Harley Quinn’s “Dye Hard” is an outstanding course correction for the series

Fresh from having her heart broken by Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn decides to go out on the town and ends up in the middle of a Die Hard with the last person she wants to be in the same room with. Meanwhile, a friend becomes an enemy, past mistakes come back for a haunting, and someone is gonna die!

So, yeah… spoiler alerts are incoming, obviously.

I’ve been saying that Harley Quinn has been lagging the last few weeks, bogged down by the Harley/Ivy/Kite Man love triangle, but with “Dye Hard,” not only is that rather tepid story pushed to the wayside, but previous storylines are expertly returned into the equation in ways that make perfect sense and make the upcoming episodes something to really look forward to.

The Joker, as we have learned, has amnesia and has been spending his time as a bartender with a family and, not only that, he’s actually a pretty decent guy — if a little whitebread. However, as we have seen, the Joker is hiding just below the surface, scratching at the ice and looking for a way out. Partnering Harley with Bartender Joker was a great move and really allowed Harley to explore the effects that her PTSD has had on her. Not only that, but Alan Tudyk’s vocal performance in this episode is absolutely brillant, switching back and forth between sane Joker and insane Joker so effortlessly… it honestly makes his part in the episode intoxicating to watch. It never ceases to be amazing. You honestly get the feeling that the man could explode at any minute.

In addition to that brilliant performance, Doctor Psycho has returned to the show and, as I expected, he’s the bad guy… but I could not have expected how effective it was. Psycho as a villain is a pretty good villain and, the twist that he and Riddler were working together the entire time was both an inspired twist and actually made sense given how much time they spent together. What’s more, I really like how they’ve taken all of the abuse that Psycho took from the group and turned that into his motivation for turning on them. It took what would have been a rather abrupt revelation and made it logical.

I was very surprised by how much emotional impact they gave to Cy’s death. I wasn’t expecting anyone on this show to die, let alone die and make it so emotional. It honestly makes me wish that this relationship had been better developed than it was.

Finally, the final scene… Harley taking the bartender Joker and trying to unlock the secret of where the Justice League went from his fractured memory and coming to the conclusion that she has to push him into a vat of toxic chemicals to re-create the Joker. It was a crushing scene… Harley not only having to get a grip on the idea that she’s being forced to bring her abuser back from the dead, but also having to apologize to bartender Joker for what she is about to do to him. It was an outstanding cliffhanger.

It was a great episode… it feels like the best episode this show has done in a very long time. I want to see more. I’m excited again. I want to know where this is going which is something I haven’t said about this show in a while.

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