The insanity (and what else would you expect) of Harley Quinn’s first season continues. The gang has relocated to the Abandoned Mall of Villainy, and are still trying to get the attention Harley feels is their due. They’re not all quite on the same page, unsurprising with this band of misfits. In this episode, we see a lot of focus on Harley’s obsession (or latest one, anyway) and one of the supporting characters in, “You’re A Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon.”
Ivy is settling in and making a decent home for herself in the new digs, which lasts about as long as it takes the gang to come bursting in, fresh from their latest heist. It’s very much a “kids disturbing Mom’s quiet time” vibe as they drop a stolen mummy and sarcophagus, leaving Ivy to lament she was going to go see that exhibit this weekend. After some comparison about view points on dead bodies, Harley checks online and finds she’s still not getting the buzz she wants to further her chances of getting into the Legion of Doom. In an interesting twist, Ivy psychoanalyzes Harley a bit, and gets a good read on her crazed friend. This leads to an odd aside from Sy Borgman and a new heist. They never seem to really get any success money-wise, so I’m vaguely wondering how most of them eat, but I guess that’s one of the things we’re not supposed to worry about.
The plan to steal an unlikely technological development from Wayne Enterprises isn’t their best, and generates some Fast and Furious references. If that’s the basis of your plan, start over, as entertaining as the movies are. While Clayface provides a distraction, King Shark slips inside, displaying his odd mix of savagery and computer expertise. Ivy gets Dr. Psycho and Harley up to the right floor via growing vines, which you’d think someone would notice, even in Gotham. After Ivy plays favorites with their entrance, Harley changes the target, which is always a great idea mid-heist. They barely manage to escape, Clayface tries another move from a movie that goes badly, and they leave something important behind. Dr. Psycho makes his own escape, almost in line with the original plan until he makes a mistake and damn near falls to his death, saved at the last minute by Ivy.
On the famous roof of Gotham PD, Gordon is misusing the Bat-Signal, which Batman isn’t pleased with. They are continuing their very odd portrayal of Gordon in this episode, which I admit I don’t care for. After Batman leaves in a huff (he’s also out of character in much of this episode), Gordon mumbles to himself. Batman did leave something recovered from the WE break-in for Gordon to work with. At the Abandoned Mall of Villainy (AMV for convenience after this), Harley exults about their caper, while the rest of the team disagrees with her assessment. We are introduced to a new and bizarre character, the Cowled Critic (an online villain reviewer, because why wouldn’t that be a thing?), and he isn’t kind to the gang about their latest effort, also managing to personally offend both Dr. Psycho and Poison Ivy. Harley shows a recurring theme of her own obsession having some bad effects on the team.
Gordon’s investigation gets odder and odder, veering into bad sitcom territory. Clayface shows some limitations I don’t remember him having before as the crew tries to reclaim what they lost. It doesn’t go well. Things degenerate into a general firefight on the roof with some mixed loyalties. Dr. Psycho and Ivy find the Critic with some bad puns and then run into a character we’ve seen before. The situation isn’t great, and Ivy asks a question that had a fairly obvious answer. Both of the villains are surprised to find out who the Critic actually is, and make a few bad sexual jokes about one of the other people living there.
The fight on the roof goes downhill, and Harley tries a bluff. This time Clayface is being the voice of reason, which also isn’t a good sign. Harley does what she’s going to anyway, and ends up with an unexpected side trip and a confrontation with the Dark Knight. This is another oddly out of character scene (also against decades of continuity, and yeah, I am “that guy”). Harley does at least come to a realization about how she’s been acting, and there’s an extremely unlikely sorta team up. Dr. Psycho has a very unexpected scene with his critic, which shows some unusual morals and priorities. Ivy is unusually affected and leaves on another obvious sexual joke.
Things on the roof get even more bizarre, with odd emotional turns and some interesting takes on a few things. Eventually, the gang gets reassembled after Harley gets Batman out of the way with another unlikely plot device. The Critic goes back online and posts some new thoughts about the gang, but does point out a recurring failing Harley realizes something she neglected to do from an earlier plan that didn’t work out, and we get an odd ending scene. All’s well that ends well, I guess.
What I liked: The Critic was an interesting creation, and I could see that happening in today’s social media obsessed world. The cast continues to impress me, with some great deliveries. I liked the nods to several different movies along the way. King Shark is possibly becoming my favorite character on the show.
What I didn’t: Several of the ensemble were way out of character for the sake of various gags, and that kept distracting me. There’s an old rule of writing that if your plot relies on your character doing something stupid, you need to rewrite it. I’d suggest a corollary that if you need someone to be acting contrary to decades of stories, you might want to consider another approach.
It was an uneven episode. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5.