Spoiler Warnings for Harley Quinn S02E07 Trigger Warnings for blood, death, alcoholism, attempted suicide, and self-loathing
Well y’all, thinks are ramping up. We’re at episode seven now, officially more episodes have come out than are left to air this season. And with that in mind…whoa boy this is a big one. And as you probably gathered, one I’m excited about! So, let’s just dive right in, yeah?
We open with Harley and Ivy in Two-Face’s courthouse, being put on trial for the murder of Penguin, among other crimes. Much to Dent’s dismay, the person he got to act as judge, Bane, is determined to actually be a fair and impartial judge, but he’s rigged the trial somewhat by getting Man-Bat, who only speaks in unintelligible shrieks, to be their lawyer. Not helping matters is Ivy’s complete disdain for Two-Face, though admittedly it’s not like they could have actually been allowed to walk away, so to a certain extent it makes sense she wouldn’t bother following courtroom etiquette. They are of course sentenced to life in prison, driven off in an armored van. They comfort each other, knowing they can escape from Arkham with ease, but discover that Bane has not brought them to the asylum but to the Pit, a deep, dark hole in the ground, a clear reference to The Dark Knight Rises which…okay, I am kinda sick of jokes about the Tom Hardy Bane voice, but this is nice, referencing the work that that voice comes from rather than just having the voice exist being the joke.
Now, as with most previous episodes, there is a B-plot, one that leaves me with some consternation on how to deal with it. On the one hand, it has nothing to do with the A-plot, never comes back to impact what’s going on with Harley and Ivy the way Ivy and Kite-Man’s venue shenanigans did in the Mister Freeze episode. On the other hand, unlike, say, Psycho and King Shark’s shenanigans in the Riddler University episode, I do feel that what happens here is going to matter in the future. So, since it doesn’t feel like it makes sense to alternate between the two since they don’t connect, and the end of the A-plot is far more impactful and what the title of this review is about, I’ll just dive into it now, then return to the Pit.
The B-plot begins with Jim Gordon and Barbara in her Batgirl costume making their way through the sewers, seeking the Ratcatcher in order to put an end to his weapons trafficking. Unfortunately, things go awry, with Jim’s alcoholism and depressive attitude resulting in him being sloppy, alerting Ratcatcher and letting the criminal get away, much to Barbara’s dismay. That night, at dinner, she attempts to talk to her father about his alcohol abuse, trying to get him to quit for her sake, even if he won’t do it for his own or for Gotham’s. Jim is resistant and flippant, but then bullets go through the wall, with Two-Face here to fight Jim.
It turns out that Ratcatcher works for him since with the rest of the Injustice League dead he pretty much controls all crime in new New Gotham. As such he’s very upset with Jim for interfering, and is here to finish him off. There’s a brief shoot off, with Barbara slipping away in the chaos, but Jim decides to let Two-Face kill him, too wracked with self-loathing to continue the fight. Barbara saves him as Batgirl though, chasing Two-Face off, and confronts her father. She takes her cowl off, showing him who she is and telling him that he inspired her and, in a very touching moment, Jim’s only reaction is pride and admiration for his daughter.
He’s finally inspired, and decides to go clean, complete with a montage of him and Barbara dumping out his alcohol down the drain and getting him cleaned up (and a bit of lampshade hanging where he explicitly states that they won’t actually be dealing with all the hard parts of getting over alcohol dependence, since, y’know, comedy show). And with this new lease on life, Jim and Barbara return to retake the GCPD, with Jim single-handedly fighting through the Two-Face goons present, and then defeating Two-Face, throwing him in a cell and declaring that he’s back, ending the B-plot.
Back with our leads, Bane tours them through the Pit, and seems earnest in his attempts to run a good prison where the prisoners have comforts and a space for therapy and reform, but of course, Harley and Ivy aren’t interested in sticking around, much less reforming. That being said, Ivy begins to have a panic attack, trapped in a pit from which she sees no escape, and thus leaving her unable to marry Kite Man and also unable to protect the environment or keep Love It or List It from being canceled. Fortunately, Harley is able to calm her down and help her feel better about their situation, and the pair set about trying to figure out how to escape.
