Spoiler Warnings for Harley Quinn S02E09, Trigger Warnings for blood, animal death, and violence
Well, in the scheme of things, and in comparison to the previous episode in particular, this was a much saner outing from this show. Admittedly, that’s a purely relative thing, but still. By the standards of Harley Quinn, this episode was relatively grounded. So, without further ado, let’s diver right in!
We open on an invisible jet, as it turns out that in Wonder Woman’s absence (she’s still trapped in the fairy tale book with all the rest of the Justice League sans Batman) the island home of the Amazons, Themiscyra, has become a resort, one that Harley is taking Ivy to for her bachelorette party weekend. Along with them for the trip are Nora Fries (Mister Freeze’s widow), Jennifer (a bitter wine mom from the Midwest who was Ivy’s childhood friend), and Catwoman. Harley and Ivy talk for a bit, Harley dodging admissions of her continued deeper feelings for Ivy by burying them in enthusiasm for planning her bachelorette party.
Eventually they land and, after driving and invisible van, arrive at the hotel, where they’re greeted by Eris. In both Greek mythology and the comics, she’s the goddess of strife, though that’s not explicitly stated here. I won’t lie, I rather love the version of Eris that first appeared in the New 52, who’s a fusion of Bangerz era Miley Cyrus and the titular character from Beetlejuice, so this version of the character, a social media guru and land developer is less than pleasing to me, but I’ll live. The various women of the group, who Ivy confesses largely aren’t her friends so much as just the only non-Barbara Gordon women they know, settle in, with Ivy thanking Harley for putting so much work in. Catwoman sees this and realizes that Harley and Ivy kissed and that Harley’s in love with Ivy.
And…she’s entirely uninterested by this. I…okay, I’ll be upfront. I really don’t like this version of Selina Kyle. And that’s unusual for me. From Batman Returns to The Batman to Gotham to the Arkham series of games, she tends to be one of my favorite characters in media set in Gotham. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a version of the character I’ve disliked before. Now, I suspect that what the show was going for is to make her like a cat. She’s callous, bored, selfish, disloyal, lazy, etc. All the stereotypical traits you’d expect someone who doesn’t like cats to use. But it’s not taken far enough for it to be funny, and she doesn’t appear often enough for there to be character development, so the result is that she’s simply unlikable. In the previous episode she appeared in, the third episode of this season, it sort of worked because she was there to both highlight and prompt character growth on Ivy’s part. Here though, she’s just…here because for a rather feminist show there are surprisingly few female characters. And as such she’s just unlikable, here to rebuff Harley’s attempts to get emotional support and little else.
Back with the plot, while Ivy prepares and the others wait to be seated for dinner, the women express their displeasure for the situation, with Catwoman attempting to leave. Harley grabs her and judo throws her onto the couch between the others however, and snaps at all of them to stop being selfish and start at least pretending to enjoy themselves to help Ivy celebrate, more or less announcing her own less than stellar mental state and coping process in doing so.
As the five of them eat, Eris arrives, flanked by a few Amazons, one of which is Queen Hippolyta. When Ivy asks her how she feels about Themiscyra becoming a resort, she says she’s fine with it in a very robotic tone, prompting concern and confusion from Ivy, but Harley brushes this aside in favor of getting them all to a small island off the coast of Themiscyra that’s home to a male strip club. Maxie Zeus is here, and oddly doesn’t react to Harley, despite the fact that the last time he appeared on the show Harley beat him up and publicly humiliated him. But he’s mainly just here to be Greek mythology eye candy for Nora Fries to throw herself at while Jennifer drools over Ares as the God of War does a dance. Selina…again remains oddly uninterested in the eye candy, just as she was uninterested in gossip, and contents herself with picking Maxie’s pocket while he’s distracted by Nora.
