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Wilfred “Answers” Review (4×04)

10 Jul

Screen shot 2014-07-10 at 2.44.07 PM

“The idea was to make your worst fears come true.”

When Wilfred gets really trippy, it’s one of television’s most entertaining and compelling shows. Sometimes, it can be too confusing for its own good, but the show’s always able to craft a very unique ambience on screen, regardless of story or laughs. “Answers” is a fun, disorienting ride through Ryan’s headspace, and it emphasizes one aspect of his character that continually holds him back: fear.

Ryan’s someone who fears the world around him, who needs and finds connection in Wilfred form; however, at the same time, he sees the idea of a talking dog as a sign that he’s losing it, that his grasp on reality is slipping away even as Wilfred continues to be an essential aspect of his being. Gnawing at the back of his mind is a fear that Wilfred’s part of a huge conspiracy out to get him, part of a world that serves only to beat him up and kick him while he’s down (speaking of the physical violence department, Kristen tries to punch him and sedate him!). That fear manifests itself throughout the episode, from the photo map to the Ryan timeline to brunette Jenna to the surveillance, and that only exacerbates the paranoia he’s felt countless times before. Everyone’s turning against him, he believes, and something like Wilfred sending Ryan’s dad the picture is magnified tenfold.

The way the episode is set up is very clever, dropping hints here and there that all is not what it seems; we can see it in the directing, purposely with an altered aspect ratio and a bit more restrictive in its scope, and we can see it in the huge clues, like Wilfred opening the door leading to Ryan starting to figure out what’s going on. He also later sees Wilfred take off his dog costume, and this is quite possibly the biggest blow because now, that means his best companion is also out to get him. Yet, it’s his mind out to get him, and Ryan’s his own worst enemy.

So, Wilfred may in fact be the very thing Ryan needs to get better. If he can live on in a world that he understands is not out to get him, if he can grow out of his current state of mind with Wilfred’s help, then perhaps he won’t need Wilfred later on.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Below is a link to some screenshots of the timeline and picture map. Apologies for the huge play icon in the center of them all; I had to pause to get a good shot. In addition, I didn’t get all the timeline pieces clear (specifically the earlier ones), but I did my best.

Hi, Jelly Beans! Hi, Australian Wilfred!

-Dr. Grummons, played perfectly by Rutger Hauer, mentions Krungel, the trickster god. Who knows? Maybe the Australian Wilfred is Krungel. Maybe Wilfred embodies both deities (a theory that’s been floating around out there). Maybe Matt Damon will show up sometime in a dog costume. Share your theories below.

-So, Rutger Hauer played Mr. Earle in Batman Begins. There’s a reference to that in the episode, which is nicely played.

-Krungle or Krungel? I haven’t been able to figure out which is the right spelling.

-The cinematography throughout is just stellar. I’d imagine this show has a limited budget, but to still be able to create such a disorienting and compelling series of images is truly the mark of a great cinematographer and a great director.

Photo credit: FXX, Wilfred

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