An opportunity presents itself the next day, when Bane announces that, as part of the Pit’s talent show, he’s flying George Lopez in on a helicopter to perform. This sparks an idea, where Harley will go on right after him, roasting the other prisoners in an attempt to get them to start a riot, which will distract Bane and cause enough chaos to let them steal the helicopter and escape. The plan has potential, but unfortunately, Harley forgot to make her bed. Bane insists on running a tight ship, and takes away Harley’s privileges, putting her in solitary confinement where she’s guarded by one of his goons, former Arkham guard and GCPD officer Cheryl (a minor recurring character, mainly notable for her Southern accent and being the only female goon, hence why she hasn’t been mentioned by name before).
This leaves the ‘incite a riot via roast’ plot in Ivy’s hands, and her inexperience at public speaking and lack of confidence on that front means she fails to incite a riot, with the inmates she singles out feeling confident enough due to therapy to resist her less than stellar attempts. Harley, for her part, manages to break Cheryl’s arm and knock her out, but the large, muscular woman falls on top of her, meaning that Harley’s likewise delayed and unable to get to the helicopter. However, Ivy winds up inciting a riot anyways by opening up the assembled inmates, relaying how her whole life she’d put herself in an emotional pit, away from making friends and other social interactions, feeling it was safer than being vulnerable. And then, when she finally began to climb out of the emotional pit she’d put herself in, she wound up trapped in a literal pit. And as she relates to the others, while Bane’s programs might be getting them the therapy they need, it doesn’t change the fact that they are stuck in the Pit, trapped and unable to do anything with their newfound mental and emotional health. This riles up the inmates, and they begin fighting, raging, and rioting.
It’s a moving scene, well scored, well written, and well performed. And while Ivy’s despondent that she started the riot too late, Harley notes that the riot has resulted in a massive tower of rubble being created. The pair begin to climb, with Bane in hot pursuit. He rages and throws rubble at them, which breaks the stone on the walls of the Pit, allowing Ivy to create a vine to pull them up. However, Bane refuses to allow anybody to escape his prison and jumps after them, grabbing Harley’s ankle and pulling them down. He scolds Harley, claiming that she’s running from her problems and that only love can set her free. Harley decides to take this literally and, with a touching farewell and declaration of love, lets go of Ivy, sending Ivy flying upward and herself and Bane plummeting. He grabs her by the head, but she yanks out the Venom delivering tubes, making him let her go. In a beautiful moment, she looks up and, seeing that Ivy has gotten out, that she’s free, smiles and closes her eyes, happy so long as Ivy is safe.
But Ivy’s not about to let her die and dives right back in, using her vine to bungee jump, grabbing Harley in the nick of time. She grabs Harley, pulling them both to the top, and they exult, delighted to have escaped. And then…it happens.
Harley and Ivy kiss! No jokes, no tricks, no BS, not an accident, just a genuine kiss between the two. It’s not the first time Harley and Ivy have kissed, but I’m fairly certain that it’s the first time it’s happened outside of the comics. And even if it’s not, I don’t care, it’s beautiful and amazing and wonderful, and I can’t wait to see how the show handles the aftermath.
Harley and Ivy kissed! Holy crap!
…sorry, sorry, this is just a big deal for me, one of my favorite ships getting this kind of representation. Especially after some of the recent nonsense in the comics.
Setting aside the kiss, (reluctantly), this episode was still damn good. I like Harley and Ivy’s interactions, fueling and lifting each other up while dealing with the struggles with the Pit. I like Jim getting cleaned up and trying to heal himself, and I really like that his reaction to finding out Barbara’s secretly been Batgirl wasn’t anger or dismay at the deception or her putting herself in harm’s way but genuine pride in how strong his daughter is. I love Ivy’s speech to the inmates after George Lopez leaves, expressing her growth and her frustrations at having gotten trapped.
In what has been a supremely good season thus far, this is my favorite episode, and even if the season peaks here I will still be satisfied.
Thank y’all for reading this! See you next week!