Happy Brings Everyone Together in Chinatown

first_imgStay on target Goats Can Comprehend Human Expressions, Prefer Happy People’Happy Suit’ Could Help Astronauts Beat Space Blues Christmas may be over in the real world, but on Happy!, it’s a horrific holiday that won’t end. The show kept its twisted holiday spirit alive with the frenetic violence, self-awareness and light sprinkle of satire that makes it so much fun. As chaotic as that tone can make the show feel, Happy! is now starting to reign itself in, just a little bit. It needs to. We’re at the halfway point of the first season now. If the story is going to move forward, all these disparate storylines are going to need to start coming together. That’s what last night’s episode was all about. The threads that connected these seemingly unrelated stories are starting to show. We still don’t know exactly why they’re all connected, but we know that they are. It’s enough to give the show focus, even as the action remains as wild as it’s always been.Very Bad Santa continues to terrify in the opening moments of the episode. He can see Happy, and that’s enough to freak out even a flying blue horse. Very Bad Santa picks up the imaginary friend and eats him. It’s actually disturbing, which says a lot about how much life and personality this show has been able to give to the character. It might be the first time I’ve been truly worried about the fate of a CGI creation. Very Bad Santa continues beating up Nick, and is about to kill him, when Happy fights his way back up Santa’s esophagus. It’s as triumphant a moment as it is disgusting. Very Bad Santa pukes up Happy, along with some other stuff, and runs off to deal with whatever internal damage an imaginary friend can cause. This is where we can start seeing Happy, and Nick’s relationship start to change. It’s the moment in every good buddy comedy where the gruff cop (or ex-cop in this case) realizes his new partner maybe isn’t all bad. He’s still annoying, but he’s a good guy and useful too. I’m glad we’ve finally reached this point in the story. Nick’s barely-concealed hatred of Happy was funny for a while, but the show can only get more exciting now that he’s starting to take the little blue creature a bit more seriously.(Photo via SYFY)More importantly, now they have a clue. In addition to Happy, Very Bad Santa also puked up a fortune from a fortune cookie. They follow the address printed on the back, and wouldn’t you know it? The fortune cookie plant just happens to keep a record of where every fortune goes. Yeah, this is the part of the episode that really strains credibility, and that’s saying something for a show about an imaginary blue horse. Just by examining the fortune, the boss of the plant can figure out which restaurant it went to. The show tries to justify this by playing up her belief in the fortunes and her intense ambition. It’s how she got to be the sole distributor in the tri-state area and soon Delaware. OK, fine. I still don’t believe any fortune cookie plant would be able to tell you the destination of every one of their fortunes. But the story needs somewhere to go, so this’ll have to do.She sends them to a restaurant in Chinatown, where Nick gets the Jack Nicholson jokes out of the way immediately. His “not again” line while someone puts a knife up his nose was hilarious. The joke about Nick receiving a “happy ending” from a trans masseuse was less so, but it was over quickly and avoided turning it into a gay panic joke, so that’s something I guess. That was really the only joke that could be described as lazy. The rest of the humor in this sequence played with our expectations of lazy Chinatown-based humor and subverted them. At the fortune cookie plant, there’s an old man in robes who speaks in proverbs, but he’s revealed to be a senile old man still wearing pajamas in the middle of the day. Happy draws on Hailey’s Mandarin lessons at The Y to guide Nick through the language, and actually manages to get half the point across. Though his broken Mandarin causes the delivery boy to get frustrated and tell him to just speak English. Even the bit about unusual food ends with Nick clearing his plate with no fuss or comment. This stuff wouldn’t be worth mentioning if the lazy stereotypes it’s playing on weren’t still so common in media. We expect every show to bring out the same tired jokes, so it’s both funny and refreshing when Happy! takes the high road.Christopher Meloni (Photo via SYFY)The fight scene that ensues between Nick and the Triad is entirely unnecessary to the story, but it’s so cool and well-choreographed that I don’t care. This show’s action scenes are so well-directed, it’s consistently surprising. You might expect a show that can be as chaotic as this to carry that chaos into the fight scenes, but it doesn’t. Yes, they’re sill fast and fun like the rest of the show, but you can tell a ton of care goes into how they’re shot and edited. The show lets your eye follow what’s going on. There’s never a question of what you should be looking at, so all you’re thinking about is how cool what you’re watching is. This shouldn’t be all that novel, but even most big-budget Hollywood action movies can’t pull this off.As fun as Nick’s scenes are, the rest of the episode is where everything starts to come into focus. Meredith and Amanda are still working together, interviewing parents of other lost children. Meredith is just about to call the search off and find Nick for Blue when they see a courier drop off one of Very Bad Santa’s Christmas cards. After threatening him with some deliciously messed up torture (mangling his hands with a motorcycle wheel), he tells them where he picks up the package. It happens to be the abandoned department store where Very Bad Santa’s dad worked. That’s the same place Nick and Happy ended up after their Chinatown adventure. Sadly, they’re too late. The kids have been moved. It’s back to square one, but now the former partners are together again. Even though one has orders to turn the other in to a mob boss. That should make the next episode interesting.Ritchie Coster (Photo via SYFY)Where things really come together though, are with Blue’s scenes. They’re hilariously framed by a Real Housewives-style show called “The Secret of my Sussex.” One of the women featured on the show is Isabella, the mother of the four (or as we learn over the course of the episode, three) boys Nick killed in the pilot. She speaks with Blue, demanding to know who took out the hit on her sons. All of it is documented by reality show cameras, which pisses off Blue’s boss: A man dressed in a bug costume. We learn that Blue hired Very Bad Santa to kidnap kids. The Bug “prepares” the kids somehow and delivers them to powerful people. It’s disgusting and horrifying, but at least it assures us that nothing too horrible has happened to the kids yet? The bug orders the kids be moved so they may be “prepared.” That’s why they aren’t in the abandoned department store anymore when Nick and Meredith get there. Also, we get a glimpse of a room full of people having sex in bug costumes. Just because this show likes to keep us confused.Happy! takes next week off, and this was a great episode to leave us with. It had well-directed action, some good comedy, and it significantly moved the story along. The characters all feel like they’ve taken major steps forward in solving the mystery of the missing kids. And like any good mystery, the answers it gives us only raise more questions. We’ll see how well it answers those when the show returns in two weeks.center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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