Season 1, Episode 2: “What Smiles Are For”
Directed by Brian Taylor
Written by Patrick Macmanus
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 premiere, “Saint Nick” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “When Christmas Was Christmas” – click here
Just as Happy (Patton Oswalt) reveals to Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni) that young Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) is his daughter, the former cop turned hitman is hit hard by an oncoming vehicle. Nick goes through the windshield brutally.
Suddenly he’s with Jerry Springer, on one of those THE KID AIN’T MINE shows. A perfect little visual. Anyway, Mr. Sax is convinced he isn’t a dad to anyone. In the back room is Hailey’s mom Amanda (Medina Senghore), onscreen for them to see.
But enough of the daydreams. Nick is alive, though in rough shape. Finally he’s coming to terms with the fact Happy isn’t so much a hallucination, he’s there, yet… he’s not, y’know? Regardless, the hitman accepts the situation, refusing to accept that he has a daughter. Then he pitches Happy into oncoming traffic.
Elsewhere, that Very Bad santa (Joseph D. Reitman) is still keeping Hailey. He’s still getting high, probably getting crazier. None of which is any good for that little girl. It’s not just her, either. Someone talks to Hailey through the walls. Santa wants them to “stay little kids forever.”
Sax gets back to his apartment finding people there waiting. They’re apprehensive, though they came about the password. Seems that if Mr. Blue (Ritchie Coster) gets hold of it he’ll be untouchable. Meaning the hitman needs to “get dead.” He proceeds to kick serious ass; violent, bloody, and with Happy in tow.
Speaking of Blue, he meets with Detective Meredith McCarthy (Lili Mirojnick), pushing her further under his thumb. Quipping about James Joyce – “I never listen to folk music” – and using a grape as an analogy for their relationship. In the process, proving himself emotionally volatile. He already scares me a bit.
Nick goes to see a guy named Le Dic (Michael Maize). He refers to the guy as “Le Dick” without its French pronunciation. He needs guns, money. Le Dic wants him to play some cards, he can’t just show up and walk out, right? Sorta rude. The hitman decides to throw his wedding ring on the table. Then loses it.
Blue has Le Dic keeping Nick busy. Meanwhile, Happy is going to help the hitman cheat and win as many rounds of poker as they can manage. Putting this psychosis to good use before they can save Hailey. Hilarious.
What’s creepy and not hilarious is Smoothie (Patrick Fischler) looking after Meredith’s mom, saying hideous things, threatening without threatening. He also uses that time to insult her as a daughter to her ageing mother. He further tells her that she’d better get Nick, so they can extract that password. Or else things will get very, very bad.
At the poker table, Le Dic’s not thrilled losing all his money to unlucky Sax. Nobody believes him when he reveals his imaginary friend to them, of course. Happy winds up high on a bit of cocaine by accident, which puts the hitman’s game to an end. Nobody’s ready for that, either. Comes down to Nick rushing everybody, grabbing the guns, and blowing them away. Only Le Dic isn’t dead by the end of it, just wounded. The hitman gets his wedding ring back with a cigar cutter, as well as all the guns, the money, a car.
At this point, Happy becomes aware that Nick won’t be helping him, sadly. Leaving little Hailey alone. And that voice the girl was hearing? It’s cracked out Santa. That’s terrifying. Simultaneously, Amanda is looking for anyone to help. She confronts Meredith, says the cop owes her something, and wanting her to find Nick. The detective agrees to help, but won’t concede on owing anything. This gets her a right hook in the face. Whoooa.
“I die if she dies“
The imaginary unicorn is disgusted with Mr. Sax, who’s running away from his responsibilities, his daughter. There is something that clearly disillusioned the former detective, he’s living in an abyss. Even Jerry Springer knows it! Hell, so does his audience.
Will anything make Nick turn around? Yes, there’s some humanity left down in that hole. He and Happy are going back into the city, determined to find the girl. Could get pretty wild. Scratch that: it’ll definitely get wild(er).
This second episode got me hooked, I’m ready for more madness.
“When Christmas Was Christmas” is next week!