Episode Title: "Now"
Writer: David Baldy
Director: Randall Einhorn
If you just happened to click on this review because of the picture above, then I want to point out that your eyes are not deceiving you. It is in fact, a man in a cheap dog suit with an Emo haircut and wearing a dog collar… about to commit suicide.
But first, let's backtrack a bit as Ryan (Elijah Wood) gets his latest life lesson from Wilfred (Jason Gann); whose human form is either an incredible delusion from Ryan's brain or simply an extraordinary gift of perception on Ryan's part. Possibly both.
As this week's episode title is "Now," so too is Wilfred's lesson meant to impart the importance of living in the moment to an incredulous Ryan. And how better to convey this epiphany than with a lie so believable, it could have been the truth? Wilfred tells Ryan that he smelled a brain tumor in his head from the moment that they first met… and Ryan is forced to concede that a brain tumor would explain a lot about the last few months of his life. Especially why his neighbor's dog appears to him as a surly Australian man and why he sometimes can't distinguish fantasy from reality.
Of course, it's just simply another mind game from Wilfred in order to get what wants; which in this case is a $9,000 dog house. And Wilfred is a master manipulator of emotions whose words and motives can never quite be trusted. As part of his attempt to sway Ryan, Wilfred pulls a gun on him and holds it to his face. Small wonder that Ryan is unconvinced moments later when a real criminal pushes a gun in his and Wilfred's faces before making off with Ryan's wallet… again. How many times has Ryan's wallet been stolen on this show? Two or three times?
Hilariously, Wilfred chides Ryan for his insensitivity to being held at gun point only a few minutes after pulling the same thing on him. A quick trip to the vet seems to confirm that the trauma left Wilfred without his sense of smell. But there's no sympathy from Ryan, who should be wise to Wilfred's games by now.
I get the impression that "Wilfred" is always going to feature a mental tug of war between Ryan and Wilfred over what they should do next. Sometimes Wilfred seems to have genuinely good intentions and advice while other times he just wants to get something from Ryan. In this case, Wilfred feels possessive of Ryan's financial windfall from his current office job. Whereas Ryan is smart enough to realize that his good times may not last forever.
"Now" gave us a little bit more background on how Ryan landed his new position. While it's openly stated that Kevin (Rob Riggle) helped Ryan get a job, there's an indication that Ryan's currently unseen father may have also had a hand in it. We even hear Ryan's father referred to by name (Hank Newman) during a key meeting; which apparently still opens doors for Ryan. At some point, we're going to have to meet Hank and learn why Ryan can't seem to completely pull away from his sphere of influence.
Ryan's decision to invest his money in a land deal may be financially sound, but it's a little boring as well. The more amusing parts of the episode deal with Wilfred's suddenly sky-rocketing I.Q. as his missing sense of smell can no longer interfere with the thoughts in his head. Intellectual Wilfred is a lot of fun, but he eventually gives way to Emo Wilfred, who doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies.
So while Ryan is trying to close his land deal, Wilfred leaves a darkly comical suicide note as his answering message while preparing to end it all. Wilfred's changing pictures on Ryan's phone was also a nice touch. To Ryan's astonishment, Wilfred actually goes through with the suicide attempt; leaving Ryan to breathlessly try to save his friend. It's pretty sad that Wilfred might actually be Ryan's only real emotional connection, although that completely devalues his relationship with Amanda (Allison Mack).
When Wilfred revives, Ryan seems oblivious to the fact that this was likely another one of his deceptions. And yet Wilfred can barely hide his disgust when Ryan still refuses to blow his money on Wilfred's dream dog house.
The coda for the episode also had a great sequence in which Wilfred repeats Ryan's declarations of friendship and affection towards the inanimate giant stuffed Bear during a sexual encounter. Wilfred's words weren't quite as funny as the extremely unamused look on Ryan's face.
On the whole, some parts of "Now" were definitely on the dull side. But Wilfred's Emo and Intellectual incarnations kept the episode entertaining.