Fresh off a stellar freshman season, the Harley Quinn animated series returned to small screens just as the pandemic hit its stride a few months back. If there was a show that could bring up spirits during this time, it was the one featuring one of DC’s most popular villains. I’m happy to report that the second installment builds upon the success of its debut season, solidifying it in the upper echelons of animated DC shows.
All of the characters you loved the first time around, and those introduced this season, are as exceptional as ever. From Harley Quinn to Ivy, the voice actors never skip a beat as their characterizations continue to be hilarious and surprisingly poignant. However, the amount of laughs the show produces isn’t the season’s greatest strength, and I promise you’ll be hurting from doing that. It’s the satisfying, always-thoughtful narrative that propels the show into greater heights. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s undeniable that the talented folks behind the curtains continue to produce something truly special and worth binging.
It’s no secret that the romance between besties Harley and Ivy is the main focus throughout the entire season. Although all hell could break loose, and it does at some points, it never loses focus of Harley Quinn’s journey of self-acceptance. After getting over Joker last season, she isn’t keen on the idea of falling in love with someone nor believes it’s a viable solution to her problems. Instead, she starts off the season on the path to conquer New (New) Gotham, in hopes of completing her villainous desires. This gets messy rather quickly, admittedly not as engaging as the first half of the first season.
We’re introduced to this show’s version of iconic DC characters like Batgirl and Catwoman, but there was a noteworthy gap in my investment with the story. Things began to change when “Thawing Hearts” was released, which features Harley and the squad going after Mr. Freeze as the latest victim of their revenge spree. However, it quickly became one of the most emotionally resonating episodes of the series when Harley witnesses the ice-cold villain sacrifice himself for the love of his life. As soon as this chapter closed, it was clear the season had much more on its mind than world domination for its ragtag team of villains.
The tension between Harley and Ivy reaches an all-time high in “There’s No Place to Go But Down” when the dynamic duo find themselves stuck in Bane’s pit of self-acceptance for all former criminals. By the end, the two share an intimate moment that rocks the core of the series. Although it was an expected direction for those familiar with the source material, it still felt like we were reaching a satisfying arc for both characters. Things get complicated, as these type of things do, and one can’t help but feel bad for Kite-Man being stuck in the middle of an awakening between his fiancee and her best friend.
Harley Quinn’s response to Ivy’s rejection turns her towards a path of evil, going so far as making a deal with Darkseid to conquer the Earth. She doesn’t go through with it, of course, but this was the breaking point for the fan-favorite Doctor Psycho. Feeling betrayed, the psychotic telepath ends up turning on the team, becoming the ultimate villain for the season. However, he only serves as a physical distraction to Harley’s character arc, which once again becomes the main focus in the finale. Before we get to that, Joker’s role in all of this can’t be dismissed.
Mostly absent in the season, the Joker became a normal man with a family while Gotham went down the drain. When Harley drops him in the vat of acid just like he did with her, he becomes the Joker once again. He initially rejects his almost-normal relationship but even the Clown Prince of Crime finds true love after all is said and done. Everything comes full circle, and Harley is hit over the head with the fact that she shat the bed when it comes to her bestie.
With Doctor Phsycho locked up in the penultimate episode, it’s pretty clear how this particular story will go in the finale. Poison Ivy makes a last-ditch effort to save her relationship with a wedding Kite-Man couldn’t refuse, but Commissioner has other plans for the villains attending the ceremony. Enter Harley Quinn: who is the only person that can save the day for the doomed couple once again. It was nice to get one last major action set-piece with Harley vs. Gordon after the two teamed up several times throughout the season.
When Kite-Man realizes where Ivy’s heart truly lies, one can’t help but feel like he got dealt the worst hand ever. That said, this allows for everyone’s favorite ship to ride into the sunset, both figuratively and literally. It’s the near-perfect ending for our protagonists and it gives us a satisfying conclusion to the last two seasons while also allowing for a follow-up.
The adult-orientated animated series is some of the DC Universe’s best original content so far, and hopefully, they’ll get the sense to put it on HBO Max as well. There’s no doubt in my mind that if you are a fan of supervillain goodness, or just like to have a good time, putting on Harley Quinn will fill your heart’s desire. Although we are lucky to have two exceptional seasons, DC should move quickly to renew the series for at least a third entry.
Harley Quinn is currently streaming on the DC Universe.
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