This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.
Harley Quinn Episode 6
In all the blood, violence, cursing, and stellar animation throughout Harley Quinn you might have missed the fact that Christopher Meloni is voicing Jim Gordon in DC’s animated madhouse. Though we haven’t seen much of the gruff cop, every moment the tired, paranoid, and utterly hilarious representation of Batman’s most well known ally has been onscreen is perfect. In the sixth episode of Harley Quinn that all changes as Gordon takes center stage after being challenged by Batman on his questionable skills as a detective. And reader, it is absolutely wonderful.
As we’ve come to expect from the seriously silly DC animated series this episode takes a well known trope–in this case a heist setup–and uses it to make something utterly hilarious and impressively original for a show based entirely on existing IP and pop culture riffs. Harley’s entire arc this season has been driven by her need to prove that she’s equal to her beloved and certifiably bonkers ex-boyf known as the Joker. So far she’s pretty convinced that the only way she can achieve that is by joining the Legion of Doom who are less than excited to have her. After another of her schemes go ignored she decides there’s only one thing to be done: Harley and her crew have to rob Wayne Tech to get some serious attention.
Anyone who reads Batman comics or watches movies and shows centered on the caped crusader will know that Commissioner Jim Gordon always plays at least a small part in his crime fighting escapes. Though he’s usually a stoic, thoughtful figure, or even sometimes a bumbling buffoon, here he’s a nervous wreck devastated by the horrors of Gotham and his apparently terrible relationship of his wife. But like pretty much all scenarios in Harley Quinn, Jim’s new mood is squeezed for every laugh possible, and this episode we get one of the best Gordon moments in bat-history as the desperate cop uses the bat-signal to call his old buddy Bat (Diedrich Bader) for a heart to heart. It’s this momentary lapse in judgement that causes Bruce to challenge his ally and demand that he might not be quite the cop he once thought he was.
Whilst Batman is distracted by his codependent buddy, Harley and her crew attempt a quickly foiled heist at Wayne Tech, but in her haste to impress the Legion of Doom she makes a fool of herself and her team leading to a mistake that will cost Clayface his arm, Ivy her dignity, and offer up a brand new friend for the lonely Jim Gordon. It’s here where this episode really comes to life as Gordon and Clayface’s unattached hand become buddies during an interrogation. Harley Quinn excels when it really allows itself to be ridiculous and off the wall and seeing a montage of the cranky cop falling for the sentient limb is a great example. As silly as it is it’s also a thread that matters as both begins to put their new buddy ahead of their old responsibilities.
There’s a fun riff on troll culture here as we discover that Dr. Psycho’s son runs an anonymous blog called the Cowled Critic who literally just rates superheroes and takes great joy in decimating his dad and his new friends. We also get to see a rare appearance of Giganta (Vanessa Marshall) who’s a brilliant comic book villain that we should see more of in all DC adaptations. Turns out in this universe she’s Psycho’s ex wife and she’s less than happy about his new female teammates. The subplot is a fun diversion but can’t beat the abject silliness of Gordon and Clayface jr.
Speaking of which, as Harley hunts down her friend’s errant hand she comes face to face with the bat when she mistakenly uses the one piece of tech that the crew actually managed to steal after Gordon attempts to shoot her for coming after his five fingered friend. Luckily she ends up in the Batcave which means we get a solid chunk of bat-action. Bader’s Batman has been a highlight of this season so far and he shines here once again, especially as it’s revealed that the grumpy hero actually loves Gordon just as much as the weirdo loves him and both hero and anti-hero learn a lesson in friendship as Harley hangs from her hotpants in his hideout.
In a nice nod to their complex comic relationship we get a Bats and Harley team up moment as the pair head to save their friends. Their plan works and everything gets back to normal as Bruce and Gordon have a moment and Clayface (Alan Tudyk) gets his hand back. Big picture wise it seems like Harley might have turned a corner here and may slightly turn away from her ambitions to join the Legion.
Though if that’s the case it’ll be interesting to see where her journey goes from here as this was a Mistah J free episode which in itself is a nice change of pace. Whatever she decides though the crew are now officially Legion approved by the Cowled Critic so maybe Harley’s dream is actually closer than she thinks? We’ll have to tune in next week to find out what happens but as we reach the halfway point, we’re still big Harley fans!
You can watch Harley Quinn on DC Universe now.