Harley Quinn: A Seat at the Table Review
On this week’s episode of Harley Quinn, A Seat at the Table, Harley (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) adjusts to her new life as a member of the Legion of Doom and must deal with all of struggles her new position comes with as Joker (voiced by Alan Tudyk) enacts plans of his own.
With last week’s episode finally cementing Harley as a member of the Legion of Doom, we’re finally introduced to what happens within the walls of the legion – and it’s pretty hilarious. Everything kicks off like it always seems to when joining new an office as Harley and her crew are shown a hilariously outdated instructional video. Seeing Lex Luthor (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito) talk like the manager of your run-of-the-mill office was perfect and if we could just have an episode, or possibly an entire show, that involve the day to day life of members of the legion that would just be great – especially if Bane is involved.
Bane (voiced by James Adomian) is the undeniable comedic MVP of this episode as he had me laughing every second that he’s on-screen. He’s literally treated like the joke of the legion, which makes sense because Lex mentioned that there were a lot of politics involved with him joining, but his ridiculous self-interests and Adomian’s performance really make him one of the best of the series. With him wanting to perform magic tricks for Harley’s inauguration and seeking revenge against the smoothie place employee who keeps spelling his name wrong, which is hilariously revealed to be a prank by Joker, Bane is on his “A-game” this episode. Even the way he completely derails the pitch meeting by talking about Up and wanting more ‘splosions was absolutely hilarious and I think this has become my favorite depiction of the character. Not to mention, he’s constantly under-cut and belittled by Lex in hilarious ways. From Lex negating his views on a sequel to Up because it had a definitive ending to cynically correcting him on not knowing what ‘splosions are, he’s basically like the fed-up dad of the Legion of Doom and it’s incredible.
More importantly, though, this episode is great because of how it shows the struggles Harley faces in getting over the Joker. A few episodes back, I had said that I was kind of wishing that Harley would just move past Joker because it was impeding on her growth and character arc – but I’ve had a change of thought. Harley’s journey is a perfect reflection of why breaking up is hard to do as she struggles to stop her romance with Joker from rekindling. Although, she intends to keep things civil that they now both work in the same office, Joker has other plans – especially after she gets the funding for his plan to build a giant tower with his face on it rejected.
When she initially got into the legion, you knew that, like Bane’s entry, there were politics and ulterior motives at play and the second he gets his chance Joker’s back to his old tricks in reeling Harley back in. I loved how the Joker is shown in this episode as it’s a perfect example of his abusive nature and how it’s impossible to figure out what’s going through his head. There were plenty of moments where I wondered if he was genuine about being happy that Harley’s back and Harley was thinking the same thing. I don’t know if it’s something in Tudyk’s performance or the way he’s written here, but it’s a perfect display as to why he’s so interesting and why his relationship with Harley is toxic. Cut to one getaway later, and we, as well as Harley, see that Joker’s intentions aren’t as genuine as they seemed, and Harley is left feeling as powerless as she started – and it cuts deep. Even Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader) feels for Harley and her decision to trust Joker again not only brings her back to square-one in finding her self-empowerment but causes a major rift in the relationships she develops.
Harley attempts to patch things up with Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell) and things go pretty well at the start. The two find forgiveness for one another and Harley even says that she’s willing to help Ivy destroy a production plant that’s harmful to the environment. Once Joker comes back into the picture though, everything crumbles between them. Harley bails on her and the only help she’s finding is from Frank (voiced by J.B. Smoove) – who makes a valiant return after a pretty long absence. Although it’s strange that Ivy isn’t looking for help from Kite Man (voiced by Matt Oberg), considering they’re together, seeing Frank again is an absolute joy. Seeing him have to be carried around and want to jump into battle to mess people up was hilarious. Harley also lets her crew down as ends up not helping them get out of being contract out to Bane to blow up the smoothie joint only to have King Shark (voiced by Ron Funches) lose his fin in the process. In the end, the band of criminals we’ve come to know and love has broken up and Ivy is mysteriously taken by an unknown force that I have a hunch is actually Lex’s plan coming together. Either way, it’s a great moment for Harley to grow from as it seems like she is going back to where it all started for her and the cliffhanger with Ivy is nice way to build anticipation.
A Seat at the Table is another perfect showing of the strong storytelling and comedic chops that Harley Quinn has to offer. Even now, I still find myself laughing at everything Bane did in this episode and its one of the many way that this series continues to blow my mind in how it subverts your expectations of what DC Comics can be.