“Harley Quinn” season 2 is not as strong as season 1 as it brings in pacing issues and a bit too much meta and 4th wall breaking humor but the core relationships that drive the story are still strong. I am excited for the eventual season 3. This season grows the show and I like how it continues to change the status quo for characters and organizations in this universe. So without getting into spoilers, this is one I do recommend again.
The story follows Gotham after it has been destroyed as different powers vie for control of it as the Injustice League is formed and Harley (Kaley Cuoco) vows to take them down after being betrayed.
The Premise – This story pulls a lot from the “No Man’s Land” story from the comics and it is a lot of fun. Penguin, Riddler, Bane, Mr. Freeze and Two-Face are the survivors with the largest gangs and are a great threat for Harley and her crew to face.
The Comedy – The comedy again is largely successful. Where it doesn’t work is some of the 4th wall and meta-humor jokes that usually happen at the beginning or end of episodes. I can see the intent but they are mostly just distracting from the main narrative.
The Characters – The characters are once again the strongest element of this show. We even get to see more heroes in action (Alfred and Batgirl) so seeing them interact and shape the story is a lot of fun. I enjoyed where the arc went.
Barbara Gordon / Batgirl – Batgirl is introduced in this as a college student trying to takedown Riddler when Riddler creates Riddler University and her working with Harley and Ivy inspires her to become Batgirl. After this she is Batman’s main ally besides Jim Gordon to takeout the gangs who have taken control of the city.
The Injustice League – The Injustice League are the primary villains this season and they are a lot of fun. Seeing their dynamic with each other and how they each get taken down leads to a lot of interesting stories. Each of them has different threats and motivation and their distinct looks work really well. Plus it helps that Penguin, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Bane and the Riddler are some of the best rogues in DC.
Mr. Freeze – Mr. Freeze is the most sympathetic members of the Injustice League who in the end gives his life to save his wife as his blood is changed into her same type for a blood infusion and cure that Ivy comes up with it. Alfred Molina is once again a wonderful character.
Riddler – Jim Rash from “Community” as the Dean is finally given his chance to shine. In this he is the one to take all power in destroyed Gotham and even when he is captured uses when he is trapped to get physically strong. I think he escapes at the end too. He becomes Dr. Psycho’s minion briefly but he is also a step ahead of Riddler on more than one occasion.
Bane – Bane continues to be my favorite part of the series. In this we see him standing up to Two-Face and from he does get what he wants. We also see his idealism too. At the end of the day Bane wants to help people and his prison Pit is entirely built around helping people face their trauma and to heal and grow. I’m glad he like Riddler survives. He continues to be one of the best characters on this show.
Two-Face – Two-Face is one of the main masterminds of the series as he is the last Injustice League member standing and has complete control of Gotham at one point. We see that his two-faced ambition existed before he became Two-Face as well in a flashback and in the end he escapes and is likely to rise in power again as he made a deal with Jim Gordon to help him become Mayor of Gotham.
Harley and the Squad – Harley and the Squad continue to be fun with Dr. Psycho becoming a secondary villain who is eventually back in Gotham. Clayface is shown to be able to become a giant kaiju sized clay monster and he’s gotten better at shapeshifting. Sy Borgman becomes an A.I. when he sacrifices himself to save Harley and I’ll get into the others below.
King Shark – King Shark is a great member of the squad and in this we get his backstory. We see why he left home but also that he is willing to work with his dad so that their can be peace in the Shark clan through marriage. He like Bane in the Injustice League is the kindest member of the crew unless he sees blood.
Kiteman – We learn this season Kiteman was born to parents with powers so they always looked down on him and this season is him realizing that Ivy doesn’t love him in the same he loves her. It is a really good arc as you see him finally find confidence in himself and his own value. I’m curious if he’ll be back next season as a potential antagonist.
Harley and Ivy – Harley and Ivy and their relationship that evolves from best friends to romantic is the heart of season 2 and I appreciated how messy it was as the two of them learn more about what they want and who they are. These two are amazing and I’m glad they are the heart of the show. Ivy brings a cool demeanor but is driven by idealism and Harley is quick to anger but also extremely sensitive. They are complicated and I loved that they ended up together as a couple in the end.
Love and the Work of Growth – We see through this show love both for self but also for the people you care about and putting in the work to grow. Jim Gordon stops being an alcoholic for his daughter Barbara, Harley stops being a villain for Ivy (world conquest type villain), and characters like Harley, Ivy and Kiteman come to see their own value through the work of self-discovery.
Pacing – This season does have a few pacing issues. Everything related to the B-Plot of Kiteman and Poison Ivy’s wedding has some scenes that go on too long and this also applies to the 4th wall breaking humor and jokes that were put at the beginning and end of the episodes.
Some Jokes Drag – There are a few jokes that go on too long this season. This is something I didn’t notice last season so maybe the show could have still pulled out the story with less episodes.
Breaking the 4th Wall and Meta Humor – At one point we start getting people and characters talking about watching the show and giving rundowns of what happened in the show. This was fine at first but even the first time was distracting. I hope season 3 gets away from this.
This season is really good and has quite a few arcs that I’d like to see expanded on further. Darkseid has threatened to return to terraform Earth, Two-Face is free (and likely to team up with Jim Gordon) and the Gotham Police are hunting Harley and Ivy who are now officially a couple. There is a lot that can be explored here and I hope we see Harley and Ivy getting the crew back together at some point. This show isn’t as strong as the first season but it carries on so much that works and grew this amazing world.
Final Score: 8.6 / 10