Harley Quinn (Season 2): Thawing Hearts Review
*This review contains spoilers for episode four*
On this week’s episode of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn, Thawing Hearts, Harley (voiced by Kaley Cucuo) looks to take out Mr. Freeze (voiced by Alfred Molina), but end up becoming captive lab rats in his ongoing fight to save his wife Nora (voiced by Rachel Dratch).
Ever since his initial appearance in the season two premiere, I’ve been waiting to see the return of the Caped Crusader’s coldest foe. Mr. Freeze has been portrayed as both a devious villain and a tragic hero trying to save his wife, so it’s nice to see both of those sides be shown here. It’s darkly hilarious to see him come off like a mad scientist with how many snowy lab rats he’s gone through and how crazed he looks talking about Nora as she’s frozen beside him. It’s almost no wonder why Harley sees Nora as a frozen captor rather than a damsel in distress. However, the more heartfelt side of Mr. Freeze isn’t forgotten about and plays a strong role in Harley breaking past her assumptions about him and her cynical views of love in a post-Joker life.
With Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell) finally accepting Kite-Man’s (voiced by Matt Oberg) marriage proposal, love in the air this episode and on everyone’s minds as they invade Mr. Freeze’s lair. While everyone’s wondering who they’re going to bring to the wedding with Clayface (voiced by Alan Tudyk) already preparing a new character and King Shark (voiced by Ron Funches) reluctantly thinking about asking some from the Hammerhead clan that he’s already betrothed to, Harley’s not about it. She’s certainly excited to see her best gal pal walk down the aisle and jam to Since U Been Gone before chilling like they always do, but she’s not looking to bring any kind of date. Since she’s finally rid of her toxic relationship with Joker and ready to strike out on her own, Harley is all about her single life and pretty much giving a big middle finger to love. She’s even more about female empowerment here with her creating a vagina shaped ice cave for her crew to enter Freeze’s fortress and berating Freeze for keeping his wife hostage.
Even throughout the episode’s opening fight sequence against Freeze’s ice-skating goons, which is full of bloody and brutal excellence, Harley says she’s done with love. However, who could’ve guessed that love between Freeze and Nora could’ve not only melted Harley’s heart, but also any viewer’s heart. There’s a great turn in this episode when Harley frees Nora from her frozen captivity because she thinks that Freeze is holding her captive, but then professes her love for Freeze before slipping back into her deadly coma. Freeze’s final sacrifice to save Nora is an incredibly touching moment that feels incredibly fitting for his short run on this series and while it’s sad to see him go the impact he leaves on Harley is great. Their love is incredibly inspiring and create a moment for Harley that has her look past her assumptions and cynical views of love that will likely make a big difference for her down the road. Who knows? Maybe this could be the perfect introduction to the “normal” Joker that was teased as the end of the last season.
Regardless, this was a strong showing for Freeze and Molina’s voicework as the iconic villain adds a touch of coldness and heart-warming personality to the character that makes for a memorable depiction. While Mr. Freeze might be gone, the freakout from Nora telling everyone to leave makes me wonder if there’s a possibility for Nora to become Mrs. Freeze and take her romantic rage out on Harley in the future. Frankly, I hope it does and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the Freeze name will live on.
While Harley is dealing with Freeze, we get what’s likely the best sub-plot of the entire series so far with Ivy and Kite-Man fighting for their prized wedding venue against Kite-Man’s devilishly delicious nemesis – The Condiment King (also voiced by Tudyk). To emulate some feeling from last week, I’m tired of this series banking off of Tudyk’s voice all the time as some of his characters are starting to sound similar and losing their uniqueness because you hear his voice so often. However, I absolutely adored this rivalry between D-list villains this week as these fight for the cream of the corn crop of wedding venues in new New Gotham. From Kite-Man being all worked up about Condiment King ruining their wedding to Ivy growing to hate Condiment King because of his overuse of puns, it’s a great little sub-plot that’s brings the laughs and heart to their relationship. Things go about as expected with them losing out to Condiment King, but it’s still a fun sequence that gives us more Kite-Man and Ivy – which is always a plus.
Thawing Hearts gives Harley some much needed growth as the love story between Mr. Freeze and Nora allows for her hatred of love to be stripped away and possibly find something much more real than what her and Joker had in the future. It presents an excellent Freeze storyline, plenty of great subversions in story, and a healthy and hilarious rivalry between Kite-Man and The Condiment King. All in all, it’s one of the strongest episodes of the series thus far.