Harley Quinn: Bensonhurst

benson

As family reunions go, I’ve seen worse. 

At the end of last episode, Harley was very much going through one of those, “You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone,” moments. She got into the Legion of Doom, but lost her crew and her best friend, and was, of course, betrayed yet again by the Joker. Now she has to try and pick up the pieces, or at least figure out what she wants to do next, as she journeys to “Bensonhurst.”

The episode opens with Harley checking out what her crew is up to without her, and we don’t exactly see bereft pining. Bane stops by for some awkward commiserating, and doesn’t do a lot to make her feel better. Bored and lonely, she goes back to the Mall of Evil, and gets embarrassing video of Sy to share with Ivy. Of course, Ivy isn’t answering, but Harley doesn’t know why. The “sane” Harley pops in via phone hallucination to offer some advice. I’m amused that the sane one is, to my eye at least, drawn a bit more like the Batman: The Animated Series style than the rest of this show. Unsure where else to go, Harley returns to her mother’s home, triggering a really odd sitcom opening style sequence to summarize Harley’s family life.

 

Arguably having an even worse time, Ivy wakes up strapped down to a table. She has a very odd conversation with Gus the guard, who is only “gooning on the side” for a very believable reason. I give them huge points for sneaking some social commentary in to the midst of a really odd cartoon. Gus is credited to Rory Scovel, but in delivery and general manner, he was really reminding me a lot of Patton Oswalt. I think their exchanges were my favorite parts of the episode. Leaving to take a call, Gus makes a mistake that lets Ivy get out a unique call for help.

 

Back home, Harley rants to her mother about her recent trials and tribulations. Mom makes some really entertaining comments, and looking at some of her old trophies triggers some bad flashbacks for Harley, which tells us a lot about the relationship between her and her father. Her visit takes a nasty turn when her mother surprises her, and Harley rants about her parents’ choices. Elsewhere, Frank the plant is chatting with Chaz his driver/dealer when he finds out about Ivy’s predicament.

 

Over a very strained family dinner, Harley’s mom lives up to a lot of the Jewish mother stereotypes, which is incongruous giving some of what’s happening. A shocking revelation from Grandma turns into a gruesome visual joke as an assassin attacks. Harley gets clever and gets the drop on the killer. Her attempts to find out what’s going on are foiled, and her father makes a confession about some more bad choices he’s made. Harley reluctantly agrees to help, but makes her priorities clear. This turns into an amusing, surreal scene that plays with stereotypes as they pay a call on another enemy. There’s some sort of odd teamwork and a lot of the really ugly violence that marks this show’s fight scenes. They do love their blood splatter and graphic wounds.

 

Frank’s attempt to help Ivy takes a really surreal detour. Turns out relying on a dealer for your driver isn’t the best plan. Who knew? Gus the guard discusses kitten heels with Ivy, then sends some texts on her behalf in spite of Ivy’s wishes. The earlier dinner sets the scene for a repetition with many of the same jokes as history sort of repeats itself. This time, things go worse for Harley as she finds out there’s more going on than she knew about, and that some of her earlier concerns were very justified. Fed up with everything, Harley tells off everyone that’s left and stalks off, her dramatic exit undercut by multiple wounds and blood loss. She collapses as a familiar face shows up to offer a ride.

 

Later, she wakes up on the road and has another chat with her saner self. They argue a bit, and both wonder about something important from earlier. Frank gives Harley the rundown on what’s going on with Ivy. As they speed off to the rescue, the last two scenes show who is behind Ivy’s capture, and shed some light on Harley’s earlier problems, or some of them at least. I suspect the last two episodes will be rescuing Ivy and then a reunion with the crew, but we’ll see. The show has taken some right turns already, that’s for sure.

 

What I liked: The sitcom history of Harley’s family was darkly entertaining, as was Harley’s mom. The scene with the people holding an important debt was kind of funny at first. I loved Gus the guard: his delivery, his motivations, and his juggling two jobs. King Shark’s cameo was entertaining.

 

What I didn’t: I’m just not a big fan of the huge splatter effects in the fights. Harley’s violent. We get it. We know this. The two dinners having damn near the same jokes in them seemed a bit odd.

 

I’m still enjoying the overall vibe of the show, even if there are things I’d change. I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5.

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