Why… Why… Why… Why do these television shows always follow major events with mundane filler episodes? While I was not a fan of “A Seat at the Table,” and considered it the worst episode of a series of amazing episodes, I was still eager to see where the story went next and, where did it go? Harley’s mom and dad’s house? Seriously? I’m not really counting this against the episode itself because it’s a long-established trope that major events be followed by quiet episodes — just look at how Star Trek: TNG followed up “The Best of Both Worlds…” Captain Picard went home and talked with his brother. That episode was amazing, though.
This one… less so, but still better than the predictable rubbish of last week.
I would have loved to have seen Harley at least attempt to confront the Joker for shoving her out of a helicopter and trying to kill her, especially since they’re working in the same office building essentially, but I guess they’re saving that for later.
Must have been an awkward day, just ignoring each other, I guess.
So, upset that her crew has quit and Ivy has ditched her following her induction into the Legion of Doom, Harley decides to reconnect with her roots and visit her mother, only her deadbeat dad, a true hunk of feces who talked her into taking a dive in a gymnastics competition years ago because he bet against her to pay the mob back, has moved back in and, to make matters worse, there are assassins prowling the neighborhood generally making a mess of things.
Okay, so even with a quieter episode with little forward progression of the plot, this episode had quite a few surprises. The unexpected deaths were darkly hilarious… the kind of hilarious that you actually feel bad about laughing at, to be honest… which can be the best kind of comedy. Watching Harley reconnect with her father whilst in the middle of a gymnastic routine while killing members of the mob was oddly touching as well.
What’s more, and probably the biggest surprise of the episode, was the end reveal that Harley’s parents were just biding their time to make their move, kill Harley themselves, and collect the bounty on their own. It’s honestly the first time that I have actually empathized with Harley as a character… the profound betrayal, the anger, the desperation following her gunshot wound; I felt every emotion she did and I found it a wonderful source of drama.
Now, given that drama is not something that Harley Quinn has done, like… at all, it could just be that it was the first and very sudden introduction of this element that caught me off guard, but it was effective nonetheless.
The B-plot of the episode finds the imprisoned Poison Ivy trying to escape by sending a message to Frank and, honestly, it was rather weak. Ivy’s cutting humor was dulled, Frank was more annoying than funny, and the gags went nowhere special. Given that I think that Ivy is one of the best things about this show, I was disappointed at how this storyline was handled.
Also, can we please talk about the show’s use of Jewish character as comedy fodder? It’s becoming somewhat of a disturbing trend and, although I certainly not someone who would call for political correctness in a series about a supervillain who kills people with baseball bats, it’s getting rather hard not to notice that everytime the series needs a loud, annoying, and overbearing character, they make him or her Jewish and then trot out every lame stereotype in the dusty vaults of ancient comedy.
While not perfect, it’s not “A Seat at the Table” and it does have that air of unpredictability and not giving a single solitary fig and those are the qualities of this series that I appreciate the most. “Bensonhurst” was a filler episode and it had problems, but for a filler episode, it did well enough.