Spoiler Warning for S01Eo4 of Harley Quinn, Trigger Warning for violence
Well, the fourth episode of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn has dropped, bringing with it new characters, new drama, and probably the most lighthearted episode thus far. And yes, doing this literally the day after the heaviness of Harleen #3 was a bit jarring. I had to brush aside a lot of complaints I had and force myself to remember that this is a comedy first and foremost. Once I did that it worked out fine though!
The episode begins with Ivy cleaning her apartment, only for Harley, Clayface, and Psycho to loudly burst in, carrying bags of money coated in ink as they just robbed a bank. Harley excitedly drops her bag on Ivy’s expensive coffee table, breaking it. Her friend is understandably upset, but Harley tries her best to brush it off, grabbing a stack of money and making it rain on Ivy to demonstrate that she can buy another one without issue. Ivy’s mostly just annoyed still, but they turn on the TV to see the new coverage of their act. To their horror and dismay, there is none, with most of the coverage being devoted to Batman stopping the Joker from robbing a credit union, as well as the retrieval of a box of baby ferrets.
Ivy tries to console Harley that the lack of attention is a positive thing, but Harley isn’t taking it. She and Clayface deduce that they need a nemesis, that having a hero opposing them makes their crimes more newsworthy. Ivy tries to persuade them to stop, but then the title card flashes, and when we return to our characters Harley is posting on a nemesis persuing website. Much to her outrage, their profile hasn’t gotten any responses after a full day. Things get much angrier when Ivy storms in to complain about the fact that Clayface has used her hairbrush for…reasons and that they’re trashing her apartment. Except, as we learn, it’s not technically her apartment, as she has an elderly cyborg landlord named Sy (voiced by Jason Alexander, the second Seinfeld actor on the cast thus far). This feels like something that would have come up before, particularly given how overgrown with plants Ivy’s place is, but I suppose I don’t see my landlord much either.
He threatens to evict her, but she slams the door in his face and airs her grievances at Clayface and Psycho for their behavior. There’s a knock at her door, interrupting her, but it’s not Sy, but instead, a half man half shark named King Shark. In a rather drastic twist from the comics, this version of the character is a polite and gentle hacker and social media expert. He manages to get Harley’s profile featured on the site’s main page but has to explain to her that the big fish, like Batman, won’t be on that site.
Due to how Harley’s brain works, she decides that this means that she wants Batman as her nemesis. We then cut to her driving through Gotham in the stolen Batmobile, evading the police. The cut is so abrupt that I genuinely thought it would be revealed to be a fantasy, but no, it’s real. She managed to splice together audio of Batman’s voice to get the car to let her drive it, as well as a second track where Batman ‘confesses’ to ‘making love to bats’, which explains how she was able to drive the car but doesn’t explain how she got a hold of it in the first place, something never addressed. She drives into a warehouse, meeting her crew, and a line of rope shoots down, tying up Clayface. Psycho and Harley are briefly excited, only to realize to their dismay that they’ve been attacked not by Batman but by Robin. Specifically the young, bratty, Damian version.
Harley is both unhappy to have gotten the young sidekick and unwilling to fight a child and so, after hanging Damian by his underwear on a hook, leaves the warehouse. Unfortunately for her, Damian seems determined to make her his nemesis and goes onto a talk show to hype up the fight he pretends they had. This upsets Harley by no small amount, especially after Lois Lane of all people writes a rather negative and clickbaity article about how Harley fighting a child sets back female villains by a decade. And, once again, due to how Harley’s brain works, she decides that breaking into the Daily Planet and tying up Lois is a good idea.
Superman, of course, shows up, and while Harley attempts to get him to fight her, Superman allows Damian to step in, resulting in Harley once more leaving in a huff. This, coupled with a mocking, exploding letter from the Joker, pushes Harley over the edge, and she decides she wants to kill Damian. Ivy manages to talk her down, pointing out that killing him would simply validate people’s belief that he is/was her nemesis, but this gives Harley an idea. She ties Damian up over a tank that King Shark is swimming in, and demands that he confess. He does, thinking that everyone will believe him when he goes to lie about it, but she’s turned the tables on him, and the warehouse they’re in is revealed to have a live studio audience, with Harley having brought in Gotham’s local daytime talk show host to get the truth out.
Unfortunately, what started out as a win for Harley starts to turn sour, as Damian gets a nosebleed, the blood dropping into the water and making King Shark snap. Harley saves Damian at first, but is eventually knocked aside, requiring Batman and a can of shark repellent to come in and knock King Shark out. Once he’s accomplished that, Batman unofficially declares Harley his nemesis and the two begin to fight, drawing mass attention from cameos galore. It also draws first Ivy and then Joker to join the fight, and the brawl escalates until eventually Joker grabs Damian and runs, forcing Batman to reaffirm Joker as his nemesis to save his son, with Harley and Ivy limping away.
The episode ends with the revelation that King Shark has joined Harley’s crew, and that all of them have resolved to better take care of Ivy’s apartment, with Harley reaffirming how much she cares about Ivy and her attempts to give Harley advice. It’s too little though, as Sy has decided that King Shark is a pet and evicts Ivy. We then briefly swing by the Bat Cave, where Bruce attempts to console Damian about his failure to secure a nemesis in what is a thinly veiled metaphor for the infamous parental sex talk, the episode even ending with Bruce fleeing when Damian tries to make it explicitly about sex.
This episode was the most purely comedic of the bunch, the first to not really bring up Harley’s past abuse or any other serious topic. And the jokes for the most part land. You just have to be able to divorce yourself from the comics version of these characters, and the way that the scenarios shown would play out in that format, with the more serious and straightforward tone. If you can do that, then you’ll find a fun sitcom episode that’ll get some good laughs out of you. A very enjoyable episode that I intend to rewatch in the near future in fact.
Thanks for reading this review y’all! See you next week!