Episode 45 Review
"Potato Based Cloning Incident" is the penultimate episode of Harley Quinn season 4 and is not short of revelations, resolutions, and one chilling shocker to lead into the season finale.
Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn regroup at Selina's penthouse but soon learn the latter's sleepwalking was a bit more complicated: they meet another Harley Quinn. She explains she was cloned when Jim Gordon heated up a potato in the Hall of Doom's Lexco Clone-o-matic with an errant strand of Harley's hair. The clone stepped in and worked cases with Batgirl while she was gone. Harley splits off to chase the clone while Ivy confronts Luthor at Lexcorp. Luthor is content with keeping the apocalypse on and leaving everyone weak, including Superman and Ivy. Ivy feels humiliated but Harley suggests an alternate approach: she use her seat on the Lexcorp board to vote him out. Ivy hustles and convinces several board members to side with her, including Clock King and Riddler but she is short of one vote. Ivy is ready to call it a losing effort but Talia reveals there is one more vote: a man named Clegg. Ivy is surprised he is a real person, figuring it was just made up for all the various products and companies. Talia adds he is a recluse and only makes a public appearance at the annual Gotham Celebrity Pro-Am. Even though golf goes against everything she stands for, Ivy resolves to get that vote.
Harley wants to get back to the Nightwing murder but the clone reveals Harley did it in her sleep. Harley strangled him with a friendship bracelet. At the golf tournament, Luthor is keen on Ivy's plan and tries to interfere. Despite still having to payback an old favor to go into Bruce Wayne's head, Harley goes to Doctor Psycho for a new favor, to go into her head to confirm the clone's story. The clone was right. Harley is distraught that she's still a villain at her core. Psycho is amused and soon knocked out. Thanks to Clegg's guidance, Ivy scores an eagle. She gloats in front of Luthor and hits another ball... right into Clegg, killing him. The Flash arrives at Psycho's studio under the ruse he's helping Harley with a sweet practical joke. He takes out his Cosmic Treadmill and they go back in time. She renigs on the new favor with Psycho and leaves. The clone is outside waiting for Harley and puts out she can be the Harley the Bat-Family deserves and the real Harley will stop killing her co-workers. At the tournament, Clayface texts Bane about his favor. Bane complies and headbutts Ivy while Tawny Young is interviewing her live. Harley learns the clone arrested a sad dad and a sassy nun for minor crimes and they fight. Harley manages to cuff the clone and locks her in the Batmobile.
The Lexcorp board votes and ends in a dead lock at six to six. Luthor rubs it in but suddenly Devora arrives and reveals she was Clegg's wife. Since Harley helped avenge her clavicle, she votes with Ivy and Luthor is voted out. Harley finds Batgirl on the GCPD roof turning the Batsignal on and off. The clone shows up, having used her bobbypin to escape, and another fight breaks out. Batgirl is unsure of what to do. The clone falls to her doom and on impact turns into mashed potatoes. Batgirl questions Harley on killing her. Harley pins Nightwing's murder on the clone and Batgirl quickly accepts that as the truth. Ivy unceremoniously turns off the Earth Saver and the victory doesn't feel like much of a victory. Harley shocks Batgirl and announces she's resigning from the Bat-Family. Batgirl assures her she didn't break the no-kill rule with the clone technically. Harley doesn't want it to always to be technicalities and wants stop fighting who she is. Batgirl states she will always choose her. Harley lays out how being a hero messed with her brain and her relationships and can't do it anymore. Batgirl is suddenly shot in the back by Joker. Harley holds Batgirl in her arms and screams out.
A lot like last season, the central threat of the season is resolved in the second to last episode of the season and oddly ends with one of the stars screaming in anger. If anyone was expecting a bare knuckle knock 'em out villain slugfest, eh, you haven't really been watching this show. Dial it back. Luthor recruited Ivy to run the Legion of Doom at the end of season three and at the start of season four, he advised her to uproot and disrupt the establishment. And she did just that to much acclaim. When it comes to dealing with Luthor and the apocalypse, it shouldn't be a non-starter or shocker for that matter that Ivy would need to think like an evil woman executive and beat Lex the business way instead of the supervillain way. Thus, the final battle took place in the board room. Though taking no active part in it, Harley plants the seed of the strategy and Ivy runs with it, aided by her inner circle of friends to keep her propped up – namely Talia who she connected to this season and thus, it all comes full circle. Although the plan isn't without its... let's say hiccups. Still, another welcome surprise tying a season long thing, is the winning vote she needs is held by Clegg. Yeah, all those blatant product placements this season? Harley going to a Clegg Bucks, Cleggslist, AirClegg, Harley turning the Wayne Manor into a ClegBnB, selling Ivy's underwear on the Dark Clegg, Jim Gordon drinking Clegg Whiskey, and Psycho being sponsored by Cleggpedic – Clegg was really an actual middle aged dude. Ivy wins his vote by playing to his ego and learning golf from him then impressing him with an eagle but she's hoist on her own petard when she accidentally kills him. But in another twist, it turns out Professor Pyg's surviving victim Devora was his wife and thanks to Harley offing Pyg, she pays it forward and gives her inherited vote to Ivy for the win. The apocalypse is averted! Everything is coming together a bit too neatly... and Ivy knows it. In the long term, Lex got voted out of his own company and there'd better be another season to explore that paradigm shift. On the flip side, eerily another similarity to season 3. One of the big businessmen of the DC universe is utterly humiliated at the end of the season. Huhn.
