“Be here now.” – Ram Dass
Wilfred, “Now” begins with Wilfred and Ryan taking a walk that quickly devolves into an argument, per usual. Ryan is worried about his future, trying to plan ahead. Wilfred doesn’t get why people are always thinking about what is going to happen later. Ryan puts it to Wilfred that he doesn’t understand because dogs don’t have real problems, to which Wilfred comes back with “our noses keep us in the present, we stop and smell every rose”. So opens the episode, we know exactly where we’re going right out of the gate, and that’s one of the many things I love about this show…no beating around the bush.
Kevin (Rob Riggle) gets to shine a bit in this episode. He offers to hook Ryan up with his investment guy, seeing how he is looking toward his future. Wilfred wants Ryan to use his money to invest in a place for him, more specifically a $9,000 dog house rather than spending the money on an investment deal.
The theme of the episode is “Now”, and Wilfred continually reminds Ryan to live in the now, not worry about investments, things that may or may not happen in the future. Essentially he is telling Ryan that you can’t plan for something that may or may not happen. Wilfred seems to be trying to go somewhere with this, we see him hemming and hawing, and then he tells Ryan that he is dying. Wilfred tells Ryan he smelled a tumor in his brain and hasn’t had the heart to tell him. Ryan doesn’t believe him, so Wilfred sites symptoms of a brain tumor as proof, things like anxiety, blackouts and hallucinations. To further prove his point, Wilfred points a gun at Ryan to put him down because he doesn’t want to see Ryan suffer.
Wilfred gets off one shot before pulling the trigger a second time, with no result. The whole thing was a ruse to help Ryan appreciate being in the now and teach him that he can’t plan for a future he isn’t sure he’ll have. An unfortunate side effect of this little lesson is that since the two of them are actually down a deserted alley, they do actually get robbed with Wilfred at gunpoint this time. This traumatic experience causes Wilfred to lose his sense of smell.
Ryan takes Wilfred to the vet, but he can’t find anything physically wrong with the dog. Though he does mention that stress can cause loss of smell and warns Wilfred could get confused or lost because of loss of his olfactory sense. Wilfred quickly realizes the reason people are always so preoccupied with thoughts about the future, past, present, hypothetical and ridiculous. Now that he can’t smell anything, Wilfred’s brain has nothing to do…except think, that is.
Ryan has to drag Wilfred along to his investment meeting with Kevin and Warner (the investment agent). Warner gets to make the decisions in the investment relationship, as in whether or not there will even be an investment relationship. Ryan’s father holds enough clout that the mention of his name changes the course of the conversation, which seemed to be quickly going downhill. This leads to my seond favorite quote of the episode. When Ryan protests at his dad being the reason he gets the investment deal, Warner tells him “Don’t apologize for nepotism“.
In the meantime, Wilfred has been figuring a few things out. Really, he’s been figuring out that his whole world runs differently than he has thought this entire time. He realizes that UPS guys not all the same guy. He also realizes when Jenna leaves the house, she still exists, she’s just somewhere else, she doesn’t just disappear from the world. This is the second time in the episode that Jenna is mentioned, which leads me to believe she may be back in the picture soon. We’ve been too long without a Jenna interruption to Ryan’s life. There I go, thinking about the future.
Wilfred has taken to hanging out in the basement and reading, he starts developing his own philosophy on life. He laments Ryan’s involvement and tells him to “Put down that bong and pick up a book.” Wilfred has fallen in love with Kant. He also found a certain public works document of interest and takes up the cause of inner city dogs that are going to lose their park if Ryan’s investment opportunity goes through and a building is built where the park exists. Wilfred protests the building while Ryan has his investment meeting. Citing “What I’ve lost in my sense of smell, I’ve gained in my humanity”. Ryan begins talking about his future again, Wilfred does everything he can to get Ryan’s attention, telling Ryan he needs him RIGHT NOW. I got the strong feeling in this moment that Wilfred is trying to wake Ryan up from something, whether it be a dream or something else.
Ryan finds Wilfred in the basement again, lamenting his loss in the park and his loss of hope in humanity. He becomes depressed after reading Plath and Marley and Me, burns himself with a cigarette for dramatic effect. Ryan makes the decision to leave Wilfred at home rather than take him to his next investment meeting, despite the vet’s warnings about Wilfred becoming confused and lost. As he sits at the table with Kevin, discussing his kid and sees how little he cares, Ryan has a sudden awareness of what he should be doing, that he needs to be there for Wilfred.
Ryan calls Wilfred to no avail, only gets the message, “If this is Ryan, goodbye. If this is Bear, I’ll see you in Hell.” My number one quote of the night in an episode rife with excellent ones. Ryan rushes home to make sure Wilfred is okay and finds Emo Wilfred sitting on the balcony ledge. Wood referred to a few different versions on the Wilfred costume in the interview I had the opportunity to take part in before the season started. I’ve been looking forward to seeing what they would look like, and I was not disappointed with this first deviation. As soon as Ryan takes his eyes off Wilfred, the canine tries to hang himself from the balcony by tying a leash to it and jumping off the side. Ryan panics, telling Wilfred before he comes to, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention, I lost track of what’s important, what was right in front of me, right here, right NOW”. All’s well that ends well. Wilfred miraculously gets his sense of smell back after this stunt and Ryan promises him a dog house after all, just not one that costs $9,000.
Couch moment: Wilfred reenacts his own hanging with Bear as himself and Wilfred playing Ryan. Things get creepy as Wilfred turns to giving Bear some good lovin’ after reciting Ryan’s last line of apology and desperation.
Each episode of this season gets better an better. I don’t know how to do it justice in a recap, but I do my best. Emo Wilfred was fantastic. Jason Gann may be the only actor alive that I would buy as not only a dog, but an emo dog at that. All subtlety is left at the door and the message is drilled into our heads. You cannot escape it. Now, all we need to figure out is what is Wilfred really there for an why? Is this Ryan’s reality or some other unconscious fantasy world? The tidbit thrown in about the brain tumor opens the door to so many possibilities. Have I learned nothing from this episode? Pay attention to what is right in front of you. Stop worrying about the future, even on the most basic level. Everything will be okay. Good lessons for all of us to learn.
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Catch Wilfred Thursdays on FX at 10 E/P!
What other costume change would you like to see for Wilfred this season? Share in the comments!