Episode 44 Review
"Il Buffone" is the side-story episode of season 4 and fills in what happened in Gotham City the day Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn vanished in a Time Sphere and how Bane's trip to Italy went.
Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn run into Nora Freeze and Bane but the Time Sphere is destroy by a molotov cocktail before they can hop in and undo the apocalypse. Six days ago in Italy, Bane arrives at the Pasta Maker Headquarters after being placed on hold for 94 hours, in Homeland Security's custody for months, and in custom's custody for months. The disinterested receptionist asks him if he made an appointment which he did not and then that specific handle is discontinued. Bane suggests looking in the back but she repeats herself. Bane blows up the building. Back in Gotham, Nora has successfully played the IRS and watches on the news. Lex Luthor gloats about making history then fires his Earth Saver to repair the ozone layer but it the ray falls 10 feet short of the planet. Two Italian boys tip off Bane about a pasta maker then steal his moped. Captain Cold continues with romancing Nora but she blocks Luthor from making off with Volcana and using her to activate some volcanoes and lift the ozone layer up 10 feet. Luthor is shocked when Nora mentions Ivy blew up The Jons.
Bane enters a house atop a mountain and has a knife thrown into his chest. Luthor sends in his Lexinators to kidnap Volcana but Cold, Nora, and King Shark make quick work of them. Nora even kills one with her stapler. Luthor is angered and locks down the Hall. The old woman decides to teach Bane how to make pasta, starting with cleanly cracking an egg open. She tapes his photo of Nora to an egg and tells him he's making it for her. He succeeds. King Shark, having drank of a lot of Kraka Thoom Energy Boost, his hacking his way through the lockdown protocols. Nora gets an idea to break the emergency case and use the "Imbigulator" to make the Hall so big it breaks through the lockdown dome. King objects because he wants to prove himself but Nora fires. The blast ricochets around and ends up hitting King's hands. He is unable to hack anymore. The old woman reveals to Bane she is the real Mama Macaroni and declares he is now the pasta maker. Luthor decides to literally turn up the heat on them then finds the button that floods the Hall with poison gas. Mama refuses to let Bane leave with all her secrets. Nora, Cold, and King find Volcana in a closet with a stash of the most combustible products ever. Nora gets an idea. Bane pleads with Mama to spare him because he is a semi-famous supervillain in Gotham. She keys on "semi-famous" and has him call Clayface for front row tickets to his Vegas show. Clayface agrees if he embarrasses Ivy on live TV. Mama lets Bane leave. At the hall, all those combustibles are dumped down the elevator shaft. Nora suddenly gut punches Volcana and she pukes fire onto the products, causing a giant explosion that punches a hole through the roof and dome. However, the explosion surprisingly pushed the ozone up 10 feet. Luthor has the scientist on the Moon fire the Earth Saver. Red skies and darkness covers up the world. Nora ditches Cold to go pillage. King tosses molotov cocktails but due to his huge hands, misses his target and one blows up the Time Sphere. Superman is powerless and runs off in search of a tanning salon. Ivy and Harley wonder if the Earth Saver was just a scheme to screw over Superman.
Much like season 2's "Batman's Back, Man" or season 3's "Joker: The Killing Vote", "Il Buffone" is the side-story of the season with very little of Harley and Ivy in it, just the opening and ending of the episode. And just like those episodes, things don't quiet down in Gotham without Harlivy. What timing, just when they leave in the Time Sphere, that's when Lex Luthor is planning to fire the Earth Saver he debuted at MalCon Forum earlier this season. However, the ray's range is 304 centimeters short and naturally the visual is an impotency joke. But more importantly, considering the timing, it's interesting for really the first time Luthor is in villain mode matching wits with Nora. Tries to make off with the unsuspecting Volcana, sends in a personal hit squad, traps them in the Hall of Doom, messes with the air conditioning (truly evil) by accident, and then tries to poison the air. But he gets what he wants anyway when Nora blasts an exit open. And so "Il Buffone" confirms Lex is the reason for the apocalypse as King Baby warned Harley and Ivy in last week's episode. Harley and Ivy are quick to wonder if it really was just an evil scheme centered on hampering his arch enemy Superman. Harley is still a hero and undoing an apocalypse seems like a natural move. Ivy, while still a villain, probably is pretty concerned with the environment and undoing the effects of the Earth Saver would be in her interest. Sounds like next episode will be Harlivy vs. Lex Luthor...
Ever since she was revived and cured of her disease in season 2, Nora has had a recurring role in the series but in season 4, she's seen a more elevated role now that she works for Ivy. "Il Buffone" also served to give a big focus on Nora as she essentially takes the lead upon deciding the rule of succession in a couple seconds and effectively proves a match for even Lex Luthor. While sure, on one hand a lot of it is self-preservation. One on the other, Nora does show she somewhat cares about the Legion of Doom in Ivy's absence, preventing Luthor from taking off with Volcana and doesn't hesitate to help slaughter his men. But on the other she's still Nora and she'll brush off sex for a chance at some end-of-the-world pillaging. Nora has grown and come a long way since her introduction on the show, but she's still the entertaining wild card she's always been.
Having been MIA for most the season after he set off to Italy, Bane's journey is revealed in full this week, too. After all this waiting for answers, of course it turns out the broken pasta maker handle is discontinued. The unhelpful receptionists clenched it. Explosion time! Naturally, he then ends up an apprentice of a pasta master hermit who happens to be the bonafide real deal Mama Macaroni the restaurant chain is named after! It looked like Mama was going "Misery" on Bane but thanks to his whimpering, she easily rolls over for some front row tickets to Clayface's Icons Only show in Vegas. Perfecto! Bane returns to Gotham in triumph and nobody cares or wants any pasta. Yep, that's about right.
"Il Buffone" fills the audience and Harley and Ivy on what happened after they left the present in the Time Sphere and sets up a final confrontation with Lex Luthor, the source of the apocalypse. The supporting cast, namely Nora, gets their time to shine as they fight to escape the sealed Hall of Doom before Luthor kills them. Oh yeah, and also what Bane has been up to all season. While it seems same old same old with yet another season finale marked by Gotham in utter peril, each time has been vividly and entertainingly different and off the wall. Not to mention things reaching full circle with Lex Luthor finally making his big move on this series, that alone is worth the price of admission. With two episodes left this season, who knows what kind of twists are left to be dropped.
Rating: 9.7 out of 10