Harley Quinn Season 2 REVIEW: It's all about the chaos, baby! Hilarious, violent, perfect casting.



Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Clayface, King Shark, Dr. Psycho, and Sy Borgman from Season 1

“It’s chaos, baby! It’s like ‘Nam after the U.S. pulled out.” Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that, but Season 2 of Harley Quinn is definitely freaking wild.


In a quick recap of the first season, Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Joker (Alan Tudyk) officially break up, as Harley takes the season to work through many traumas. She eventually realized the Joker was never in love with her or even cared for her in a genuinely romantic way...he barely cared for her as a person, to be quite honest. Harley became a crime boss herself, backed by a raucous crew of Clayface (Alan Tudyk), King Shark (Ron Funches), Sy Borgman (Jason Alexander), and the least favorite, Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale). Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) repeatedly argues she is not part of the crew, yet she’s involved in their more significant missions. Further into the season, Harley achieves her big dream of being inducted into the Legion of Doom (LOD), but that is short lived when the Joker betrays the LOD in a coup to take over Gotham for himself, destroying the LOD office and replacing it with a giant tower with his face on it. As the strongest of Harley’s friends, Ivy is quickly killed by the Joker with a giant spear. Harley’s crew teams up with Batman to retaliate, but all except Harley are captured and tortured (damn it, Clayface!).

Harley and Ivy, the besties

Thankfully, Ivy is brought back to life by her own powers. She rescues Harley after she saves her crew by surrendering herself to the Joker, who makes her jump into the vat of acid that created Harley as a means of re-normalizing her. Instead, it is the Joker who falls in and is changed. Unfortunately, in his last moment as the Joker, the clown prince detonates a bomb which blows up his tower, creating an earthquake that destroys Gotham. Season 1 of Harley Quinn wasn’t easy to watch, because it was so hard not to groan at Harley’s continued obsession over the Joker. Everything was about him as much as she pretended to make it about her personal growth. The joys of the season were Bane and Clayface as dim-witted yet lovable villains, Ivy’s secret relationship with Kite Man, anytime Frank the plant (J.B. Smoove) was on the screen, and the overall loony fun of the show.


The Injustice League: Two-Face, the Penguin, the Riddler, Bane, and Mr. Freeze

Season 2 picks up a few weeks later to the news that the President of the United States of America has exiled Gotham from the rest of the country. Harley is ecstatic, but Ivy and later the crew urge her to take control of the ruined city as all the negatives, such as no refrigeration or water, begin to affect them. All of this is of little consequence to Harley until she discovers the surviving members of the Legion of Doom have come together to form the Injustice League. Furious in their attempt to take control, Harley confronts the Injustice League only to be Han Solo’ed by Mr. Freeze. It takes a shockingly long time for Ivy and the crew to rescue her, but this only enrages Harley, feeding her ravenous appetite for revenge. Once Harley’s mind is set, she goes on a rampage against the Penguin (Wayne Knight - vile weed!), the Riddler (Jim Rash), Mr. Freeze (Alfred Molina), Two-Face (Andy Daly), and Bane (James Adomian).

Bruce Wayne in the Batcave

This is the majority of the overall story arc for the season, but an unexpected twist halfway through the season unfolds, leading to a change of dynamic in Harley’s crew. The season’s villain is revealed and Harley must find it within herself to make amends for her past failures. If we know Harley, it can be quite difficult for her to acknowledge any accountability for something wrong she’s done. Though the show is titled Harley Quinn, there is a significant amount of involvement from the billionaire playboy himself, Batman (Diedrich Bader). Side note, Diedrich Bader does a fantastic job taking over the voice acting reins in place of the legendary Kevin Conroy. Personally, it is very difficult to accept, when anyone aside from Conroy is doing the work. Not that the actors are untalented or doing anything wrong, but as someone who grew up with Batman: The Animated Series and follow-up animated movies, it is hard to hear an animated Batman in any other way. Not only can Bader fool you into believing you’re hearing Conroy’s Batman, but his cadence, comedic timing, and nuance create a well rounded Batman. Casting Directors Ruth Lambert and Robert McGee truly should be awarded for their amazing work in casting this entire series, because everyone is perfect.

Two-Face schmoozing Bane over

Overall, series favorite has to go to Bane (who premiered in the comics in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1). Bane understands the importance of an office chair with lower lumbar support, as well as brand advertising that isn’t too much of a thinker. His character is a far cry from the hulking maniac raised in a foreign prison. Even amongst the showrunners, Bane is a favorite and they’ve agreed to not kill him off, which is a big deal. By far the two best episodes are Bane-centric, “Batman’s Back, Baby” and the season’s climax “There’s No Place to Go But Down.” The season’s most hated character has to be a tie between Dr. Psycho and Commissioner Jim Gordon (Christopher Meloni). Dr. Psycho didn’t make much sense in the crew because of his misogynistic and hateful past. His hunger for domination knows no bounds, and he gets into it with Harley for her refusal to accept taking control of Gotham. As for Jim Gordon: the sniveling, pathetic drunk pulls a “hold my beer” maneuver when it comes to the question of "can he be any worse". The answer is a resounding yes. Even Zaddy of the moment Christopher Meloni can’t sprinkle his magnetism and charisma over Gordon to save the wretch of a character he is.

Harley and Ivy in "There's No Place To Go But Down"

Then there are the two leads for the series, Harley and Ivy. The evolution of their relationship, coupled with Harley’s inability to be trustworthy, and Ivy’s difficulty with trusting others, leads to some poignant self-reflection for the duo. The hurt and trauma of their pasts remains in a metaphoric rearview mirror, cascading their effects on everyone in their lives. Without meaning to, they hurt everyone, the repercussions of which will unfold in Season 3. New writers have been brought in as well as new co-showrunners who (fingers crossed) will be an improvement to the show rather than a detriment.


In sad news, it is rumored that there will only be 10 episodes in Season 3 instead of 13, so expect a significant amount more story in each episode. Nevertheless, I expect the show to continue to be as hilarious, violent, and chaotic as it always has been, full of crazy anecdotes and stupidity that will blow you away.


Harley Quinn Season 2 released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 16, 2021.


Season 3 of Harley Quinn is slated to air on HBO Max in late 2021 or early 2022. We’ll hopefully get a trailer by the end of the fall.


In the meantime, feel free to pickup the new comic series that will continue right from where the show ended after season 2. DC Comics presents Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat. Bang! Kill Tour #1 is available now for purchase.


RECOMMENDED READING:

The Batman Adventures #12

Batman #497 (July 1993)

Wonder Woman: Earth One

Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat. Bang! Kill Tour #1


RECOMMENDED VIEWING:

Batman: The Animated Series- S1E22 “Joker’s Favor”

Batman: The Animated Series- S1E56 “Harley and Ivy”

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