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Here’s the Truth: This is WILFRED at its Absolute Best
If you ever pay close attention to the quotes at the beginning of every Wilfred episode, you should have been prepared for “Truth’s” heartbreaking ending. We break the mold a bit in this episode. Usually when Ryan is learning a lesson, things turn out for the better, having fixed a problem in his life or improved a relationship, but “Truth” changed things around. All it took to turn Wilfred’s usual formula on its head was the return of Bruce, the incredibly weird David Yoakam character and only other person who can interact with Wilfred the way Ryan can. His presence does an effective job of pulling you out of your expectations, allowing you to focus on the important question of the episode, “What is Wilfred?”
The easiest answer is he’s a projection of Ryan’s anxieties and doubts. Whenever Ryan is feeling something he can’t express, Wilfred is there to do it for him. In this scenario, Ryan and Amanda are taking their relationship to the next level by moving in together and Wilfred is unsure Ryan is ready for such a big commitment. There’s a lot Amanda doesn’t know, like how Ryan spends hours upon hours getting high with his neighbor’s dog in his possibly imaginary basement. How will he be able to continue his friendship with Wilfred if Amanda is always around? Ryan is naturally in denial of having any real problems, accusing Wilfred of jealousy and his usual brand of manipulation. But as Ryan himself points out later in the episode, even he isn’t sure Wilfred isn’t just his thoughts personified.
But if Wilfred is just a piece of Ryan’s segmented personality, what does that make Bruce? Is he all part of the delusion, another part of Ryan’s mind, or is he something else? We may never fully know the answer to that question, but at least he serves a very clear purpose. He returns with “the truth” – the real reason why Ryan shouldn’t live with Amanda – locked in a suitcase. If Ryan wants to know what the truth is, he’s going to have to play a game with Bruce. Queue the montage! Just like in last week’s episode, we were treated to simple yet fun montage of Ryan and Bruce’s game, which gets increasingly bizarre as Ryan eats a leech off of Bruce’s head and then the two are wearing fake beards with no explanation. The jokes are spot on throughout “Truth,” and they needed to be to soften the blow of the tragic ending.
Ryan inevitably beats Bruce – not before almost having to speak with his dad on the phone – and opens the suitcase to find… a timer. It’s been counting up the time Ryan has spent in the basement with Wilfred: twelve hours, four minutes and thirty-six seconds. That’s the real reason why he cannot be with Amanda. He was so caught up in what he and Wilfred were doing he completely forgot he was going to go over to Amanda’s and help her move, but she’s already arrived without him. She’s not angry or anything like that; she’s just excited to be starting a life with Ryan. Unfortunately for her, Ryan’s just come to accept that that’s exactly what they can’t have. He breaks up with her and Alison Mack plays the scene perfectly, allowing the hurt and raw emotion to overwhelm Amanda. It’s a side of Wilfred we really haven’t seen yet and it suits the show. If it wants to be this dark tale of a man learning how to live his life it needs to be able to tackle heavier subjects.
“Truth” ends with Wilfred admitting that, yes, he lies to Ryan and manipulates him, but it’s because he loves him and truly has his best interests at heart. This was easily the best example of what Wilfred can do. It had everything I like about the show, including the recently discovered montages. But there are still plenty of episodes left and I’m not sure things are going to be quite this good again for sometime. But there’s hope. You see, Wilfred also tells Ryan that a great disaster, one that he’s been sensing throughout the episode, is still coming. This season has been teasing the introduction of Ryan’s father for some time now; I can’t help but feel like Wilfred’s disaster and Ryan’s father are somehow related. He’s being built up almost like this season’s big bad guy, so I wouldn’t expect to see him until last or next-to-last episode, but I await his appearance with a childlike giddiness.