WILFRED 1.08 ‘Anger’

Ryan is haunted by the spirit of his dead dog... or at least that's Wilfred's excuse for terrorizing Kristen.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Anger"

Writers: Sivert Glarum & Michael Jamin

Director: Victor Nelli, Jr.


After last week's second descent into zoophilia, the latest episode of "Wilfred" actually keeps the continuity going and finds Ryan (Elijah Wood) heavily indebted to his sister, Kristen (Dorian Brown) because she loaned him $5,000 to pay off Beth (Jane Kaczmarek) for the car accident caused by Wilfred (Jason Gann). And while the story picks up on threads from that episode, Ryan himself seems to have taken several steps backwards when it comes to dealing with his domineering sister.

Of course, Wilfred's solution is to urge Ryan to get angry and break things. To illustrate his point, Wilfred destroys most of Ryan's picture frames with a baseball bat while chasing a fly. And sure, Wilfred says he feels much better afterwards. But those weren't his things that he broke… and the fly survived.

Soon enough, Wilfred finds proof that Ryan once owned a dog named Sneakers; which Ryan initially denies. But in his dreams, Ryan is clearly haunted by the dog's accidental drowning. What happens next is open to interpretation. Either Wilfred decides to enact a cruel hoax on Ryan by pretending to be possessed by Sneakers or something supernatural is occurring and Sneakers is out for revenge on Kristen for being truly responsible for his death.

Wilfred as Sneakers knows things about Ryan's relationship with his old dog that he couldn't have known on his own… unless Wilfred's been snooping around more than we see and he happens to be incredibly intuitive about Kristen's actions in the past. The alternate theory is that if the anthropomorphic Wilfred exists only in Ryan's mind, then Wilfred is simply giving voice to Ryan's own suspicions and his repressed rage towards his controlling sister.

A few episodes back, I argued that Kristen really does love Ryan, as shown by her anonymous food drops outside of his house. But when Ryan says that she's a "bitch," it's hard to argue with his assessment. With Ryan now once again indebted to her, Kristen really seems to go out of her way to boss him around and generally make him miserable. She only seems to care about impressing her boss, Dr. Arturo Ramos (Nestor Carbonell) at a lavish party. Even the introduction of Kristen's husband, Leo (J. P. Manoux) does little to soften her and he seems even more embittered than she is.

There is a really funny moment in which Ramos dramatically relates how he willed a child back to life after a difficult birth which Leo immediately undercuts with sarcasm. But other than that, Leo didn't make much of an impression.

However, Wilfred as Sneakers does make a big impression… or at least a big splash at Kristen's party. As he gleefully explains to Ryan (in a high pitched voice), Sneakers won't rest until Kristen pays for what she did to him. And in short order, "Sneakers" terrorizes her guests, knocks her and her boss into the pool and he nearly kills Kristen by pushing several electric lights into the pool with her. Ryan actually manages to save her life by unplugging everything before it can hit the water.

With the party a disaster of epic proportions, Kristen lays into Ryan… and he gives her attitude back to her almost as if he has a spine. Kristen then breaks down and confesses that she did accidentally leave the gate open when she was young, allowing Sneakers to drown in the pool because of her carelessness. It's a revealing moment for Kristen, as she relates that she felt insecure compared to Ryan while they were growing up and she was jealous because Sneakers was supposed to be her dog. She even admits that her animosity towards Wilfred came because he reminded her so much of Sneakers.

When Ryan lays into her for letting him live with the guilt for two decades, Kristen essentially tries to buy his forgiveness by letting him off the hook for the five thousand that he owes her. Kristen even shows a little heart when she asks if she can pet Wilfred. But the tender moment is ruined when Wilfred throws wine at Kristen, causing her to run off in tears. He then explains to the incredulous Ryan that he still hates Kristen.

In the denouement, Ryan gets his "Ghost" moment when Wilfred as Sneakers somehow physically becomes the Sneakers that Ryan grew up with. This gives Ryan the chance to say goodbye in a moving sequence that may have been a dream, judging by how well Ryan is sleeping at the end. Dream or not, this is the closest thing to a happy ending that any episode of "Wilfred" has had so far.

I still don't think that "Wilfred" has come into its own yet, but if it can find more genuine emotional moments on top of the usual insanity, it will be a step in the right direction. For the first time in a few weeks, "Wilfred" was satisfying to watch again. I just want it to be that good every week.


Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.