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Wilfred “Responsibility” Review (4×07)

31 Jul

960-2Ryan’s psychological problems have compounded over the years, and this season’s episodes–with aptly named titles such as “Answers”, “Patterns”, and now “Responsibility”–have brought these problems to the forefront. Ryan’s always been searching for answers, falling into old patterns, and taking on responsibilities to the point where he’s unable to handle them all, and the constant cycle he’s been thrown into has led to tension and conflict and disappointment. However, like the quote used to open this episode states, he’ll get crushed by it all if he continues to let it build up.

The episode takes a step back from the heavy mythology of the season in order to provide some form of resolution to the Newman family arc, and it centers itself around a conflict between Catherine–recast with Mimi Rogers, due to Steenburgen’s scheduling conflicts with Justified and Orange Is the New Black–and Kristen. Like with Bruce, although the replacement does some nice work, the character itself feels a bit off, and Catherine doesn’t seem exactly like the Catherine we knew. Of course, the re-used cleanse joke makes most of this forgivable in my book.

Rogers, for the most part, does well by the character, but the real star of the night is Dorian Brown. There’s always been a simmering tension among the Newman family members, a lingering history that at times exacerbates already fragile emotional states, and Kristen finally realizes in “Responsibility” that she’s been holding so much in for so long. “I’m not happy,” she tearfully states, breaking down in front of her mother and her brother as she recounts recent events–or lack thereof–in her life. Interestingly enough, she does this after Ryan elects to stand back and watch an argument play out, not picking sides or taking action or expressing a viewpoint or even running away. It’s a huge step for him, much as it’s a huge step for Kristen, and while this isn’t a solve-everything potion, it’s a genuine moment of understanding and of connection.

In addition, Catherine is able to find some happiness as well, and it’s in the form of her therapist, Dr. Cahill. John Michael Higgins plays the character with a perfect deadpan delivery that lends an entertaining presence to the show, and he’s certainly fun to watch throughout (Bear, I believe, still gives the best guest performances each week, though).

Anyway, now that Catherine and Kristen have come to a resolution of sorts, the question moving forward becomes: what of Ryan? Each week, he’s been taking little steps forward and backward, and we’re left wondering at what point he’s ended up. The entire series thus far has been about not only his psychological problems, but also his recovery, his interactions with Wilfred seeming to serve a purpose of rehabilitation as much as it may piss him off. The myriad questions that have arisen in season 4 seem to throw this path for a loop, but in the end, it once again comes down to Wilfred’s presence with regards to Ryan’s psyche. Wilfred, throughout “Responsibility”, bemoans a three-legged dog because it gets all the attention, but after an awful throw by Jenna and after a car severs one of Wilfred’s legs, the attention shifts to the titular dog. Perhaps this is what Ryan needs, because even if his story is about moving away from relying on Wilfred as a crutch, he still has some aspects of his past to clear up. Now that Wilfred’s three-legged, maybe Mattdamon and/or Krungle will come into focus.

Or, maybe Wilfred’s arm becomes Kristen’s face, Ryan is a hobbit, and Jenna and Drew get high with Bear before deciding to move to Mexico. At this point, who knows? Let’s see how it all goes down.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-That’s Champion!

-Seriously, Jenna “Squishy Tits” needs to work on her throwing skills. That’s definitely a “What, Charlie? You know I throw overhand.” moment.

-I have no idea how much of this cult/god stuff they’re going to solve. This episode is a bit of a detour and we’re close to the end, so part of me is worried and part of me is looking forward to it. Of course, this episode is still good; just because it doesn’t answer everything doesn’t mean the show should shy away from wrapping up character arcs.

-Ha. I like the Aron Ralston reference, which I’m assuming Ralston–the three legged dog–is meant to be.

-Ryan is a “dickless, syphilitic runt”. That is an excellent insult. I shall use that.

– “On a first date, have you ever shown a girl your…speaking of nuts, it’s mom.”

-We have never seen the statue with both of its arms before. Dun dun dun…

-There’s a black Mini Cooper at the end following Ryan and Wilfred, but it isn’t the car that actually hits Wilfred. I wonder if this will amount to anything, or if it’s just a random detail thrown in there.

-Two weeks left, three episodes. Let’s hope for a great ending; this show deserves it.

Photo credit: FXX, Wilfred

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3 Responses to “Wilfred “Responsibility” Review (4×07)”

  1. fan ofwilfred August 1, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    thought it was the worst episode yet. seemed like filler to me. there was nothing important done in this episode and if the lost leg does nothing important for the story I really feel like it was a silly addition.

    • polarbears16 August 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Definitely a valid point. The next few episodes are seriously going to test these writers, because they might’ve written themselves into a whole that would take a sloppy resolution to get out of.

  2. will0s August 5, 2014 at 1:01 am #

    I can’t stand when a show that revolves around a reveal (or series of reveals) gets a shortened season and they still stuff it with filler episodes and sloppy writing..this was one of the worst of the season to me as well.

    I think they are going to pull a “Ryan’s been dead since what seemed like just a suicide attempt” and Wilfred is his trickster spirit guide making him deal with all these things so he can move on. Like a purgatory. Yeah, one of those.

    And everything that happened in the course of the series can be traced back to the first episode in the details. Or just his dying moments when Jenna & her actual dog find him as he’s going.

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