Original Air Date: Jun 20, 2013
Kym Hoopes – Associate Staff Writer
“The mistake is thinking that there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.” David Levithan
If you were watching last season, we were left with the mystery of the drawing of Wilfred that Ryan apparently did as a child – as proven by the photo of him painting with his mother. Ryan is determined now to solve this mystery and has set up a bulletin board in the basement to figure it out – with said drawing as the centerpiece. His musing is interrupted – by Wilfred, of course – who’s decided to toss Bear down the basement stairs….
With Bear out of commission and Jenna and Drew still on their honeymoon, Wilfred wants Ryan to join him on a boys night out to defile the neighbor’s bushes. He notices Ryan’s board, so Ryan shares his thoughts on the “reality” of Wilfred. He’s tossed out the ideas that he had a premonition of Wilfred as a child and that Wilfred’s a reincarnation of another dog and decided that he’s had a psychotic break – something that’s happened in the past – and that while Jenna’s dog Wilfred is real, the Wilfred he interacts with all the time is all in his head. Mental illness. Wilfred, on the other hand, has come to his own conclusion – that he’s a magical being. Ryan tries to point out that he didn’t remember meeting him as a child, but Wilfred dismisses that because dogs have terrible memories. To prove his point, Ryan turns around, closes his eyes and starts to chant “Wilfred is only in my head.” It seems to work, until Wilfred comes out of hiding and points out that maybe he’s in Ryan’s head, or maybe he’s magical, but all will be clear in time. Sometimes you just have to live with a little uncertainty. In the meantime though, he’s ready to test his “magical” theory by drinking antifreeze. If he’s magical, it won’t hurt him.
That test fails. Wilfred wakes up at the vet’s office, having just had his stomach pumped while screaming “I’m not magical.” At least that’s what Ryan says. Wilfred doesn’t remember that. He remembers having a dream of being owned by Anne Frank. The vet provides a lead to the possible truth though; Wilfred has a microchip that says he still lives in Sacramento. His previous owner? Ryan thinks it’s worth a drive to check it out and see if they can find proof of his birth. When they get there, Wilfred has a string of memories of the yard and of burying a favorite toy – a green hippo with pink spots that he chewed the leg off of – in the yard. He digs, but it’s not still there. What is there is a carbon copy of Wilfred. Copy indeed. It’s actually a clone of Wilfred named Stinky. His owner, Ms. Covington, had him cloned after he ran away and now that she’s passed away her entire fortune was left to the dog and to pay his caretaker. Ryan can hear the clone talking too, and boy is he a pompous ass. Wilfred’s angry about the whole thing – this fortune should have been his, never mind that he was the one that ran away. He goes after Stinky to kill him, until they bond over barking at the cuckoo clock and the many other things that they have in common. Stinky is a clone of Wilfred after all. Meanwhile, the caretaker takes Ryan to look for puppy pictures of Wilfred. Oddly, he doesn’t find any, but he does find the toy that Wilfred remembered. This supports Wilfred’s theory, not Ryan’s. Ryan creeps out the caretaker – a mean feat since she’s pretty strange herself – and is asked to leave, dragging Wilfred out at an inopportune moment. In the car, Ryan starts going on about everything and Wilfred shows him a puppy picture and asks him what if he never finds the answers. Isn’t it best to “avoid the anxiety of uncertainty and skip to the end?” If he came into Ryan’s life at the time of his failed suicide, maybe his purpose is to guide him back to that. Red flags go off for Ryan and he realizes that he’s got Stinky in the car with him and not Wilfred. Stinky hates his life and has been abused by the caretaker, so he got Wilfred high on cocaine and convinced him to trade places. But Ryan was boring him. Ryan rushes back to save Wilfred from the abuse, which sounds sexual, as they’re rushing into the house. Actually, the “abuse” is just the humiliation of being dressed in costumes and being photographed. My basset hound used to hate that too. Wilfred and Stinky have a go round and then Wilfred heads home with Ryan, where Ryan decides to dismantle his board. Wilfred sets fire to the drawing, which freaks Ryan at first, but then he quietly says that “the answers will come in good time” and burns the photo with the drawing too. Wilfred sets fire to the lampshade because he thought that’s what they were doing now. Typical dog.
But wait, what’s that at the very end? Wilfred apparently didn’t burn the drawing. Instead he’s burying it. Symbolic of burying the truth? What is the truth? Is Wilfred magical? Or is Ryan having a psychotic break? Or is it a little of both? I still don’t know, but I’m sure, as Ryan said, the answer will come in time. Regardless of the answer, this season promises to be another masterful blend of the funny and the serious in search of an understanding of self for all of us. I’ve missed this show and I’m so glad to have it back for another season.