“Inner (Para) Demons” finds a faintly touching humanity in a bloody cosmic quest as Harley grapples with her feelings for Ivy.
This recap of Harley Quinn season 2, episode 8, “Inner (Para) Demons”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After it took one and a half seasons to happen, the most pressing concern after Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) shared their first kiss is to pretend it never happened. It was a mistake; just one of those things. No feelings here, nope, none whatsoever, and what better way to prove that than with a typically wacky diversion involving Parademons, Motherboxes, Apokolips, Boom Tubes, and Darkseid (Michael Ironside). Harley doesn’t do things by halves.
Of course, this is a personal matter for Harley, since she’s grappling with how she feels about Ivy and needs something to take her mind off it, but it’s narratively justified in “Inner (Para) Demons” as an effort to recruit an army to battle Jim Gordon (Christopher Meloni), who is after a Presidential bounty that has been put on her head. It works as set up about as well as it needs to, especially since it also brings Batgirl (Briana Cuoco) into the fold.
The Fourth World stuff is a bit more cosmic than Harley Quinn typically gets, but it works by taking these interplanetary fixtures like Apokolips, Darkseid and Granny Goodness (Jessica Walter), and giving them the same anarchic treatment as everything else in this show gets. The now-trademark uber-violence works well when Harley has to battle for control of the Parademons, and it’s useful in getting across Darkseid’s maniacal despot vibe since it’s sometimes difficult to establish villains as threats in a family-friendly way. No such problems here.
This is all interlaced with a b-plot in Harley Quinn season 2, episode 8 that sees Ivy meet Kite Man’s (Matt Oberg) parents and realize they’re awful; and to make matters worse she, too, has been awful to the ostensible love of her life in cheating on him and not telling him about it. She’s forced to wrestle with that guilt and also an earnest appreciation for her partner that leaves Harley out in the cold, especially once she realizes that all the outlandish and potentially city-destroying things she wants are really just replacements since she knows she can’t have Ivy.
That’s… weirdly heavy for a knockabout superhero animation, and “Inner (Para) Demons” handles it admirably well, notably in a way that promotes Harley’s humanity. Only rarely to superhero stories in general skirt this close to genuine humanity. This might be an odd place to find it, but it’s here nonetheless.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.