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Wilfred “Loyalty” Review (4×03)

3 Jul

960

“You’re a pretty amazing horrible sister, too.”

Kristen was far from the most endearing character early on in the show’s run, but the writers slowly started to shade her in and build upon the foundation of her being Ryan’s sister. In “Loyalty”, she reverts to the behavior she was known for in the past, but thankfully, it doesn’t prevent the episode from being thoroughly enjoyable.

In fact, the episode is more about how Ryan’s changed rather than how his sister has. There are a few lazy writing choices here, but the point is clear: Ryan will do the right thing now, even if he’s always harbored a tiny bit of resentment toward his sister. He deals with the custody battle by punching Arturo (Nestor Carbonell, always a welcome sight) in the face, and what’s interesting about this entire plot is how much Wilfred feels inessential. There’s usually a grappling of ideas and, given the dog is a manifestation of Ryan’s psyche, an argument playing out on screen would reflect his mental state. However, here’s a storyline and a season in which Ryan’s learning about himself, and the overlying mystery of the Flock of the Grey Shepherd is yet another extension of that; the fierce resolve he exhibits in that final scene develops off of him punching Arturo in the face, and the true culmination of that storyline is the poignant heart-to-heart Ryan and Kristen share.

“Wilfred feels nonessential” isn’t necessarily a good thing all the time, though. My problem with the big mystery–and in this episode in particular, the custody battle–is that the show seems to push Wilfred aside in favor of these other storylines. Yes, Wilfred kidnaps Joffrey and that leads to Ryan having to think on his feet, but once again, on the larger plane, it just doesn’t seem like Wilfred’s all that important to the plot; it feels like his storyline is thrown in because the episode wants to have him.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Wilfred isn’t endlessly entertaining. Whenever he talks to Bear (or goes ass to ass with Bear), I lose it because Jason Gann is just so damn good. To ramp it up a notch in this episode by having a stuffed animal intervention? Love it. When the show is on its game, it can still be one of the funniest on television, and I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

– “Is your finger where I think it is? On your hand with your other fingers, petting my back? You are a freak!”

-So, how about that closet shot, huh? That should play out interestingly in the coming weeks.

-I miss you already, Drew.

– “My son sucks on that!” “Not while there’s pacifier in it!”

-Seven weeks left. I’m surprised the finale isn’t an hour long. I would assume the show would need that hour, but they used it on the premiere. Maybe the scheduling will change in the upcoming weeks.

Photo credit: FXX, Wilfred

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