a breakup. But that's the last thing that Wilfred wants to deal with as he accuses Ryan of having a one-sided relationship with him. That's hard to argue, but Wilfred is the one who normally benefits from that. Even now, Wilfred's anger with Ryan can't be taken at face value because he is a master of emotional manipulation.
However, Wilfred seems to genuinely crave Drew's approval despite some moments where Drew treats Wilfred with open mockery. Wilfred eventually allows Ryan to help him train for a dog competition to finally win Drew's admiration and to possibly give Ryan another shot at Jenna. Much like the Meatloaf song "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)," Ryan reaches his limit when a drug dealer wants him to perform a sex act to get some steroids for Wilfred to get an edge over his hated rival, Jellybeans. Fortunately the dealer is willing to settle for some money and a sisterly hug from Ryan.
In the end, Ryan can't bring himself to let Wilfred take the steroids even if it means the end of their friendship. Thus, in the comedic highlight of the episode, Wilfred goes on a rampage throughout the obstacle course and he even defiantly urinates in full view of the crowd. And yet Wilfred is crushed when Drew makes fun of Wilfred's certificate of participation. Wilfred is so angry that he gives Ryan the key to breaking up Jenna and Drew permanently by telling him to slip the steroids into Drew's briefcase.
But the larger point of the episode was about getting Ryan to the realization that he shouldn't be interfering with Jenna's relationship just because he wants her for himself. He has to set aside his romantic ambitions for Jenna and let her make her choices and conclusions. And although Ryan ultimately decides to let her go, it doesn't mean that Jenna is out of the picture entirely. There's no way she's moving away to Wisconsin with Drew and leaving Wilfred behind with Ryan.
Ryan actually does have some signs of love in his life with his coworker, Amanda (Allison Mack). Amanda comes on to Ryan so strongly that she practically does everything except flash him. Are we sure that Ryan still isn't hallucinating a dream world? In reality, beautiful geeky girls rarely throw themselves at their introverted and slightly weird colleagues. Clearly, Amanda has some issues of her own; which may be explored now that Ryan has agreed to go to dinner with her. Still missing this week is Ryan's sister, Kristen (Dorian Brown). But at some point, Ryan will still have to answer for his role in destroying her marriage.
In my last "Wilfred" review, I neglected to mention that Wood continues to be the glue that holds this craziness together. Without Wood's seemingly effortless ability to play off of Gann's talking dog, there simply wouldn't be a series worth watching. Seeing a new episode of "Wilfred" after "Anger Management" only made me appreciate this show even more.
"Wilfred" is a strange and sometimes bizarre beast. But I'd rather have a weekly dose of comedic insanity instead of Charlie Sheen and canned laughter.