Spoiler Warning for Harley Quinn S01E08, Trigger Warning for violence
So, we’re back once more my friends, and fortunately this is the exact opposite of a filler episode. It’s hard to say with certainty, given there’s five more episodes left to air, but this certainly feels like an essential episode for this season. There are some that can be skipped but this one feels like it’s going to have repercussions. We’ll see how long those last, could be resolved in the very next episode, might not be resolved ’til the end of the season. Let’s get to that recap and discuss!
The episode begins with Harley and the gang robbing the Museum of Atlantis, with Harley sneaking in wearing a scuba suit, King Shark sitting outside for a getaway, and Clayface impersonating Aquaman. Credit where it’s due, while the show’s version of Clayface is rather weak when compared to the comics’, he can maintain his form and powers underwater, so good on him there. They get onto their getaway ship with the crown jewels of Atlantis, only to be confronted by Aquaman who, humorously, is over the top and pseudo-Shakespearean, much like Clayface. He very nearly gets the jewels back until Ivy reveals herself, using kelp to restrain him and allow the crew to escape. It’s a job well done, though Ivy’s disgruntled when the news declares her to be the standout member of Harley’s crew.
Still, her bad mood doesn’t last too long in the face of Harley finally getting an invitation from the Legion of Doom to come speak to them about potentially having her join. Right as I was starting to get frustrated with them not advancing that plotline too! Neat.
The majority of the crew is, of course, thrilled. Ivy is less so, due to her nature, but eventually caves and agrees to come along after Harley guilts her about the possibility of the Joker showing up. Psycho is excited by this development but has been banned for life, so he decides to stay back with Sy, complaining about a loud roaring noise keeping him awake.
The rest of the crew, and Ivy, are given a tour of the Legion’s headquarters by Scarecrow, who does a good job of hyping up the Legion to King Shark, Clayface, and Harley for a man whose whole shtick is centered around pinpointing people’s dislikes, not their likes. Ivy’s not having any of it of course, and the arrival of Lex Luthor doesn’t help matters. The corrupt businessman reveals that the Legion will be hosting an event that night to pick a new member and that he has nominated Harley. However, as he soon admits to Ivy while the others hit the gift shop, he’s not interested in Harley, but is instead exploiting her to get to Ivy. Harley will not get into the Legion unless Ivy agrees to join, leaving a concerned Ivy struggling.
The gang leaves, then returns that night in formal wear. Harley even has her hair down! The night goes relatively well, with some more jokes at Bane’s expense and a cameo from Kite Man (he wasn’t invited as a guest, just picked up a gig as a server in order to help pay for dates with Ivy) and some general cameos from the villains (turns out that Livewire is the one female member of the Legion. An unusual choice, but one I can get behind) in the background.
Aquaman shows up though, intent on getting revenge on Harley and Ivy for their defeat of him earlier (not sure if it happened that morning or the day before, the timeline is a little fuzzy). Being a powerful Justice League member, a good number of the Legion is on edge, even as he insists he’s just here for the women. Harley attacks him, but while she’s able to knock him off his feet he’s too durable for her to do much damage. She’s knocked aside, and Aquaman quickly pins Ivy under Black Manta.
Fortunately for our protagonists, before he can go further and kill Ivy, Harley is able to trick him into smashing the Legion’s massive saltwater fish tank, sending him into a panic as he gathers the fish and runs off to save them. This feat, saving the Legion, gets Harley a round of applause, but Lex still insists that he won’t let Harley join unless Ivy joins. We don’t get to see what Ivy’s response to him is, but judging by her behavior when it looks like Lex is going to declare KGBeast the new Legion member (trying to convince Harley to forget about the Legion and become a duo with her, then bluntly telling Harley that the Legion wasn’t interested in her, only Ivy) we can assume that she said no. Which, y’know, fair enough, sometimes you have to put your personal well being above that of a friend.
However, rather shockingly, Lex declares Harley the new member immediately after Ivy blurts out about the Legion’s true plan. Why did he do this? Well, it’s hard to say at the moment. There are quite a few possible motivations, ranging from a cunning long con, to a favor for the Joker, to petty indignation at Ivy continuing to reject him. Presumably, we’ll find out in the near future. Regardless of the motivation behind the act, it does result in Harley and Ivy getting into an argument, with Ivy storming out.
Harley’s pretty clearly torn up and unhappy about it, but before she can do more than snap at King Shark and Clayface the floor breaks and all three fall through the floor into a pit where Sy and Psycho are confronting a giant tentacle monster. Oh yeah. So, throughout the episode, there’s been a subplot of the pair working their way through the basement of the mall while Sy explains the tragic accident that turned his genius twin sister into a tentacle monster, which he blames himself for. I didn’t bring it up until now because it didn’t matter until this point. It’s fun padding, letting Sy and Psycho bounce off of each other, but it was still just padding, not really developing Psycho and really only fleshing out Sy, giving him some backstory but not doing much to advance his character.
It’s only here, when the others show up and Psycho uses his powers to translate Sy’s sister so the two can converse, that it begins to matter. She explains that she didn’t blame Sy for the accident, and has just been upset at him abandoning her, while he laments that he just always felt like it was too late to apologize. It’s a pretty clear metaphor for Harley and Ivy, hammered in by the show cutting to Ivy staring sadly at a selfie of her and Harley, while Sy’s voiceover goes on. Sy tearfully frees his sister from her confinement and, because this is that kind of show, the moment is immediately ruined by her rampaging through Gotham, killing innocent people while the crew watches awkwardly.
We end with the crew going to the Legion’s headquarters, with even Psycho being granted access. Harley nervously begins to text Ivy, but Lex arrives and she decides against it, letting him lead her off to a conference room where she is confronted with the Joker, who’s eager to speak to her. And that’s where we end!
Well, like I said, this feels like a very important episode to the show. Maybe this’ll all be undone by the next episode. Maybe Harley will leave the Legion, reunite with Ivy, and kill the Joker, and the rest of the season will be dealing with that. But it seems unlikely that that would be the case frankly. This feels like something that will last a couple episodes, in more than one way.
At any rate, regardless of how the rest of the season handles the fallout from this episode, it was a good one, and my complaints from the last episode have, by and large, been relaxed.
Thank you for reading friends, see you next week!
Images courtesy of DC Universe