Wilfred Series Finale Recap: The Doggone Truth Is Finally Revealed

Wilfred Series Finale Recap

For a comedy about a grown man in a dog costume, FX/X’s Wilfred has surprisingly evolved into one of the darkest shows of our time — and Wednesday’s two-part series finale proved to be its most twisted hour yet.

RELATED Video: Wilfred Draws the Line With Ryan in Series Finale

Despite his lung cancer’s rapid progression, Wilfred began the hour in high spirits as his “Godly mission” to help Ryan find happiness had finally been achieved. But a surprise visit from Jenna’s ex threatened to ruin everything, sending Wilfred into a tailspin during his final days, before he eventually died. (Like I said, dark.)

OK, here’s where things get ba-nanas: Before he died, Wilfred convinced Ryan that he was actually a god named Madaman (Mataman? Mattdamon?), and that he’d been sent to Ryan to help him achieve happiness. This story was corroborated by Ryan’s mom, who revealed that his real father was Charles, the leader of the Flock of the Grey Shepherd. Charles used to preach about a “chosen one” destined to be visited by a “dog god,” but before Ryan got his hopes up, his mother told him Charles died in prison.

Wilfred Series Finale RecapFully believing this to be true — because why not — Ryan allowed Wilfred’s spirit to lead him to an old barn, where he met Charles (who totally did not die in prison, by the way). Charles explained that there was no such thing as a “dog god” or a “chosen one”; he totally invented both concepts out of thin air. To add to the weirdness, the cult member who used to dress up as the dog god looked exactly like Wilfred.

Once the truth began to sink in, viewers were treated to a trippy montage of flashbacks between Ryan and Wilfred — only this time around, it was very evident Ryan had been speaking to a regular, non-talking dog all along. All the arguments, all the shenanigans, all the chaos had been brought on solely by Ryan with absolutely no help from Wilfred.

There you have it, folks: The “Wilfred” we’ve grown to love tolerate during the past four seasons is neither dog nor god, but rather a figment of Ryan’s imagination. He doesn’t seem to care, though, as he ultimately decided to keep Wilfred in his life forever, despite now being aware of his non-existence.

So… all’s well that ends well?

And now, let’s talk about this insane hour: Were you surprised by the (multiple) revelations? Are you satisfied with the series’ ending? Drop a comment with your every frustration — and any explanations you want to offer up — below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Marcus T. says:

    Yay! Ryan finds out he is insane but that’s okay because just accepting mental illness means you can control it.

    • Sarah says:

      Did he get sick from all those meds is he gonna get help. Suicide is no joke.

    • Dude says:

      I don’t think anyone is taking life lessons from Wilfred.

    • pk says:

      untrue, and inaccurate to what the show was trying to say
      in the end he does get happy. the point is that for the entire show he felt like jenna would make him happy, but no material gain, nor ‘dream girl’ can make an unhappy person happy. its like the quote says, “happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them”. its an inner mentality that defines on the outward perspective. its contentedness with what one has. Ryan begins to realize this, i think, when he realizes the truth about jenna, that she would rather do the same thing, make the same mistakes, then take a risk and be happy. he takes a risk, he leaves her, and the mentality behind (not before hitting his bottom again, but being saved by his real, supportive, unselfish friends, who actually wish to help him instead of taking advantage of him as jenna admitted to doing).
      the search for happiness involves risks, which inherently do not always pay. ryan tries a new thing, ignoring wilfred until he goes away. it doesnt work, as he is only okay, not happy. this leads to a middle ground, accepting wilfred. hes not back to square one, hes not gonna harm himself with self-afflicted swirlies, or break things and blame a figment, hes gonna accept himself for who he is, not worry about what some girl thinks, and be happy with the fact that he cant control everything (the ‘let it go tennis ball motif)
      for those who feel mental illness is dealt with poorly in this show, i counter with charles, who only found peace with ‘a dozen medications’.
      there is no chosen one: ryan is not special. his four season struggle is ours too. we all search for happiness, we need all search within, we all pointlessly have worried what others think.

      • Luke says:

        Bravo sir, bravo.
        You found the real meaning behind this acid trip of a series.

      • Dan says:

        excellent take-away! I agree

      • Jpb says:

        You have been able to put my thoughts in precisely words! Thanks and bravo!!!

      • Mattaman says:

        You’re projecting.

      • Cory Vore says:

        HOLY FILM BREAKDOWN 101! Great post. You really nailed the essence of this show. I actually think the writers would sit back and be like “Damn we did all that?”

      • Timmah says:

        Finally got around to watching this, and I completely agree with your take.

      • Jon says:

        Not sure if the show did this on purpose although I think they did because the writers were geniuses and everything was so well put together, but the quote from the start of the first episode was “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination” and the first episode was titled “Happiness.” In the last episode, also titled “Happiness” Ryan accepts that Wilfred isn’t real and is in fact all in his mind, but he still decides to keep him around because although he knows he’s “insane”, being this way makes him happy and that’s all that matters. The quote in the series finale was, “Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.” This is what Ryan was all about in the episode. This quote is saying it doesn’t matter that what made Ryan happy was just sitting in his basement (or his closet for that matter) smoking weed and chilling out with the neighbors dog because he didn’t see Wilfred as the neighbors dog, he saw him as his best friend. The last episode shows that Ryan truly understands and “achieves” the meaning of the two quotes in the series premier, and the series finale. He achieved happiness, and nothing else mattered to him.
        PS: Jenna is a bitch.

