Harley Quinn: Climax at Jazzapajizza

Wait, we’re starting with the villains tied up?

The third season of Harley Quinn has been a wild ride, not that this is different from the other two seasons. But Harley has been trying to build up Ivy’s confidence and get her to follow her dreams. Sometimes, that’s not a great thing for everyone else. There’s a lot of weirdness going on, in case you couldn’t tell from the title, “Climax at Jazzapajizza.”

Last time ended with most of the main characters being captured by the Bat-clan, and that’s where we pick up, with everyone trying to persuade the heroes that things aren’t what they seem and Bruce is on the seriously wrong path. Nightwing and Batgirl’s faith remains unshakable… until Bruce strolls in with zombified versions of his parents. A shocked Nightwing tries to make sense out of what’s going on, and Harley and Ivy lay some unwelcome facts on him. After Bruce wanders off, we get a horde of unwelcome visitors, unexpected side effects from what Bruce did to Ivy’s improved version of Frank, and a temporary truce. We’ll ignore little things like why Clayface, a shapeshifter whose body isn’t really solid or stable a lot of the time, was actually bothered by being tied up with ropes. Dr. Psycho does get an amusing aside off to Nightwing.

We see the effects of the ongoing problem as one of the cast succumbs to a new kind of danger. Why this one is different from almost everyone else we see affected throughout the episode isn’t really explained. Bruce brings the zombie-Waynes down to the cave, like a really warped “Take Your Parents to Work Day” kind of thing. Robin is utterly out of character, both from his comic version and even what we’ve seen earlier in the series, and has a weird reaction to all this. He then decides to go do something even more ridiculous, after getting in a one-liner with Batgirl. Harley, having learned Bruce’s secret last episode, gets the team to take her down to the cave. Clayface, after confirming something, rushes off on his own errand, removing one of the more powerful of the team from the fight.

Speaking of poor choices, they let Harley fly the Bat-Wing. Why in the world would either Nightwing or Batgirl, even these versions, allow that? Nightwing’s vehicle choice also leaves a lot to be desired, and the vaunted Batmobile never shows up or gets mentioned. Looking for a way to stop the out of control chaos, Ivy takes the risk of going to the Green, the mystical realm that connects all kinds of plants and plant-based beings in the DCU. Swamp Thing pops up for a pep talk and then leaves, which is not real helpful.

While Frank protects Ivy’s body, and Ivy takes on a familiar look, Harley calls for reinforcements. She then goes on to complain about the lack of lethal weapons on the ‘Wing, and get a lecture about not killing from Batgirl and Nightwing. Ivy comes back from her visit to the Green with a lot more power, a different look, and a new decision about how to handle things. Even Frank the talking plant is worried about this take on things.

Late to the party, and apparently immune to the attacks we see changing people all over the city, King Shark arrives at Wayne Manor. He misses the team, but does run into Bruce, and the pair have a very unlikely conversation. The weirdness of it is somehow very fitting for the series. The unlikely team of Harley, Nightwing, and Batgirl are proving surprisingly effective at trying to save Gotham, but then Ivy shows up and things get much more complicated. Harley realizes what her girlfriend is up to, and it’s really not good. At the local jazz festival that’s been a running joke throughout the episode (and also the source of part of the title), Joker is on stage acting as MC. While, as usual, Alan Tudyk voices both Clayface and Joker, he’s oddly only credited with Clayface for this episode.

The notionally good guys are getting overwhelmed, and Harley begs Batgirl and Nightwing to give her a chance to talk Ivy into stopping. What follows is the expected heart-felt speech, appeal to better nature, and, when that fails, a big risk that gets Ivy to stop finally and also resolves one of the running jokes of the season.

Bruce and King Shark continue their peculiar conversation, and the shark does the billionaire a big, and ugly, favor. Harley and Ivy try to reconcile after the difficult decision Harley forced on Ivy. The aftermath of the events shows some weirdly inconsistent things, and Ivy is very upset at the collapse of her dream. The next episode, which is the season finale, is going to be a very complicated one.

What I Liked: I’m always happy to see Nightwing and Batgirl, even if Nightwing falls into the “all males are stupid” conceit the show seems to run with. The horror-style big battle was well done. Harley taking such a huge gamble near the end was very in character, and reaffirms that she doesn’t really fit in as either hero or villain on this show. The amusing bits of her bantering with the team were nicely done. The bizarre Bruce Wayne/King Shark pairing worked surprisingly well. I like the new look Ivy is embracing.

What I Didn’t: There’s an old rule of writing that if the story depends on your character doing something stupid in order to work, you need to fix it. That’s pretty much what happens with Bruce through most of the last few episodes, and especially this one. Yes, I know, it’s not his show, but still, some of that character’s “logic” here is puzzling at best. Robin, too, was wholly out of character. Why show him if you’re not going to use him in the big battle? As I said above, the after-effects of some of this seem wildly inconsistent.

It’s a fun show for the most part, and revels in its own weirdness. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. That final episode is going to have a lot going on.


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