The Joker is back in Gotham City, except he doesn’t know it. In this week’s episode of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn, we find Harley, voiced by Kaley Cuoco, and Poison Ivy, voiced by Lake Bell, reflecting at a bar. Suddenly they notice the bartender, who happens to be the Joker, voiced by Alan Tudyk. Except with one big difference, he looks like a regular person, good manners and all. While Ivy wants to kill him, Harley doesn’t want to kill a “normy”.
This leads us to the subject of episode 6 titled, All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues. This episode was directed by Juan Meza-Leon and written by Jamiesen Borak. It begins at the end of that bar scene with Ivy trying to convince Harley that killing the “normal” Joker is the right thing to do. She says that despite his current look, “you are who you are at your core, now and forever.”
The episode then travels back in time to when Harley first took the Job at Arkham Asylum to be the Joker’s psychologist. A time in Harley’s past that has been explored more and more as her popularity has grown. On her first day she is tasked to try and convince the Joker to give up the location of a bomb that he has hidden somewhere in the City. It is apparent throughout the episode that she feels sympathy for the way that the inmates are treated. This is evident when she watches Ivy getting restrained. As well as when she watches Batman attempt to extract the location of the bomb from the Joker. The Joker uses her emotions as well as her inexperience to put his plan in motion.
He does this by giving Harley a supposed childhood story. One where he describes the supposed trama that his father inflicted on him by killing his favorite pet. She believes him and the location that he gives her. Sending Batman and Commissioner Gordon on a wild goose chase. It turns out that the bomb was in Arkham the whole time, while the location of the bomb wasn’t wrong it was interpreted wrong. The bomb goes off and Joker escapes, it was his plan all along. He kidnaps Harley and runs off. In the distance district attorney Harvey Dent, voiced by Andrew Daly, orders a sniper to shoot the Joker even if it means hitting Harley. Nothing was going to hold back an upcoming election. Lucky for Harley and Joker, Ivy saved them both and sacrificing her freedom in the process.
Back at the bar in the present time, Harley discovers that the story Joker told her was Ivy’s childhood trauma. She had given up on people until she met Harley. But the question remained, what to do with the normal Joker? They bring in Dr. Psyco, voiced by Tony Hale, to read his mind. Turns out that he has no recollection of his Joker past, so they let him be. Only to show him minutes later, maniacally laughing at a photo of his girlfriend’s kids.
As I mentioned before, the Joker/Harley early relationship is something that we’ve seen in movies, tv shows, and comics. There is nothing new that there that we haven’t seen before. Any story about the Joker’s past can always be taken as fiction. Like he said once in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, “if I am going to have a past, I prefer multiple choice.” The most interesting part of this episode was the way Harvey Dent was portrayed.
Ivy’s comment about being who you are now and forever also applied to Harvey. Although not a villain but a DA at the time, his focus was keeping his power. Throughout the episode we see him consistently making decisions based on how it would affect an upcoming election. As Batman beats the Joker, blood splatter on the window foreshadows his Two-Face personality that seems like he already has. While the Joker takes Harley he tells her that they wouldn’t shoot him because she was with him. Little did even the Joker know that Harvey cared more about the effect of the Joker escaping under his watch than the life of one of his employees. When Harvey tried to tell her how relieved he was that she was ok, she responds by spitting on his face and saying, “f*** off Two-Face!”
Two-Face’s story has always been a very interesting one. Did the tragic accident change him into the villain, or did it just awake something that was already there? If you’d like to see an awesome take on his story you can look no further than Batman: The Animated Series. Specifically the 1992 season one episodes 17 and 18 titled Two-Face Part I and Two-Face Part II that explore his character before and after the accident that left him physically and emotionally scarred. The next episode of Harley Quinn will most likely feature Two-Face again as he kidnaps both Harley and Ivy at the end. Possibly giving us a better look at their take on the character.
Another great episode that shows how much the creative team for this series cares about the characters of Harley Quinn’s world. It’s done such a great job at making Harley the feature character, even with Batman making appearances now and then. This for me is probably the best version of the character that I have seen animated or live-action that comes the closest to Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s comic book version that helped launch her popularity in pop culture.
What do you think of this week’s episode of Harley Quinn? Let us know in the comment section below!
DC Universe’s Harley Quinn can be seen on their streaming service.
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