Episode Title: "Truth"
Writer: David Zuckerman
Director: Randall Einhorn
One of the more entertaining aspects of "Wilfred" season 2 has been the sweet relationship between Ryan (Elijah Wood) and Amanda (Alison Mack). Ryan may be a little mentally disturbed, but Amanda has shown off more than a few personality quirks of her own. And the way that she pursued Ryan (aka the office geek) did seem kind of odd.
Regardless, their collective weirdness seemed to diminish in each other's presence almost as if they were made for each other. And Ryan's life was finally starting to get better.
But on this show, Ryan's happiness is never going to last. The key reason for that is Wilfred (Jason Gann) himself. In the off-chance that the "man in a cheap dog suit" Wilfred is real and not one of Ryan's delusions is almost irrelevant. Either way, Wilfred represents a destructive influence on Ryan's life that once again comes to bear in "Truth."
Did I say that Ryan was only a little mentally disturbed? Try "very mentally disturbed." It's telling that one of Ryan's biggest moments of terror in the episode came when Wilfred taunted him with the idea that basement "may or may not be real" after Ryan was trapped beneath a bookcase. And after this episode, Ryan has even more to fear about his state of mind.
Going back to the start, Ryan inadvertently tells Amanda that he loves her while they are in bed together. Although Amanda initially seems put off by his pronouncement, she eventually returns the sentiment and makes arrangements to move in with Ryan. At this point, Wilfred seemingly does all he can to dissuade Ryan from this course of action, even if he has to claim that Amanda came on to him. From Ryan's perspective, Wilfred's motivation is simple jealousy and he isn't scared by Wilfred's prophecy about an impending doom… which seemingly comes true when a massive Earthquake leaves Ryan helpless underneath a heavy bookcase.
After Wilfred points out the futility of trying to alert others to Ryan's plight, his old nemesis, Bruce (Dwight Yoakam) shows up and frees Ryan. Wilfred also claims that Bruce has uncovered information about Amanda that will change Ryan's mind about living with her. Soon enough, they force Ryan to play in countless insane games in order to learn what Bruce has discovered about Amanda and stored in his briefcase. Near the end, Bruce confronts Ryan with another one of Ryan's greatest fears: his father. For the first time, we hear the voice of Ryan's father, Hank Newman as Bruce dares Ryan to tell his dad that he wants to come crawling back to his old law firm.
Rather than face his dad (even over the phone), Ryan opts for "truth" and inadvertently wins the game, only to discover that Bruce's suitcase contained only a timer which demonstrated that Ryan had spent 12 hours in the basement playing nonsensical games with Wilfred and Bruce. Even more unsettling, Ryan discovered that there was apparently no earthquake either. That revelation was extremely jarring; making for one of the series' best moments since the first season finale.
Faced with the truth about his mental instability, Ryan breaks Amanda's heart and calls off their relationship… for now. Mack sold Amanda's pain as if it was a physical blow, even as Wilfred comforted her in the aftermath. I half expected a revelation that Wilfred planned the entire thing just so he could get closer to Amanda. It should be noted that Wood was also very effective in his performance, as always.
The sad thing is that Amanda was great for Ryan and he was good for her as well. I think that Amanda's presence in Ryan's life made him more normal and less insane. If Wilfred really is a manifestation of Ryan's mental illness, then of course he wouldn't want her around. In fact, I think this episode may have confirmed that Wilfred was the one who boarded up Ryan's basement in the first season finale. Otherwise, how else would Wilfred have been able to taunt Ryan with the knowledge that basement may or may not be real?
"Truth" even ends on an ominous note as Wilfred warns Ryan that the great disaster in his future still hasn't happened yet. I believe that we may have had some other foreshadowing about the future earlier this season when Ryan's friend warned him that Hank would do anything to get Ryan back under his control at the law firm. While Ryan is certainly capable of ruining his own life (with help from Wilfred), don't count Hank out as a potential source of trouble down the line.
More than any other installment since the season premiere, this episode of "Wilfred" was darkly comedic… and I loved it. That's what "Wilfred" does best and I want to see more episodes like this.