One of the things I really need to get through my thick head is that the Harley Quinn cartoon, much like the Fox series Gotham, is its own little pocket universe, and general continuity doesn’t apply here. They are definitely going off in their own direction. Season Two begins with “New Gotham,” which is an interesting little mess. As a quick recap: the Justice League is trapped in the Fairy Tale Realm, Joker is MIA possibly dead, Batman is missing, and Gotham is in ruins. You’d think there’s nowhere to go but up, but if that were true, you clearly haven’t been watching the show.
The show opens with an address from the President of the United States that essentially cuts off Gotham City from the rest of the country, much like the comic event No Man’s Land, or the final season of Gotham. Most of the crew look shocked or saddened to hear this, but Harley, chaos-lover that she is, is thrilled. She seems to have gone from “I’ll show Joker and the Legion of Doom” to dedicated anarchist.
The city descends into chaos, and Harley rides a bumper car pulled by her hyenas through the streets. Nice to see Bud and Lou again, at least. To make her gang happier, she has kidnapped a sushi chef, and this becomes a running joke throughout the episode. Strangely still the voice of reason, Poison Ivy pulls Harley aside and urges her to take charge of the city. Why Ivy can’t do it herself if she thinks it’s important is never explained. Harley resists, Sy gets a series of odd flashbacks, and Ivy’s point gets proved by a few unwelcome guests.
Never one to do anything conventional, or follow advice, Harley tries a novel approach, fomenting insurrection among the various thugs, goons and henchmen, which leads to some odd conversations and a bunch of entertaining scenes as the various Gotham crime bosses lose control of their gangs. I guess she’s a persuasive lil’ anarchist. A coalition of Gotham’s worst criminals meet up to discuss the situation, with more odd takes on the characters themselves, and Bane played for laughs again. I really get the impression the writers don’t like a few characters and use this show as a chance to tear them down. At any rate, Bane makes a suggestion the others actually listen to for once.
After a brief scene whose only purpose seems to be to further mock both Commissioner Gordon and Robin, there are more jokes with the chef and more advice from Ivy. Harley receives an invitation from the new Injustice League, which proves to be the villains we saw earlier. They have a plan for the city, which they explain in between jokes at Bane’s expense. Harley isn’t about to play along, and goes on the offensive. She has no plan, is seriously outnumbered, and is running on anger and annoyance. That goes as well as you would expect.
Gordon comes in for more mockery as the conditions in the city worsen, and Two-Face claims a Gotham landmark for his own. At Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, we finally see the crew taking some action to get their leader/friend back from the bad… worse… guys. It doesn’t go well, and something I’ve noticed about Ivy on this show happens again: she’s either a virtual goddess, or just some chick who happens to be green. In this case, she’s in just-green mode, and there’s a lot of fighting, the blood-splatter they enjoy so much on this show, and an event that even more establishes this show isn’t part of any DC continuity.
The show takes a detour to kick Gordon while he’s down, and then returns to the crew. Harley finds out what’s been going on in her absence, and just how long that absence was. She’s not at all happy. Ivy brings her to the roof to show her what Gotham is like now. I guess the gang was at least competent enough to hold their own base in the midst of the chaos. The show ends with some medics making an interesting discovery that might be a small ray of hope for the future.
What I liked: The gang continues to be an amusing collection of weirdness. As I’ve said before, Ron Funches as Killer Shark and Alan Tudyk as Clayface are absolutely great. I’m entertained by the idea of Poison Ivy as the voice of reason. They’ve set up a new status quo that should be interesting, especially with the current conditions.
What I didn’t: Even doing my best to ignore continuity issues, I do wonder where a lot of other characters are in all this. I’ve said this before and will again, but I don’t care for their treatment of either Bane or Gordon. I’m not sure I quite get how the crew fell apart without Harley, but still managed to keep hold of their base of operations.
They are certainly pushing the envelope here, and I’m not sure I care for the direction they went. I’ll give this a 2.5 out of 5. I’m intrigued by the appearance of a few upcoming characters I’ve heard about.