This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.
Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 10
We’re nearing the end of Harley Quinn season two and without Ivy by her side our Hot-Panted heroine is struggling. If having a broken heart wasn’t bad enough, the rest of her crew are far too busy to hang out with her on her return from Themyscira and a weekend she would rather forget. Seeing as Clayface and King Shark are taking care of their own loved ones Harley heads out on the town to try and get her mind off the woman she loves only to end up spending an unexpected night with the man that she’s been trying to escape all this time.
It makes sense that as Harley comes to terms with her feelings for her best friend she also ends up coming full circle. The Joker has long been the key part of Harley’s origin story but in this episode that is turned on its head as Harley has to make a devastating decision to save Gotham. Before we get there though there’s plenty of fun to be had as the Clown Princess of Crime heads to Wayne Tower’s fancy bar only to bump into her old brainwashed beau. Now a fancy mixologist who makes expensive Bruce-themed drinks, the Joker still has no idea about his criminal past although it appears that he may have been dreaming about what once was.
As Harley and Mistah J reconnect–much to the former’s dismay–there’s something strange going on in Gotham, Parademons have escaped and they’re causing bloody chaos. Harley learning to live with the consequences of her actions has been a big theme this season and the Parademons returning, as well as who is controlling them, once again brings that back to the forefront. In her quest to become Gotham’s premium supervillain and step out of the shadow of the Joker, Harley has caused a lot of chaos, as well as a little good. Her sophomore season arc has clearly been leaning into the potential of her becoming more of a hero than a villain and “Dye Hard” cements that as she has to face down against one of her former crew members.
Surprising no one, the misogynist mind of Dr. Psycho finally got tired of listening to a woman and the z-list villain turns on his former leader this episode. In cahoots with the Riddler, Psycho takes control of the Parademons intent on truly trashing the city that he hates so much. Of course Harley isn’t having it and even teams up with Gordon who has been given control of the Batwing by Bruce. Psycho manages to brainwash King Shark and Clayface turning them against Harley but with the selfless sacrifice Sy she manages to escape. Maybe there are good landlords in the world… or in Gotham at least. It’s the end of “Dye Hard” where we really get to the meat of this episode though as Harley has to do the unthinkable in order to save Gotham.
Much of Harley Quinn has centered around the idea of agency and how Harley had hers taken away when the Joker pushed her into the vat of acid that took her from Harleen Quinzel to his Puddin’. It’s a thread that we’ve often seen explored in the comics over recent years too but in this episode the creators turn it on its head. Since he was reintroduced just a couple of episodes ago the newly reformed Joker has made it clear that he’s happily living his life unaware of his former crimes. He has a girlfriend, step-children, and even a career he’s passionate about. But when he can’t recall where the Justice League–who are trapped in the Book of Fables–are Harley only has one choice, to push him into the acid that made them both what they are.
It’s a heartbreaking ending to the episode that also sets up a major conflict headed into the final few episodes. Not only does Harley need to save Gotham–likely by teaming up with Gordon–but she’s also going to save the Justice League. DC’s most famous heroes heading back to the show is exciting, especially as the Joker will also likely be making an appearance. Seeing as this is apparently going to be a massive battle with Fourth World monsters and a roster of heroes then we’ll likely see the show make good on the Gotham City Sirens / Birds of Prey type girl gang showdown that Harley Quinn has been hinting at all season. With Catwoman, Batgirl, Ivy, and Harley already regular cast members we would be surprised to see some Amazon’s turn up, especially after the crew saved Themyscira.
All that is to say “Dye Hard” is a great set up for whatever comes next. It’s also interesting to note that the end of this episode is one of the few times that Ivy didn’t turn up to save Harley at the last minute… so where was she? And what does this mean for the best friends turned lovers? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out!