This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.
Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 2
Harley Quinn is on the warpath! After killing the Penguin at the end of the last episode (spoiler alert!), our powerful protagonist has murder on her mind, deciding to hunt down another member of the newly formed Injustice League in order to take control of New New Gotham’s water and power supply. But it just so happens that all the electricity and clean water is only available under the protective glass globe of Riddler U, the overpriced university set up by its namesake. Buckle in kids, cos we’re going back to college and Ivy (and Stephanie) are along for the ride!
After the smart but silly infodump of the last episode–a few months have passed since last season, the Legion of Doom have reformed as the Injustice League, and they tried to kill Harley–this episode throws us right back into the action. Setting up the landscape of New New Gotham as four separate locales each established and run by a different villain is a smart move and creates an easy structure for the first half of the season. If those episodes are as solid as this one it’ll be an interesting and likely funny exercise as “Riddle U” is not only full of the usual Harley humor–and a particularly great crude Dick Tracy joke–but it also introduces a major new player who could (and hopefully will) play into the larger season narrative.
One of the highlights of Harley Quinn is Chris Meloni’s spectacularly fucked up Jim Gordon and gods of Gotham be praised we get a whole bunch of him this episode. Turns out that after his wife divorced him and the city he loves fell to the whims of the Injustice Society, Gordon moved in with his daughter. Yep Bat-Fans, this week we get to meet Harley Quinn’s Barbara Gordon A.K.A. Batgirl, Baby!! The fortuitous meeting happens as Harley and Ivy attempt to track down the Riddler only to be thwarted by their bespectacled, red-headed tour guide. Any true Babs fan will have likely put the clues together before Jim Gordon comes out of her dorm room shower, but the reveal is still a very good, silly, and enjoyably gross one.
Whilst Harley and Ivy attempt to get electricity for the mall, King Shark and Psycho are on the hunt for a water filter which gives us plenty of good goon jokes. Whoever thought that making Two Face’s goons annoying old timey henchmen should get a raise because it is a *chef’s kiss* gag that plays into the constant fetishization of noir in Batman and is also just really funny. Honestly, otherwise this subplot is a little subpar but it breaks up what could be seen as the slightly narrative heavy college storyline so in that way I suppose it serves a purpose. Anyway, shock horror their work is all for naught as when Harley and Ivy achieve bringing back the power in the mall through very mean, machiavellian, and hilarious means, the water source is fixed!
Elsewhere in this episode Gordon is still having a breakdown, drinking a lot, losing Cheez-Its in his impressive chest hair, and mooching off his daughter. Turns out he snuck into the college before the Riddler took it over, meaning the pair have been trapped together for far longer than Babs would like. Harley and Ivy appear as a gateway drug to heroism, plus they’re actually pretty cool for supervillains. Despite not wanting her help, Babs ends up tagging along and almost saving the day, setting up a nice dynamic and inspiring Babs to do something that could have huge ramifications for her, Harley, and Ivy down the line. Something that stands out here is that despite the violence, cursing, and edgy jokes we get some real solid superhero/supervillain storytelling and a few scenes that wouldn’t have felt out of place in the wider DCAU. It’s a good reminder of how strong this show can be when it balances both of those sides of itself.
In last episode’s review I theorized about the possibility of a Gotham City Sirens-inspired arc and the addition of the powerful future Batgirl seems to hint that this season really could be building to something akin to that modern classic comics arc. Even though this is an enjoyable half hour, the best moment of this episode is easily the final reveal which will make fans of Babs and Batgirl extremely happy, plus it sets up some cool character exploration for later in the series. Speaking of which, it seemed like we’d be seeing Bruce Wayne again here but “Riddle U” is Wayneless, meaning the billionaire must still be off in the hospital. We’ll likely see him soon but it’s interesting to note especially as we just got introduced to a very well-known member of the Bat-Family. Could Harley Quinn’s New New Gotham have a New New Bat?