  2. BEN says:

    First comment! Probably googled wilfred because im in denial about the series finally.

  3. Well what about the closet? What does it mean?

    • Nat says:

      Based off past evidence, a majority of critics and viewers believe tht Ryan realized it was just a closet but didn’t care because he was content with it like he became with wilfred. Plus, it kinda hinted it in the end of season 1, his friends and family nvr knowing about it, and Kristen in 1 episode said, “wait wat basement?” Don’t remember wat episode it was, I remembered thinking, “whaaaa?!”” Either way they left it like tht cause they wanted to f*** with ur brain like they did in lost.

      • Joey says:

        I think that was HIS “heaven” and wilfred gave him adventure in his life of sadness

      • Cory Vore says:

        What they did in lost was write a show that they never thought would get past two seasons and had to scramble with answers they couldn’t think up fast enough. Nice post.

  4. meredith says:

    Are we completely sure Ryan didn’t die…?

  5. Owen English says:

    Ryan see’s wilfred as the guy from the cult who dressed as the god because as a child he subconsciously remembered that face as the god, thats why they were the same person, and ryan is accepting his mental illness and embracing it, learning to live with it, which hit me hard…

    • I Believe in this theory, but, why does he see Bruce on a regular human form?

      • Nat says:

        Part of the trickster god thing. Tht or it’s just whole they forgot to feel cause Zuckerman had to clean up their mess after season 3

      • Dylan mckee says:

        This is my view. Wilfred was matamon. Bruce was krungle. Krungle dressed up as the cult guy who played himself. The episode where Bruce stole the money and was wearing the mask as an old man,he was dressed exactly like the guy who played him in current time. That’s why when Ryan confronted the old man who looked like Bruce in a mask, it wasn’t Bruce, it was the guy from the cult, which explains whyhe knew who Ryan was. Bruce = krungle which is why he could see Wilfred too.

        • Tocking Peetsa says:

          Yes but they’re not actual gods. Bruce is probably conjured up out of Ryan’s mind. I think Bruce is a dog and Ryan gives him a human appearance based on the man from the cult.

    • JK says:

      This really neatly ties up one of two big questions I had… how does Ryan have a face from an old photo AND be lead to his father by a spirit that’s a figment of his imagination? Was where he met his dad, the same location where all the mumbo jumbo happened when he was a kid? If so, that ties it up a neat bundle for me :)

      Loved this series from start to finish.

  6. Tom says:

    Is it illegal to do a satisfying series finale?

    • Cameron says:

      After Lost, and Dexter, I guess so.

      • Tom says:

        And How I Met Your Mother. At least they could have had Amanda bring the ball to him or something, if he’s not getting Jenna.

        • Cameron says:


        • Douglas says:

          I think the point was that the search for happiness starts within. Although being in love is great, being with someone shouldn’t define your happiness or self worth. I usually hate the cryptic endings but this one was pretty well done.

        • bhm1304 says:

          The final ‘Amanda’ appearance this summer was so depressing. I also wanted Allison Mack to show up in the finale. At least we got an awesome song from the great Jimmy Cliff at the end of the first half hour. ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ was the best part.

      • hasgotaname says:

        Lost was fantastic, you’re an idiot.

  7. Gaby Germanos says:

    IMO, this was a phenomenal ending. I’ve never seen a show/movie in which someone chooses insanity over sanity (at least not without the show pushing the idea that that choice is wrong). Ryan genuinely finds happiness in his delusions, and he’s not harming people (well, that’s debatable, I guess…but you get the idea!), so why not let him love out his fantasies?

    • Cory Vore says:

      Honestly, if my brain could think up a walking, talking, interacting best friend that I could have around when ever I wanted I would go for it. Hell yeah.

  8. Erin says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Wilfred reappearing after his death. I felt that his death would serve as a way for Ryan to move on and start having a full understanding of his life/illness. Perhaps the manifestation of Wilfred will help lead him to his ultimate happiness and seeking the help he needs but I guess it’s all open to interpretation!

  9. Rich says:

    It’s the weirdest thing… I don’t know how I feel about the ending. I always thought it was all in Ryans head and would have been really disappointed if the show had some sci-fi pseudo religious ending. I don’t know maybe I’m just sad that a charater I like lost “his” dog the girl he pined for years and is just mentally ill.

    • Cidão O. says:

      Like Rich said, I Kinda feel weird too, just because I just don’t know how to feel about the ending. I mean, Ryan deserved to be happy and all and it’s sad that his best bud is now gone. I don’t think Wilfred “ghost” will be there forever, first because he said that he needed to move on, and plus, because that’s what happen to ‘imaginary friends’.

      Just sad. Sad that Ryan accepts that “he is not capable of being happy”, depression (and mental illness?) is something really bad. Good to feel he accepted it as who he is, and just that, but… man, you can recover. Like Wilfie said, you can move on.

      Sad, but hopeful.

      • Nat says:

        It’s not a ghost. Wilfred was always in his head. Still is. Always will be. Now tht the show is over, critics and others assume tht he is schitzephrenic and has something of multiple personality disorder. He hears and sees things not there, and he acts like he’s someone else doing something to his other perosona.

  10. Cameron says:

    Why didn’t he get back with Amanda!!? At the end he turns out to be crazy, she was crazy, they were perfect for each other. I do not even like mushy love stories; but damn, was it so hard for the writers to allow the character to be happy with a woman that actually cared about him.

