Harley Quinn: Thawing Hearts

Freeze

Harley picks up a story where Batman left off

 

Harley is bound and determined to continue her hit list, and has Mr. Freeze in her sights. There are developments in various relationships, some bad judgements, and the usual chaos and violence. We also get an appearance by a joke villain who, like Harley herself, first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series. They manage a decent storyline in spite of their constant jokes, and continue another story from B:TAS in “Thawing Hearts.”

Finally having obtained Firefly’s flamethrower last episode (with no word at all about what happened to Firefly himself), Harley, Dr. Psycho, King Shark, and Clayface mount an attack on Freeze’s fortress. After some artistic expression, they get in, and then pause as their phones relay the news that Ivy and Kite Man are now officially engaged, which leads to a lot of talk about weddings. Not surprisingly, given her history, Harley has a very jaded view of love, weddings, and romance, which she debates with the crew as they attack Freeze’s goons. Everyone seems to have a near-endless supply of henchmen in New Gotham, I wonder where they all come from? Freeze makes an impressive entrance, wowing some of the team, before incapacitating them all.

The b-plot this week involves Kite Man and Ivy trying to secure a wedding venue. Kite Man is just as neurotic about it as the show so far would leave you believe, with Ivy once again trying to be the voice of reason. It’s an amusing recurring theme that the eco-terrorist who has at various times claimed to be not human and hate humanity as she casually kills and enslaves people keeps being the mature one. Just to complicate matters, and ramp up the sit-com/rom-com feel of this plot, we learn that Kite Man has an ongoing rivalry with D-list (at best) villain Condiment King, voiced by virtuoso Alan Tudyk. Tudyk seems to be willing to take any extra role they want to throw at him and do a great job with it. Kite Man and Ivy continue to make an unlikely, but cute, couple, who work almost in spite of themselves. There is a minor bobble with Kite’s real name, which seems to have changed since season one. Freeze thaws out the crew, explains his wife’s tragic condition and his need for test subjects, and Harley is her usual understanding self. By which I mean she gets free, beats on thugs, and gets taken out, again, by Freeze. Her record against this guy is really not impressive.

Not liking awakening to a by-now familiar predicament, Harley desperately bargains, mentioning a genius bio-chemist she knows. Freeze leaves on a very unexpected task while Harley and the crew plan what to do next. Harley goes off on another odd tangent, appointing herself champion of a very rare minority. At the wedding venue, Kite Man freaks out, Ivy tries to be calming, and Condiment King is vexing. In an unusual setting, Freeze tells the story of him and his wife, and makes a kinda out-there but makes sense in context request of the crew. Harley puts her own spin on Freeze’s story, shaded by her own bias, and King Shark worries about their boss’ heart. To no great surprise, Harley has leapt to conclusions, does something reckless and foolish, and makes things worse. Unwilling to leave her friend in trouble, Ivy has to leave the venue meeting/tour to bail out Harley’s pale butt once again.

Ivy goes to work as Harley babbles and tries to avoid blame, also as usual. Harley comes to learn that she made a big mistake about what happened when she crashed the Injustice League meeting at the beginning of New Gotham/No Man’s Land. Ivy’s work bears some surprising results, and she has to ask her fiancé for a favor. Points to Kite Man, he instantly abandons his venue obsession to help her out, even if the errand is yet another excuse to turn him into the butt of various jokes. Her formula assembled, Ivy gives a dire warning, which her team isn’t happy to hear her be honest about. Freeze lives up to the storyline that’s been going since Batman: The Animated Series, Harley is shocked, and we get another reminder this is a very different world from the main DC, or even Bat-, Universe. After some comedy to lighten a dramatic and dark scene, the crew manage to leave. Harley comes to a realization, and Ivy tries to talk her up a bit. The episode does end on a minor downbeat, and Ivy decides she has a new nemesis.

 

What I liked: I’ve been pleasantly surprised they’re letting the Ivy/Kite Man story actually go somewhere, and surprised again that I’m enjoying it. There’s something oddly endearing about those two together that for the life of me I don’t understand, but it works. Harley’s negative attitude about matters of the heart makes complete sense given her history. Freeze’s story was always tragic in the cartoons, and they do something unexpected and amazing with it here. I was impressed that Harley admitted she was wrong.

 

What I didn’t: Not as much this time out, really. The b-plot actually worked this week, the crew is mostly around to provide cheap laughs, and they do that well. Psycho’s “Oh, God, I’m feeling feelings,” should have been intrusive in the moment, but it worked. I’d still like to see what’s going on with Barbara and Bruce and various other Bat-folk (yes, I know, it’s not their show).

 

This was entertaining, and really, what else can you ask for? I’ll give it a very high 3.5 out of 5.

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