It’s the pits for Harley Quinn in, “There’s No Place to Go But Down”

Harley and Ivy are put on trial by Two-Face for the murder of Penquin and are sentenced to life in The Pit, literally the hole in the ground that Bane crawled out of with, of course, Bane as the super-chipper prison warden.

I have to confess, when this episode started, I thought that I had missed an episode or that DC Universe accidentally released an episode out of order. It wasn’t until I went back to the previous episode that I realized I’d completely forgotten that Ivy and Harley had been taken by Two-Face’s men outside the bar.

Probably not the best way to set up the next episode when it could have easily been placed at the beginning of this one or, at the very least, recapped. I honestly felt like I missed part of the show when it opened up in court.

But that is my most minor quibble. On the whole, “There’s Nowhere to Go but Down” is actually the best episode, character wise, that we’ve gotten in a while.

The second season of Harley Quinn has been a little frustrating as Harley’s personal development, something that pretty much defined her character last season, has been frustratingly paused as though the writers decided that she’s done. Sure, she still has her goals, but even that has taken a backseat to trivialities.

This episode feels like the first time in a long time that we’ve seen growth. Harley being selfless without a precipitating guilt trip, Ivy openly and proudly accepting the relationships she’s cultivated and, most satisfyingly, we’ve got Jim Gordon.

Jim has been portrayed as nothing but a joke in this series. An unhinged, codependent, pathetic alcoholic. Granted, it was funny for what it was… a comedic take on an established comic book character, but this episode showed him… growing! Acknowledging a problem, surmounting it, and becoming something better. I also liked the fact that Barbara came clean and revealed that she was Batgirl. To me, it felt natural and needed for the story.

Finally, there was that moment.

We all knew it was coming.

I’ve complained about the Kite Man romance because it’s doomed to fail, but I do like how the show has presented Harley and Ivy’s budding romance not as a result of the Kite Man story, but a complication to it. It’s taken something we knew was coming and made it interesting.

Bane… I’m not upset. No body, no death. It’s an unbreakable cartoon rule.

While the episode does have great character growth, the pacing is pretty close to a mess as we get as much crammed into 30 minutes as possible. Many of the cuts, especially during George Lopez’ departure from the pit, are very haphazard and just strange. The editing just isn’t that great and almost breaks some of the progression.

Still, given the characterization we’ve seen and the complications presented, not to mention that the episode was, as always, hilarious, I’d still recommend giving this episode a watch.

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