Friday, June 21, 2024

Harley And Joker Go On An Adventure

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Spoiler Warnings For Harley Quinn S02E11, Trigger Warnings for violence, death

Welp! We’ve begun to end the season, as things ramp up towards a grand finale. Lotta stuff happened, and lotta stuff will hopefully continue to happen, so let’s just dive right in!


We open with Frank the Plant sitting in a basement with his stoner friend (pretty sure it’s the same basement from the two bros framing device of the episode that was Harley free) where he provides a recap of the events thus far while praising the series throughout. It’s relatively amusing, though if you’re not a fan of Frank there’s nothing super important that he presents and it can be skipped over. He largely focuses on the previous episode to boot, which feels a bit strange. I’m not entirely convinced this recap was necessary, but Frank does break the fourth wall to declare that it’s largely to shoehorn him into the episode due to his popularity so I suppose fair enough. A barely mobile, moderate-sized potted plant is going to be hard to work into the more action-oriented episodes after all.

The episode proper begins with Harley hauling the Joker out of the chemical vat she pushed him into at the end of the previous episode, and then slapping him silly when he begins to laugh and demanding the book. Joker begins to remember his life in the six months after losing his memories and starts to freak out at having been a suburban dad for all intents and purposes, but Harley doesn’t have time for this, revealing that she’s pulled an Amanda Waller on him and put a bomb in his brain, which she’ll detonate if he doesn’t cooperate. He reveals that he took the book with him to the home of his girlfriend, Bethany. We also see Psycho and Riddler at this time, working out of the Mall, bringing death and destruction on Gotham with the aid of Psycho’s parademon army, Psycho seeking to impress Darkseid and get control of the Earth with that.

Joker reluctantly agrees to go with Harley to get the book, and we move around a bit, seeing Batman using the Batcomputer to locate the Batplane while Ivy and Kite-Man get a look at their venue. Ivy’s stressed out from her situation with Harley, and trying to rush things, though she convinces Kite-Man it’s just a desire to get married as soon as possible. Back with Joker and Harley, they meet Bethany, with Joker managing to convince her that he’s the man she dated, albeit in body only. She’s fiery and takes no crap, slapping him, and when he shuts down any talk about them having ‘had something’ she throws the Queen of Fables’ book to a passing parademon, who carries it off to the parademon hive in Gotham.

We cut back to the Mall where Psycho is making a phone call with Darkseid, who recognizes him both for his short stature and for calling Wonder Woman ‘a slur even I do not dare utter’, much to Psycho’s annoyance. He attempts to get Harley’s deal with Darkseid (if she took over Gotham he’d help her take over the world) transferred to him. In order to do this, he relates his ‘tragic’ backstory about being too short to ride a Ferris Wheel and getting a rush when said wheel collapsed and killed everyone on board…Doofenshmirtz he is not. Darkseid is similarly unimpressed, but with Riddler’s advice Psycho is able to steer the conversation back in his favor by agreeing to give Darkseid Harley, since she technically betrayed him by deciding not to take over Gotham.

From there we move to the wedding dress shop, where Ivy’s trying on dresses. Kite-Man isn’t thrilled to be seeing the wedding dress before the wedding, wondering where Harley is. He’s worried about how distant they’ve been since her bachelorette party, but Ivy brushes it off as just Harley not being good at fancy wedding planning. Kite-Man acknowledges this and starts commenting on the dress, but then a pair of Parademons show up, getting glass in the dress and looking for Harley. Ivy kills them and then storms off to find Psycho, unaware of his special helmet that increases his powers.

Over with the main plot, Harley and Joker make their way through the parademon hive, talking about Joker’s relationship with Bethany, and by proxy Harley’s with Ivy. It’s…dare I say…cute. Joker seems actually taken aback by his feelings towards Bethany, his memories of spending happy times with her when he was at his lowest in those six months. And doing so convinces Harley that she can’t just give up on Ivy. It’s…an odd moment of sentiment and warmth between the pair that I’m uncertain how to feel about. Regardless, they find the book and rather quickly get set upon by parademons, being forced to fight their way through the hive before being caught by Batman in the Batplane. He thinks they’re together again and working with Psycho, but they manage to set the record straight…only to discover that the book Bethany threw to the Parademons wasn’t actually the book they were looking for, and they detour to the suburbs.

A parademon reports this information to Psycho, who’s pissed, but is quickly interrupted by Ivy, who demands that he ground his army until her wedding is over. Unfortunately, he’s able to use his helmet to take over her mind, sending her to where the parademons reported seeing Harley heading.

At Bethany’s house, Joker goes to speak to her alone, and admits that he screwed up and that he wants to try and build a relationship with her. It’s unclear if he was sincere or not, but she buys it and he doesn’t do anything overtly to signal that it’s a con. They make out, then Zatanna arrives to open up the book and free the Justice League, all of whom have some comedic PTSD from being trapped in a childish fairy tale world for so long. The League sets off to get to making things right, and Joker and Harley talk. He insists that while he’s not planning on changing his behavior any time soon, he is in love with Bethany and wants to work with that, then asks about Harley’s love, demanding to know if she’s really prepared to live with letting Ivy get away. Harley insists she’s prepared for anything, and then Ivy shows up and declares her intent to kill Harley, eyes glowing and ending the episode.

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty decent episode. Not a whole lot stood out to me, but it’s certainly not bad. It had fun moments, and heartwarming moments, and some good jokes.

Joker’s relationship with Bethany is…interesting. It’s hard to know if he’s sincere or planning some terrible long con due to his narcissism. In all of media there’s few characters more resistant to character growth and development then the Joker. At the same time though, Harley Quinn has proven to have more nerve and interest in playing with established characters than pretty much any other comic book adaptation, and there is plenty of comedic material to be had with the Joker in suburbia doing suburban dad things, so maybe this will stick. I’m of mixed feelings about that, but we’ll see how things shake out on that front.

And on the villainous side of things, watching Psycho lose is going to be deeply cathartic, more so if he dies, and I’m very curious to see how they go about defeating him. That will be interesting to watch, and I can’t wait for next week!

Alright y’all, thanks for reading, see you next week!

Images courtesy of Warner Bros

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