“Lovers’ Quarrel”, the penultimate episode of Harley Quinn’s second season, proves to be one of its best ever, as Harley and the Justice League fight off Darkseid’s forces – including a brainwashed Poison Ivy.
This recap of Harley Quinn season 2, episode 12, “Lovers’ Quarrel”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The penultimate episode of Harley Quinn season 2 might be its best yet – a clever, exciting, and meaningful crossover of its story and character arcs with action aplenty and a solid setup for the season finale. The fact that the show’s queer relationship remains its focus even in an episode that includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Darkseid only proves what I’ve been saying for weeks now, which is that no show currently airing blends anarchic action with tender romance better than this one – or at all if we’re being honest.
You’ll recall that Ivy has been brainwashed by Dr. Psycho, and is very much on a rampage that can only be quelled by the Justice League, who’re keeping themselves busy in the meantime by fighting off the Parademon army of Darkseid. The stakes couldn’t be any bigger in “Lovers’ Quarrel”, and its firing on all cylinders when it comes to characterization, action, and animation. With Darkseid’s presence, Dr. Psycho becomes exactly what he always was: a faintly pathetic Z-list villain who is a thematically perfect antagonist for this show because his entire character thus far has been defined by calling Wonder Woman the c-word and being angry about women in general. In taking over Ivy’s mind, Harley Quinn season 2, episode 12 reduces him to all he really is, which is a petty man attempting to control women.
Of course, as this show has been arguing all throughout its existence, women won’t be controlled. The only thing that can free Ivy from her bondage is not the macho posturing of the Justice League or the devotion of her bumbling fiancé, but the love of another woman – in this case, Harley, obviously. It’s the culmination of an arc that has been slowly building since the first season seemed to back out of it completely. Harley and Ivy have had their friendship and their love for each other tested in countless ways already, by disagreements over how best to conquer New New Gotham, to romantic rivals in Catwoman and Kite Man and, in a sense, the Joker, and now by brainwashing. But in taking the scenic route on the road to these two being up-front about their feelings, the writers of Harley Quinn allowed for this stellar payoff to really resonate.
What happens next is kind of anyone’s guess. Darkseid hands control of Gotham to Harley, who refuses it, so the Fourth World threat seems to have dissipated. But there will inevitably be fallout from Dr. Psycho’s crusade, especially since it exposed Ivy and Harley’s bachelorette party affair for all to see. Will Kite Man heel-turn for the finale? Can Harley and Ivy get and stay together? I have no idea what the answer to any of these questions is, and I’m happy to say so. But what I’m sure of is that I’ll be tuning in to find out.
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