This show isn't without it's great timing (or pop culture jabs, hello Succession and Blake Lively) and just when Harley and Ivy are re-energized and resolved in the fact they work better together, they get split up this week again when it turns out Harley isn't going more insane, there was a clone of her running around Gotham this whole time! Eh, sure. In case you forgot about it, Nightwing's murder is finally solved. Not in grand fashion of course, the clone simply tells Harley she killed him in her sleep. Not justifying it but considering how this show's take on Nightwing wasn't too likable and he was a total jerk to Harley – eh, it makes sense. All that pent up resentment and frustration manifested in the sleepwalking and Harley offed Nightwing. But what's a season of Harley Quinn without a head trip? Before Harley goes on Psycho's podcast as promised in last season's "Batman Begins Forever," Harley sweetens the pot so she can take a quick jump into her head to verify the clone's claims. Does it say something that Harley wouldn't even trust the words of her own clone? But I guess Harley has grown, shrug, as she ties up loose ends by tricking Flash into helping her change the timeline with the Cosmic Treadmill so Psycho no longer knows about the murder. And side bar a rare recast here but Flash is voiced here by Zeno Robinson instead of Scott Porter. But now Harley has to deal with her clone and that's where the action this week is centered on. The final is your standard comic book clone rooftop showdown where the unsuspecting ally learns the truth and culminates in the anti-climactic clone deathfall. But in hilarious Harley Quinn fashion, she pins the murder on the clone instead of admitting the truth to Batgirl. That won't come back to bite her. Instead, Harley admits she can't be a hero anymore. And in that tender moment of truth and admission... another shocker! Joker is good on his word and gets back at Batgirl for humiliating him. Killing Joke-style!
So "Potato Based Cloning Incident" leaves both Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn with Pyrrhic victories. Luthor is out. Except we know how petty Luthor is, so I don't think we've see the last of him this season. Does Luthor's exit affect the Legion of Doom? Will Ivy have to take charge of Lexcorp, too? Or will someone worse with no love for Ivy take over? The business world on this show has really taken two to the balls. First, Wayne Enterprises is crippled not just by Bruce being in prison working as a DJ but by Ivy's tree replacement initiative and now Lexcorp just lost its founder. But Talia is seemingly still in charge of Wayne Enterprises as its conservator and Ivy might be taking on Lexcorp. Sounds like a big win for the Evil Woman in Business Collective. Ivy's embraced being a supervillain and ran an organized group of them this season, now what? In terms of the hero world, the Bat-Family is effectively over with Batgirl getting shot. Or is it. We all know in the comics, Barbara went through a similar but more traumatic and horrifying game changer in The Killing Joke but she continued in heroics as Oracle (and even a run in politics). Batgirl outing Joker on Psycho's podcast easily foreshadowed that outcome happening in a theoretical future season. But more importantly, how this affect's Harley's season arc about being hero. All season, Harley's had to adjust and abide by the crucial no kill rule the Bat-Family lives by. Harley just renounced being a hero and quit the Bat-Family. So if she's going back to old Harley, she gonna avenge Batgirl and take out the Joker once and for all? Or will she still be conflicted with honoring the Bat-Family and by extension Batgirl and sparing Joker?
"Potato Based Cloning Incident" resolves the major mystery and threat of the season in Harlivy fashion but a clean win they are not. A lot of loose ends have been tied up and paid off, come quite brilliantly and entertaining, but Harley and Ivy are far from resolving their identities in the wake of the new roles they took on this season. The penultimate episode sets the stage for Harley and Ivy's reckoning and who knows what last minute twists. The question is will Lex Luthor, Joker, and Gotham live through it?
Rating: 9.8 out of 10