In many ways, ‘Secrets’ is a microcosm of Wilfred‘s second season as a whole: weird, engaging at times, and inconsistent. As a continuation of the show’s true narrative (Ryan’s mental journey), I think the episode does a solid job teasing out new and interesting paths for the show to take in season 3. In terms of the seasonal arcs and how it handled its ancillary characters, it was pretty mediocre, throwing away one of the season’s shining spots for good, and clumping the rest of the characters in the margins, leaving a lot of it feeling undercooked.
The episode revolves around Jenna and Drew’s wedding, but they’re hardly even backdrops to the real drama of the episode, which comes in two forms: Ryan’s childhood drawing, and him being framed for selling the formula of the company he worked for briefly at the beginning of the season. The first thread works fairly well, although it really just walks around the same mysterious mythology of Wilfred’s existence, and exists as another one of Wilfred’s elaborate ruses. Wilfred spends the entire episode trying to establish with Ryan that he doesn’t have as much control of things as Ryan might think (using Amanda’s situation as an example), and even when he does own up, it’s under false pretenses – the season ends with Ryan seeing the crayon dog in an old photograph, reaffirming that he actually did draw it as a kid, a fact Wilfred obviously knew when he told him he drew it.
Wilfred’s clearly still in the steering wheel – and considering his warnings all season about Amanda (more on her later), it’s clear he should be. For all the progress Ryan’s made this season mentally, he hasn’t gone as far as he thought. The issues with his father – although only mentioned in the episode, with the presence of his former co-worker James, as his father’s mouthpiece – are still completely unresolved, and I’m more than willing to bet that Wilfred’s purpose in Ryan’s life has something to do with repairing that relationship in some fashion. And I’m ok with not meeting his father this season, but with all the talk about him through the season, it did feel a bit empty thematically that Ryan doesn’t really take a step forward in his feelings about his father.
The lowlight of the episode – and in turn, the season – is the revelation that Amanda is crazytown banana pants, stealing $10.2 million from their company because Ryan talked about not liking his job. To tell the truth, I would’ve rather the last time I saw Amanda to be the episode they broke up. What was once an important step forward in Ryan’s life turned out to be a distraction to put Amanda on the sidelines until the finale, when it could be revealed that she’s a nut case, and has to go away.
Now, I can believe Ryan would be attracted to the mentally unstable – look at his mother (or himself). But outside of a couple comments back in ‘Control’, there’s been nothing suggested that she’s unstable in any fashion – AT ALL. Maybe part of my frustration with this is because I liked her character, and how she propelled Ryan forward emotionally in his life (her material with him was some of the most engaging in the show’s history, being the first tangible emotional relationship (from a shared reality, at least) we’ve seen Ryan in. Either way, it’s a cheap way to write off her character, drumming up an episode’s worth of drama in pursuit of a story line that just feels constructed last-minute in the writer’s room.
There’s been some high points in Wilfred‘s second season, but as ‘Secrets’ showed, it’s evolution has been equally enthralling and frustrating to watch. There aren’t a lot of great man-buddy comedies around today (oddly enough, New Girl is probably the best thing around right now), and no matter how inconsistent, Wilfred can slow itself down enough to find terrific emotional moments for its characters. All in all, I thought it was a bit of a disappointing finish to a mostly enjoyable second season.
‘Secrets’ Grade: C+
Season Grade: B
– a little mythology talk: what are people’s thoughts on the blue house in that picture? We’ve seen that before, haven’t we? I’m more wondering about the color blue and how it plays into it (the blue pill from the pilot) more than anything. Ryan’s inability to remember things does suggest that he’s known Wilfred many times, which almost makes me want to say Wilfred is Sneakers (a shot at the end of a season 1 episode would support this)- but I believe Kristen’s talked about Sneakers before, which would nullify that.
– the wedding between Jenna and Drew -the big event of the episode – was barely even mentioned, which I thought was a disservice to both Jenna and Ryan’s characters. How is Ryan really dealing with this – is he really over her, and if so, what does that mean for her moving forward?
– Just the right amount of Kristen in the episode, from hearing about couples, to pushing off her baby to get wasted, and finishing with a hilarious shot of her getting her grind on.
– Goodbye, Allison Mack. We’ll miss you.
– All signs point to a season 3 for Wilfred, so I doubt this will be the series finale. It is certainly constructed with an extreme confidence for having a third season, which tends to suggest the show’s creative minds are assuming the same.
What did you think of ‘Secrets’ – and season 2 as a whole? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below, and thanks for reading this season!