This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.
Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 3
Ever since the first episode of this season it’s seemed like Harley Quinn has been building to a Gotham City Sirens inspired arc, introducing different brilliant women from the DC Universe. This week we get our first glimpse at what a real Gotham City Sirens show might look like with the arrival of Catwoman (Sanaa Lathan), who also inspires a little hint of the queer romance that was sorely missing throughout the first season and first couple episodes of the sophomore one.
The Harley Quinn creative team has talked about their slowburn attitude to the relationship at the core of the show and this episode they start to throw a little kindling on the proverbial fire. With Harley Quinn still obsessed with getting vengeance on the Injustice Society, this week she sets her sight on Mr. Freeze and his icy abode. Turns out that getting inside will be a little harder than she and her crew thought, but thanks to some mindless henchies they’ve soon got a plan and it involves breaking into the Gotham Museum of Natural History which has been taken over by a trap-obsessed villain, Doctor Trap, who’s definitely the most deepcut DC villain so far!
Larry Trapp first appeared in Chase #6 and is a horror-drenched bad guy with a flair for the dramatic. Of course, in the world of Harley Quinn his maniacal tendencies are played for jokes as Harley (Kaley Cucuo) and Ivy (Lake Bell) try to take down his Saw-inspired museum. The pair quickly realize that they’ll need a better plan than just wandering in and taking the macguffin–I mean Firefly’s Flamethrower–that they need. Luckily, the world’s best thief is in town, but it turns out that Ivy and Selina have some history that might make the heist a little trickier than planned.
Lathan is brilliant as a tricksy and unreliable Selina. She’s bad to the bone and doesn’t have any interest in being tied down. In fact, Catwoman’s sense of self starts to make Ivy wonder if she’s been settling for a life that she has no interest in. It’s an interesting look at the villainess who has been a little sidelined of late. Bell is superb and her Ivy has always been one of the best parts of the series, but since she became romantically entangled with Kite Man her friendship with Harley as well as her own life has begun to play second fiddle to her boyfriend. With Selina back in the picture, viewers not only get a glimpse at how Ivy behaves when she’s truly got a crush on someone, but also the character gets to reassert her grip on her life.
Doctor Trap is a fun antagonist for the trio to hunt down because he’s the perfect mix of completely incompetant and scarily demented. New New Gotham is a brave new new world and it’s fun to see who took up the spaces, institutions, and beats that were left behind by the Injustice League. As Ivy says, “How did he get the contractors to do all this stuff?” Those are the questions that we all need the answers to. Am I saying I want a Harley Quinn Extreme Home Makeover special? Or a Cribs solely centered on the villainous lairs of New New Gotham? Yes.
Sure, it’s fun to see the kinds of crazy contraptions that Doctor Trap has crafted in his spare time, but it’s even more fun to see the usually sarcastic and stoic Ivy turn into a Cobb Salad-eating lovestruck teenage girl when Selina’s around. Not only is this the first real allusion to the fact that Ivy is canonically queer, but it’s also opens up some great character beats as she becomes near useless whenever Selina is around. When her old beau isn’t there, Ivy’s fully aware of her flaws. But when Catwoman pops up we get a whole new (very funny) glimpse of the villain.
Though this is still very much Harley Quinn–we get all the crass humor, quick quips, and brutal violence we’re used to–this episode is really all about Ivy and her personal journey. Kite Man is always at the fringes of her story and it looks like that’s about to come to end–fingers crossed–as the useless but kind man decides he wants to propose to Ivy. The creators leave us on a cliffhanger but it seems pretty clear she plans to say no. After seeing Selina and being called out about her new comfortable lifestyle, Ivy confronts Harley and even kills some nasty corporate baddies in order to feel a little more like her old self. It all seems like the perfect setup for Ivy to turn down Kite Man and finally be true to herself and her feelings…
We’ll have to wait until next week to see where this arc ultimately goes, but for now we’re feeling hopeful about the future of our favorite ship and this animated treat.