The amount of psychological upheaval in Harley Quinn’s head heading into Epsode 10: “Dye Hard” is a conundrum. The fact that some of the unused art which is featured as the main art in this review is not even featured in this episode is undeniable. It reflects the Id hiding below the surface of Harley. After being slighted by that which she loves, the instinct is just to go out and party and gloss it over. But in Harley’s case that will make it worse simply because the bartender she tries to avoid may or may not be a brainwashed Mr. J. She is trying to fight against her own baser nature. She doesn’t really want to be back with Mr. J but the path seemingly leads back to him whatever she does. Harley is not meant to have a nice happily ever after. This darker perception of Harley is a really neat texture of this series but one you could do not do in a big movie. They tried to do glimpses of it in “Birds Of Prey”. It is tricky to do as an animated series as well but the door seems open to do things alot more outside the box. The story room would be interesting to sit inside here to see where the balance of ideas comes from.
While there are odes to “Die Hard” for sure the inventive element is not the will they or won’t they but the questioning Harley has herself. Is this a schizophrenic journey of what it means for her to be happy. What is undeniable is that Poison Ivy is not anywhere in this episode though her presence is felt throughout. She is a sense of calm for Harley whereas Joker is chaos. Ivy makes her contemplative and crazy. Joker makes her insane and crazy. The paradox of the ending that plays back using the bigger cast of characters is a little contrived, especially since Psycho as a character is all over the place. Ultimately Gordon and Batman just becomes the sidekick humor that don’t help that much. It is like the writers saw alot of “Teen Titans Go” and decided to make a grown up version of two kids where one has real cool toys and the others does not while the girls are trying to figure out what is the issues are with their relationship. That is a simplification but an accurate reflection. “Harley Quinn” is many things but a simple animation endeavor it is not. The season continues as the pendulum continues to swing.
By Tim Wassberg