NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Harley Quinn” are present in this review
Harley Quinn’s hot streak just keeps going. At this rate, the show’s sophomore season is currently on track to be one of the best original series offerings to come from the DC Universe streaming platform, assuming it can maintain this momentum! After some especially fantastic episodes over the past several weeks as well, yet another smash hit offering arrived this week, following on from last week’s overdue catch-up with the now-sane Joker. On the latest episode of Harley Quinn however, it’s mostly back to business as usual, namely when, “There’s No Place to Go But Down” puts Harley and Ivy on trial for their former crimes against the Injustice League. As you can imagine, their inevitable sentence is equal parts awful and eccentric.
With Two-Face organizing a trial that’s presided over by Bane, while an intelligent, but incoherent Man-Bat serves as Harley’s and Ivy’s defense attorney (another hilarious tweak for a familiar Batman Family villain making his proper debut in the Harley Quinn universe!), the trial is over quickly, potentially wasting a good bit, but one that certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. Since Ivy refuses to implicate Harley alone in the battles against the Injustice League as well, she receives the same sentence as Harley, namely being thrown into Bane’s deep underground prison called, “The Pit.” This is a nasty surprise for the two women, who both initially believe they’re simply being dumped into Arkham Asylum again, a place that they can easily escape.
Escaping The Pit, naturally, is not easy. Even then however, Bane’s prison being surprisingly effective, creating genuine rehabilitation for even especially violent offenders like Victor Zsasz and Killer Croc (two more familiar Batman Family foes that are making a proper Harley Quinn universe debut here), makes for a constantly hilarious running joke. It begs the question of why Harley and Ivy would ever want to escape, despite the prison nonetheless being created from a, “Dank, depressing pit.” Bane’s prison on Harley Quinn emulating Bane’s prison from 2012 movie, The Dark Knight Rises will be all the more amusing for Batman/DC fans as well, further accentuating the Harley Quinn universe’s Bane already being a walking Dark Knight Rises parody to begin with.
Inevitably though, Harley and Ivy attempt to escape, utilizing a visit by beloved Latino comedian, George Lopez, and his nearby helicopter, to try and get away. After Harley is banned from Bane’s talent show upon failing to make her bed however (in another of this episode’s best jokes!), Ivy is forced to take the stage and do pointed stand-up in Harley’s place, where she inevitably bombs, leading to Lopez flying away. In an inspired twist though, Ivy opening up about her feelings, while Harley tries to fight through a Venom-enhanced Cheryl (I would really love to learn Cheryl’s backstory at this point. Just saying!), has the desired effect anyway, and begins a prison riot, creating a path high enough for Ivy to reach some plants, which help her and Harley escape! After Bane grabs onto Harley though, Harley attempts to let go and sacrifice herself to save Ivy… Before Ivy saves her anyway, using a bungee-powered plant! This results in a passionate kiss between the two women, as this episode ends. Sure, it’s predictable for the Batman/DC faithful, but the heightened circumstances between Harley and Ivy sparking a long-teased romance feels very appropriate here, especially considering that Ivy is about to marry Kite Man.
All the while, a subplot also unfolds between Commissioner Gordon and his daughter, with Gordon continuing to be oblivious to Barbara’s secret identity as Batgirl at that point. After the two fail to apprehend Ratcatcher (yet another debuting Batman Family villain for the Harley Quinn universe!), due to Gordon’s out-of-control drinking, Barbara attempts to confront Gordon about his alcoholism at a subsequent dinner, only for the dinner to be interrupted by Two-Face, and exactly two goons! After Barbara helps Gordon kill the goons and drive off Two-Face, she also reveals her identity as Batgirl to Gordon, inspiring Gordon to quit booze. This is both amusing and kind of heartwarming, especially when it’s followed up by a sequence of Gordon single-handedly taking the GCPD precinct back from Two-Face and his men, which is both hilarious and badass! Gordon being on the mend, even without the need for Batman’s approval, proves to be great here, while seemingly tying up the last of the Injustice League to boot, if we’re to assume that Bane is at least incapacitated for a long while, after falling into a flaming pile of junk!
There really isn’t much else to say, except that Harley Quinn still seems to be crushing it this week! The show has excellently found its true niche by this point, presenting a deranged, but still uplifting and emotionally gratifying animated world, where the supposed villains can sometimes have hearts as big as the heroes. Speaking of, “There’s No Place to Go But Down” finally kicks off a story arc that any Batman/DC fan worth their salt no doubt knew was coming, namely Harley and Ivy sharing a kiss, and beginning their long-teased romance with each other. Obviously, Ivy is betrothed to Kite Man though, so there’s sure to be some juicy drama, or darkly funny heartbreak, in the episodes ahead. The fact that Harley Quinn’s heart and humour is continuing to soar this much without so much as a mention of Batman, Joker, or even Harley’s crew at this point, is also telling. While I’m obviously eager to eventually see what King Shark, Sy Borgman and Clayface have been up to over the past several weeks (since Doctor Psycho at least made a cameo last week), I don’t find that I often miss them that much in the moment, decisively proving that Harley Quinn’s leading ladies are plenty capable when it comes to solely upholding a great adult comedy series on their own merits!
- Bane's hilarious, oddly effective prison environment
- Harley's and Ivy's sacrifices sparking their romance
- Awesome sequence of Gordon taking back the GCPD