Episode 42 Review
Harley Quinn

"Metamorphosis" explores the aftermath of Nightwing's murder as it further frays the Bat-Family and drives Batgirl into a dark place while Poison Ivy plots to kill her PR team of Jons and Harley Quinn seeks the truth but discovers she is sleepwalking and it is getting worse.

"Metamorphosis" proceeds with the season arc of new roles and acceptance as Harley tries to solve Barbara's disappearance to be accepted by Nightwing, Ivy accepts a new PR team's ideas to extend her reach across the world, and Jim Gordon rejects retirement and love for a new job. However, just when everything seems settled ego, resentment, frustration, and a cloned potato rear their ugly heads. The world of Harley Quinn is poised for another disaster but first, a shocking murder will send ripples throughout Gotham.

Nightwing's funeral is held. The Bat-Family, Justice League, Jim Gordon, and fans attend. Harley officiates and Batgirl is uncharacteristically doom-and-gloom. Alfred reveals to Harley he's not returning to Wayne Manor and plans to commit a white collar crime from the proceeds of his wine venture so he can get into Blackgate and be with Bruce. The funeral is disrupted by Toyman. With the villain community gunning for them, Batgirl decides it's best for everyone to split up. The Evil Business Women relax at a Lazarus Pit hot springs resort. They get their phones to make a condolences statement but Ivy learns "she" already did. Ivy realizes the Jons went into her account and made a statement six hours ago. The others aren't so open with their pins and passwords with their PR teams. Joker tells Bethany and the kids he is going back to villainy. They are surprised but quickly want to take part in the evil. Harley moves back into Selina's penthouse and falls asleep waiting for Ivy. Frank informs her she was violently sleepwalking. Captain Cold gossips with Nora over Nightwing's death but she's not confirming or denying the LOD's involvement. King Shark learns there isn't a child care program. King races to get his pups out of the fountain outside. Gordon volunteers to school him on being a single dad.

Ivy tries to assert herself with the Jons but discovers they multiple by mitosis and have her scheduled for a bunch of events, including a pageant for children to crown the next Ivy. She refuses. And the Jons immediately retaliate on social media. Lucius Fox helps the Bat-Family go over a secret tracker of Nightwing's but the League of Assassins come to retrieve Robin. Batgirl is not happy and is sure Ivy and the LOD were involved in the murder. Batgirl gets emotional and flips the table. The tracker points to the LOD headquarters. Ivy tries to apologize to the Natural Disasters and they agree to help her take down the Jons. Ivy tells the Jons she will judge the pageant and gets them excited by using marketing jargon. Gordon shows King how to use the surroundings to raise the pups with like the copy machine and the rest room. Harley and Barbara are shocked to see villains celebrating Nightwing's death and find out one of the pups had Nightwing's tracker. Gordon claims he found it at a Mama Macaroni's parking lot. Covered in drool, it's useless and Barbara chucks it. She vows to beat the truth out of Ivy so Harley opts to tie her up to the bar. Ivy denies she killed Nightwing but points out she runs an evil organization and if one of hers did, that would be a big get. Barbara gets drunk and her dad only irritates her. She sees Toyman and starts a fight.

At the pageant, Ivy goes off script and tells the children they have no chance because she was just lucky to be in a freak lab accident that gave her powers instead of killing her. She brings the kids to tears, unveils the unapproved Ivy figures, flips everyone off, and denigrates almond milk. The Jons are beside themselves. Instead of resigning in disgrace, the Jons combine into one giant Jon. The drunken Barbara beats up the Legion. Ivy introduces the Natural Disasters. Terra uses the Ivy statue to battle Jon, Volcana blasts him, and Tefe uses the Red and sends King's pups down Jon's throat. Jon mocks Ivy for letting her underlings fight for her. The pups finish eating Jon from the inside and burst out of him. The blood covered children cheer, changing Ivy's mind about them. Harley tries to tell Barbara Ivy had nothing to do with the murder but she isn't having it. Joker arrives to announce his return and claims he killed Nightwing. Barbara storms out in tears as the other villains cheer on Joker's return. Harley sees herself among the crowd waving at her and is naturally confused.

Well, it looks like the Bat-Family is just as dead as Nightwing. To think the Bat-Family was just a house of cards that easily toppled without Batman's leadership is hard to swallow but this incarnation wasn't together for that long to have that strong a bond in the first place. For some time, it was just Batman and Robin when this series started. Then Batgirl was inserted into the team. Then a couple months later, Nightwing returns to the team. Then Bruce goes to jail, Harley joins, Alfred gets arrested so be can be with Bruce, Nightwing gets killed, and Robin is fine with being taken to Talia. The fragility of the team is illuminated by Barbara's downward spiral and metamorphosis into a total wreck; emotional, ignoring the rules of detective work, getting drunk, telling off her father, and picking a fight.

Harley has undergone her own metamorphosis and oddly the only sensible person on the Bat-Family. But more importantly, she learns about her sleepwalking episodes from Frank but then gets an existential shocker of her own when she sees someone exactly like her across the room. Is Harley asleep again but now able to see her doppelganger's actions? Hallucinating? Being screwed with by a shape-shifter like Clayface? A robot? A clone? A time traveling variant? An AU Harley from a parallel universe? On the flip side, Ivy rejects her own metamorphosis into the perfect PR darling and decides to go back to being herself and uses a PR event to deal with her PR team once and for all. Quite an image for Ivy to use her mentees to horrifically murder a giant Jon. Like beating up the old guard in the Legion in the meeting room, Jon's death is seemingly another sign that Ivy isn't going to held down by the male-dominated world of supervillainy. I don't think it will be long before Ivy and Lex have a showdown or Harley and Ivy's work lives clash.

Joker's return to supervillainy is a long time coming but he's been on quite a unique character arc. Lost his memory, became a non-descript white male bartender, fell in love, got turned back by Harley, chose to stay with his new family, became the Mayor. Is he still Mayor or is Gotham back to anarchy? What's this mean for all his new measures or actions as Mayor like arresting Bruce? It seems to make perfect sense Joker would use a classic move to announce his return by killing someone in the Bat-Family. But this is a Harley Quinn show so could be a red herring and maybe he isn't really the killer. Nightwing wasn't exactly killed in a spectacular, flashy way. It really lacks Joker's M.O. so it's fishy. We also saw how Joker was eager to still have a foot hold in the world of villainy this season from the permits to blowing up the yard guy. Perhaps he's using Nightwing's death as a prop for his return. Oddly more surprising was Bethany and her kids' quick turn to share in Joker's villainy after being portrayed as normal people. But heck, that's Gotham for you I guess. And we did see some sparks of evil in Bethany in season 2, like during that road rage flashback.

As usual, the humor, callbacks, references, and commentaries are on point and "Metamorphosis" is another strong, solid episode. My favorites go to Harley's meta line about anyone getting to close to the Bat-Family getting killed off, a Crazy Quilt mention, the Jons attempted to send Frank to Bialya, how Talia backs up her pin number, talking full English or full Spanish only, and Ivy having no idea where Bane is. We even got another piece of Poison Ivy's back story this week, with Ivy mentioning she got her powers through a freak accident in a lab. In "Metamorphosis," Batgirl goes on a bender, Ivy rejects her PR team's plans for her, the Bat-Family further fragments, the Joker returns, and Harley has another Harley to deal with. Heading into the second half of season 4 and things are looking bleak and shocking while other developments as expected or confounding. Sounds about right.

Rating: 9.6 out of 10