Things somehow go from bad to worse in Happy! but honestly, we wouldn’t be here if it didn’t. Nick has a family reunion, Hailey is still lost and any little bit of positivity is lost as Happy seems to give up. This week is a wild episode so let’s jump into this but be warned, there are spoilers for this episode throughout.
1. Family Reunion
After not finding Hailey in the abandoned department store, Nick talks to Merry and realizes that she and Amanda have been trying to solve this. Nick leaves the building and goes home. He knows he has to talk to Amanda despite having no right to be there or even tell her that he knows about Hailey but he goes anyway. Deep down inside Nick Sax there is a soul. Nick is a bad guy who’s made a lot of mistakes but as he gets to the door, there’s fear in him. He’s scared to see Amanda. He’s scared for her to see what’s he’s become but he’s also terrified of having to face all that he’s done to her. I have really enjoyed how Nick has been characterized over the course of this series. He’s not someone you necessarily root for but he’s far more complex than his comic book counterpart. I think a lot of this comes down to how Chris Meloni plays the characters. There’s this bizarre charm to him but once you get to know him more, you see all that darkness in him. He’s mean, crude and violent but there’s this part of him that truly wishes he wasn’t like this. He’s clearly depressed and the fear that he has in seeing Amanda again is kind of touching. Their reunion goes badly when they get ambushed by a would be assassin with an ax. Nick does what he does best and fights the guy but he ends up taking the fight to Hailey’s room which sends Happy into crisis. Nick finally wins when he uses one of Hailey’s trophies to stab the guy but Amanda is rightfully not swayed. She kicks him out and threatens to call the cops on him and that’s how that ends. This is the kind of thing that Happy! has done really right. This is not a redemption story for Nick. There will not be a happily ever after for him and that’s how it should be. He can’t be excused for the things he’s done and the choices he’s made but he can still do something good and save someone that didn’t deserve to be thrown into this chaos.
2. Merry’s Troubles
Meredith is having a very, very bad day. When she finds Nick, they get into it and he leaves her there. Smoothie comes in and knocks her out even further and cleans up the area. She wakes up at the grave of her father with cat whiskers drawn on her face because Smoothie is just the worst in every way. It’s a super not subtle message for her and she gets it. She checks her phone and realizes that work has been calling her for hours now and when she returns there, she’s read up and down by her superiors. Merry works in homicide and her focus is supposed to the be the death of the Scaramucci brothers by the hand of Nick Sax. Instead, she’s been looking for a missing kid. Her superiors tell her that sometimes kids go missing and they don’t come back. These two are dirty cops and clearly working for Mr. Blue as well. Her bosses tell her that she’s off the missing kid case immediately and if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll “cease and desist.” Meredith is like Nick. She has made bad choice after bad choice but unlike Nick, I believe she was at one point very excited about being a detective. She was probably excited to help people and make her father proud but instead she’s gone down the worst path and is mixed up in this mess with really no way out other than getting Nick to Mr. Blue. This episode is all about low points and she’s at hers now.
3. The Worst Class EverContinued below
Last we saw Hailey, she was in the back of a truck with other kids tied up by Christmas lights. This week, we see where she’s been taken. All the kids have been taken to a classroom run by Smoothie. Smoothie tells the kids that they’re all in trouble and all need to be punished. He even goes so far to call them all “contraception failures.” Later on in the episode, Smoothie gives the kids cake, but Hailey is a bit smarter and she doesn’t eat it. She knows something more is going on but she also believes that Nick and Happy are still going to save her. I’ve mentioned this before but I really like that we’re spending more time with Hailey even though it’s in the worst situation. I also like how connected everything seems to be because it makes it a much more personal story. (I’ll get to this more at the end). This whole scene plays out like a fever dream thanks to how it’s shot and Patrick Fischler plays it. He’s arguably the scariest guy on the show because of how calculated he is and how much joy he gets out of torturing people.
4. A Tiny Bit of Light In Darkness
Near the end of the episode, Nick has absolutely hit rock bottom. He was kicked out by Amanda, he has no money left and he is no closer to finding Hailey. He’s full of despair as he goes down to a subway station. Happy wants him to see how great Christmas is and how it changes people and we’re shown lots of conversations people are having down on the platform. It all seems okay but Nick tells him that’s he delusional and not paying attention. Just then, the lights go out. The MTA in real life is a total mess and Happy! totally nails it. When the lights go out, all those conversations go badly. The mom and daughter fight because the daughter stole a toy, the cute couple is actually breaking up and a guy is getting chewed out by his boss. Nick was right about how everything sucks and he lays down on the tracks just waiting to die. Happy is absolutely distraught and wants Nick to keep going. He has a change of heart for Hailey but his ulcer starts up again and he can’t get up. The waiting people help him up and shows Nick that there is a little light left in the darkness that has become his entire existence but Happy is nowhere to be found. Happy was completely let down by how mean everyone waiting for the train was and at Nick’s giving up and he’s gone. This whole thing is so well done because even the most cynical person in the world, Nick Sax, gets proven wrong. Happy! is such a downer of a show but then little things like this happen and it kind of saves the whole thing from being as pessimistic as possible. I believe the show is optimistic but in a realistic way and I really love that.
5. The Light Bulb Moment
At the end of the episode, Nick is regrouping. He’s without Happy so he’s got to figure out what to do next. He’s all alone walking the streets and he hears a guy humming “Blue Christmas.” This sparks something in his memory. He flashes back to a time a few years back when he was meeting up with Mr. Blue. Apparently, years ago, Nick was asked by Mr. Blue to take Very Bad Santa under his wing and he refused. So now, Nick realizes that this whole thing must have been orchestrated by Mr. Blue and it was always personal. It’s such a great place to end things because like Nick, we’re left reeling. Everything is connected and that makes the narrative tighter and the stakes higher. This show has added a lot to stretch out the story for a full season of television but it’s done that in a way that doesn’t drag the pacing down. It’s all very deliberate and brings together all these characters and I honestly love that.