This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.
Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 9
2020 definitely needs a little levity and, luckily for us all, the newest episode of Harley Quinn has it by the bucket load. Although as funny as “Bachelorette” is–and trust us, it’s really funny–there’s also some bittersweet moments too, but we’ll get to those later. For now luxuriate in the joy of watching Harley Quinn try to organize a bachelorette party for the woman that she loves!
Harley and Ivy’s relationship has been at the heart of this season. Whether they were drawing boundaries and trying to create a more healthy friendship at the opening of the sophomore offering, or slowly uncovering deeper feelings, the pair has been at the center of the action. After their kiss two episodes ago and Harley coming to realize that she loves her best friend, the pair is in a rather awkward situation. Ivy wants to forget that it ever happened and move on with her life, which includes her upcoming nuptials to Kite Man. And since Harley is in love with her, she’s being supportive in the way that only Harley can be: by organizing a raging bridal shower on Themyscira.
The battle between our heroine’s self interest and her feelings for those around her is one that defines this version of Harley Quinn. Though her journey this season began as a quest to take back Gotham from the fiendish villains who’d taken it over, it was a selfish one; Harley wanted the city to herself. But as we’ve followed her this season, her actions have often leaned into the righteous and good rather than the villainous. That trend continues here as Harley organizes a party for Ivy that’s really just another excuse for the pair to save the day once again.
Harley Quinn has done a great job setting up a rotating cast of female heroes and villains to play with this time around, “Bachelorette” expands that bringing back Catwoman (Sanaa Lathan) and Nora Fries (Rachel Dratch) to join the festivities. That’s not all, however, as no hen party is complete without an entitled and possessive friend. Luckily, Ivy has one of those too in the form of Jen–err, Jennifer. There’s plenty of really solid gag work here, especially as the crew flies into Themyscira in one of the iconic invisible jets. It’s a wonderfully crass opening that lulls you into a false sense of security before breaking your fragile little heart into pieces.
Don’t worry, though, you’ve still got an entire three minute musical number about pooping freely before you get there. As Ivy and her buds take advantage of the strangely commercialized home of the Amazons, which has been turned into a fancy holiday resort, Kite Man is having a low key bachelor party on a boat with members of Harley’s crew. This opens up a subplot about King Shark returning to the sea in order to get married and poop wherever he wants in the deep blue sea. With her fiancé busy, Ivy is enjoying her freedom to get wasted, go to strip shows, and… sleep with Harley. Yep, the recurring gag this week is that as soon as they’re alone and a little tipsy the pair can’t keep their hands off each other. It’s a sweet bit but it also foreshadows a harder to swallow truth.
Ivy’s arc this season has been one centered around finding security and stability in an ever more unstable world. It’s a relatable narrative, especially as it has seen her torn between her chaotic and arguably toxic partner in crime, Harley, and the mundane yet safe Kite Man. There’s no doubt that Ivy and Harley share a bond and–as this episode proves–a deep physical attraction. Despite that, the Clown Princess of Crime can’t offer Ivy the one thing that she’s really looking for and that’s a risk-free relationship that won’t break her heart.
That’s where “Bachelorette” really sticks the boot in. Harley puts herself out there for Ivy in a way we’ve never seen before. Not only does she organize a dreamy trip that’s actually an eco-warrior campaign in disguise, but after their many dalliances she also comes clean and tells Ivy that she loves her. It’s a beautiful moment in front of the incredible vistas of Themyscira, and Harley is right, why shouldn’t the pair spend their lives like this? Helping amazing women, having great sex, and enjoying their lives together. Sadly, it’s a risk that Ivy just can’t take, and her words sum it up better than I can here. “I trust you with my life… but not with my heart.”
It’s a heartbreaking end to a stellar episode. But what really impresses here isn’t the love affair or the crude jokes, but the fact that once again the creators of Harley Quinn are actually committed to creating authentic and realistic queer relationships even when it doesn’t make for an easy story. I critiqued the last season for seemingly chickening out of committing to Harley and Ivy, but I take that back. This episode reassures this reviewer that the creators take them seriously and have been planning this arc since the beginning. As much as I want a happy ending for the pair, I’d prefer a beautiful, flawed, whole relationship than an unrealistic fairy tale.