Harley Quinn fell in love with Poison Ivy after Joker passed off her childhood traumas as his own
The story of how Harley falls in love with Ivy is hidden in the story of the Joker - literally
Spoilers for 'Harley Quinn' Season 1, Episode 6 - 'All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues'
The road to the romance between Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) has been a long one, filled with more subtext than committed development. The teases, hints, and promises are all there, but you really have to be looking for it. This week's episode continues along that vein, as the story of how Harley falls in love with Ivy is hidden in the story of the Joker (Alan Tudky) - literally.
While the focus of this episode is ostensibly the story of how Harley and the Joker first met, equal time is given to Harley and Ivy's first meeting. The pilot episode alluded to how the pair became close - Dr. Harleen Quinzel was the one who helped Poison Ivy be less of a misanthrope, able to actually spend time around people without wanting to strangle them with a vine. In this episode, we see the beginning of that relationship. Harley recognized Ivy's brilliance, and had compassion for her right from the start. She even hands Ivy a flower - an act of trust that mirrors the trust she showed the Joker.
It appears that, right from the start, Harley was at home with the villains of Gotham City, unafraid to chance any dangers they might throw at her. While we see the immediate chemistry she has with the Joker, it's the dangerous, ultimately harmful kind. There is a real love that blossoms between Harley and Poison Ivy right from the getgo. The two are there for each other, forming an immediate bond that lasts well into the present day. The episode is nothing but proof that the Joker was a terrible distraction in the fated romance of Harley and Ivy.
The cincher is the Joker's story. In a moment of rare vulnerability, the Joker opens up about a traumatic event from his childhood. That story is what truly changes the way Harley looks at the Joker, and is likely the inciting incident to her falling for him. It's a story told so compellingly, with such openness and pain, that Harley immediately sees past the Joker's villianous facade - or at least, she thinks she does. It turns out that the story wasn't the Joker's to tell - he'd stolen it from Poison Ivy. Recreating every detail, and in his manipulativeness, likely performing it just the way Ivy did for maximum effect, Harley Quinn wasn't falling for the Joker as he told that story. Through his stolen story, she was falling for Poison Ivy.
All through this season, the show has been dropping little hints that Harley and Ivy should have been picking up on - clues that will let them realize just how much they truly love each other. With this episode, the show's dropped its most beautiful, albeit twisted, romantic tale yet - but it seems like it's going to be a little while longer before Harley gets the hint.
The next episode of 'Harley Quinn' airs May 15, on DC Universe.