  11. it all goes back to that Mark Twain quote in the pilot “sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”

    • Nat says:

      So right. I noticed tht too. And it kinda goes to real life too. Like athiests are saying tht “god isn’t real. Don’t delude urself”. But kinda like in Ryan’s case, if it’s not harming anybody (except for terrorists), where’s the harm in being crazy and happy? Wats more important? Reality, or happiness?

      • will says:

        Reality! It isn’t even a question! I would rather be aware of all of the things that are true and real than to EVER be blissfully ignorant of the truth. Knowing something isn’t perfect and happy means you can try to do something to improve it. Anyone who would choose to stick their fingers in their ears and go “la-la-la” instead of choosing reality is choosing the option that’s least preferable and least useful to humanity. It only works for Ryan because this particular delusion is now one that he DOES recognize as a delusion, and it doesn’t particularly cause a ton of harm to those around him, but it would still be preferable for him or any person to grasp reality and strive for real happiness instead of happiness by way of nothing of substance.

        • Rich says:

          Nothing is true, everything you believe is what is true to you.

          • Ramin says:

            I gauss what Will was trying to say was not about philosophy, good and bad and “improve” are defined in outward world where matters effects are tangible. Wilfred has no effect on others so its not real, it only makes Ryan happy. If in anyway he could use it for good it could make sense…but unlimited unsatisfying self concerning with no result at the end is not a reasonable pack to act.

          • Donny says:

            Do u realize how useless that theory is? How can nothing be true at the same time as what you believe is true? That’s a straight contradiction.There are provable truths.

          • Tia says:

            Exactly! And donny the universe is a contradiction. There is no truth beyond the “truth” we make for ourselves. Which is the only truth that matters because we have no direct experience of objective reality. Perhaps most of us can come to an agreement by “proving” a “truth” but that’s because we all are similarly wired. We all have a similar enough brain structure and tools for sensing outside stimuli (touch, taste, hearing, etc) that we end up with a similar bias, or distortion of objective reality. Ryan’s reality can’t be proven to be any less real than everyone else’s . But understanding his particular bias or distortion of reality and how it differs from the majority can allow him to use it in a more helpful way instead of letting it control him and basing decisions ignorantly off of an assumption that his experience is something that its not. I think everyone would benefit from recognizing there own bias even if it similar enough to the majority’s that it’s not considered insane. In “reality” we are all delusional.

        • DannyB says:

          When depression gets bad enough, I’d rather be a happy, drooling Neanderthal than someone who is aware and miserable. Maybe that is selfish, but it is bred entirely of desperation. I would hope that if I was in Ryan’s situation, I would get a comparable ending.

  12. Dr. M says:

    Loved every minute of the final episode. It was such a powerful commentary on the mind, mental illness and, in a way, the nature of reality. And also how deeply experiences from your childhood can affect you. It was just good.

  13. TV God says:

    I thought it was a good way to tie all the ends together and have a decently happy ending, even though I wish Ryan and Amanda would get back together. I ship them so hard!

  14. jake says:

    sounds too much like the fight club twist

  15. The opposite of Fight Club. Tyler Durden is shot to death in his mind and accepts reality. Ryan embraces fantasy and keeps Wilfred.

  16. joe m says:

    So is Ryans dad really charles or was that his imagination? Because the while episode was a day dream he had while he was with kristen. Ugh the confusion.

    • I don’t think the episode was a daydream while he was with Kristen on the bench. If it was, when was it that he fell asleep on that bench? I mean I would be really disappointed if the whole last episode was just his imagination, that being said, I guess pretty much the whole show is his imagination. But why do you think it was all a day dream.

    • Nat says:

      No it’s really Charles. It was just a scene with him thinking.

    • CEIGE says:

      He was wearing different clothes in the first scene with Kristin than in the scene at the end, therefore it wasn’t a daydream.

  17. Desi says:

    I feel that Ryan’s mental illness was schizophrenia, hearing and seeing things that seemed completely real to him. The difference in Ryan’s personality compared to Wilfreds would indicate duel personality.

  18. Sarah says:

    What happen with Amanda anyway. Why is this show ending.

    • Nat says:

      Amanda got out of rehab or watevs, lives with her parents and takes meds. Stays away from Ryan so she start new. Show is ending because they just decided to end it. They messed up the show being about humor in season 3 and got a little less funny (though they brought it back up a little bit more in 4 to me tht is) and focused more on the mystery cause Zuckerman left tht season and the other ppl writing f***** up and Zuckerman came back for the final season and saved their a**** sort of. That and the viewership went down a bit in season 2, And tremendously in season 3, and in my opinion it’s because of the lost of focus on the humor.

  19. Sarah says:

    Loved this show. Got stupid with the cult thing

  20. Paul Foley says:

    It’s still very confusing on why Ryan looked in the closet and smiled/shrugged at something, that “Huh?” seems as if he saw something and was content. Then to jump to a couch on the beach, maybe his basement was heaven, and heaven being a figment of our imagination. Could he have saw his dead body? Even though he took pills maybe he went into the closet to commit suicide another way. The couch on the beach which has never been shown draws away from just his insanity and places the setting into another area of fantasy or even afterlife.

    • lee jenkins says:

      I think we’ve seen them on the couch on the beach before. Earlier tonight on a recent episode, in fact, when Wilfred pointed to a girl and said her books were happiness.

