Wilfred’s third season finale, “Regrets,” wasted no time beating around the bush. Ryan not only dealt with the aftermath of the kiss from last week’s episode, but also a variety of issues previously set up in the rest of season three. Consequently, the episode was not only compelling but also served as a great final chapter to a very strong season. Even better, “Regrets” ended on a note much different than the finales of season 1 and 2, thus proving that Wilfred still has a lot of story left to tell.
The first act of “Regrets” did a great job of setting up the whirlwind of events that was to follow. Ryan confirmed that neither Drew nor Wilfred knew of the kiss that he and Jenna had shared. Jenna talked to Ryan and the two agreed it was a mistake best forgotten. Ryan’s rut even seemed to be nearing an end as his relationship with his father improved and his father offered him the head position of a new pro bono division at his firm. This uneasy sense of security helped make the stakes in this episode particularly high for Ryan and his inevitable downfall that much more heartbreaking.
As always, the good times could not last. As a result of one of Wilfred’s schemes, Ryan’s life began falling apart. He lost Jenna and Drew as friends. Wilfred found out about the kiss that Ryan and Jenna had shared. Ryan discovered his roommate had been spying on him. Ryan’s father blackmailed him with footage of him talking to Wilfred for hours on end. And to top it all off, Ryan’s father fell down the stairs and died. Though it may seem like a lot of crashing and burning to cover in just one episode, Wilfred was able to execute it because it had spent all season setting it up. “Regrets” even managed to find a way to make each of these elements related to one another, thus serving as a proper culmination of the entire season.
The episode wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. Throughout the dramatic twists and turns of Ryan’s crisis, there were some genuinely touching scenes. Unable to hangout with Ryan, Wilfred tearfully admitted that he considered Ryan his best friend. Wilfred has called Ryan his best friend in the past, but never with such heartbreaking sincerity. At one point, Wilfred even offered to run away with Ryan. Then, in the wake of his father’s death, Ryan and his mother were able to realize that Ryan’s father was only ever trying to help, even if he only did so in his own messed-up way. To further drive home this point, Ryan discovered that his father had tailor-made the pro bono division to deal specifically with what Ryan had hoped to work with: mentally ill patients in need of legal assistance. These touching scenes ensured that “Regrets” was more than just an action-packed finale, but an emotionally poignant one as well.
“Regrets” even went so far as to distinguish it from past season finales. The first season finale found Ryan questioning his sanity and wondering if any of his time spent with Wilfred had been real. Season two ended with Ryan once again questioning his sanity, but this time accepting it as simply another part of his life. At that point, the question arose if Wilfred’s season finales would ever do anything other than cast doubt on Ryan’s sanity. “Regrets” once again visited the question of Ryan’s sanity, but this time, the idea that Ryan might in fact be sane was touched upon.
Tying in another important element from the season, “Regrets” revisited the mysterious symbol Ryan had found in his childhood drawing. Inside his father’s desk, Ryan found a letter with the mysterious symbol stamped onto it. Ryan then trekked deep into the forest (assumedly to the address on the letter) and found a long-abandoned house. He then made the shocking discovery of a seemingly ancient statue of a man with dog-ears and the mysterious symbol carved into his chest.
Though this discovery could mean any number of things, the abandoned house and exotic statue seems to imply some sort of mythology behind Ryan’s “insanity”. This idea is supported by the fact that mental illness runs in the family; Ryan’s mother sees a cat as a person and Kristen had a dog as an imaginary friend when she was young. If Ryan’s ability to see Wilfred as a man is in fact some mystical gift passed down through his mother’s side of the family, then season 4 could take Wilfred in a whole new direction that holds a lot of potential.
Nico Danilovich is a television enthusiast and amateur filmmaker. His work can be seen at www.YouTube.com/TheLazyNeighbors