Wilfred “Courage” Review (4×08)

7 Aug

960-5Resolutions are difficult, but rewarding. Last week, we saw one of sorts with Kristen and her mother, and this week, we shift focus to Wilfred, Ryan, Jenna, and, most importantly, Bear. It’s not so much a resolution to the questions that were posed in full force this season–that’s next week–rather, it’s more about recognizing what needs to be done in order to move on. It’s about taking a good, hard look at your life and having the courage to do what’s always been at the back of your mind.

Take Jenna and Ryan, for example, two people who’ve been dancing around a relationship right from the beginning of the series. A few weeks back, Ryan purposely avoided spending time with her because he felt like he was falling into self-destructive patterns; the problem is, though, as much as he believed that that helped his own psyche, perhaps his own perception of the situation was skewed. Maybe, just maybe, the patterns he fell into involved him rejecting happiness or comfort out of fear. Someone was always out to get him, he felt, and the only way to move on with his life and to avoid whatever might befall him was to not give into his first instincts.

Of course, Jenna’s and Ryan’s relationship could easily implode–plus, the idea of them together pales in comparison to, say, Amanda and Ryan–but what matters here is that these are two people taking the plunge into a relationship you could see forming from a mile away. And what finally gets them together? Wilfred. Wilfred, the dog who’s been acting as a liaison between the two for a while now, is the fitting catalyst, the idea of the life draining out of him serving as a spark of sorts for Ryan and Jenna. Here, Wilfred takes on not only a personal, but symbolic, meaning, and with the degeneration of one thing comes the birth of another. It’s certainly strange, but it’s understandable, and shared hardship oftentimes brings out deep-seated feelings from within people.

As this is happening, Wilfred is coming to terms with his own death. Thankfully, it’s not all that depressing, as we get a short sequence of him fulfilling every item on his bucket list–including bomb threats, beating the mailman up with a baseball bat, and catching his own tail–and it’s another instance of the dog humor this show utilizes so well. It’s all about Ryan and Wilfred here, the central relationship of this wonderful little show, and we see how each gives the other the moral support needed to form some semblance of courage; something like walking up the stairs has a profound meaning rooted in their friendship.

In the end, Wilfred has to do the most difficult thing he’s ever done: give Bear away. It’s a nicely played scene by Gann, and it’s a poignant moment reminiscent of Toy Story 3. However, I love the fact that the (adorable) puppy ends up ripping Bear apart; it signifies just how much meaning it had to Ryan and Wilfred and how little it has to others, and it emphasizes the difficult of giving away more so than the receiving. This has always been a deeply personal show, and it makes sense that Bear, once given away, would end up as merely a huge, stuffed bear. That, however, does not negate Wilfred’s gesture.

Wilfred, while sitting under the deck in the episode’s final scene, is happy for Ryan. “Before, or after?” he asks, and when he gets the answer, he starts laughing, for he’s accomplished his goal of leading Ryan to happiness, of being a God. What results from all this and whether or not Ryan truly finds happiness, we’ll surely find out next week, but for now, we can enjoy the image of two friends sitting under the deck, having a heart-to-heart one more time before four years come to a close.

Or, 28 dog years.



-RIP, Bear. You were a wonderful sex buddy.

-Basement stairs shot!

– “She needs to know that my lung may have breast cancer!”

-Take a look at this, courtesy of Reddit’s mhurton:



There’s a shot of Wilfred in the promo for the finale, and both of his arms are intact. I wonder what to make of this.

-One more week; the one-hour series finale is titled “Resistance” and “Happiness”. Predictions? Theories? Who or what do you want to see? Share below.

Photo credit: FXX, Wilfred

2 Responses to “Wilfred “Courage” Review (4×08)”

  1. Dave August 8, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    The scene in the promo for next week with Wilfred having two arms is just a clip from an earlier episode. Wilfred will remain three-legged.

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