    • Nat says:

      Noooo, the couch on the beach is a couch on the beach. There are people in the background walking. Don’t know why people wearing running clothes and such would be in his fantasy world unless he wanted it there. Plus he still has his job and such. The ending is exactly how it seems (except for wat he sees in the closet. Thts open to interpretation.); he knows he’s crazy, he doesn’t care , and he lives his life now with wilfred as his imaginary friend because it makes him happy. That’s wat u get with a stoner comedy. Plus the first quote of the tv kinda pointed it out : “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”.

  21. Mrs. Z says:

    I’ve loved and lost a lot of great dogs in my life, so seeing the grey, shaggy Wilfred laying dead in the vet’s office broke my heart a little. The idea of hanging on to a fantasy of Wilfred the Mandog felt like a cheat.

  22. lee jenkins says:

    I appreciate that Ryan found happiness in his delusion. It’s a much more satisfying and unique than him rekindling an old romance ( and sorry folks, but crazy on top of more crazy, criminally crazy like Amanda was especially, is not healthy at all) or coming to terms and seeking help. All things considered, isn’t this the ultimate form of accepting yourself and seeking happiness from within. He literally has found his happiness from within him self. We should all be so lucky.

  23. I liked the way it ended, still though, how did he know where the barn was? And I was really hoping that he’d tell his mother about how he could talk to Wilfred…

    • Edge says:

      Based on the last scene of the series, it seems that Wilfred can help Ryan bring back repressed memories. All Wilfred had to do was dig through Ryan’s memories, and guide him to that barn, because subconsciously Ryan remembered where this place was as a baby.

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  25. Donnie says:

    So… I read all of these theories on the end of this series and what it was all supposed to mean. I still have a question. How is it that Wilfred came to be before Ryan knew anything about the cult? I get that is where he was born, vut would an infant really be able to remember that much detail even on a subconcience level? And why doesn’t his sister have any, apparent, recollection of any of these events? She was the one at an age where she would actually be able to remember some of this stuff.

    • Max says:

      Ryan’s sister was only 3, and probably repressed the memories because she was leaving to a new family. Whereas Ryan would be able to access repressed memories through wilfred. Like, when a little baby recognizes you as “dada” or whatever, that’s memory. So ryan clearly has memories of those days, he just repressed or forgot them, and Wilfred found them.

  26. Andrew Proctor says:

    There seems to be a rift in reviews between those who see the finale as categorically suggesting mental illness and those who think it’s ambiguous. I agree with the ambiguity. It can be read as above, but certainly too, the whole argument is hinging on interpretation of Charles’ comments. Specifically, Charles says he was mentally ill and that he made it all up. But he also Charles states clearly that medications are the reason why he no longer talks to dogs.

    Should we believe Charles? He’s simply consciously suppressing that belief/view of reality, the same way Ryan had attempted before. But to believe that there’s this shared insanity between mother and father and Ryan where they all talk to dogs…well, that’s not how mental illness operates. Yes, mental illness can be genetic, but you can’t inherit specific hallucinations.

    Moreover, everyone’s assuming Ryan simply picked up on the premise from his time in the Flock as a young child. So at three, before he had any substantial vocabulary or knowledge of social cues, Ryan subconsciously picked up the whole mythology and social interplay of the god figures in the cult? What if, in fact, we consider the alternative. That Charles was sane, that everything that happened was legitimate, as fantastic or “crazy” as it may seem.

    And we know that both gods were tricksters, one for good and one for bad. Is it then that unbelievable that they would actually be present for their own followers, simply under the guise as “acting” their own true identities? The one who plays Madamon was said to be legitimately preachy, as though he were in earnest about leading the people. The flock members interpreted this as irritating because they didn’t seem him as actually being the actual god, but what if he were? All things considered, I find this more believable.

    Let’s remember, Charles was right. His son was visited by a dog who spoke to him. Whether you think this is some incredibly unlikely self-fulfilling prophecy or not, the material of the religion seems to be true. There were dog figures that did speak to humans and intervene in their lives. Even were it purely through mental illness, the “crazy” Charles of the past was not lying. But if we accept that what he was saying at first was true, then it’s hard to say that Charles’ modern day assessment is correct and that Ryan’s interactions with Wilfred are the product of some bizarre shared delusion / infant memory combination..

    I do think that the ending’s not meant to be clear. Certainly, the more immediate response would be to say that Ryan is crazy. However, I think the more substantive interpretation is the fantastical truth of Wilfred and the Flock of the Grey Shepherds.

    • This Flock plot was very much confusing. I Mean… if he kinda had the memory of the human-wilfred (richard?) on the dog costume and it became his ‘imaginary god-dog friend’ why he didn’t see Bruce just like that?

    • Nat says:

      I disagree. Even at the end, wilfred acknowledges he is not real. Plus he can know memories in Ryan’s head as showed. Shows Ryan doing everything to himself. And plus when Charles says he talks to his dog. , tht doesn’t mean he’s insane. I talk to my dog. It’s like one of those things where ur like, “hey paco (my dog), wats up. How’s ur day been boy? U want a treat? Do ya? I bet u do. I could use a treat to, but ain’t know one gonna feed this man except him self (then I laugh)”. They made the ending clear except for the closet part which they did on purpose so it could be a “Lost” thing so ppl can be like did he see it as the closet (pointing to he is coming to terms) or as a basement (pointing to he can still go to his “sanctuary” or wat not of his inner imagination. But most critics believe he saw it as a closet or wat not. It’s not a complicated thing. After all the confusing bulls*** from season 3 and some of 4, I think the last thing they’d want to give us is a finale with no complete answer, but one tht finished it, but left us to wonder “a bit” like they did with the closet. Kinda like Lost did in a way.

