“A High Bar” was less try-hard than the premiere while still giving the DC Universe an anarchic sitcom spirit in Harley’s second outing.
This recap of Harley Quinn Season 1, Episode 2, “A High Bar”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After Harley Quinn’s (Kaley Cuoco) emancipation in the season premiere, word is getting out among the villains that she dumped the Joker (Alan Tudyk). He’s struggling with this, so he appears on Good Morning Gotham with Howie Mandel to strap a bomb to him and announce that he was the one who dumped her. Harley, furious, hacks Joker’s calendar and plans to attend a party at the Gotham Mint where he and the Legion of Doom will be in attendance. She has a point to prove.
As it turns out in Harley Quinn Episode 2, though, the party is for kids; it’s the bar mitzvah of Joshua (Sean Giambrone), nephew of the Penguin (Wayne Knight). Harley’s glam-rock entrance — complete with a tiger — falls a bit flat as a result. But the Legion of Doom is indeed there, including a hilarious version of Bane (James Adomian). When Harley tries to sit at their table, though, she’s ousted by Joker, so decides to do something that none of them have managed to do before — Rob the Gotham Mint.
Meanwhile, Poison Ivy (Lake Bell), who attended with Harley, is being hassled by Kite Man (Matt Oberg) in a ludicrous B-plot in which Kite Man gives Ivy’s trademark pheromone concoction to some of the kids, not realizing it’ll eventually turn them into plants and kill them. More on this later.
Harley successfully robs the Mint in “A High Bar” — kind of, anyway. Right as she thinks she’s secured the loot, she discovers the whole thing is a setup for the bar mitzvah. The guards are actors, and the money is fake. She once again makes a fool of herself in front of Joker and his goons.
Speaking of people making a fool of themselves, Ivy travels with Kite Man back to her apartment in order to get the antidote that’ll save the kids, and at the first opportunity, he strips off and gets into bed, mistakenly believing she was using an excuse to get him home. The whole thing is awkward, to say the least, but rings true when it comes to the presumptions of men.
In the climax of Harley Quinn Episode 2, Joshua holds Harley at umbrella-point, but she’s able to talk him into crippling embarrassment, buying herself some time. Once Ivy arrives, it kicks off properly, but Harley is able to talk to the Legion of Doom into seeing her point of view. (Bane is especially keen on her side of things.) Of course, Harley learns the wrong lesson from all this, resolving to join the Legion of Doom herself in order to prove herself a real supervillain. Ivy has to humiliate herself by kissing all the young boys in order to cure them.
There wasn’t much to Harley Quinn Season 1, Episode 2, but that’s quite okay since it was a lot of fun to see the show mess with Batman’s rogues’ gallery in this weirdly off-kilter sitcom setting. “A High Bar” also didn’t seem to be trying as hard as the premiere, with less cursing and violence, even though both were still present to enough of an extent that this remains resolutely an adults-only show. But it’s an intriguing one and a refreshingly anarchic take on the DC Universe that I’m quite partial to, and I’m interested to see where it goes next.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.