DISCLAIMER: This Happy! recap contains more spoilers than the number of times Happy serenades Sax on any given day. Sax is no music man, folks. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution. 

Welcome back, hitmen and hitwomen! Happy! upped the ante with its third outing this week. We were given glimpses into Sax’s dark past, including his sordid history with Merry. Meanwhile, present day Sax visits The North Pole to glean information on Very Bad Santa’s whereabouts. And by “The North Pole” I mean “Christmas themed strip club.” Wouldn’t expect anything less from our favorite hitman. Amanda and Merry reluctantly team up to locate Hailey, but make a chilling discovery en route. 

Alright, ready to delve into “When Christmas Was Christmas?” Just be sure to give Sax a shot of whiskey every hour on the hour. He gets twitchy if he goes too long without alcohol. 

We open with Sax (Christopher Meloni) and Happy (Patton Oswalt) stuck in traffic while en route to Manhattan. Happy’s peppy antics are wearing on Sax’s dour demeanor. Quite the odd couple, these two. Sax steps outside his stationary car to urinate, much to the chagrin of the family behind him. Happy questions why Sax doesn’t have a moral code, and we’re treated with a flashback of Sax’s detective days. 

Flashback time! Sax and Merry (Lili Mirojnick) are partners, heading to a suspect’s house. This particular perpetrator is accused of domestic violence. We see a much cleaner and well kept Sax talking about doing the right thing. This is a man you’d trust to protect the mean streets of New York City. Once inside, Sax is swept aside by said suspect, who attempts to intimidate our hitman. Merry observes the suspect’s not girlfriend – or, better put, the woman he impregnated. She’s coddling an infant. Meanwhile, Sax retaliates against the suspect by throwing insults I can’t even bear to repeat here. Now that’s the dirty Sax we know and love. 

Flash forward time! Sax grills Happy on Hailey’s location. Happy admits that the room was very dimly lit, but he could make out certain features i.e. the wooden crates Very Bad Santa kept the children in. Next, Sax decides to approach a man who used to work on the force as a police sketch artist. Happy will divulge Very Bad Santa’s appearance to Sax while the latter relays that information to the sketch artist. Easy peasy, lemon squeeze-y. 

Now, it turns out Sax’s former coworker is down on his luck and does charge per sketch. Happy vaguely describes Very Bad Santa, which poses a difficulty for the artist. Mean spirited like the Grinch, but Santa Claus-y. Just, you know, a big guy in a red suit. 

Next, we’re blessed with another flashback. Sax and Merry are going at it at the precinct. You know, doing the vertical tango. After finishing, Merry makes a feeble attempt at conversation, which is met with silence on Sax’s end. He’s not a man of many words. Then, we’re in the present with Merry entering a room housing a bound Amanda (Medina Senghore). If you recall, Amanda decked Merry in the previous episode. Assaulting a police officer tends to be a no-no. 

Pictured: Lili Mirojnick and Medina Senghore

Now, Merry did some digging with the letter Very Bad Santa left Amanda. She discovered that other children are missing as well, specifically a child named Penny Baker. Penny recently disappeared. Merry believes they should start there, and question the missing child’s parents. Amanda agrees. I’m sensing a Thelma and Louise pairing here. 

Meanwhile, Sax’s artist friend finishes his sketch of Very Bad Santa. Unfortunately, Sax has to cough up $20 for the work of art. Hey, artists have to eat too. Upon leaving, Sax and Happy are trailed by the police. Sax realizes it could be for a number of things. There’s the stolen car, the dead bodies at the laundromat, the dead bodies at the hospital, his not leaving a 20% tip at that diner. Everything is simply piling up. Suddenly, Sax’s car swerves and crashes, landing on its side. Sax and Happy clamber out the window, relatively unscathed. Bystanders are bewildered at the spectacle. Someone even attempts to help Sax, but the latter brushes them off. 

RELATED: Read All HAPPY! Recaps Here

Then, Sax reunites with his prostitute friend (Hannah Hodson) from the premiere. She’s donning a bear suit while giving a blow job to a client. People have weird fetishes, you know, and they sometimes involve furry animals. Sax shoves cash at her for information regarding Very Bad Santa. While his prostitute friend has never had run-ins with Santa fetishists, she believes The North Pole could harbor the answers Sax is looking for. Not the real North Pole, mind you, but a Christmas themed strip club. 

Later, Sax and Happy arrive at The North Pole. Time to get to searching! But first thing’s first – alcohol. Sax has gone 19 hours without it, and the whiskey is calling his name. Give the man his juice, people! Happy is in awe at all the scantily clad women and identical looking Santas. 

