Episode 43 Review
"The Most Culturally Impactful Film Franchise of All Time" puts Harley and Ivy on a collision course that sends them where else but an apocalyptic future hellscape that forces them to confront their egos and drama. But when they return to their rightful time, things are not how they left it.
Jim Gordon is interrupted from clipping his nose hairs by Harley who wants to see security footage of last night to prove there was another Harley but there's not much left to see. Poison Ivy briefs Terra, Tefe, and Volcana on a planned heist to steal a Legion of Super-Heroes Time Sphere while it is being transported. Harley finds Batgirl back to normal and dead set on proving Joker isn't Nightwing's killer. Metallo, Killer Croc, Joker, Gorilla Grodd, and Doctor Psycho play poker but Joker gets an offer from James Corden to co-host. Nora Freeze stonewalls Harley when she demands to know where Ivy is. Luckily, an explosion tips here off. Ivy and the Natural Disasters managed to take control of the convoy but they were being pursued by Wonder Woman and Superman. Harley arrived and tries to talk to Ivy but she's adamant about their work rule and when they retired at age 60 there will be plenty of time to talk. Harley is annoyed and crashes the convoy then programs the Time Sphere to 25 years in the future. Ivy goes inside to talk some sense but they are both taken to 2048.
Harley and Ivy see Gotham is an apocalyptic hellscape and are soon attacked by Bat Drones. They are grabbed by several people and pulled underground where they find a small resistance force led by their daughter "Neytiri." They can't believe they would name their daughter from an Avatar character but the resistance members are adamant the Avatar franchise had a significant impact on their culture. They discover what's left of Gotham is a totalitarian regime led by the surviving member of the Bat Family, Robin, and his drone army. Back in the present, Joker appears on Psycho's podcast to be interviewed about killing Nightwing. Batgirl, while failing to maintain anonymity, plays footage of Joker being tested for sleep apnea at a facility at the time Nightwing was killed. Psycho's numbers surge as Joker is called out as a fraud. Joker vows his return won't be ruined. Back in the future, the resistance storms Robin's hideout but Harley and Ivy are backstabbed by their daughter and Cheryl for a bag of dirt. As they are about to be frozen and placed in Robin's collection of other heroes, villains, and celebrities, Harley finally gets to tell Ivy all about her problems. Their daughter has had enough and calls them out on being terrible parents because they were so self-obsessed, had egos, and sucked at communicating. Worse, by kindergarten they didn't even decide on her name yet. She even blames them as the cause of the apocalypse. Harley declares her daughter's name is Princess Ladyfingers. King Baby who turns out to be the son of King Shark saves Harley and Ivy and disables Robin's computers then runs off to set the Time Sphere for a return trip. Ivy and Harley admit the work boundaries just pushed them apart and they're better together. They beat up Ladyfingers and hightail it to the Time Sphere. King Baby reveals he's helping because he hopes for a better, new future. Harley and Ivy return on September 27, 2023, six days after they left and it appears the apocalypse has already started...
Well, turns out all is not lost with Batgirl. After that rage fest, drunk bender, and brawl, she got her act together with a cold shower between episodes and is back on brand. From a narrative point, it's interesting the show quickly gets up to speed that she doesn't believe Joker nor Luthor or Ivy had anything to do with Nightwing's murder. But unlike Luthor and Ivy, Joker is publicizing his return on the foundation of lying about being the killer. Also very hilarious Batgirl is still considering the handler for Jeffrey The Parrot from Tawny's show. In a very Oracle-move but in an equally Harley Quinn animated series send-up, Batgirl dispenses with trying to be an anonymous techie and outs Joker during Psycho's podcast. To add insult to injury, it was a hilarious move that the evidence was Joker was being tested for sleep apnea. Props to Batgirl this week! However, there's still the central mystery of who killed Nightwing and Batgirl is now seemingly on Joker's radar. Sidebar, nice to see anyone from the old crew, even Doctor Psycho.