  27. Wilfred Fan #1 says:

    i didnt expect the series to end the way it did , but im sure a few of us saw this coming from the start . that hes insane . bt now we know its becuz of the father. Im sure ryan saw a closet when he opened that door & im still confused on how bruce is able to see & talk to wilfred . is bruce imaginary too? Oh well , it taught us that we’re all capable of doing ANYTHING we want on our own . With or without a friend like Wilfred . anyways , ryans happy forever now . Goodbye to the #1 show .

    • I Think so… Bruce was the man who played the bad-god on the flock. What I don’t understand is why Ryan sees him as a regular-human.

      • Walter says:

        Bruce wasn’t an hallucination, that’s why. Charles told Ryan that Bruce was blackmailing Henry about telling Ryan the truth.

        • Wilfred #1 Fan says:

          That still doesnt explain how bruce was able to tlk to wilfred if he really wasnt there

          • Cidão O. says:

            The way I understood, there were two Bruces: An Imaginary Bruce and a real Bruce, called Shane. Ryan could imagine him because he was a man from his past too, he played the other god on the rituals that the man-wilfred played the good dog god. Maybe the “different” Ryan he saw on the street once – and didn’t recognize – was the real one, Shane.

            I think Bruce was there because Ryan needed someone else to talk to Wilfred so he wouldn’t think he was crazy at all; At least he wouldn’t be the only one.

    • Nat says:

      There’s an imaginary Bruce and a not imaginary Bruce whose real name is Shane. The real Shane was paid off by Ryan’s adoptive father so he wouldn’t tell Ryan’s mom tht Charles was alive. The other Bruce who wore a mask is not real. And tht scene where Ryan tried pulling off Bruce’s mask: tht was Shane.

    • MV says:

      I was ALWAYS under the impression that Bruce was a snake (in real life) and Ryan saw him as “Bruce” in his head, much like his hallucinations of Wilfred. If you watch certain episodes again, this theory would be plausible, and Bruce removing his “mask” and becoming Shane would be the snake shedding his skin the way snakes do. Of course, Shane WAS a real person, who Ryan suppressed in his mind from childhood. Just my interpretation.

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  29. NutellaPhreak says:

    I agree with the people who are saying that the ending is not meant to be clear, but here are what I believe to be the two most likely explanations for everything.

    Explanation 1: Wilfred and Bruce are the gods, Mataman and Krungle, and like the cultists said, Mataman is meant to bring the chosen one to happiness, and Krungle is meant to lead the chosen one astray. Although this explanation is not the one that I’d prefer to believe,(because I don’t really like the idea of this show having a somewhat sci-fi/religions aspect) it does make a lot of sense. Charles (Ryan’s supposedly real father) explains that back when the cult was active, the man who looks like Wilfred role-played as Mataman (the good god) when they did plays or whatever, and the man who looks like Bruce role-played as Krungle. I believe this to mean that those two “people” actually were the gods and that is why they eventually met up with Ryan (the chosen one) later on in his life. Charles does say that he did actually believe all that stuff back then when he was “crazy” and the only reason he doesn’t anymore is because he takes pills, so it’s possible that he wasn’t actually crazy and those gods do exist.

    Explanation 2: Ryan has hallucinations because he is crazy, but the reason his hallucinations take the form of Wilfred and Bruce is because he remembers those two people playing as the Mataman and Krungle characters from when he was young. This explanation would require us to assume that, for some unexplained reason, Ryan can remember these people and the cults stories from when he was only 3, and for some reason, Kristen can’t remember them. I think I would prefer to believe this explanation because it makes the ending that much better, because Ryan accepts his insanity (where many people would try to subdue it like Charles did) and finds happiness from within himself, however, it’s kind of hard to believe that the creators of this show simply expected us to believe that a 3 year old would remember those things and an older child would not.

    So logically (even though it involves gods and a sort of magic) the first explanation makes more sense, but if we set logic aside for a moment and accept that maybe a three year old would remember the cult in such detail, the second explanation is a lot more interesting and meaningful, and overall just makes the show a lot more interesting to think back on. Also, when you realize that the whole theme of the show was insanity, it makes quite a bit of sense that the second explanation is the one we are meant to believe, especially because the entire show started by giving us this quote: “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”

    • Nix says:

      Really he wouldn’t have even been three because you have to take 9 months of his mum being pregnant so he was even less likely to remember the cult stuff being 2

      • Nat says:

        Plus the memories are in his brain, they’re just stored away to where we can’t find them. But his subconscious can, cause well, u know, it’s his subconscious. His subconscious brought tht into play being tht he had scheziphrenia and a form of multiple personality disorder (other people and critics opinion, not mine. Diagnosed by real doctors people!)

