Review: Happy! “A Friend of Death”

You’ve got a friend in me.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Hailey has run off with Smoothie, the enemy of her father who has convinced Hailey that she should leave her family and go with him to deal with Sonny Shine, who stole her childlike innocence. Amanda has vanished as well, leaving Nick to try and reunite his estranged family. The cops arrive at the Sax residence, and Nick quickly knocks out the two cops and steals their car to go find Hailey. He heads to Smoothie’s hideout but finds that the assassin isn’t there. Smoothie calls Nick to gloat that he’s taken Hailey and then makes his hideout self-destruct. Nick then gets arrested and thrown in jail, where he’s given a thorough beating by his former squadmates.

Elsewhere, Meredith is making moves to deal with Sonny in her own way, revealing to Sonny’s network producer that she has the tape of him eating his own nephew. He doesn’t believe that Meredith will actually reveal the tape, but his bluff call turns out to be a mistake because that’s exactly what she does. This leads to Sonny’s Easter special getting canceled and the suicide of his producer, much to Sonny’s dismay.

At the Shine mansion, Bibi is having a swell time with all the convicts in Orcus’s army. Happy arrives and tries to convince her to get Amanda, who has become quite pregnant, to leave. She fails to convince Amanda, but Orcus soon arrives to seduce Amanda and get her on his side. Just then, her water breaks and she is rushed to the hospital to give birth to the demonic child of Orcus’s minions.

Meanwhile, Smoothie takes Hailey back to the town he grew up in, where he continues trying to groom her into someone as psychotic as he is. He gives her a cock and bull story about how his father used to do terrible things to him and his mother growing up. He does this to try and earn Hailey’s trust just in time convince him that she needs to kill Sonny Shine.

Meredith gets Nick out of jail and the two of them go and try to stop the sinister plans surrounding Nick’s family from proceeding. They encounter a wishie, which swallows Nick whole, but he’s able to use a shotgun to explode the creature from inside.

Our Take:

Things are reaching a head here on Happy!, where no two episodes are the same and you never know just what’s going to happen next. This episode is another quality entry, one that is simultaneously entertaining, filled with proliferous violence, and closes up a couple of plot points so we can refocus the show onto Nick’s struggle to save his family. I’ve felt that this season seriously lacked focus and had trouble keeping my attention, so it’s nice to see things get back on track with the tried and true stuff that makes this show so unique and enjoyable. However, this has something of an adverse effect in that it feels like a good part of this season has been kinda pointless. Compared to the straightforward “Save the day” story we’re getting now, the smaller subplots earlier in the season were just noise. This is a TV show, I understand, but the filler is still filler.

Smoothie is the MVP of this episode, who proves he’s just as sinister as ever. What’s surprising about his performance and writing is that I found myself convinced as a viewer that Smoothie might actually be a sympathetic character. Little did I realize, however, that this was just another disguise designed to lull me into a false sense of security. I love this because it generates an enormous amount of empathy for Hailey’s situation since the viewer experiences the same journey of trust and betrayal that she does. That just drives the final dramatic note of the episode home when we see that Hailey might very well become a corrupted soul.

Now that Happy and Nick are back together, the duo is once again complete and the show is all the better for it. Nick is still the drunken heart and soul of this show as he gets the best one-liners and knocks heads every which way possible. Even when he’s getting his ass kicked, he still gets to be the most clever guy in the room. He’s not just an Action Johnny, however, as he gets a wonderful moment of tenderness when he confides in Happy that despite everything he’s done his life has still fallen apart, seemingly because of his ability to “Infect” those around him with his terribleness.  This is a good setup for the climax of the season, which needs to have Nick take back his life and his family, somehow overcoming his violent nature. (Or overcoming with his violent nature) We’ll have to see how it goes, but things are looking up for this Easter bloodbath.

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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