Episode 10 Review
Harley heads back home to lick her wounds but only more trouble awaits her in Bensonhurst. Through a stroke of luck, Poison Ivy is able to send a S.O.S. to Frank the Plant who ends up in his own misadventure as assassins circle the Quinzel home. But are they after Harley or her loser father Nick who owes the mob a ton of money? Has Harley's life really changed much since she became a costumed criminal? Will Ivy get rescued before she's harvested in two days? All will be answered but it won't be pretty.
"Bensonhurst" opens with the ex-Crew celebrating the first day of unemployment at the Bludhaven Thrill Park. Bane intervenes and advises Harley to quit insta-stalking them. But she suffers another blow to her ego when Bane mentions Black Manta's beach lair barbecue she wasn't invited to. Back at the Gotham Mall lair, Harley is still texting Ivy to no avail. Harleen pops up again to help Harley and tries in vain to clue her into going back home to see her mom. Meanwhile, Poison Ivy ain't going anywhere. Under constant guard, she's got no choice but to listen to henchman Gus prattle on about his life. Luckily, he makes a crucial mistake outside and blows a dandelion weed apart. A part of it ends up in Planetwide Pavers' ventilation system and lands on Ivy's palm. She grows it into sentience and sends it on a mission to tell Frank to find Harley and rescue her. Harley retires to her bedroom and notices a certain trophy still up on her shelf. She flashes back to the 2009 College Gymnastic Championship where she's still idealistic and optimistic about her future: a shot at the Olympics if she wins, endorsements, and a run at being President of the United States. She regrettably takes a dive for Nick so he would win a bet and pay back the mob. After he makes an offhand sexist remark about how there will never be a lady president, she snaps and attacks Nick. To her chagrin, Harley learns her mother Sharon got back together with Nick after he was released from prison.
The weed arrives at Ivy's old apartment amid a smoke session between Frank and Chaz but manages to rely the message. Frank is quick to action and orders Chaz to drive him to Brooklyn. The Quinzels settle down for dinner but Harley hasn't forgiven Nick for anything. Grandma shares she has brain cancer and doesn't have much time left only to suddenly be shot dead by an assassin outside. After he's dealt with, Nick admits he got a loan from the mob to make ends meet. Harley begrudgingly goes along with him out of concern for Sharon. Rather than negotiate, Harley issues an ultimatum to the mob. Forgive the debt or die. Naturally, a shoot out breaks out. Surprisingly, they bond over the bloodshed. Frank comes to in a car in Mexico and quickly discovers Chaz stole hallucinogenic honey from a drug den. With Chaz out of commission, Frank takes the wheel and heads to the border. Gus takes a look at Ivy's phone and sends a text to push Harley away once and for all. Grandpa shows up for a celebratory drink but he's shot dead by another assassin. Harley easily kills her but Nick shoots her and reveals he was trying to cash in on the million dollar bounty on her. Rather than kill them in anger, Harley disowns her parents and storms out. Luckily, Frank arrives as she passes out. When she comes to, Frank quickly explains the stakes. However, they maybe too late. Ivy's captor finally reveals himself, Scarecrow. Bane finds Penguin's nephew Joshua in the Hall of Doom and admonishes him for using his Legion corporate card to put a hit on Harley. After doling out a life lesson, Bane comically walks into a chair and unleashes his rage.
"Bensonhurst" is a nice diversion from the main events and an informative jaunt into her past, explaining a lot of what made Harley Harley. We've seen bits and pieces in past episodes early on this season, but this is pretty much full-on Harley. No crew or Ivy to bail her out with their super powers. The timely return of Harley talking to herself - Harleen - is a welcome comedic bit. And what's left to say about Bane? He's a hoot as the beginning and end piece of the episode. Also I'm thankful that Frank is finally back at the forefront of the show and has a big role in assembling the one woman cavalry named Harley Quinn. Nick and Sharon Quinzel are pretty much adapted straight from the comics and both Charlie Adler, also this show's voice director, and Susie Essman are perfect casting choices for the duo and give life to the loser con artist Nick and super passive aggressive Jewish mom Sharon. They meshed so well with Kaley Cuoco, the episode just flew by amid all the laughs. Just riveting dysfunctional family sitcom material left and right with a dash of mob stereotyping. It also helps that the action, staging, and fight choreography has stepped itself up yet again. RIP Grandma and Grandpa. And the non-reveal about what happened to Barry - what was up with that? Still, that moment when you realize all Harley got from her parents was her proclivity to screw up is from her dad and her poor taste in men is from her mom, but otherwise she's her own person. And she realizes that in the end and seemingly cuts ties with them once and for all. But all the more ironic that it's all in thanks to an impulsive boy out for blood. And as for Ivy's predicament, holy third act! Even Scarecrow is in on it. Lex's money, Scarecrow's science, and Joker with Ivy's powers being exploited for some big scheme... they're certainly spoon feeding it to us to build up to the season finale but it's also cool to just lay all out , too.
"Bensonhurst" is a much needed Harley-centric romp after the sad depressing downward spiral from last week. The ex-crew taking a break from the limelight isn't bad and just goes to show that Harley can do the heavy lifting herself. It is HER show after all. But that's not to say the show continues to be augmented by a ferociously good recurring cast and episodic newcomers. And Bane.
Rating: 8 out of 10