Harley throws Ivy a bachelorette party on Themyscira, but their relationship gets more complicated than ever in one of the show’s best episodes.
This recap of Harley Quinn season 2, episode 9, “Bachelorette”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Not enough people talk about this second season of Harley Quinn, which is quietly hiding away on the DC Universe and producing some of the best comic writing anywhere on television right now. And I don’t just mean that it’s funny, although it obviously is – I mean it’s deft, clever, and often heart-wrenching, tying together anarchic superhero shenanigans, gleeful uber-violence, and a bittersweet lesbian love story all at the same time.
Harley Quinn season 2, episode 9, aptly-titled “Bachelorette”, takes a broad comic setup – Harley throws a bachelorette party for Poison Ivy ahead of her marriage to Kite Man – but uses it to explore, primarily, the complicated feelings between these heroines. Of course, these feelings have always been at the show’s heart, but they’re more complicated now than ever after a shared kiss two episodes ago sent Ivy into a tailspin and Harley into a rigorous self-examination. In many ways the bridal shower, which is taking place on Themyscira, is a way for Harley to put her love of Ivy above her love of self; it’s a longstanding theme that this second season has been exploring since it began.
In attendance at Ivy’s bachelorette party are Catwoman and Nora Fries, both returning from prior episodes, helping to round out a cast of strong female characters that the show has been consistently assembling. The men are all side-lined for a much less showy bachelor party for Kite Man that quickly devolves into an excuse for a King Shark subplot – further proof that Kite Man is really just a device in this story, an obstacle for both Harley and Ivy to surmount on their way to one another.
As it happens, though, getting to one another isn’t the problem – it’s getting too close every time they have a drink and a good time. At least twice in Harley Quinn season 2, episode 9, Harley and Ivy sleep together, which only complicates matters for Ivy, who loves her best friend but knows that on some level she represents a much riskier relationship proposition that she wants at this stage in her life. That idea of stability and mundanity is what attracted Ivy to Kite Man in the first place and what has kept her out of various villainous endeavors through the season – at least until she’s needed, since she is, after all, a supervillain. There’s the dilemma. Can she abandon a life of exciting multidimensional adventures to settle for safe domesticity with the bland Kite Man? Does she really want to?
“Bachelorette” suggests that Ivy wants to settle down, even if it’s only as a preventative measure. She’s terrified of losing her friendship with Harley and having her heart broken in the process, but the sex – which we’re continually told is amazing, by the way – suggests she’s terrified of settling down at the same time. Even when Harley comes outright and confesses her love for Ivy, it’s not enough to convince her that a relationship might be bad for both of them.
This is quite complicated stuff, as such things go, and it’s atypical for a superhero story, much less an animated DC one. Yet here we are, hence what I was saying at the top of this recap about the sophisticated plate-spinning of the show’s writing. It isn’t getting enough credit for its depiction of queer relationships, or relationships in general, or its ability to breathe new life into longstanding characters and their dynamics, or its sharp wit and playful knowledge of DC’s mythology. Harley Quinn season 2, episode 9 takes all this seriously and then some, making for one of the best episodes the show has ever produced.
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