Happy! has always been an odd show, but episode five, “White Sauce? Hot Sauce?”, was weird in a different way. It was meandering and a little unfocused, as if the writers weren’t sure what to do for an hour as they worked toward the revelation that Nick recognizes Very Bad Santa and makes the Blue connection.
Before we arrive at that important piece of information, which will undoubtedly kick-start the action of the next episode, Nick spins his wheels a bit. He learns about Meredith working with Amanda and goes off to see his ex-wife for the first time in 10 years. Their strained reunion is interrupted by three thugs armed with axes, which Nick and Amanda dispatch fairly quickly to the tune of the Ronettes’ cover of “Sleigh Ride.”
Now, that was a highly enjoyable scene. I was just thinking the other day how Happy! hadn’t given Nick a massacre set to Christmas music in a while and I was kind of missing them. I like to think of them as “Christmassacres.” And good on Amanda for having some moves of her own. She’s no wilting flower and that’s terrific.
But she wants Nick to stay away from her, so he gets a little down on himself and decides to prove to Happy that there is no Christmas spirit in the world by lying down on some subway tracks. Of course, Nick was bluffing and when he tries to climb out of the tracks and can’t, the bystanders jump into action and save him, thus restoring his faith in humanity. Or something. Nick still isn’t a people person, but it gives him just enough hope to keep going in his search for Hailey ... and then he realizes that he recognizes Very Bad Santa from a meeting he had once with Blue. Ah ha! Blue is the key! Which we all knew already.
Then naked, dead Mikey Scaramucci appears and starts masturbating next to Nick on a bench. Ooookay. And that’s the main storyline this week.
It felt like a bit of a waste of time, honestly, but sometimes that happens with a show like this—they can’t move the action along too quickly or they’ll run out of material before the end of the season.
The more interesting plot this week was with the kidnapped children. They’re taken to a warehouse-type place where one room has been turned into a classroom, but it’s like a TV or movie set version of a classroom. Everything’s fake. Once there, Smoothie intimidates them by killing a mouse with his fist, a pre-recorded lecture tells them they’re going to learn the meaning of true discipline and true obedience, and then they are given cake.
There’s a throwaway comment by Smoothie about how the portly kid can’t have a piece of cake because he doesn’t need any “fattening up,” which is interesting. Was that just a crack at the chubby kid? Or was that a clue about what the bad guys are going to use these kids for? Do they need to be fattened up? That’s ... upsetting. But I tend to lean toward that was just Smoothie being a jerk to the chubby kid.
It doesn’t give us much in the way of answers as for what the plan is with the children, but it does set a creepy scene and raise some questions about what could possibly be happening with the kids.
The only other thing happening this week is that Meredith is threatened by Internal Affairs to drop her investigation into the missing children. Now that’s interesting—we knew Blue was involved, but we did not know how far his reach (or the reach of Cockroach Man from last week) extends. It turns out “into the police department” is the answer.
This is a thread I’m interested in seeing more of. Why are the cops in on it? What does it have to do with the password? How is Nick going to flush out the dirty cops? Was Meredith’s father not killed in the line of duty but in fact killed off because he got too close to the truth of these corrupt cops?
That last one seems likely. The episode didn’t come out and say it, but it seemed to imply that that’s perhaps what happened to Meredith’s father. So the ending of the episode sets up an interesting intersection between the police, the mob, the password and maybe Meredith’s father.
But the way we got there just felt a little off. This episode wasn’t firing on all cylinders the way the previous ones have been.
- It’s interesting that Amanda was looking for Nick when she found Meredith. It makes sense that she’d go to him in her desperation, regardless of her feelings about the way their marriage ended. But it’s interesting both that she didn’t know he was no longer with the department and that she would admit to him she was looking for him and not Meredith.
- Happy: “We’ve been to a place where girls slide up and down poles in their birthday suits, where a teddy bear plays with peepees, a restaurant that forgot to cook the fish and a few other places I’m too shy to even talk about and you think THIS is a bad idea?!”
- Christopher Meloni’s delivery on “Oh, first place!” was incredible. So, so funny.
- A small thing, but I love that the corrupt, menacing cops were played by two women. I don’t know if the comic book did that or if it was purely casting on the part of the show, but that was a nice way to subvert stereotypes.
- Nick: “Do you smell that? All the Christmas spirit in the air. You could practically choke on it. You scratch the surface and there you have it, their true selves. People hiding behind their bright, colorful wrappings of bullshit, hoping that it’ll hide what they really are deep down inside underneath it all — empty boxes and broken toys.”