Harley Quinn (Season 2): Season Finale

*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*

 

On the season two finale of DC Universe’s Harley Quinn, The Runaway Bridesmaid, Harley (voiced by Kaley Cucuo), down and out after her feelings towards Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell) were revealed to the world, attempts to keep her and Kite-Man’s (voiced by Matt Oberg) wedding alive as Gordon (voiced by Christopher Meloni) attempts to become a hero by putting everyone at the wedding behind bars.

It’s honestly kind of strange to find ourselves in this place with season two – as a whole. Season one only ended back in February and it was total shock that season two was coming just a little over a month later. Initially, it seemed that the season was going to be about Harley and her crew taking down the Injustice League for themselves, but that eventually wasn’t the case. Around the halfway point, the second half of this season basically became Harley trying to proclaim her love for Ivy as their wedding date neared. Although this second half plot thread never really hit the depths it clearly wanted to as Harley never seemed to learn anything from her failures and just relied on “true love” to win Ivy’s heart, I kept hope alive that things could turn around in the finale. However, my hopes were dashed within the throughout as the rushed writing, lack of character development, and wasteful use of secondary characters has finally caught up with them.

Throughout the season, Harley has been told by everyone, including Joker (voiced by Alan Tudyk), how she is obsessing over Ivy, not changing the way she goes about it, and not self-reflecting about the damage she causes in selfishly trying to win Ivy over. Every time, Harley seems like she learns her lesson, but ends up going through the same motions in the next episode and that unfortunately doesn’t really change here. She throws a pity party for herself, claims that everything she’s doing is so that Kite-Man and Ivy are happy together, and yet still tries to get Ivy to be with her instead of Kite-Man. It’s some of the phoniest character development I’ve ever seen, and the ending totally ruins Harley’s likeability as a character. She just turns into Joker with how selfish of a lover she really is and learns nothing or has any sort of genuine self-reflection for the mistakes she makes. Worst of all, the writing tries to make her seem right by attempting to, and even succeeding, to ruin other characters by changing their thoughts and perceptions.

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The season finale betrays its characters by pushing a half-baked narrative and giving it an easy win. PHOTO: Ready Steady Cut

Although Ivy has been fighting for her relationship with Kite-Man, she pretty much goes through every reason she can think of, ranging from not conforming to patriarchal standards to making Kite-Man happy, to get out of this wedding. Her apology to Kite-Man at the beginning of the episode and getting his dream wedding venue becomes meaningless after her reaction to Kite-Man calling things off by the end and really they’re whole relationship was literally thrown away. Kite-Man and Ivy’s relationship went through the growth that the writers wish Harley and Ivy’s did and it’s all torn apart by the end for no satisfaction. It’s actually ironic that Ivy calls Harley out for listening to Two-Face (voiced by Andrew Daly) because she’s really the two-faced person by crying for Kite-Man after calling her out for having false feelings in one moment and then celebrating her new life with Harley in the next. It’s legitimately sad to see Ivy become just as phony as Harley does.

It’s even worse to see how they try to paint Kite-Man as this self-centered person who craves a boring life that’s meant to drag Ivy down. Frankly, Kite-Man is one of the best parts of this episode as it’s nice to see him go from being a total pushover to someone who stands up for themselves. It’s great that he’s actually mad at Harley and Ivy for what happens and brushes Ivy off at the end for being fake towards him. Even as the episode tries to paint him as a narcissistic schlep with his vows being about living a normal family life and having his dream wedding day be completely trashed, you feel sad for him because he’s the only one with genuine feelings. To put it in the words of the episode, Kite-Man deserves better and it’s a shame that the episode doesn’t even have the guts to let his emotional outburst hold any guilty weight over Ivy and Harley as they drive off.

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This episode is a painful reminder at how this series mishandles its use of great side characters. PHOTO: Tumgir

It’s also a shame to see this series continually waste side characters and relegate them to quick one-liners. Aside from Two-Face and Gordon, who are actually great in this finale as Two-Face’s smarmy charm gets the best of Gordon’s hilarious desperation for recognition, everyone else is incredibly bland here and the wedding feels like an excuse to put familiar faces on-screen. Frank (voiced by J.B. Smoove) just returns for some funny lines and to have sex with plants in the back of a truck and Clayface (also voiced by Tudyk) is relegated to delivering a song at the end. Even the whole plot thread of King Shark (voiced by Ron Funches) being forced to be married goes nowhere. Everyone else is just used as a background decoration and to give off the impression that everything that’s happened this season has been leading up to this.

Honestly, the first half of this season set nothing up for the second half to be completely consumed by this Harley and Ivy relationship that’s built up in the laziest way. Their relationship is mostly physical, as they just have random hook ups and Ivy, fairly, denies Harley because of how inconsistent she is at following through on things and being there for people. Then, suddenly, at the end Ivy just blinding forgives Harley for everything and they get the blandest ending possible of them just being together and driving off into the sunset. Essentially, Harley was just given the easiest win ever without having to think about her actions or have any consequences for her mistakes. She doesn’t learn anything and it’s one of the most unsatisfying and disappointing moments I’ve had as a fan.

The season two finale of Harley Quinn brings the series to an unfortunate low as the rushed writing of this second half of season creates an easy win for Harley that robs her of great character development. Not to mention, it completely wastes a lot of the great side characters, tanks the likeability and genuineness of its leads, and is an unsatisfying mess. It’s a sour note that no one wants to see and definitely brings the fate of a possible season three into question.

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