Harley Quinn 02×10 “Dye Hard” (Review)

Spoilers Ahead

The Harley Quinn Show Returns To Form In A Flawed Episode That Retreads Too Many Beats From “Inner (Para) Demons”

Last Episode’s Rejection

Last week’s disappointing episode ended on a sour note: Harley being rejected by Ivy. As Ivy flew off with Kite Man, Harley was left crying. Harley has gone on quite a journey in her relationship with Ivy. Harley was the first one to show compassion to Ivy so the two became quick friends. The pair have had to work past their own flaws to become better friends. For Ivy, it was becoming more confident and less insecure. For Harley, it was separating from the Joker in Season 1 of the show. Harley and Ivy have been excellent friends constantly looking out for each other; the only thing remaining for them to do would be to take their relationship to the next level. A romantic relationship between the two has been teased throughout the show. It went from hand holding to a kiss three episodes ago to the pair finally hooking up in last week’s episode. However, even that does not mean a happy ending for Harley and Ivy. The issue of Kite Man continues to affect the pair’s romantic relationship with Ivy set to marry Kite Man. While this episode does not have a major impact on this current storyline, it finds Harley alone with no one to talk to except Joker.

Joker is the Friendly Bartender

Like before, Harley has returned from Themyscira without commenting on what happened with Ivy. Harley continues to act as if everything is normal. She even lies to her crew saying that the bachelorette had low emotional stakes. With no one there to comfort her, Harley goes to a restaurant to party and ignore her feelings. The only problem is that she has not got a reservation. Once again the Harley Quinn show excels at humour when it parodies real-life situations and applies them to the DC universe. Now forced to sit at the bar, Harley meets Joker of all people. This is perhaps the last person that Harley ever expected and wanted to talk to. However, this is not the same Joker as before. Instead, Joker is now sane.

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This version of Joker was actually set up in a previous episode which established that the character was truly sane. Now, this latest episode provides a further insight into the character. He feels like the exact opposite of Joker. He is a friendly bartender with strong morals, and he even offers Harley good advice. This bartender has his own girlfriend and even cares about her children. He lives a completely different life to the Joker. It is a smart move by the show to reintroduce the Joker in this way. The hostage situation makes for some humorous interactions between the two and it is great having him as an ear to Harley’s problems. Later making Harley responsible for rebirthing the Joker is a neat inversion of Harley Quinn’s origin story. Harley’s actions fall under a moral grey area and they demonstrate the lengths to which Harley will go to stop Psycho and defeat the parademons.

The Parademon Storyline Continued

This episode really places Dr. Psycho in the spotlight. Psycho used to be merely another member of Harley’s crew but no more. Instead, Psycho has left the crew to forge a path of his own as a great villain. This is a great way to give Psycho proper agency for once and establish a member of Harley’s crew as a force to be reckoned with in his own right. However, that does not mean that he won’t shove his success in their faces. Psycho’s masterful plan is to obtain a telepathic enhancer using the helmet to control the parademon army that Harley brought to Gotham. This is a really clever way of showing that Harley’s past actions have come back to haunt her. On the other hand, the parademon storyline feels too similar to the storyline “Inner (Para) Demons”. This episode simply borrows too many beats from that previous episode. Action sequences involving the parademons have worn out their welcome. There are highlights from the parademon sequence though. It is rewarding seeing Harley united with the rest of her crew for once as they all fight against Psycho. Jim Gordon once again gets to be a “damn good cop” as the show has continued to reinvigorate the character although he still has his fantastic oddities. That said, it is disappointing not seeing Gordon’s daughter, Batgirl, in this episode since Gotham’s supposed new protector is nowhere to be seen when the city needs her most. The best moment in the episode is perhaps Sy Borgman’s heartbreaking sacrifice. Sy may not have had a big role on the show but the writers nail his character in this crucial moment. Depicted as a loving father figure to Harley, Sy sacrifices himself so that Harley and Gordon can escape to defeat Psycho.

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Conclusion

While not one of the best episodes of the Harley Quinn show, “Dye Hard” holds its own and manages to stand out by featuring a sane Joker, by placing Psycho in the spotlight, and much more. The episode unfortunately does not further the romantic relationship between Harley and Ivy and so distracts from the main narrative. A lot of the parademon storyline feels like a retread of a previous episode. However, there is enough to differentiate this episode especially Sy’s sacrifice which hits hard. This episode may not be what fans were expecting yet it certainly manages to deliver on many fronts packing a punch when it matters most.

Pros:

  • Harley and Joker
  • Hostage situation
  • Jim Gordon gets his time to shine
  • Dr. Psycho is a villain in his own right
  • Sy’s sacrifice

Cons:

  • A re-tread of ideas from “Inner (Para) Demons”
  • Where is Batgirl?
  • Ivy does not appear so no further developments in their romantic relationship
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