Harley Quinn: Being Harley Quinn

Origin

Harley jumps right in to revisiting her origin

This is the second episode in a row on Harley Quinn where they do what could be a fun look “behind the scenes” of the villain scene, but it’s been done before. At least the opening bit has. Aside from an opening set up that pops up again later, we get a weird trip inside Harley’s head in “Being Harley Quinn.”

The episode opens with a very specialized realtor showing Harley and Ivy various villain lairs. It’s a fun idea, which they explored several years ago in Gotham City Sirens with the character of the Broker. When Harley has trouble making up her mind, they go back to the apartment for a lot of questions. Harley has some trouble answering them, and, when she gets pushed, freezes up. As in, totally stops moving or responding. Chaos ensues as Dr. Psycho leads the crew into the recess of Harley’s mind. Personally, this is not someplace I’d want to go.

 

Their first stop is a mostly white space museum of Harley’s memories. We get to see some great art in the background, much of it by legendary comic artist Alex Ross (or a damn good imitation), and Ivy remarks the place is a lot cleaner than she was expecting. The gang finds Harley sitting on a bench watching one of her own exhibits, leading to some questions and a general warning to essentially not try and apply logic over the next twenty minutes or so. They do like their meta moments on the show.

 

Among the scenes they encounter are young Harley acting out some of her parents’ arguments with dolls (Good scene work for a six year old!, exclaims Clayface as Alan Tudyk  hams it up), and a memorable valedictorian speech. Dr. Psycho goes to find the “mental reboot” switch, leaving behind a warning about hooker rules vs. stripper rules. As they all wander around, Harley wonders if something is wrong with her after seeing an early memory glitching, leading the great line of Ivy answering, “I mean this in the most loving way but this can’t just be occurring to you now.” Harley studies the exhibit to try and figure out what’s going on, touches the picture, and gets a lecture from Psycho. Harley gets another good line with, “I was just touching myself, that IS stripper rules.”

 

After setting off a lot of alarms, the gang ends up on the run in Harley’s head. Her internal defenses are definitely creepy. Out in the real world, Ivy’s landlord Sy tries to rent out the place and, on seeing the team all out cold, jumps to an interesting conclusion. As the team runs around and sees more of Harley’s memories (with a really amusing cameo), Harley comes to a comedic realization about her mother. As the team tries to find the way out of Harley’s head, they get a hint about what’s going on in the real world to add more drama, and a reference to the very surreal “Being John Malkovich.”

 

Deeper in Harley’s head, they see bits of her subconscious that leave Ivy questioning, very legitimately, if Harley is really over her ex. After the team gets backed into a dead end, they get an unexpected last minute rescue and an amusing debate about “dues ex machina.” In the real world, there are some weird developments with landlord Sy (one of Palmiotti and Conner’s more amusing additions to Harley’s canon in their run) and his girlfriend(?) Golda (voiced by Rhea Pearlman). Back in Harley-land, they find the way out, but Harley is determined to ignore Dr. Psycho’s advice (again) and visit the island of repressed memories. Harley stalks off and Ivy talks everyone else into coming along. Ron Funches gets another few good lines, and really seems to be enjoying his role as King Shark.

On the island, after a few amusing reveals, Harley is shaken by learning she’s been lying to herself about a key part of her origin all this time. After being stunned for a few minutes, Harley decides she won’t take reality for an answer, and rewrites her memories, prompting a crack about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Finally, the gang makes it back to the real world just in time to avoid a hideous fate. They end up circling around to what they were trying to find at the beginning, and get a new part time member of the gang.

 

What I liked: There were some great lines in this one. I liked the references to various other “in someone’s head” movies. Harley’s memory museum was kind of cool. They still haven’t really told us WHY Ivy and Harley are such good friends, but that friendship is very clear here. I am impressed at the various guests they’re getting. Tony Hale’s Dr. Psycho is growing on me, and Alan Tudyk is always enjoyable.

 

What I didn’t: The realtor here seemed like a rehash of the Broker from Gotham City Sirens, so why not use that character? That’s the second show in a row they seem to be borrowing someone else’s ideas. While there were some good moments, the overall episode didn’t feel like one of their better ones.

 

It was a good, not great, episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

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