    • Nat says:

      Its “2”. It’s f****** 2. Ppl keep going with “nooooo it’s mattdamon!!!!” Nooooo wilfred even acknowledged tht he was fake. And if he was a god, he would know. Ryan’s subconscious would go along with Watever explanation he found for explaining wilfred. Whenever the subconscious found an “answer”, it would be interpreted into wilfred. Wilfred would be altered by them. One moment, ” Heyyy I’m mattdamon!” The next, “oh I’m not real”. The only way tht would happen is if his subconscious was influenced by wat he currently believed to be true , which in the end, he believed the real truth. U guys keep making it more complicated than it needs to be. It’s ruining the whole experience for others who are like, “Wait, I thought the ending said he wasn’t real…d*****! Why do people make it confusing!!!!!” U guys ruin a perfectly good ending because u want to over interpret things and make them complicated. Sometimes things are just meant to be simples as showed in the “simple” ending. Nothing big. Ask the ppl who made it. They’ll tell u. Except for the closet part. They want u to thing about tht so they hav a legacy, like Lost. Plus they hinted the answer in the first quote: “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”.

    • Tahiri Festa says:

      But his Kristen did remember, she’s the one who drew a painting with Wilfred on it when she was little.

  30. Nix says:

    Am I the only person who believes Ryan actually committed suicide last night? Also, there are certain things that Wilfred knew that Ryan couldn’t know and how was Ryan led to see Charles? Even if he had been there as a baby then he still wouldn’t remember the place

    • Nat says:

      I don’t think he died, just overdosed. He’d have to of drank more than a sip to die. The wilfred leading him to his dad part: either thts just a whole they didn’t think about, or it’s just a subconscious thing. Idk. And if he really did die, thts f’d up because it’d take more. Trust me. I know ppl who tried (not me)

    • Nat says:

      Actually I just read tht when Elijah Wood asked if Ryan died, Zuckerman laughed and said no. There u go. Right from the guy who makes the show.

  31. PHIL says:

    well ryan was led to happiness he realized he was mental like his mom but was unhappy when wilfred was gone so he chose that with wilfred he would be happier so wilfred did lead him there after all to HAPPINESS

  32. josh says:

    Realy enjoyed the ending . Idk why people wanted him to get back with amanda though ? I feel that Would have made the show too mushy and take away from the dark comedy it was
    , also if ryan was dead as some people theorized then how did he have that convo with kristen? All in all i thought it was a brilliant ending for an amazing show . Any way thats my piece

  33. What was behind the Door was there no basement then ?

    • Nat says:

      Thts the only part tht I believe (with good evidence) is open to interpretation. It was either a basement or closet. Critics and majority of viewers agree it was a closet and he smiled and chuckled cause he was like, “Ha. It really was a closet along. Well, gotta go be with my imaginary friend now.”

    • Mrernest says:

      Season 4 episode 3 clearly shows Ryan walking out the closet after arguing with Wilfred in the basement and walkin upstairs


      Remember the pairing with the family that his sister drew as a kid? It had mr floppy ears and the blue barn. She clearly remembered the cult

    • Mrernest says:

      Season 4 episode 3 clearly shows Ryan walking out the closet after arguing with Wilfred in the basement and walkin upstairs


      Remember the painting with the family that his sister drew as a kid? It had mr floppy ears and the blue barn. She clearly remembered the cult

  34. Ryan says:

    Someone please explain bruce to me, how is it that he could see and talk to wilfred as well was bruce a part of ryans imagination as well?

    • Nat says:

      There’s “Bruce” who is imaginary. And then there is “Shane”. Bruce is basically the imaginary version of Shane who is the real man who played Krungel during the ritual s***. Ryan brought Shane up as imaginary Bruce through his subconscious (like wilfred). Meanwhile, the real Shane is alive and being paid off by his Ryan’s adoptive father (the main dad in the series who died) company so the real Shane doesn’t tell Ryan’s mom that Charles (Ryan’s real dad) is still alive because that would only stress his mom out. BOOOM!

      • Ryan says:

        okay okay makes sense i forgot about that, when ryan saw “bruce” in the old mans mask but really it was shane gotcha lol

      • Krungel says:

        Krungel is the “trickster” god. He can probably shapeshift. But he’s still a DOG, like Matamom(Wilfred) if the religion is true. Charles called his dog “Krungy” sounding like a pet name for Krungel. The medications make Charles think None of it is real but he himself said that when he first declared the doctrine he himself believed it. But when Krungle is not hanging out as a normal looking dog at the barn, he is seen by Ryan as Bruce and to Some people (and even sometimes to Ryan) as Shane or the old man. So it is possible the whole religion part is true and motamon is giving Ryan happiness by being with him through Ryan’s whole life because he is the chosen one. That’s why Ryan’s mom and the cult members and Charles and Ryan had dog talking experiences. Ryan should have told his mom before it was over

  35. thelast says:

    I think Ryan gave that poor dog cancer because of all the smoking he did in his presence.

  36. Nat says:

    To all u people who think Ryan is dead, he’s not. When Elijah Wood read the script from Zuckerman, he said, ” I think he finally manged to commit suicide”. Zuckerman said, “Really? That’s intresting”. Then laughs and says that was not my intention at all. THERE U GO! Right from the guy who makes the F****** SHOW! RYAN IS NOT F****** DEAD! STOP SAYING HE IS! U MISINTERPRET THE REAL ENDING AND MISS THE REAL MEANING!

    • iamcanadian87 says:

      You need to chill, lol. You can’t blame people for having that theory, when the star of the show himself, who knows the show inside out, also had the same theory.

      I think it is open to interpretation, either way, and despite the quote from Zuckerman.

