Episode 11 Review
Harley, Sy, and the ex-Crew team up to rescue Poison Ivy but a conspiracy unfolds before them but they have little time to dwell on the revelation as they have to quickly stop Scarecrow from unleashing his newest Fear Toxin on the city (and Harley wants desperately to repair her friendship with Ivy). The rescue op becomes a mad dash across a perilous new highway system designed by Harley, ironically. Can they stop Scarecrow in time or is Gotham screwed?
"Harley Quinn Highway" literally opens with Poison Ivy regaining consciousness just as the goons take her to be harvested. She almost reaches the exit but Scarecrow is waiting to inject her again. Meanwhile, Harley is all but ready to charge Planetwide Pavers but Frank, the voice of reason, convinces her she needs the Crew. His point is made when the booth goons shoot up an old man who was just asking for directions. Clayface was henching for Riddler and botches his live broadcast, Dr. Psycho worked at a carnival as a psychic, and King Shark worked at a Smart Bar fixing laptops. Harley manages to gather them up at the Gotham Mall lair but her apology speech does little to sway them until Frank blurts out that Ivy was kidnapped. Even Sy Borgman wants in on the action and volunteers to be the wheelman. Thanks to Gus's zeal, they barely get into Planetwide under the guise of pretzel wrapped wieners.
Ivy learns Scarecrow used her pheremones to create a new version of his Fear Toxin. It's so potent, the toxin works on her despite her poison immunity. Harley and the Crew decided to utilize Psycho's telepathy to go into Ivy's mind to save her while Sy guards their bodies. They discover all of Ivy's biggest fears have activated and confront Ivy's a-hole rich father but he's not the biggest fear. A grim reaper attacks them with fireballs. Harley takes Clayface, in the form of a big bat, and bashes the reaper head in. She's horrified to see the reaper was her. Everyone comes to and Ivy stresses the urgency in stopping Scarecrow but all Harley can think about is Ivy's fear. They're too late and Scarecrow's trucks take off. To make matters worse, Sy's van is towed away because he didn't have a handicap placard. Sy surprises everyone when he painfully transforms into a station wagon, the result of his last CIA assignment. The chase continues onto the newly christened Harley Quinn Highway, one she redesigned back when she had a nuke to threaten the city with, and as a result it looks like something out of a Hot Wheels play set. Ivy tries to dispatch each truck one by one but Harley keeps pressing on about her fear until she reveals her fear was allowing herself to count on someone and then getting ditched. She's still angry the Joker still matters to Harley. Harley uses an RPG to take out a statue of her to block the last truck but Scarecrow drives off the edge into the Gotham Reservoir. The Fear Toxin is spread by sprinklers and monster trees start eating every person in sight. It's pandemonium in Gotham once more.
We now know why Lex and the Legion of Doom was so intent on getting Poison Ivy to join them. They wanted her unique pheromones so they could create a big monster army. But then what? Well, there are two episodes left. Guess we'll find out soon enough. But notably absent this week is the Joker. It's an easy bet he'll pop up soon enough. So if Harley, Ivy, Sy, and the Crew have to fight the entire Legion and a bunch of freaky man eating trees, they're kinda up a creek without a paddle. But it is Gotham, so it's another safe bet Batman will show up. Maybe even the rest of the Justice League. Could be epic! Something appropriate for a season finale 2 parter.
What I loved was the strong Ivy focus for once. Sure, in the past we saw her bail out Harley with her vines. But this episode takes it to another level. I think this episode really shows why she's regarded as such a scary villain by everyone else. Like in the cold open, still drugged up, she stabs a goon, chokes another, and head shots a couple with a gun. Or later on when she's taking out truck after truck with a shrub and a leaf. And even her eye roll political statements about the Second Amendment, gun reform, and recycling kinda land well. As does her sarcasm like when she reacts to the reveal of Fear Toxin. It's also a welcome sight to finally see some of her back story and get a better hold of why she's relationship adverse. Though it was amusing that the guide that manifests in her mind to help the others appears as Frank. My favorite joke was her reaction to Sy braiding her hair out of boredom. So good! But the big punch she delivered was same as she's always done this season, tell Harley the truth about how much she's messing up. And maybe that's exactly what Harley needed to here heading into the season finale...
While this episode did have a jump the shark moment with the toyetic highway setting and there was a whole lot of graphic violence: the tons of horribly maimed goons, the tree spurting out blood as the wood chipper eats it, the monster trees eating people, Sy's bloody transformation... it's rounded out by an equal amount of drama, humor, and references. King Shark ends up working at the equivalent of an Apple Genius Bar. And the weird background characters having affairs recurring joke with Psycho spilling Gino's affair to his assistant Christine, Shark's client was Christine and concluding with Christine being eaten alive by a tree. What was up with that... I guess a lesson in karma? Or Clayface's hilarious pop culture references of the week go to Felicity season 2 and the evil cave in Empire Strikes Back. Or the crazy reveal that Sy was turned into a Transformer. Not without some Batman Family references, at the start of the highway is a blink and miss. The green highway signs reference Bludhaven and Old Gotham. A favorite send up of mine is what if a goon ruins a villain's moment? And Clayface demonstrates that to perfection with Riddler's caper. Another would be the 'cool crew walk' and what it looks like if it isn't so cool looking. Psycho calling Harley an idiot for unnecessarily punching out Ivy was another favorite of mine. He was actually right for once!
"Harley Quinn Highway" is a classic getting the gang back together rescue mission that turns into a crazy mind romp and even crazier car chase. I thought it was a non-stop action, pumping on all cylinders, episode intense enough to blaze the trail for the season finale. It got too bloody violent at times but the action, drama, humor, and references balanced it out. The pillars are being set for the final threat Harley and the gang have to overcome and there is still the looming question of can they even stay together long enough to stick it to the Legion of Doom since not-so old wounds are still fresh?
Rating: 7.5 out of 10