Wilfred started off ingeniously tonight, bringing the show back to its roots of man vs. beast by having Ryan step in Wilfred's shit the first milliseconds. To Ryan, it's a stain on his nice shoes. To Wilfred, Ryan just destroyed his work of art. Wilfred is always better when Ryan and Wilfred are at odds, and after the last two weeks of Wilfred as the office toy and Wilfred against Kristen's unborn baby, it was back to bad advice dog teaching Ryan a lesson the hard way in the episode "Now."
There was nothing too complicated about the episode as it went straight Odd Couple, but that's exactly what the series needed at this juncture. Wilfred is both friend and foe to Ryan, and the fun in the show comes from keeping us off balance. Wilfred repeatedly told Ryan to live for today and take the time to smell the roses and dog butts, and Ryan was planning for the future with an investment in a real estate development that would profit off of sixteen-dollar lattes and zero community benefit. Wilfred's job all along has been to bring Ryan out of his shell and turn him into a man's man, and throwing down cash to a bunch of boring old dudes wearing suits went directly against his philosophy. There's nothing wrong with Ryan's plan, but when we look at it through Wilfred's puppy-dog eyes we're led to believe that it's a horrible thing. Wilfred is Ryan's out-of-control Id, and while it's good to oblige that part of your psyche at times, too much Id leads to hangovers and jail time.
But Wilfred, good-natured as he can be, can also have the maturity levels of a spoiled child, and it wasn't long before he descended into overly comical Nihilist depression over Ryan's indifference (the record player was a fantastic touch). Bummed about Ryan continuing to invest in a project that was going to pave over a city-funded dog park that kept inner-city dogs off the streets, Wilfred went emo and attempted suicide in one of the greatest manipulations of Ryan he's ever pulled off (and there have been many). After seeing how his peers in the investment deal were neglecting their family, Ryan realized he'd been doing the same to Wilfred and bailed on the investment to get back to his buddy.
Though Ryan and Wilfred embraced at the end and there's some semblance of a happy ending, the episode was darker than Wilfred's adorable little nose and supported the idea that Ryan and Wilfred's relationship is an unhealthy one. We should be happy for the two working out their differences, but there's an air of caution surrounding the final moments as Ryan is only encouraging Wilfred to go to extreme measures to get his way. But that's what this show is all about. Should Ryan be listening to or ignoring Wilfred? Ryan occasionally learns valuable lessons from Wilfred, but he's just as likely to get steered down the wrong path. As the main conflict of the series, we'll be bouncing back and forth between good dog and bad dog all season long.
– I was out of town at Comic-Con for last week's episode "Guilt," but caught up on it and thought it was a pretty good episode. Definitely one of the funnier episodes of the season, and Wilfred's battle with Kristen's baby was great. Can we also show some love for Dorian Brown as Kristen? She's very underrated, and it looks like we're getting much more out of her character this season since she's abandoning the whole "stern sister" routine in favor of unemployed, divorced, Eastern philosophy-spewing deadbeat.
– Did you read my chat with the cast and producers of Wilfred from Comic-Con? Well you should! We talk about upcoming weird turns for the series and I grilled creator David Zuckerman about the weird "special preview" label that FX put on the excellent "Progress."
– "You just put a footprint on the Mona Lisa! Did you see swirl on the masterpiece? The form? The texture? The taper of the pinch point? Why do I bother, you don't know shit."
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom