‘Wilfred’ Recap: Ryan Discovers Reality, Kind Of, On Season Premiere ‘Progress’

When Wilfred last left fans, Ryan (Elijah Wood) didn’t know what to believe. Was the man-dog (Jason Gann) really just a figment of his imagination, and that’s why there was a closet where there was once a stairway to the basement? That’s what Ryan sets out to find as he checks himself into a mental hospital on “Progress.”

A Conversation with Elijah Wood, Ringling College of Art & Design, Sarasota, Fla., Jan. 24, 2012It’s four months into his treatment, and according to his doctor (Robin Williams), Ryan is beginning to see the world as it really is. But that’s about to be put to the test when Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) rolls up with Wilfred in a wheelchair after last year’s car accident.

Ryan doesn’t see a plain ol’ dog, but the man dog, again. So what does this mean for his reality? The man dog has a theory as he starts smoking some pot: “There’s nothing wrong with my mind, I don’t think we can say the same about yours.”

But Ryan knows not to trust him, thinking the dog is just the same self-serving, manipulative bastard he always was. Still, the man dog insists that Ryan isn’t living in the real world. He tells him to do what dogs do when they search for the truth: dig.

“You can’t stop looking for answers,” he insists, making the FX comedy a lot more existential compared to last season already. Ryan begins to suspect the man dog might be right, especially when the good doctor gives him two pills that night instead of one.

Still, he can’t trust the dog completely, and so he puts him to the test. “Without you, I’m nothing,” the dog insists. “It’s like I don’t even exist.” (Which is, perhaps, the biggest suggestion the show has ever made that the dog really is just a part of Ryan’s personality.)

But then the dog passes Ryan’s test when Ryan tosses a frisbee. The dog falls out of his wheelchair. And now the doctor wants to take some extreme measures with Ryan by giving him some electro-convulsive therapy. “It’s not your fault,” the doctor says over and over again to Ryan. And things finally start to click. That’s a line from Good Will Hunting, and the doctor actually is Robin Williams.

And then the nurse saves Ryan, and he’s thrown into a van. But the nurse isn’t really a nurse, because it’s the dog. And bear is driving the car! The dog asks something of Ryan: to find his will when he wakes up.

The ridiculous on this FX comedy isn’t always a dream, but in this case it most definitely is. That’s because Ryan is actually now an in-house counsel at some company and living, by all suggestions, a very boring life. To distract himself, he’s only day-dreamed of being in a mental hospital. (Clearly something is very, very wrong with him.)

Back at home, Ryan sees that Jenna is actually still with Drew (Chris Klein). But the closet is not just a closet. It blocks a stairway. And down in the dusty basement, Ryan finds the will, and it contains one simple sentence, “Keep digging.”

Ryan has a lot of truth to discover this season. What did you think of Wilfred “Progress”? Did it give you enough answers while asking enough new questions?

© 2012 Elizabeth SanFilippo at Gather.com

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