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Episode Recap: When Christmas Was Christmas

Sax journeys through his dark past, while Merry and Amanda make a chilling discovery.


We start this week of HAPPY! off with a flashback. A ten-years-ago flashback to be precise. Nick is still on the force, and Meredith is his partner. And they're chasing after bad guys. Their suspect is some hotshot lawyer who's been dipping his fingers into some dirty deals. But he's saying that he's got some kind of immunity from the NYPD. But does he have it from Nick Sax? Unlikely.

Back in the present, Nick promised Happy that he was going to help him find Hailey, and that's just what he's doing. But Happy can't remember where Hailey is, which would be helpful. He can remember what the Santa Claus looked like. So… Nick hits up an old pal of his from the force, a sketch artist by the name of Emil. Emil was let go after losing a few screws.

Anyway, to find out what the Santa Claus perp looks like, Happy describes him to Nick who describes him to Emil. Oh, also in the flashback, we learn that Nick and Meredith had sex. Lots of it, by the looks of it. Very secret sex. This drove a wedge in Nick and Amanda’s, um, marriage.

In the present, Meredith is in unbinds Amanda (who’s in lockup for socking the cop) and agrees to help her find Hailey. She drops some info: Perv Santy Claus always leaves a calling card with the parents of his victims: a Christmas card. Another little girl has gone missing, but her parents haven't received a card yet. So Merry and Amanda decide to seek them out.

And after getting the sketch of their pervy perp, Nick floors the PT Cruiser away. He's soon trailed by some cops looking for a stolen car, evades them, but flips his ride, totals it, and has to vacate the scene of the crime. Sax meets his prostitute insider again, and asks her for intel on a creepy Claus. She directs him to the North Pole. The North Pole the strip club. Oh yeah!

The North Pole is where all the make-believe Santas go to make-believe they're not depressed and sex-deprived. But pervy Claus isn't at the North Pole. He's busy feting Hailey at his own hideaway. When she refuses to eat any of his fruitcake, he imitates his little boy voice — the voice Hailey thought was coming from another abducted child. She told this imaginary boy all about her dad and how he was going to save her. Now, knowing she’s been deceived, she's scared out of her wits, and eats the fruitcake, which is, of course, drugged.

Meanwhile, Amanda and Meredith visit the latest missing girl's parents, looking for information. When they say something about Hailey, Amanda chokes up, and has to go upstairs to use the restroom. She starts poking around the little girl's empty room, and finds… a breakaway wall inside the girl's closet, that leads to a crawl space. It's an… interesting architectural decision. Their little girl that went missing? She's in there. It's a hoax.

Back in a flashback, Nick and Meredith are called back to the house of the high-profile lawyer. He's known for some pretty bad stuff, but nothing this bad: he put his girlfriend's baby in the microwave. And cooked it. So Nick takes him outside and opens up an entire line of whoop-ass cans on him, while Meredith watches. Of course, you can see why Nick might not have wanted to bring a child of his own into the world. Why he might leave that child, and her mother, high and dry. You can sorta see...

Back in the present, Nick is jawing with Mrs. Claus, the OG of the North Pole strip club. She's got some dirt on the perp Nick's looking for. A real Santa way back when was the big shot of the department store Christmas racket. That was until he hanged himself — he had a sweet tooth for touching little kids that climbed up on his knee, and the guilt caught up with him. His son, though, decided to follow in his legacy, and take it one step further to kidnapping.

Meanwhile, Santa gets inside Hailey's head, thanks to the drugs, and gets some optics on Nick Sax. He knows what he looks like, so he can keep an eye out for him. Outside the North Pole, while Nick is trying to take a peaceful piss, he's accosted by creepy Santa. They fight. Saint Nick's got one over on Nick Sax. Turns out he's got a lot of strength. And he's about ready to kill our hero, too. Until… next week!