This article contains spoilers for the first episode of Happy! season one, ‘Saint Nick’.
I didn’t watch Happy! when it aired. I’d planned to, but missed it. But Syfy put the full episode up on their YouTube channel and I watched it with dinner last night.
I haven’t read the Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson comics it’s based on, and its probably a good thing that I didn’t. Had I known what was coming, it would’ve lessened the effect. I knew the rough idea, that it was about a disgraced cop who starts seeing an imaginary creature. I knew it starred Chris Meloni (Law & Order: SVU) and Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD). Casting Meloni was brilliant. His years as Elliot Stabler on SVU created the backstory of him having been a good cop instantly without having to say so and when they did, the viewer was already buying in. That makes how much he’s not a good cop now extra shocking. And the show opens up with the most bizarre, two-gun suicide dance number that I’ve seen this month.
Nick Sax was once a hero cop, but now he is a drunk hitman with an ex-wife and an ex-partner who both seem to want nothing to do with him. He is contracted to take out three low-level mob guys and ends up killing four. The fourth one gives him a password and talks about demons being real. But to do the hit, Sax kills a guy in an inflatable costume that is being serviced by a prostitute and was about to kill that prostitute… he then uses that prostitute to set up the three guys he’s supposed to kill. I did say this was based on a Grant Morrison comic, right? The hit goes well — except Sax has a heart attack. He is rushed to the hospital when his ex-partner finds out that he has the password.
Meanwhile a little girl is abducted by a guy dressed like Santa Claus and the mother goes to the police, who don’t seem that eager to help. The little girl had an imaginary friend named Happy who raced around the city until he found someone that could see him…. Sax. The ex-partner tips off a mob boss that Sax has the password and the mob boss sends a specialist to torture Sax in some extremely graphic ways… but with the help of Happy, Sax is able to kill everyone in extremely graphic ways except the main torturer who I’m sure we’ll see again. And Sax is able to get away, borrowing his ex-partner’s car. But before he can leave town and lay low, Happy tells him the big secret in hopes of getting Sax to help find Haley… she’s his daughter.
Happy! is one of the most violent, graphic, over-the-top, crazy shows I’ve seen on television in a long time. Meloni plays the death-wishing, washed-up ex-cop to perfection and Oswalt brings a fun innocence to the imaginary friend that so offsets Sax that you forget your watching an imaginary friend. I’m almost stunned how much I enjoyed the premiere and wished I had the second episode already. Happy! is a twisted delight.
Happy! airs Wednesdays on Syfy.