Harley Quinn (Season 2): Dye Hard Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn, Dye Hard, Harley (voiced by Kaley Cucuo) attempts to drown her sorrows about blowing it with Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell) through some hard drinking, but ends up being in bad company when Dr. Psycho (voiced by Tony Hale) attempts to wreak havoc in Gotham.
After a disastrous bachelorette party weekend where Harley told Ivy she loved her and got rejected, Harley is down in the dumps once again and can’t even get the remaining members of crew to hang out with her. King Shark (voiced by Ron Funches) is chilling with his new wife and Clayface voiced by Alan Tudyk) has got a very important date with the Tony’s, the awards for recognizing excellence in Broadway theatre for those that don’t know. So, Harley does what she always seems to in times of sadness and failure – party her ass off and drink. Rather than go to some seedy villain’s bar though, Harley decides to elevate her classiness by heading over to Wayne Tower and having a fancy night out – her way of course. However, the night doesn’t go as she expects as all of the patrons don’t fit her style and she runs into a familiar face that she was hoping never to see again – Sane Joker.
No longer being a barback at some run-down bar, the Joker has come up in the world now bartending at Gotham’s most high-class establishment and Harley’s pissed to see him. It’s frankly great to have this interaction again as Joker’s new life and more “normal” attitude annoys Harley in every way. From hearing about his new family to him just being overly friendly and not at all into violence, he’s truly the antithesis of his former self and Harley still isn’t pleased. Even worse is when the bar is suddenly overrun by a group of robbers that are very surprised to find what they can get from the bar’s wealthy patrons and she’s forced to escape with the Joker in handcuffs. There’re some great moments with these two being thrust back together with Harley venting her feelings about Ivy to him in a literal vent and a fun fight with two goons where Harley uses a WayneTech Cancer Ray, which exists for some reason, to give a goon cancer. Not to mention, there’re moments where Joker’s old laugh and certain “dreams” he mentions that show that the old Joker is still in there and always threatening to come out.
While all this is going on, Gordon (voiced by Christopher Meloni) is trying to take care of the Parademons that are still ravaging Gotham and Psycho grabs his stuff to leave the team. Personally, while both subplots have funny moments and eventually bleed into Harley’s great escape, they’re nothing too special. Gordon being treated like a child by Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader) by letting him pilot the Batwing or fire any of its missiles is still funny and there’s a great exchange between an incredibly buff Riddler (voiced by Jim Rash) and Psycho that’s really funny. There’s even a small battle for power about the heat of Batman’s coffee between him and Alfred (voiced by Tom Hollander) that’s great.
The big moment with Dye Hard is really the rooftop battle between Harley’s crew, plus Gordon, and Psycho and his new partner in crime Riddler. While it’s no surprise that Psycho is plotting against Harley by using the Parademons, it is kind of a shocker that him and Riddler having gained enough of a mutual respect for one another to work with each other. Clayface thinking that they’re dating is pretty funny as well and Psycho’s monologue about wanting to be taken seriously as a villain, while kind of generic, is a strong turning point for his character. This tension and conflict between Harley and Psycho leads to a really fun fight sequence where King Shark is biting the heads of Parademons off and Clayface is trying to morph into things to get the upper hand. However, this fight also leads to a major problem with this series’ treatment of its lesser characters with Sy’s (voiced by Jason Alexander) sacrifice.
One of my big issues with this series, and this season in particular, is how it tries to create emotional moments with characters we rarely see. Frankly, I couldn’t even tell you the last time that we saw Sy and he hasn’t been a strong enough character to warrant the kind emotion that this episode is trying to go for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly a heroic moment for Sy, but there’s nothing else to feel for him other than his action. Hell, him and Harley barely have even been shown to have much of a relationship. At least him and Ivy have known each other longer so if she was there maybe it could’ve felt like something more. Instead of symbolizing a heart-breaking sacrifice of a character we’ve come to know and love, Sy’s sacrifice shows how this series can try and fail to create emotion from characters we rarely see or get to know.
Either way, we at least end on an interesting cliffhanger for next week with Harley realizing how she needs to fix her mistakes since killing the Joker. Talking to Sane Joker, she realizes that she needs to get the Justice League out of the Book of Fables to stop Psycho and the Parademons and the only way to find it is by bringing Mista J. back. With one push into a Vat of Acid, it looks like the Joker is coming back in full-form next week and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see the return of The Clown Prince of Crime.
As a whole, Dye Hard is truly the definition of a filler episode with a few game-changing moments in Psycho’s full tilt towards main villain status and the return of Joker, in true form, to the series. It certainly has its moments, including one that showcases the downfalls of this series, but it’s really just a bump in the road to the greatness that’s hopefully about to come next week.