      • Nat says:

        Yea I know. I get tht. But it’s the fact they have tht theory after the fact Zuckerman said he didn’t die. It’s like god saying, “Hey guys, I made the world in 7 days”. And we’re like, ” no u did it on 5″. And Jesus is saying, “wat the heck r u guys thinking?!” To people who thought tht theory before the interview r fine. People who keep believing it though after the fact r idiots.

        • Frodo says:

          Are you Jesus in this analogy? Bit pretentious?

        • Frodo says:

          When I watched the Australian version of this series I suspected that Wilfred was a hallucination but it was hard to know for sure. The biggest clue we got there was that the final episode was called “Bite Club”.

          I enjoyed the US version even more than the original, and really appreciated that they gave us a much clearer explanation as to what Wilfred was. You had to pay attention but the answers were definitely there.

          Brilliant show👍

        • hasgotaname says:

          It’s fiction, people can interpret it however they want. While it’s obvious what the writers intended, it doesn’t matter.

  37. ScarletHarlot says:

    The ending broke my heart because if Wilfred’s actions were all being acted out solely by Ryan, he gave real-dog Wilfred lung cancer, he tortured a real dog by tying him to a chair and shaking a can of pennies at him, he gave away Bear, he killed Jelly Beans, etc.

    • and wilfred died sad, because he had the attack when he got to know about jenna and drew.

      • Nat says:

        He didn’t die from the free Jenna thing. Him flipping out never happened. Tht happened in his head. The real wilfred died from a normal seizure tht comes from cancer and Ryan saw tht as his personified wilfred (the imaginary one) having a stroke. In reality, wilfred the dog died. And the personified one didn’t cause he isn’t real. “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.

    • Nat says:

      Yea tht is bad. But if u think about it in retrospect, it’s one of those dark humor things. It’s kinda funny in “retrospect”. Except maybe killing the dog. Thts a little scarey, but I’ll roll with it. It’s a story to tell.

  38. HornedGramma says:

    It doesn’t work. At all. If Wilfred was a figment of Ryan’s imagination, then how did Wilfred’s ‘spirit’ manage to lead him to his father’s farm out in the middle of nowhere? And how is it possible for Wilfred to have looked exactly like the man in the photograph if Ryan had never seen that photograph until the very end? And what was the purpose of the money drops that Ryan’s adopted father maintained throughout his entire life?

    No questions were answered whatsoever. Clearly FX canceled the show before the writers had time to wrap things up satisfactorily so they just threw something together. So frustrating.

    • Eliad says:

      Ryan was in the farm as a baby for a couple of years, its all his memories – the location, the sex issue Wilferd tell on on the end, and the road to the farm which he must have done for many times as a small child

  39. Ryan says:

    It was kind of like a beautiful mind. In that, he seems to realize his best friend was only in his head.

  40. TotesMagotes says:

    No one is talking about the fact that Wilfred got lung cancer and he really was just a dog…. So it’s completely Ryan’s fault that he got cancer lol since he must have been getting him high all this time

    • Boom says:

      thats stupid on the writers end. Marijuana doesnt cause cancer.. Look it up

      • Nat says:

        It’s not as likely as cigarette smoke, but smoking is still smoking dude. It’s gonna have some kinda bad affect anyway. And isn’t kinda ironic how “most” of the best things r life are bad for u? :P

  41. Eliad says:

    The cult story explain somewhat how Katherine sees her cat, Mittens as an anthropomorphic woman in a cat suit. They were both in the cult and saw the animals suits.
    They could have put the cat suit women on the photo album to complete the story.

  42. candi says:

    I think that Wilfred was the dog god, he led Ryan to his real father (who he had only found out about that day) He was real! (So was Bear!) So were the “prophesies” Wilfred knew the only way Ryan could be happy was thinking he was crazy and that he (Ryan) was in control.

    • josh says:

      I like that idea

    • Nat says:

      Nope. Cause again, dad said completely made up. Zuckerman and the writers were inspired by other cults of the same nature, where people made up something and actually beloved it, kinda like Scientology with those crazy people (look it up. It’s crazy. Made up by a science fiction writer in 1960 something). There was even a cult tht had a mass suicide event cause the guy who made it up was a complete psychopath. But guy, I like how u were thinking! :D

      • Ryan Pipkin says:

        what’s important to note is that there’s enough left open too interpretation. The father said that his dogs used to talk back too, and that he believed in everything he was saying at the time. it could very well be that one of the dog gods screwed/improved his life and left, then after the fact he just figured he was insane and made it all up. I think like everything else in the series it’s just left open to viewer interpretation.

  43. Brian says:

    So was Ryan just hanging out in a closet every time it showed them in the basement?

    • Nat says:

      Probably yea, or the basement was just in his head literally. Or maybe it was real. Thts why they did tht last scene to f*** with people’s head. Kinda like lost. They want a legacy to be remembered and for people to buy the episodes to look it back over and think about it. And probably for artistic writing too. But most critics and viewers believe tht the basement was nvr real, based off evidence. Thts wat I believe too.

