Season 2, Episode 2: “Tallahassee”
Directed by Chris Meloni
Written by Evan Reilly
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “The War on Easter” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Some Girls Need A Lot of Repenting” – click here
Nick Sax (Chris Meloni) is gutting a man, pulling all those pricey organs out of the body cavity. He’s seeing his daughter Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) as the conscience lurking over his shoulder: “Go on, dad. Do it.” He pictures himself playing a life-sized game of Operation, the board game. He struggles with the huge tongs, trying to keep away from the sides. Those of us who grew up playing the game know the stress well.
Nick wakes with Happy (Patton Oswalt) chirping in his ear. Hailey’s getting dropped off by her mother Amanda (Medina Senghore). Some “quality time” with dad. He’s got to do better as a dad, though he is’t doing a fantastic job so far considering he’s left all those organs in his fridge for his daughter to stumble upon. After that, Nick takes Hailey to a Build-A-Bear Workshop. She starts to ask him adult questions, like if he ever went to Alcoholics Anonymous.
In prison, Blue (Ritchie Coster) tells his lawyer Geno (Wass Stevens) he’s going to take a deal with the federal government. He’s told to “keep quiet” and all will be fine. The demonic spirit living inside him isn’t satisfied. He’ll want out for Easter.
Speaking of the holiday, Sonny Shine (Chirstopher Fitzgerald) continues preparing his big celebration. His reluctant employee Smoothie (Patrick Fischler) is at work doing terrifying things. He’s got poor Scooter skinned (Frank from Hellraiser vibes, anybody?)— he croaks his safe word, “Tallahassee,” like it’ll do him any good. He wants to die, obviously. He gets a breath mint instead.
Nick figures his daughter would like ponies, so they head to the track. Perfect place for a kid. Happy’s already unimpressed with the choice of location. Definitely not a great place for an addict like Sax. We can’t expect the guy to be a excellent father right off the bat. All the same, it’s, uh, sketchy ethically.
Like that matters on Happy!, right? Nick’s even betting his daughter’s pocket money.
At a restaurant, Amanda meets Merry (Lili Mirojnick). She can’t stop thinking of Sonny Shine’s disturbing den of iniquity. It’s traumatised her. Merry knows it’s affected her, deeply. Rather than actually reach out for help Amanda lashes out, calling Merry “fucker of husbands” and trashing her after inviting her there in the first place. Yiiikes.
No one is innocent
Things at the track get shitty once Nick freaks out over a loss, sending his daughter running into the street. She bumps into David (Aaron Serotsky), a Hasidic Jew, whose men Sax met recently. Or, whose men died at his hands. David needs Nick to go get a kidney for him in order to replace the one from the night before.
At the store, Amanda bumps into a guy she knows named Simon (Daniel Sunjata). They chat over Easter. He loves the “feeling of something new” around the holiday— resurrection, rebirth, spring is in the air. Plus, you’ve got delicious chocolate eggs and all that. However, with Sonny Shine attached to Easter this year, will it be such a good day for Amanda? Either way, she’s getting some tonight, and her ex gets very jealous over it.
When Nick gets to the location where he’s meant to pick up a package, he and Hailey sit for supper with Milwaukee Saul and his family. After a while, Saul asks if the former hitman is “still employable.” Sax tells him he isn’t, he only wants to take the package. The kidney’s right inside Saul. Either our man kills him and takes the kidney or brings Saul back to David.
Lawyer Geno gets taken hostage. He’s tied up by Merry, who’s looking for info on Shine. Geno tells her about how Sonny keeps blackmail tapes on people— “dark stuff.” The kind of things people would do anything to keep concealed. Sonny has a tape on Geno. Now Merry wants to know exactly where all these tapes are, so she can tear down all of Sonny’s power, brick by brick.
At a bingo hall, Nick shows up to deliver the kidney to David. Except when David opens the cooler he’s met with an explosion. Nick came to kick ass! He takes down a few of the men without much trouble before finishing David off. When he gets back to the car it’s awkward. Hailey’s smart and knows it wasn’t “fireworks” in there going off. She doesn’t want any lies. Nick realises she knows more than she’s been told outright. That’s not enough to save their relationship.
In his weird storage unit laboratory, Smoothie’s hard at work. He’s dying a bunny rabbit bright pink. Soundtrack note: The version of “Here Comes Petter Cottontail” here is sung by Danny Kaye from the movie.
In prison, Blue’s attacked while taking a shit. He’s defiant in the face of a gang of dudes, telling them to let Sonny know he said “vaffanculo.” The men beat Blue, choking him and bloodying his face. Will Orcus allow his final vessel on Earth to perish?
Oh, and that pink bunny? Its foot has been left in an Easter card for Hailey. RIGHT IN HER ROOM. That’s fucked up. Hopefully she’ll tell her dad. If not, things might go back to how they were during the terror of Santa over Christmas. Shit.
if you can’t trust your parents,
who can you trust?”
Meloni does a stellar job in front of the camera all the time, so it’s incredible to watch him direct an episode of this series. He gave us lots of interesting visual stuff and it shows he has plenty of imagination as a director. Season 2 is getting dark, dark, dark. That’s not at all surprising. And it’s more hilarious than EVER.
“Some Girls Need A Lot of Repenting” is next time.