The main point of the scene however is to show that Harley and Ivy are getting drunk and extra touchy, resulting in them waking up naked next to each other in bed the next morning. Ivy doesn’t take them sleeping together well at all and attempts to leave, but the island only has one means of transportation off, the jet, and it’s busy getting investors. Ivy retreats to her room and, after another failed attempt to get any sort of advice from Selina, Harley manages to talk her out of the room, first by pointing out that their two indiscretions were first when riding an emotional high after escaping the Pit and then when they were drunk, and begging her because she has a surprise.
Said surprise is the revelation that Harley is in fact fully aware that Eris is evil and has the Amazons under her control. It seems that Eris plans on wedding Hippolyta to Lex Luthor (who’s apparently alive and fine, despite Joker blowing up the Legion of Doom, and is reintroduced with little fanfare or explanation) so that he can destroy the island and turn it into a concert venue, among other things, with Eris excited about how this will make her rich. This, along with the fact that she doesn’t use any powers when the Harley and the rest of Ivy’s bachelorette party bust in to save the day, makes me feel like this character must not be a goddess. But she dresses exactly like the New 52 version of the character, and is named for the Greek goddess of strife, making me very confused as to why she was used for this role rather than another villain. Unlike previous deep dives on this show, this one seems without purpose or understanding of the character that’s being used, and I’m rather confused by it as a result.
Regardless, she’s summarily beaten by the group, and Hippolyta freed from her mind control. In celebration of the women saving them, the Amazons throw a booze-filled rager on the beach. This results in a touching moment of heart to heart between Harley and Ivy…and then them waking up in bed naked together. Ivy freaks out, but Harley attempts to console her, saying that this won’t wreck their friendship but only make it stronger, that they could travel the world together, saving the environment and women like they just did, and confesses that she loves Ivy. She doesn’t push though, telling Ivy to think about it.
Before we get to the final scene, let’s talk about the B plot. In this case, it’s nominally about Kite-Man’s bachelor party. I’m on the fence as to whether or not the fact that said party is him, Frank the plant, Clayface, and King Shark chilling on a boat doing a jigsaw puzzle is adorably dorky or excessively dorky. But the main focus of the plot is King Shark being forced to go into the ocean to meet with his father and deal with his betrothal to Tabitha, princess of the Hammerhead shark clan. It’s a fine enough plot, King Shark is my favorite non-Harley or Ivy member of Harley’s crew so I’m always happy for more focus on him, but there’s an overly long ‘Under the Sea’ parody about how great it is that you can just defecate wherever you want in the ocean, it’s entirely predictable and gives no new insight to King Shark’s character, and, like in earlier episodes’ side plots, ultimately it has no apparent connection to the rest of the episode. King Shark gives a lovely speech at the end about the importance of marrying someone you can have a genuinely good marriage with, but since it’s to Kite-Man, and this doesn’t cause him to have any visible second thoughts about his own upcoming marriage, I don’t know if it will actually matter in the long run.
Back in the main plot, the invisible jet lands at the airport, and Harley watches longingly as Jennifer reunites with her husband and Nora drags Maxie into her car. Ivy approaches her and says that while she loved the weekend and trusts Harley with her life, she doesn’t trust Harley with her heart, that Harley always runs from one thing to the next and she believes that eventually Harley will just abandon her. As such she declares that she’ll be marrying Kite-Man, and leaves with him. The episode ends with Harley collapsing on the stairs of the invisible jet and sobbing.
This episode…was a mixed bag. On the one hand, the bits between Harley and Ivy on their own were really well written, animated, and acted. Harley’s inner conflict and desire to not push Ivy, and her breakdown when Ivy rejects her were supremely well done, as was Ivy’s own conflict and desire to not hurt Harley but also not hurt Kite-Man or be hurt herself. On the other hand Selina’s obnoxious, Nora and Jennifer add very little besides the occasional mediocre gag, and the B plot is subpar at best.
If the previous two episodes were among the series’ best, this is among the series’ worst. Which…is not something I expected to say about an episode centered on Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman going to the island of the Amazons for a bachelorette party. Hopefully the next episode will be better.
Thanks for reading y’all! See you next week!