  44. Brian says:

    Going into the 4th season of Wilfred I was perplexed, I wasn’t sure if this show was one of the most brilliant or the most surreal crazy show since Lost (they made a Lost reference). Well after watching the hour series finale I come to the conclusion that Wilfred was the most brilliant show that no one was watch. We watch a full 4 season of a man who is mentally ill and the struggle that he goes through. Funny thing I was guessing that this is what Wilfred was about but I keep brushing it aside saying no they would put a show like that on TV and boom they did. I also knew that his dad wasn’t his dad, I pin pointed it to when the season opened and his dad wasn’t dead and he was asking Ryan strange question, so I wasn surprised by that. Anyway I would almost put this show up there with Breading Bad where it started off about a man who has cancer that decided to make drugs but it really was a character study on someone becoming a drug lord. I know if Vance Gillian had pitched that to AMC they would have said no, just like when J J Abrams pitched Lost as a show about a plane crash on a Island but it was going to make it a Scifi show. He said that he knew ABC would say no so over 6 season he slowly added it into the show which what he wanted to do in the first place. Wilferd ending explained all the weird structure of the show yes this has to be in someone mind because we as human think disjointed like that. I also loved that Ryan finally told Jenna off, she was a user and knew Ryan loved her so she just used him until she get what she want which a lot of people do. I know a lot of people aren’t sure about the ending, to me it’s about a Man who is mentally ill and he finally has a way to cope with it. It is so strange that show end just when Robin Williams pasted and we finding out he has depression which is what Ryan was struggling with. Anyway this show was a great ride and I will recommend this so to anyone who love character study type show.

  45. Angie says:

    I think it simply is what it is…Ryan knew he didn’t fit in a normal life…he always used Wilfred to deal with his problems…real or imaginary. When the real Wilfred died…he just fell back to the Wilfred he created all along…the Wilfred who pushed him to do what he knew he needed to do but couldn’t do on his own. Ryan turned to Wilfred again…knowing full well what Wilfred is to him now and content and grateful he has Wilfred to support and guide him again…although it’s clear it’s all in his subconscious mind, Ryan just wants to continue his fantasy that makes him feel like he is a normal functioning person.

  46. Cris says:

    Everyone keeps commenting that in the end Ryan accepts his insanity and is content with it. Has anyone considered that in the end Ryan is actually healed and no longer crazy? I think that all along Wilfred was an externalized part of Ryan’s personality that he was trying to suppress. Wilfred was the side of Ryan’s personality that was honest, took risks and enjoyed life. Throughout the series Wilfred’s mission is to make Ryan acknowledge this part of himself. Ryan realizes this in the last episode after he rejects Wilfred and becomes unhappy again like he was at the start of the series. Ryan then asks Wilfred to be part of his life again but says things can’t be the same as they were (the craziness). They reach a compromise where Ryan agrees not to question Wilfred (himself) if he in return is allowed to “lay low” from time to time. Ryan isn’t accepting his insanity, he is becoming a whole person again. He and Wilfred become one. Any further dialog between the two is really just Ryan’s inner dialog like a normal person has (i think, or maybe I am crazy too). Just food for thought. Anyway, Wilfred has to be one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in a long time. I’m sad to see it end, but like Breaking Bad, it ended on its own terms instead of dragging on and becoming really lame.

    • Nat says:

      I like tht idea. It kinda deals with the whole subconscious thing. Although there’s no doubt he had some sort of mental disorder or illness. But still, nice inference. Oh and yea wilfred ended on it’s on terms , but also a little bit because of the low ratings. Ratings lowered tremendously during the third season. :/

  47. sharon says:

    I appreciate the optimism, but I sincerely interpreted the finale as the completion of Ryan’s intended act from episode 1: to kill himself. I have viewed the series as his mind struggling with accepting his chosen fate as his brain slowly winds down to death, and the resulting series finale seems to confirm (for me) that story line.

    I think they left it open to interpretation on this matter, but again, I believe Ryan killed himself.

  48. Al Winston says:

    Good for the writers! The ending was something we could have guessed, but the writers didn’t care, they went for what gave the best story resolution and that which would naturally follow. Unlike the incompetent ‘tards that wrote ‘Lost’ that had no idea where they were going when they started, or Bore Lucas who also didn’t know where he was going with the Star Wars ‘trilogy’ (i.e., both thought they had produced cr@p with the first production, and when it succeeded they kept writing it for the money), these writers are true storytellers. Nice work. All elements were pulled from Ryan’s psyche to create a character that was meant to have him help himself, with the self-awareness making him whole at the end. And the last scene, as Wilfred might say, “Mate, life is fulfilled when you’re holding your ball in your hand.”

  49. Ahhh says:

    So in details , how did ryan & wilfred tlk on the fone & facetime while jenna & drew had sex ?? Was ryan actually hanging jennas dog in season 2 then thought it was jus wilfred or was he imaginary at that time ? And lastly , ryan did see a closet in the end cuz at the end of the first season he saw nothing bt a closet . in season 2 he wanted so hard to believe that wilfred & everything was real so basically he jus made a hole in the wall & THOUGHT there was actually a basement there . Cmon’ how can ryan not knw about the trap door if the basement is real & he LIVES there he had to have bought the carpet that covered it . im still confused about the couch on the beach part tho..

  50. Eknight01 says:

    So no matter how anyone wants to interpret the ending, I still have an issue with it being a bit unresolved, unless I just flat out didn’t notice something, causes a plot hole or at least a continuity issue: Season 3, the episode with wilfreds clone, if it all was just in Ryan’s head, how did he know about the hippo?

    • Mattdamon says:

      Exactly. Going with mattdamon theory and the quote people keeps using just means that he is kind of insane for wanting to talk with his subconscious when the real Wilfred is gone. Idk. He makes up a new Wilfred because he is mental but accepting that leads to happiness… Go with it.