“Batman’s Back Man” sidelines Harley and Ivy for an episode focusing on the Caped Crusader’s return to crime-fighting, and the new recruit who might have to take his place.
This recap of Harley Quinn season 2, episode 5, “Batman’s Back Man”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In a cold open absolutely guaranteed to annoy its sensitive targets, “Batman’s Back Man” takes aim directly at the cult-like communities that have amassed around releasing the elusive Snyder Cut and tearing down Rian Johnson’s version of Star Wars – two dorky dudebros sat on the couch getting angry about the virtue-signaling female empowerment hogwash of Harley Quinn.
It’s a good, provocative joke, but it also has some utility in introducing a slightly atypical episode, since Harley Quinn Season 2, Episode 5 doesn’t feature the show’s two main characters, Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell), at all. Instead, its focus is on Batman (Diedrich Bader), who has returned from a leave of absence and wants to get back to fighting crime post-haste – providing, of course, that he can get fit enough to do so.
In typically sneaky Harley Quinn fashion, though, this is really just a ruse to get some official Bat-family endorsement for Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon (Briana Cuoco), who was introduced in a previous episode and features strongly in “Batman’s Back Man” as the logical extension of Batman’s (caped) crusade. Since Batman has always been defined by his sidekicks and associates this feels true to his legacy, and since Batgirl falls neatly into the strong female hero archetypes this show has been peddling since the beginning – as well as teeing up a Gotham City Sirens team-up – what seems like a surprising episode is really one that embodies the show’s core values more than most.
The villains pushed to the forefront in Harley Quinn Season 2, Episode 5 are proper Batman staples, too – Bane (James Adomian) and Two-Face (Andrew Daly), who make for a hilarious partnership as they form a lopsided anti-Batman business. Despite a great new Batsuit courtesy of Lucius Fox (Phil LaMarr), this villainous tag-team is too much for Bruce, who – perhaps predictably, given the title – has his back broken by Bane. That, though, is a good excuse for Batgirl and a new alter-ego developed by Alfred (Tom Hollander) during Bruce’s coma to step in and save the day – Harley Quinn provides another victory for the outsiders, and another fun spin on established Batman lore and characters.
Batman’s back, man. But it’s Batgirl who’s here to stay.
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