This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.
Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 12
Harley Quinn season 2 has been nothing short of a total delight and as we reach the penultimate episode the show delivers on its promise with an action-packed installment that will satisfy both your lust for violence and romantic tendencies. See, this is an example of just what makes Harley Quinn so special as we get cosmic superhero battles and emotional arcs with impact. Essentially, “Lover’s Quarrel” is a season highlight and sets up an epic finale.
It’s rare to find a series that can balance a mind-controlling misogynist, flying cosmic demons, fratricide jokes, and a tender queer relationship. Well, Harley Quinn offers all of that and more this week in just one episode as the Clown Princess of Crime faces down her one true love who’s being controlled by Dr. Psycho. This is very much a Harley and Ivy episode but we still get a lot of solid Justice League action as the DC trinity was released by Harley and Joker last episode and are now trying to stop both the Parademons and the rampaging plant queen.
The return of the Justice League combined with the resurgence of Darkseid makes this an A-lister packed episode. With so much focus on the deep-cut roster the comics have to offer, it feels fun to have so many famous characters, especially as the stakes are so high. Honestly, the quality of this episode on every level is great; the writing is funny, the character arcs are satisfying, the animation is beautiful. Harley Quinn is always a show that feels like it has a solid amount of care being put into it, but “Lover’s Quarrel” really feels like the big penultimate episode of what is essentially a prestige TV show. The only question we have now is when it’ll be heading to HBO Max so everyone who doesn’t have DC Universe can binge it.
As Dr. Psycho uses Ivy to locate Harley Quinn, Darkseid is back on Earth waiting for his prize. In case you’ve forgotten, he’s very upset with Harley Quinn because she didn’t use the Parademons to take over Gotham. Instead, he now has Psycho and his clunky mind-control helmet causing chaos with the creepy critters. He’s always been the most useless and suspect part of Harley’s crew, and his transition to true antagonist has been a smart one that fits well with the general message of the series. Harley Quinn has largely centered on agency and emancipation, especially in the case of the female characters. So making the man who called Wonder Woman a word so bad even Darkseid won’t repeat it the villain makes a lot of sense.
Kaley Cucuo has really carved out a space for herself as a top tier Harley Quinn voice actor, which is tough when you’re following Arlene Sorkin and Tara Strong. This episode we get to see and hear some true emotional growth from Harley as she finally faces up to her love for Ivy. There’s some moments that will make fans go wild here, especially the big final kiss which is set up beautifully by the bumbling tomfoolery of Kite Man. See, even in the gritty world of Gotham, love can conquer all. And it’s that love that finally frees Ivy from the grips of Dr. Psycho, but of course it’s not Kite Man’s kiss but Harley’s that releases the heart and mind of Dr. Isley.
It’s the moment that Harley and Ivy fans have been waiting for, and one that this reviewer was unsure would ever come. Although the first season hinted at the relationship, I did feel that it pulled its punches when it could have committed. But now looking back I rescind my previous critiques. Everything about the payoff here is due to the time that was taken to really explore what it means to fall in love with a friend, how that affects you in your day to day life, your work, and most importantly how it impacts that friendship. The creative team took the long road and it has thus far completely paid off. No matter what happens next, I trust them to handle it with care and that classic Harley Quinn humor.
Going into the finale the big question is whether they continue the bombastic action of it all or focus on the intimate and inevitable fallout from Dr. Psycho’s creepy Gotham-wide revenge porn scheme. It feels like there’s an even chance of Kite Man losing his mind and becoming a big bad or him just accepting the pair because he’s a nice guy at heart. It’s to the testament of the creative team that we honestly couldn’t guess either way. But whatever happens we cannot wait to see what the outcome of this season is and where it leaves our heroines next week.