There are going to be some major spoilers in this review, so if you haven’t seen the Harley Quinn episode, “Devil’s Snare,” you should probably just nope out right now.
All right, so… when we last left Harley, Ivy, and the crew, Scarecrow had just used Poison Ivy’s pheramones, taken against her will, to create an army of bloodthirsty tree monsters in Gotham City Park and the crew find themselves trapped in the middle of the melee.
From here, three major events happen. One of which was so predictable that I wrote about it last week: Namely the reveal that Joker was going to be the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Poison Ivy. Another event: The return of Queen of Fables. The other event… the “death” of Poison Ivy.
Let’s talk about Joker.
Honstly, I don’t mind that he’s the big bad because, in a show about Harley Quinn trying to get away from him once and for all and trying to end her dependence on the most toxic of toxic individuals, the big bad guy needed to be Joker. My issue is how it was handled.
A mystery with an obvious answer is no mystery and, of there’s anything that this otherwise wonderful series has done wrong, it’s the mystery. Granted, they’ve thrown a curve ball in there occasionally: Having the Scarecrow be in on the scheme and the Legion of Doom actually end up being a victim of and not an alley of the Joker’s plan were both great and unexpected, but we knew…. everyone knew that the Joker was the villain. One does not cast Alan Tudyk as the Joker and have him be little more than a bit part!
What should they have done? They should have just out and out shown that the Joker was the mastermind instead of keeping his identity the worst-kept secret since Ash Tyler was Voq. They should have relished in showing him manipulating Harley and Ivy and pushing them and her crew apart. We should have seen him at his most spiteful, most petty, and most vindictive.
Let’s face it, kids, the Joker’s sole motivation here is that he’s mad that Harley Quinn is getting along just fine without him and he wants to sabotage her life. In a show about breaking the cycle of codependency, showing that the Joker is also codependent in addition to his blaring narcisism is a brillant move and I honestly believe that the season will end with Harley realizing this as well.
She doesn’t need the Joker… the Joker needs her. He needs his audience. He needs the attention. We should have seen more of that instead of this “mystery” of who the bad guy was.
The Return of Queen of Fables was, on the other hand, unexpected and very welcome. She is an uproarious character, voiced with a sly and sinister boredom by Wanda Sykes. In “Devil’s Snare,” she is at her most deliciously evil and her various clapbacks are pure gold. I love this character so much and, if she is actually dead, I’ll eat my hat. If this show gets a second season which it totally should, I could see her severed head being a regular character.
Speaking of characters getting killed: Poison Ivy. Her death was shocking, sudden, and had a great emotional impact which is why I’m going to be very disappointed when they bring her back to life.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Poison Ivy in this show. Her character is great, her cynicism is a wonderful foil against Harley, and her character has undergone a terrific evolution from the misanthropic introvert to the person who values friends and even allows herself to have an intimate relationship.
The problem is, I don’t see her journey as over, I don’t see a show without her, and given her plant-based powers, she’s totally going to bounce back or re-bud or re-grow or something…. Come on, the symbolism of the opening blossoms were practically slapping us in the face.
I say that I am going to be disappointed because one of the things that I absolutely cannot stand is when a television series “kills” a character for the sake of tension that we know good gosh jolly well isn’t deal. The only way that this situation can work out is to have Poison Ivy be dead as a doorknob and leave her there. The only other alternative is to have a magical resurrection and rob her death of all of the emotional impact that it brought to the screen because, as of now… it was a great scene.
It’s always hard to make a definitive judgement on television episodes where the story is basically incomplete, so I will just end by saying that the episode, despite the potential problems, was a lot of fun. It had some fun payoffs, seeing Kite Man actually save the day was great, and I laughed plenty of times. Perhaps I’m just digging too deep into the themes of the episodes when the show is basically about a villainous female clown who hits people with bats and screams the f-word.