Ryan’s back at work — that dark gray, claustrophobic place. It’s time on FX's "Wilfred" for some seriousness. Ryan's boss gives an inspirational speech after announcing the employees will be losing their jobs. And after he goes into his office to “call his wife,” he shoots himself.
Emotions go from depressing to light when Ryan’s mom offers to help his sister, Kristen, in preparing for her baby. When we last saw Ryan's mother, she was in a mental institution — hinting at the symmetry between mother and son. Catherine Newman (Mary Steenburgen) returns after her one and only appearance in season one's "Compassion” and despite several episodes this season revolving around Ryan's unnamed father, "Service" brings in the maternal aspect.
Mother and son share fantasies of running away, leaving bad memories and being free — a feeling any person with the hunger for adventure and zero responsibility probably feels daily. A trip to Mexico seems to be the cure for them.
During the road trip, she meditates at a farm stand because of the “energy vortex” surrounding it.
“She’s not mentally unstable,” Ryan says to his sister on the phone, while his mom balances strawberries on her eyes. “She’s eccentric.”
Hints at Catherine’s deteriorating mind creep up during the trip — she mistakenly calls Ryan her ex-husband, refers to her children as “kids” and calls Kristen her cat’s name. She takes off in Ryan’s car after mistaking Ryan for his father, leaving Wilfred in the backseat. However, this dog knows how to speak English and has a cellphone, so I doubt this misstep will cost them much.
Kristen comes to the rescue and after following a “free kittens” sign, the siblings find their mom — petting a kitten like a child and looking eerily deranged. After a failed attempt at giving Catherine her medicine, Kristen kneels over and cries in that unmistaking tone viewers can only interpret as “the baby is coming.”
This familial episode closes with Ryan at Catherine’s mental facility, participating in one of her favorite activities: painting. The full circle reference of Ryan’s dead boss and Kristen’s newborn bring upon a dark and light contrast, but outweighs it with maternal love. After last week’s episode involving Ryan and Amanda’s breakup, I think it’s safe to say that this show has gone slightly soft.
Pictured above: Mary Steenburgen as "Catherine Newman," Jason Gann as "Wilfred," and Elijah Wood as "Ryan Newman" in a scene from the "Wilfred" episode "Service" on FX.