By Nico Danilovich
Spoiler Alert: “Heroism” ends with quite the cliffhanger, which I will be referring to throughout this review.
“Heroism” functions mainly as a set up for next week’s season finale. Unfortunately, it isn’t the kind of top-notch tension-building episode that often precedes season finales. The events of this installment feel aimless, exploring an issue fairly irrelevant to the rest of what Ryan has been going through this season. It is only at the very end, when Ryan and Jenna share a kiss, that “Heroism” becomes memorable.
Wilfred, on the other hand, is quite determined throughout the episode to achieve his goal: to make Jenna feel safer. It’s a nice contrast to Ryan’s lack of agency, but it mostly amounts to nothing more than jokes and plot device. In fact, Wilfred’s role throughout this episode is a good example of how the show should not use Wilfred. Wilfred is used best when he’s a representation of Ryan’s unconscious. This allows for his actions to be more closely tied to whatever emotional arc Ryan is going through each week. It also helps to consistently raise the ever-compelling question of Ryan’s sanity. In this episode, however, Wilfred is just another character. His dog-minded actions are cute, provide some good laughs and help move the episode from point A to point B, but nothing particularly interesting comes out of it. Wilfred would do well to remember that Wilfred is not just another character, he is (most likely) an extension of Ryan’s messed-up psyche and should be treated as such.
Despite these problems, “Heroism” is still entertaining and culminates in a solid final scene. The romantic tension between Ryan and Jenna is one of the major dramatic storylines the show is built upon and choosing to deal with it now, rather than in the show’s final season, is smart and bold. Hopefully, the finale will waste no time in dealing with the consequences of Ryan and Jenna’s kiss. If Wilfred manages to do that, the only other challenge the finale faces is tying the issue back to the rest of season three.
Nico Danilovich is a television enthusiast and amateur filmmaker. His work can be seen at: www.YouTube.com/TheLazyNeighbors