Next, Merry and Amanda arrive at the Baker residence. Amanda immediately vows to do all the talking, since Merry is bereft of kids and would probably say something insensitive. So, once inside, Amanda asks the Bakers what happened the day Penny went missing. They mention that she was snatched in a Burlington Coat Factory. Those still exist? Anyway, Amanda excuses herself to use their restroom. 

Meanwhile, Very Bad Santa (Joseph D. Reitman) escorts a reticent Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) to tea time. He forces her to consume his fruit cake. Very Bad Santa hopes to glean information about Sax from her. After some resistance, Hailey eventually devours said fruit cake. 

Pictured: Bryce Lorenzo and Joseph D. Reitman

Then, Amanda reminisces of when she discovered she was pregnant with Hailey. She arrives at the precinct to visit Sax and tell him the news over lunch. However, Sax is very much preoccupied. He vows to talk it over with Amanda later that evening. Just before she leaves, she observes how Merry interacts with Sax. We see she’s already suspicious of their seemingly innocent partnership. 

Now, back in the present, Amanda decides to explore little Penny Baker’s room. She uncovers a hidden door inside the closet. Said door leads to an attic. Amanda searches the space, and suddenly her eyes alight on a screaming Penny Baker, bound inside her own home. Plot twist!

Just another day at the office.

Flashback time! Sax and Merry are at the male suspect’s house from the beginning of the episode. They received a drop that he was beating his baby mama. Sax discovers the brutally bloodied and very much dead body of said baby mama. However, the next discovery is utterly horrifying. Remember the infant she was holding earlier? Sax finds the microwave in the kitchen to be inexplicably doused in blood and whirring as if something was inside it. Something that doesn’t belong inside a microwave. Sax immediately grabs the male suspect and commences beating the pulp out of him. Merry nonchalantly lights a cigarette and watches the scene unfold with indifference. Seriously, that dude deserves a beating.

Flash forward time! Present day Sax is the lucky recipient of a lap dance in The North Pole. His stripper informs him that Mrs. Claus should have the information he seeks. Ah yes, Santa’s wife. She does know all. Sax later sits down with the all knowing Mrs. Claus, who appears to be more a brothel manager than anything. She regales him with a tale of one mall Santa who possessed a gross perversion for children and ended up hanging himself. Sax wonders how this tale will help him find Very Bad Santa. Mrs. Claus reveals that said pervert Santa had a son, who would probably be the same age as the one in the sketch. Bingo was his name-o! 

Later, Hailey wakes up after consuming the fruit cake. It’s very evident that this fruit cake was laced with a powerful hallucinogen. Very Bad Santa reveals that she will help him find Sax. They take an acid-like trip inside his snow globe, where Very Bad Santa infiltrates Hailey’s memory of her studying Sax’s picture on a laptop. Now he knows what Sax looks like. Uh oh. This won’t end well. 

Meanwhile, after the Baker parents are arrested, Merry is ready to call it a day. However, Amanda has other plans, involving them interrogating the remaining parents on their list. Merry reluctantly agrees to this, but not before receiving a call from Blue (Ritchie Coster). Blue reminds her of her debt to him. Merry reveals that she has a different way of accessing Sax now, which means she’ll use Amanda to get to him. Sneaky!

Next, we’re given another flashback into Sax and Amanda’s past. After Sax’s rough day at the office, Amanda reminds him that he promised they’d have a talk. Amanda is eager to share the news of her pregnancy. She asks him about the prospect of hanging another stocking on their mantle. Sax launches into a jaded monologue about bringing a life into this messed up world. Especially a life that could potentially take after him. He stalks off in a huff, leaving a forlorn Amanda behind. 

Later, in the present, Sax exits The North Pole to, once again, publicly urinate. Suddenly, Very Bad Santa approaches from behind him and launches an attack. Sax retaliates. The two duke it out, fighting like cats and dogs. Unfortunately, Very Bad Santa gains the upper hand and knocks Sax down for the count. Happy rushes to Sax’s aid. Very Bad Santa spots the tiny blue imaginary horse, and claims he can see said horse. He laughs and reaches for Happy. 

When you’re on the naughty list…

Happy! just gets better and better. Not to mention, darker and more twisted than my feeble mind could ever imagine. Meloni continues to be the highlight of the series for me, taking Sax to new and interesting places. The flashbacks from Sax, Amanda and Merry provided much insight into these complex, fascinating characters. Of course, the peppy Christmas spirit infused throughout the series doesn’t hurt, either. Gore, action, humor, whimsy – Happy! has it all.

Do you think Sax will find Hailey in the next episode? What will Very Bad Santa do to Happy since he can see our favorite peppy blue horse? How will Merry use Amanda to get to Sax? Where is Smoothie? What kind of car will Sax crash next? Join me next week as I continue to recap Happy!, here on Geek Girl Authority. 

Happy! airs Wednesdays at 10pm on your SyFy affiliate. 



Melody McCune
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