Sure, of course. The only way to make Harley and Ivy reunite and come to terms with this season's arc is to put them in a hellish future that they somehow had a hand in causing and the impetus to spur them back into Harlivy mode was their daughter! The implications of that alone. Sure, it's a possible future and now that might be screwed up and she'll never be born. But Harley and Ivy are a couple that lives together and hashing out their work lives. What would a hypothetical season 5 entail for them. Getting married or having a child is a plausible next step. In any case, Princess Ladyfingers being the embodiment of the best and worst traits in both Harley and Ivy, keeping her true nature under the surface until the betrayal, and being a cruel mirror exposing their own b.s. was simply brilliant. And it was once again thanks to Harley's impetuousness and booting up the Time Sphere in the first place. At least a small sliver of the future didn't suck and one of King Shark's sons turned out okay. After seeing Ivy and Harley pretty much separated all season for the most part and/or distracted by work, it was a welcome sight to see them back... pummeling their future daughter. This show.
And it wouldn't be a season of Harley Quinn if something wasn't going on with Gotham. Back to chaos and some apocalypse is going on that involves Harley, Ivy, and Lex Luthor. There's only one real culprit yet to be seen in use after being introduced earlier this season and that was Lex's Earth Saver for his Ozone project. Perhaps something went wrong with the tech or the Earth Saver was just a cover for Lex's real evil scheme? With just 3 episodes left, it appears this season's dual format of Harley and Ivy is gearing towards a dual big bad of Joker and Lex Luthor. I think it will ultimately revolve around the question of will Harley continue to be a hero and honor the no-kill rule against someone like Joker and for Ivy, will she continue to be a disruptor in the evil business and off Lex, staging her own corporate coup of sorts. Oh yeah, and solving whoever killed Nightwing and is there another Harley running around. Yadda yadda.
Season 4 is hitting all high marks that makes this show so entertaining and running on all cylinders with its brand of humor, callbacks, references, and commentaries and "The Most Culturally Impactful Film Franchise of All Time" is another strong, solid episode. Not much to complain about. The production team knew where to trim the fat, like not wasting time on Batgirl investigating suspects and coming to the conclusion Joker wasn't the killer – just straight to he's not the killer – and staged a quirky set of events and encounters to jilt Harley and Ivy back into each other's arms. For the fans that like to look for DC references, this episode sure had it. A second reference of Starfire this season (the first being in the premiere during the photo shoot livestream). This time, a photo of her on the Batcomputer. So there is a character design. Same with Red Hood. Similarly, we saw Minister Blizzard and Icicle on Nora's phone then episodes later, make a full appearance. Hmm. C'mon, let there be a season 5 that introduces those Red Hood and Starfire proper! And Joker's poker game as funnily had the Book of the Black, Kryptonite, a Flash Ring, and a magazine featuring Giganta among the winnings plus a callback to last week's Lazarus Hot Springs. Psycho's live stream followers had some nice little nods to Spoiler, maybe Punchline, and Mister Mxyztplk. Lot of fun series callbacks like Nora mentioning Jazzapijizza or Ladyfingers having a Cobb Squad tattoo and the usual random assortment of pop culture references like Joker spoiling Passover for kids, James Corden (although I guess that's a bit dated now), Harley and Ivy ragging on Avatar, Joker in contention with Amy Schumer, Harley's one embarrassing thing about watching The Iron Lady, and King Baby being a fan of Mama Mia! Plus Future Robin's collection has a who's who of this show including characters who have hardly appeared or not at all this season like Batman and Kite Man. Hands down, my favorite line was Harley commenting on Steve being a voice actor. Steve.
"The Most Culturally Impactful Film Franchise of All Time" restores Harlivy just in time for the end of the season and for an apocalypse to fix in addition to their other problems looming over them, namely the return of the Joker to villainy, whatever Lex is scheming, who killed Nightwing, and the second Harley. It's never just one thing but better together, shouldn't be anything Harley and Ivy can't deal with. For the most part. Usually. Nah, they will. They will.
Rating: 9.6 out of 10