The Second Season of “Harley Quinn” Establishes and Celebrates the Anti-Heroine’s Sexuality

This review may contain spoilers to the second season of “Harley Quinn”. 

 By Zofia Wijaszka

She’s a badass with a vocabulary full of vulgarities. Her favorite colors are black and red, but also pink and blue. Some people call her crazy, but she only wants to be graciously considered the most dangerous villain of the New New Gotham. Is it too much to ask? What else does Harley Quinn have to do? 

The most notorious anti-heroine is back in the second season of the “Harley Quinn” series. Justin HalpernDean Lorey, and Patrick Schumacker bring even more carnage, more limbs flying around, and more blood splattering. But that’s not all. The viewers finally get such deserving character development of Harley that wasn’t seen in cartoons before (it was shown in the series of comic books titled “Harley Quinn: The Rebirth”). After a big success of the first season, the second season gets a little more serious while we see once remembered psychiatrist beating up a bunch of guys, getting to the underworld, and fixing Joker…. one more time. 

Here’s the thing about Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco). She tries so much to be a dangerous villain that she always ends up saving people. It’s a paradox of some kind that follows the heroine throughout the season. After she defeats Joker, the city gets destroyed, and Gotham City is officially separated from the United States. What naturally comes next is Harley attempting to become the main villain in this no man’s land. Harley, alongside her best gal pal, Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) as well as Clayface (Alan Tudyk), Doctor Psycho (Tony Hale), King Shark (Ron Funches), and Sy Borgman (Jason Alexander) join the forces and fight with the Injustice League, who takes over the city, generating mayhem. 

Harley-Quinn-Season-2-episode-2-1280x720
source: DC Universe

 Short, thirty-minute episodes – all thirteen of them- are packed with action, moral (or not) decisions, and essential personal choices that ultimately influence the life of Harley and her crew. One of them is Ivy agreeing to marry Kite Man (Matt Oberg). Harley puts her life on pause and decides to throw a fantastic bachelorette party for her best friend. It happens to be my favorite episode this season.

As we all know, Harley always has to go all the way. It certainly doesn’t change this time. She brings Ivy on Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s island. Catwoman (Sanaa Lathan), Jennifer, and Tabitha (both: Mary Holland) travel with them. But not everything goes as planned (does it ever for Harley?). Before they can fully relax and day drink, they have to save the land of Amazons. The main character also has to face the aftermath of a kiss with nobody else other than Ivy herself. 

The bond of Harley and Ivy, which is at the heart of the second season, is what makes the storyline so unique and special. Next to laughs that transpire after almost every scene, whether it’s another line from King Shark or peculiar habits of Clayface, the audience receives a bitter-sweet, mature version of Harley.

The bond of Harley and Ivy, which is at the heart of the second season, is what makes the storyline so unique and special. Next to laughs that transpire after almost every scene, whether it’s another line from King Shark or peculiar habits of Clayface, the audience receives a bitter-sweet, mature version of Harley. We meet the woman who wants to become a supervillain, yet her goals change when she falls in love and lets herself be vulnerable with the only person who ever understood her – Ivy.

Most of the series and its season finale aired on June – Pride Month. There couldn’t be a more perfect month to establish the bisexuality of Harley Quinn. Although the hardcore comic book fans know that she and Ivy got married in Injustice 2 #70, the information didn’t reach a more general audience. At the beginning of the year, however, Quinn’s sexuality was mentioned in Cathy Yan’s “Birds of Prey.” 

3ujr4nc1g1251
source: DC Universe 

The directors of the cartoon delve deeper into Harley’s feelings, more than ever before, and explore them. The character exploration and deep change is positively the best thing to happen. At the end of the second season, the character transforms. She’s still a badass with a mouth full of profanities. But now she has someone to protect and care for. I’m really looking forward to seeing how their relationship transpires in the future. 

When their bond flourishes, the other character goes to the dark side, and someone unexpectedly comes back. Catwoman, as mentioned, also pays a visit, and, together with Ivy and Harley, they create a great trio who works together in one of the episodes. During the trip on Themyscira, the group of friends even names themselves “The Cobb Squad,” which goes on and becomes a thing throughout the plotline. 

harley-quinn-season-2-episode-9-bachelorette
source: DC Universe

The casting that was done for “Harley Quinn” deserves a standing applause. As the main character, Cuoco breaks all the boundaries next to Bell, who’s voicing Poison Ivy. The dynamic between the two female characters charms the audience. Harley’s often exciting voice blends with Ivy’s dry tone, similar to the legendary Daria. However, there is one character that was dearly missed by me, and it’s Bane (although he appeared in the portion of this season). A famous villain, voiced by James Adomian, always makes me laugh with his shaky voice and his usual “I’m going to blow up this place” if something doesn’t go as he plans.

The casting that was done for “Harley Quinn” deserves a standing applause. As the main character, Cuoco breaks all the boundaries next to Bell, who’s voicing Poison Ivy.

The series keeps a bar high, and the second round is as good as the first season. It’s the perfect cartoon for adults with plenty of hilarious lines, multidimensional characters, and full of chaos that perfectly captures Harley’s style. While the creators go into more serious tones, exploring the main character, it doesn’t go too serious and instead aligns with more trivial storylines as well. Harley’s bisexuality and establishment of her relationship with Ivy is a huge step in a television show. I’m happy that Harley’s character got so much deserved attention this year.  

If you want to laugh while seeing strong, independent women kicking butts, this is the show. The media recently announced that the first two seasons are coming to HBO Max. 

4.5 stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: