Harley and Joker arguing.
Credit: DC Universe

‘Harley Quinn’ Season 2 Episode 11 Review and Recap: “A Fight Worth Fighting For”

This week on Harley Quinn: Harley and Joker look for the storybook, Poison Ivy tries to get her wedding on a roll, and Doctor Psycho wants to take over the world.

S2E9 Review (Spoiler-Free)

Did Harley Quinn’s plan to bring back the Joker work?

Survey says  . . . Yes!

The Clown Prince of Crime is back, and Harley must enlist his help to find the Queen of Fable’s story book..

Meanwhile, Doctor Psycho and the Riddler seek to take over Gotham, and then the world, with their newly acquired Parademon army, while Poison Ivy seeks to sit this one out and focus on her marriage to Kite Man.

Will Joker help Harley find the book? Does he even know where the book is? What will Dr. Psycho do next? How is Ivy coping with life post-bachelorette party?

These questions and more are answered!

Harley beating up a Parademon
Credit: DC Universe

Takeaway

This is building up to an epic season finale.

With two episodes left to hit lucky number 13, Harley Quinn keeps on building and building. At this point, the table is set, and now each team must pick their next moves wisely. I know I sound like a broken record, but this show really delivers on story elements introduced into the series. Even episode 8 “Inner (Para) Demons,” an episode I stated I was not a big fan of, has shown to play a bigger part than I imagined.

After constantly trying to make her mark as the baddest villain in Gotham, Harley finds herself looking to fix her past mistakes, and it requires her to do some good.

At this moment, I can say that this episode features some of the most visually-pleasing action from the series so far. When it comes to colors and framing, the episodes gives us a nice range of different color pallets and continues to have fun with painting the picture. The voice acting is consistently stellar, and, at this point, I cannot imagine Harley without hearing Kaley Cuoco’s voice (sorry Margot, it’s not your fault). Having Joker back is a treat, and the episode in total is such a joy. 

Harley Quinn is on fire, and nothing’s putting it out!

 

SPOILERS are present for the rest of the article. Proceed with caution!

Frank the Plant and a stoner sit in a basement
Credit: DC Universe

S2E9 Recap (Spoilers)

The episode starts in a familiar setting: the stoner’s basement from episode 5 “Batman’s Back Man.” This time, instead of a misogynistic nerd and his stoner friend, the stoner is accompanied by Frank the Plant (JB Smoove)! 

While the stoner puffs away, Frank nerds out about this season of Harley Quinn and all the stuff that happened, causing him to recap the events of the previous episodes (also he mentions that his character has good feedback with audiences so the producers want more of him). Frank takes his hit, passes the joint back to the stoner, and gets us his recap:

  • Harley and her crew are betrayed by Doctor Psycho
  • Psycho was working with Riddler all along and used a helmet to control all the Parademons with his mind
  • This is to win favor with Darkseid 
    • Frank doesn’t know how to pronounce the name
      • Is it “Dark●Seed” or “Dark●Side?”
    • Anyway
  • The only way Harley can stop Psycho is with the help of the Justice League
  • The storytelling is intricately woven together (he’s right)
  • The only person who knows where the book is 
    • Joker
      • Amnesia has left him “whiter now than when he was the color of paint primer”
        • Damn.
    • Harley decides to put him into acid to bring back the old Joker and find the book
  • George Double R Martin Emmy award-winning”

End Recap (phew).

In Ace Chemical, Harley looks to see if her plan was successful. Finally, after a long wait, the acid begins to bubble, eventually produces a hand that comes out, waiting to be grabbed. Harley pulls Joker out of the acid.

It worked.

Joker smiling and laughing, covered in acid.
Credit: DC Universe

 

The Man Who Laughs is back and then receives some slaps back-to-back-to-black. Harley lets out her anger and frustration on him before asking him where the book is.

Meanwhile, at Harley’s old hideout, Dr. Psycho, wearing the mind helmet, and Riddler are overlooking a map of Gotham with chess-piece sized figurines of Parademons. Psycho starts his plans to take over Gotham, using his telepathic and telekinetic abilities, simultaneously order the Parademons to attack the city and moving the figures on the map of Gotham. 

The Parademons swarm different parts of Gotham, like Riddler University and the Iceberg Lounge, decapitating and slaughtering civilians. Two Parademons fly into power lines and get electrocuted, shutting down power to parts of Gotham. 

Dr. Psycho in a helmet next to Riddler.
Credit: DC Universe

Riddler starts to ask a riddle but gives up (because Psycho reading his mind has made the Riddler rusty) and asks what the next step is, which Psycho responds with an order to call Darkseid. Riddler is busy flexing but, when he realizes the order, says he has no way of doing this because he doesn’t have an intergalactic data plan. This prompts Psycho to ask for his phone. Psycho’s contacts list is shown to reveal the following contacts in order: Deadshot, Deathstroke, Dee Dee, Doctor Aesop, Doctor Death, Doctor Hurt, Doctor Trap, and Doctor Rabinowitz. Riddler asks what Doctor Rabinowitz’ superpower is; Psycho says it’s skin care because he is a dermatologist that treats Psycho’s adult acne. Psycho finally finds Darkseid (listed under The Darkseid) and calls him. 

Back at Ace Chemical, Joker questions Quinn’s slapping, saying he should kill her for that. She ignores this and asks again about the book. He doesn’t remember what happened until it all floods back to him. 

A montage of Joker’s memories shows the following: 

  • Him being pulled out of the rubble of Joker Tower by a woman. This is the first time Bethany is seen. 
  • Him waking up in a hospital (covered in bandages and as the sane version of himself) with the woman by his side, He smiles at her 
  • The two of them sharing a shake and then a kiss at a diner that looks like the Nighthawks painting. She shows a picture of her kids, and he smiles. 
  • Him meeting the kids for the first time, where he surprises them with a puppy. Though Bethany doesn’t approve at first, the kids love it so she’s on board. 
  • Him driving a car with Bethany besides him. Going in reverse, he backs into another car by accident. The driver comes out, and it’s a tall intimidating man with tattoos that is going to beat up the Joker. Joker is scared, and Bethany scares the man away with a brown glass bottle
  • Then finally, him reading stories out of a storybook to the whole family.    

Joker is shocked at what he became (a suburban dad). Harley keeps pressing for the book, but Joker refuses to help. He blames her for being that version of himself for six months, dressed in khaki shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and a cell phone clip for his belt. Foreseeing his rejection, Harley reveals she put a bomb in Joker’s head and holds up a detonator. Joker claims that’s something he would do so Harley presses it to start a series of beeps that act as a timer. Joker agrees to help when the beats speed up. Looks like they are going to Bethany’s house. 

Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Batman is talking to Alfred about his difficulty finding the Batplane. Alfred mutters that he can use context clues, but Batman is busy scanning video frames from the city’s surveillance system for a clue. He finally catches a glimpse and follows that video channel to look at more frames. 

Batman on the Batcomputer.
Credit: DC Universe

The frames he sees are the Batplane: 

  • Flying above some buildings
  • Blowing off the toupee of a man talking to a woman on a rooftop.
  • Flying past a dog pissing on a construction worker that is coming up from a manhole.
  • Flying past a small child in a bow tie picking his nose.
  • Flying through an alleyway where three people are drinking with a sign that reads “Alcohol Research Fund” and a dog humping one of their legs (I wanna say yellow lab?).
  • Flying over a street where a kid managed to get a rope attached to it so he can ride his skateboard while being pulled.

 

Batman finally sees video footage of the Batplane flying past Ace Chemical with two people in the window. He asks the computer to enhance, but Alfred informs him the computer has a new operating system where you have to say “Hey Batcomputer” first. Batman complies and the computer shows Joker and Harley Quinn, leading Bats to assume they are teaming up again and behind the chaos in Gotham. He says it’s time for Batman to Return. Alfred says no, which upsets Batman; he’s ready. Alfred reveals that Batman is ready, but the suit hasn’t been disinfected in a while. Batman agrees to wait for the suit to be cleaned, then Batman Begins . . . again.

The next day, a Parademon is eating a dismembered arm before trying to hide his prize from another Parademon. This is all happening over the planned site of Poison Ivy and Kite Man’s wedding, with the couple being led by the wedding planner. Ivy says it all looks great and wants to rush to the dress fitting; she’s clearly impatient and wants to get the wedding over with. Kite Man says to at least let Debbie (the wedding planner) show them around. He asks her what the rush is, and she does a terrible job denying it. Debbie reveals a fondue fountain, which Kite Man admits he loves to fondue by saying “Fondue I ever.” 

All of the sudden, two Parademons crash through the tent and destroy the fountain. Kite Man is upset (“Fondamn it!”), but Debbie says they can fix it. He asks Ivy if she’s sure she wants to postpone the wedding while Parademons are causing mayhem; he’s not even sure he can kite down the aisle in these conditions. Ivy says absolutely not because she wants to move forward and leave some things behind because they might catch up with the couple if they don’t do it soon, which they can’t have. Also, she wants to marry him and love him and stuff, which she says painfully unconvincingly. That’s enough for Kite Man though, who is touched and moved by it. Ivy doesn’t care about Psycho’s plans because the wedding is happening. Debbie continues on but then is taken by a Parademon. Ivy’s phone rings; it’s Debbie, who’s immensely dedicated. She continues to tell them, while being carried by a Parademon, that they will have a photo booth with silly signs like “YOLO.” Kite Man is concerned, but Ivy says they are in great hands.

Debbie the wedding planner being carried by a Parademon.
Credit: DC Universe

In suburbia, Joker and Harley stand in front of Bethany’s house. Joker loathes that he spent six months being a suburban stepdad, before turning off the sprinklers because it was too much for the yard. Harley, with her bat and Joker by her side, knocks on the front door. 

Bethany opens the door slightly and pulls out a gun, telling them to back up. Harley says it’s not what it looks like, to which Bethany says Joker and Harley Quinn are at her door to rob her. Two out of three ain’t bad. Joker says they don’t want to rob her; they just want a big fairytale book that belongs to Quinn. Bethany wants more info so Joker recaps the last six months by adding the fairytale book he used to read out of to her kids is an actual fairytale book. Oh, and that he was actually the Joker and now is back to being him.

Bethany doesn’t buy that she dated the Joker for half a year, claiming it ridiculous. Joker retorts it’s just as ridiculous as pointing the gun at him, which she thinks her children, Sophia and Benicio, don’t know about and she’s never loaded or shot. He takes the gun and says “I am pudding” in Spanish. She recognizes it’s her love, opens the door fully, and then slaps him before going off on him in Spanish. Harley is enjoying watching Joker get scolded at, which, when he notices, causes Joker to interrupt her and threaten to kill her. Harley tells him he can’t kill anyone because of the detonator. 

Bethany talks to Joker and Harley.
Credit: DC Universe

Bethany questions if anything they had was real: the trip to the mountains, the long walks after the kids slept, the Sopranos rewatch? Joker is unsure because he remembers enjoying them but says that he is who is his and that he can’t date a suburban mom. Bethany starts to cry and goes to get the book. Harley says that was harsh, and he says that he’s the Joker! Bethany comes back, talking about how she thought they had something. If he’s too much of a coward to try, then he can have the book back, which she throws in the air. Naturally, a Parademon catches it and flies away. She curses them off and closes the door, leaving them to figure out their next step.

Back at the mall, Riddler is sitting down next to Psycho, trying to figure out what the phone call is about. Psycho shushes him and says he’s still on hold. Finally, they get through. “Who interrupts Darkseid’s quest for the Anti-life equation?” It’s Dr. Psycho. Darkseid remembers him as the dwarf that called Wonder Woman the c-word (something he would never do), which Psycho retorts that it was two years ago and that dwarf is also a slur.  Anyway, Psycho tells Darkseid that he’s taken over Gotham City and controls the Parademons, and he wants the same deal Harley Quinn had: if Gotham is conquered, Darkseid will help take over the world. Darkseid thinks of an excuse to leave, but Psycho stops him with an anecdote.

When Psycho was younger, he wanted to ride a ferris wheel at the county fair but was too short. His mom told him that he would grow when he got older, he tried over and over again over the years but never grew. He tried everything, hanging upside down to stretch himself and growth hormones. One day, while watching the ferris wheel from afar, the ride broke and everyone on it died (I think Pyscho did it with his mind powers). Psycho saw this and started laughing, enjoying the destruction. He says that is why he hates women. Darkseid doesn’t see the connection and wants to end the call.

Riddler steps in to give Dr. Psycho some information: insomniacs on Wikipedia would find that 87% of Apokolipian business transactions are fueled by revenge. Psycho laughs, having read Riddler’s mind and knowing the idea already (Riddler thinks that’s creepy). Psycho offers Darkseid that, if he can deliver the end of the woman that betrayed the deal to Darkseid, Darkseid would help Psycho. Darkseid agrees on these terms and conditions. Psycho hangs up and rejoices in the prospect of the world bowing to him. He tells a Parademon, who’s just been there the whole time apparently, to bring him Harley Quinn. The Parademon goes off to carry out  the order. Riddler turns to watch the Parademon fly, which causes Psycho to comment on how big Riddler’s calves are. Riddler flexes.

Outside of Palmiotti’s Bridal Shop, Parademons are causing chaos and spilling acid everywhere. Inside, Kite Man is sitting on a couch, with a drink in one hand and wedding dresses in the other. Ivy comes out in a cream-colored revealing dress, matching shoes, and a different hair style. She asks Kite Man what he thinks, and he responds saying he shouldn’t be there. If his mom knew he was breaking the tradition of not seeing his wife’s wedding dress before the wedding, she would be passive-aggressive to him, and he would cry. He asks where Harley is, saying this is her duty as Maid of Honor. Ivy says Harley is busy and she has no friends. He asks if they got into a fight because Ivy has been weird since the bachelorette party. 

Ivy answers, unconvincingly, by saying they are fine and are just busy doing stuff. Plus, Harley isn’t good with this stuff, but Kite Man is, which he agrees with. He asks if she is set on cream as a color, to which Ivy responds that she just thought it was white. Before the convo can progress, two Parademons burst through the glass window. 

Poison Ivy, in a wedding dress, fighting with two vines.
Credit: DC Universe

Ivy brings up two vines to fight, and the Parademons ask her, in their screaming language, where Harley Quinn is. The two don’t understand the Parademons so Kite Man does the cringe-worthy “talk louder and do hand gestures while telling them he can’t understand them” thing. Ivy calls him out on that. As she readies to fight, she notices that a piece of glass from the store front window got in the dress. Ivy is furious that she is stuck with a backless dress she wasn’t big on (Kite Man agrees). She kills the Parademons and flips out. She was able to avoid the Parademons when they were messing up the city, but now she is stuck with a the $13,000 Vera Wang dress. Kite Man is low-key panicking and asks if they are keeping with tradition of the bride’s family paying for everything. Ivy doesn’t hear this because she is focused on killing Psycho. She tells Kite Man to hold her hair and throws what ended up being a wig (that looks like her hair, just a different style) at him before leaving. 

In what appears to be Downtown Gotham, Joker and Harley stand looking at a gigantic Parademon hive hanging between a few buildings. They enter the hive, pretty much unnoticed, looking for the book. Joker hates being in this predicament and doesn’t think they will find the book. He tells her she should just blow his head up; she says it’s his fault because he was mean to his ex, who decided to throw the book. Joker says she threw the book because she’s loca (also a tattoo she had on her lower back next to Tweety Bird). 

Joker admits he and Bethany had some good times. Harley doesn’t want to hear it, but Joker carries on saying it was his most fulfilling relationship. Harley takes offense that Joker is getting sentimental, which he never did when they dated. He says she fell in love with him when he was famous and looked like the Joker. Bethany fell for him when he had nothing going for him, which is causing Joker to seem sad. He wonders out loud if he gave up something good with Bethany because seeing Harley give up on her and Ivy has him thinking of his love life. Harley freaks out, telling him she opened up, Ivy rejected her, and now they are both over it. Joker states that she is yelling about it so it must be true (sarcasm).

They finally come across the book, which is on the ground next to two Parademons cuddling in their sleep. Joker is reminded of how he used to spoon Bethany like that. Joker goes on how him and Bethany would sit on the couch and talk about nothing, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. This trigger’s Harley’s memories of her and Ivy doing similar things and being happy. Joker realizes he is describing true love so Harley tells him he can’t give up on it. One of the Parademons ends up burping acid on the other one, dissolving their face. They grab the book and run.

As they make their way off, they are cut off by a Parademon that recognizes Harley as “the one the master wants.” Harley suggests maybe it’s like Jurassic Park where no movement makes them blind to the Parademons like the kids to the T-Rex. The Parademon screams out orders, summoning many more; Joker doubts Quinn’s hypothesis. Quinn and Joker, in wingtip shoes, run away, until they are fully surrounded. Joker sees a crowbar and the ground and picks it up.  

The two of them with their weapons fight off and kill many Parademons (the animation of this fight scene is beautiful to watch). As they get tired, more Parademons come and surround them yet again. They seem to have accepted that they will die. 

Joker beating up a Parademon.
Credit: DC Universe

Suddenly, a wall in the hive explodes up. The Batplane has arrived, shooting a net at Quinn and Joker and taking them away 

Batman theorizes that Joker and Quinn are a couple again and working with Psycho. Harley says he’s 0-2, and Joker claims that being out of commission has hurt his detective skills. Harley does a quick recap to update Batman, and Joker realizes the book they have with them instead the Queen of Fable’s storybook. It’s just a storybook. Oh well, time to go back to Bethany’s. Harley tells Batman to contact Zatanna and tell her to meet them there with her wand. Batman asks who Bethany is. Joker says she’s his girlfriend/ex. Batman is confused. 

Back at the lair, a Parademon is explaining to Psycho what just happened with Harley and Joker, which is revealed by Psycho repeating the information. While he tries to figure out what to do, now that Batman is back, Ivy breaks throw the wall. She tells him she wasn’t going to fight him, but he messed with her wedding. The Ultimatum: ground the Parademons until the wedding is over or — Psycho sees a new opportunity and mind-controls Ivy.     

The Batplane lands in suburbia, and Batman is finally caught up on everything. He is shocked Joker was dating a nurse practitioner (technically she was still in nursing school) adnt that Harley professed her love to Ivy. Batman leaves the plane to go the house, but Joker says he must be the one to do it. 

While Bats and Quinn wait on the end of the lawn, Joker knocks on Bethany’s door. She opens the door and isn’t pleased to see him, but he apologizes and says he wants to be with her again because he loves her. Batman is surprised Joker has gone through these changes. Joker tells Bethany he doesn’t want to lose her and ruin something that could be special (which he uses to take a jab at Harley). Bethany takes Joker back, and they get the book. 

In Bethany’s living room, Zatanna puts the book down and, surrounded by Bats, Harley, Joker, Beth, and her kid, does a spell that successfully releases the Justice League (Superman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, and John Stewart Green Lantern) from their prison. The four heroes are glad to be back and away from that hell, where they heard the same song over and over again. Flash says something was too hard or too soft but was never right.

Left to right: Harley, Joker,Bethany, Batman, Zatanna, the Flash, John Stewart Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman.
Credit: DC Universe

Batman brings them up to speed, and the Flash gets a head start (granted he trips and falls because he’s been in a book for six months). All the Leaguers leave, with Joker, Harley, and Bethany behind. Bethany offers to make them coffee, and Harley asks if Joker will embrace suburbia completely, taking the stepkids out for ice cream. Joker laughs, first saying Benicio is lactose-intolerant and, second, says he will continue being a serial killer clown but will love her and her family while doing it. Joker pushes Harley to talk to Ivy, but Harley says it’s too late. Joker asks if she’s prepared to live with that, and Harley says she’s prepared for anything. 

Harley opens the door and there, waiting for her, is Ivy. 

Harley is so happy and wants to tell her something, but Ivy is brain-washed and says she will kill Harvey.

After the credits, the story returns to the basement. Frank goes crazy about how well the show balances comedy and drama. The stoner leaves for a second. Frank keeps gushing, and, on the screen, the website url EGOTforharley.com flashes up. Frank asks the stoner (his name is Chaz) for more popcorn. Once he gets it, he tries the popcorn and spits it up because there is too much butter and he’s watching his cholestrol.

What will happen between Harley and Ivy, both fight wise and love wise? Will the Justice League stop Doctor Psycho? Will Bethany be okay with loving an active serial killer?

 

Watch this Harley Quinn episode and stay tuned for next week’s episode on DC Universe.

About Bassam Kaado

Bassam Kaado is a NJ writer that dabbles in screenplays, comic books, poetry, and articles covering various aspect of entertainment. In addition, he is an actor, rapper, and director. You can following Bassam @bkaado on Twitter and Instagram.

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