A reborn Joker undergoes some welcome personality changes as Harley works with him to save Gotham from a Fourth World army.
This recap of Harley Quinn season 2, episode 11, “A Fight Worth Fighting For”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It was always a smart decision to sideline the Joker in a Harley Quinn story, especially one that was in large part about her forging an identity without him. And it’s testament to this show’s excellent writing that folding the Clown Prince of Crime back into the story not only feels like the right decision but an exciting possibility in its own right. Having lived a new – albeit temporary – life with a regular woman and her kids, the Joker is different now, even after his plunge into the acid. And with a bomb in his brain that Harley holds the detonator to, their traditional power dynamic is reversed. Joker not only has to save the day, but he might even want to.
“A Fight Worth Fighting For” brings together a whole bunch of different subplots, some of which have been burbling in the background since the first season; there’s a world-ending threat in the form of Fourth World Parademons controlled by Dr. Psycho, who’s trying to curry favor with Darkseid, who is still annoyed with Harley over breaching the terms of their own agreement. Harley and Joker, meanwhile, are trying to find the Book of Fables so that they can free the Justice League from their imprisonment.
That search takes Joker back to Bethany, the woman he was in a relationship with during the time he spent as an amnesiac, and in by far the best “twist” of Harley Quinn season 2, episode 11, he comes to realize that he genuinely loves this woman and wants to be with her. He’s still going to be the Joker, obviously – as he puts it, plenty of husbands are also serial killers. But he plans to have a domestic life at the same time, full of Sopranos rewatches and cuddles on the sofa. It’s this, of all things, that helps Harley to realize how much she needs Ivy, whatever the potential cost of their relationship might be – “A Fight Worth Fighting For” finds the Joker giving Harley Quinn genuinely good, healthy relationship advice, which is not a sentence I ever thought I’d write.
The question of whether Ivy will be receptive, though, is a different matter since she’s committed to marrying Kite Man even in the midst of a Parademon attack because she clearly sees it as the only way she can move away from Harley. But the interruption of that wedding – and the damaging of her Vera Wang dress – compel her to join the fight, which inadvertently renders her susceptible to Dr. Psycho’s brainwashing. Pretty soon, far from wanting to be with Harley, Ivy wants to kill her.
With this cliffhanger, a surprising turn from Joker – as well as the repositioning of him as a genuinely funny comic figure – and some funny B-plot business involving Batman, not to mention all the comedy and action that the show always does well, Harley Quinn season 2, episode 11 continues this run of fine episodes with yet another standout installment. As we race towards the end of the season with the stakes higher than ever and even more characters – including several DC icons – in-play, the future looks bright for Harley and her underrated show.
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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.