Spoiler Warning for Harley Quinn S01E07, Trigger Warning for violence and gore (no, seriously, this one is really gory guys, way more than past episodes).
Well, another weekend, another episode of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn! Back to the story this time folks, with a returning character from the third episode, some development of a…frankly kinda baffling ship, and Harley’s attempts to join the Legion! Let’s dive right in.
Our episode begins with Harley at the Queen of Fables’ business, celebrating that a judge has ruled her being trapped in a book of tax code cruel and unusual punishment, ordering her release. While celebrating, the Queen gives Harley a piece of advice. The best way to get the Legion’s attention is to find something they want, and get it. Force them to deal with you. With this in mind, Harley sets out to steal something that four Legion members couldn’t-Kord Industries’ weather-controlling machine. With Clayface doing recon, they were able to learn that it was protected by lasers, which means that first, they’ll need to steal a personal force field generator from S.T.A.R. Labs, unfortunately. This, in turn, means getting something that can go through a very small pipe to get access, another problem.
Before they can figure out an answer to this dilemma, the news pulls up a report about the Queen’s release from the book, and with it the realization that being freed from the book of tax code and being freed entirely are two different things. Harley is furious that her friend isn’t immediately being freed after 30 years trapped in a book (which raises some serious question about the ages of the characters, since it’s explicit that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman took the Queen down in the past, but we’ll just say the comic book show can operate off of comic book time scales and move on) and heads off to bust her out, ignoring Ivy’s warnings that that might not be a good plan.
Harley returns with the Queen in short order, who displays her own…extra tendencies by summoning Humpty Dumpty and promptly smashing the sentient egg’s head open to start making scrambled eggs. Ivy, who is dressed rather strangely in a trench coat, headscarf, wide-brimmed hat, and big sunglasses, calls Harley over and tries to explain that while Harley is a bad guy, she’s not a bad person (surprisingly nobody makes a Wreck-It Ralph reference in this episode)
though Harley doesn’t buy it at the moment, declaring that bad is bad and switching the subject to Ivy’s strange attire. This gets the plant controlling other woman to back down and awkwardly leave, and Harley quickly takes charge, rounding up the crew and the Queen and heading off to S.T.A.R. Labs to retrieve the force field. The Queen conjures up one of Cinderella’s mice friends, a chain-smoking mercenary with mouse-sized weaponry, and sends him off into the pipe.
Harley’s about to follow him in, but then a kicked soccer ball reveals that there’s a family reunion taking place on the other side of some bushes. Harley groans that they’ve been seen, but the Queen reassures her that she’ll keep the family from interrupting, conjuring a group of cute fairy tale critters to aid in this. Harley is reassured by this and heads off, but when she and the crew return with the force field, they discover that the Queen slaughtered the entire family. It’s a messy, gory scene that upsets the crew, though the Queen is unconcerned with their disgust, largely not seeming to notice it. She tells them to do a quick check to make sure that nobody’s alive, preaching the importance of wiping out the bloodline to keep anyone from seeking revenge. Harley notes a crying person with a blonde ponytail under a table and decides not to say anything, feeling appropriately bad and guilty about the carnage.
They return to the mall, followed shortly by Ivy, who finds the crew looking traumatized, even Psycho, and the Queen nonchalantly complaining about the difficulty of washing brain out of a cape. She chews Harley out a bit, pointing out that this was exactly what she’d warned her about with regards to the Queen, asking if this is the brand of evil Harley wants. Harley shakes her head and, rather surprisingly, sends the Queen away, sticking to her guns and remaining firm in the face of disapproval from someone she admires. A good symbol of how far she’s moved past the Joker. The Queen’s not happy, but does leave.
The crew hurries off to complete their robbery of Kord Industries, and, fortunately, the force field works, allowing them to get away with the weather machine, though their mercenary mouse friend dies. When they return to the mall though, they find that the Queen has decided to take Harley’s ‘hey I personally don’t like killing innocent people, if you’re going to do that we can still be friends but we can’t work together’ speech very personally, conjuring the Big Bad Wolf and threatening to kill them if they don’t hand over their prize. Before things can escalate further though, a blonde man with a ponytail and electricity powers shows up, the lone survivor of the family reunion. Apparently in his despair from the Queen’s massacre he threw himself at an electric fence, which gave him powers. Normally I’d question this, as it’s pushing it even for a comedic show in a superhero setting, but frankly, rigging their electric fence to give people powers so they could see what happens does sound like something S.T.A.R. Labs would do, so I’ll give this a pass.
Well, Psycho manages to throw up a defensive shield, but warns them that it can’t last long. The empowered survivor (he doesn’t have a name, so far as I can tell) tells them that he’ll let them live, so long as they let him kill the Queen. Harley, to everyone’s surprise, grabs the Queen and drags her out of the shield. The Queen remarks that she’s surprised that Harley is doing this, but it’s swiftly revealed to be a trap, with Harley butting the personal force field generator on the Queen so that when the electric guy zapped her it reflected and both were knocked back. The Queen is shocked to discover that Harley saved her, but still promises to come back and hurt Harley in the future before leaving. The electric guy soon recovers, asking if he killed the Queen. Harley lies and tells him he did, which makes him very happy as he feels he can now move on with his life and build something…only for the Queen to return and kill him in the middle of his hopeful speech before leaving for real.
The episode then ends with a joke where, due to not doing any research into what the password for the weather machine is before stealing it, they make it self destruct. A gag which…I have mixed feelings about.
Oh, and throughout the episode there was a subplot about revealing that Ivy has been having sex with Kite Man, and her learning to overcome her embarrassment at his antics and be cool with being seen in public as his girlfriend. I…don’t really care. It shouldn’t surprise anyone here that I’m a Harley/Ivy shipper, so that’s part of it. But it’s also just Kite Man is an intensely immature man child in this, and I’m not super interested in stories about how the woman should adjust to her boyfriend’s immaturity rather than him trying to grow up. But, there are still six episodes in this season to go, so I shall try to keep my judgment in check until I have the whole picture.
So, that was the seventh episode! Uhm…I hate to say this, but I kinda think it was the second weakest episode thus far, barely surpassing the second episode by virtue of having an impact on the larger plot of the season and a good message about the shades of grey within morality.
The comedic nature of the show, and the limits of it, are starting to show a bit. The Queen’s behavior is fine, though Harley’s insistence that ‘bad is bad’ is a bit odd coming from someone who’s dealt with the Joker and sees herself as different from him. It paints a good contrast to highlight the difference between Harley and many of her peers. But the ending, where all their effort and work proved to be fruitless (not pointless, given the moral of the story, but definitely fruitless) is a bit grating. There’s a certain point where Harley can only keep failing/barely scraping a minor victory out for so long before it gets frustrating, and I think, seven episodes into a thirteen-episode season, that we’ve reached that point. I get that her getting into the Legion, or having the opportunity to do so but deciding she doesn’t need their approval, or whatever resolves that storyline, is going to be a big deal, but Harley hasn’t had an equivocal victory as a villain since the third episode, at least not on screen for us to see.
Still, things can turn around, we’re by no means at the point of no return. So I’m going to do my best to remain optimistic.
Thanks for reading!