'Harley Quinn' Season 2 Episode 8 Review: Harley goes Apokoliptic to avoid dealing with her feelings
Spoilers for 'Harley Quinn' Season 2 Episode 8 'Inner (Para) Demons'
Season 1 of 'Harley Quinn' introduced a brand new raison d'etre for Harley Quinn (Kayley Cuoco) — to make it as a successful career supervillain in her own right. It's a mission that she's been following through in Season 2, as she takes out the Injustice League one by one. Last episode's kiss, however, has forced Harley to confront an uncomfortable question: Is becoming the world's greatest supervillain what Harley really wants?
The kiss between Harley and Poison Ivy has changed their friendship in a big way. It's obvious that Harley has feelings for Ivy that she's never been consciously aware of, before. If Ivy feels the same, she has much more experience tamping feelings down, as the two chalk the kiss up to an impulsive act spurred on by adrenaline. Rather than deal with her feelings, Harley dives right back into her supervillain career. With the Injustice League now out of the picture, there's nowhere to go but up!
The show has established that there are certain lines that Harley is unwilling to cross, but those lines are something Harley appears to be ignoring in her desperation for a distraction. Since it's Harley Quinn, when she wants to be distracted, she goes big, and it's not long before she's got an army of parademons at her beck and call, courtesy of Darkseide (Michael Ironside). It takes Harley nearly burning Gotham to the ground before she realizes that that's not what she wants at all. What she wants is to be with Poison Ivy, and Ivy's impending wedding to Kite Man (Matt Oberg) means that Harley can't have that.
As Darkseid so rightfully points out, "There are some holes that not even an army of parademons can help fill."
Darkseid is a difficult villain to get right in the best of times, and Michael Ironside manages to do justice to the DC Universe's most intimidating villain. At the same time, he's just extra enough to present the most hilarious Darkseid portrayal since Weird Al voiced him on 'Teen Titans Go!' Doctor Psycho (Tony Hale) also gets more of a spotlight in this episode, as the devil on Harley's shoulder with a literal hard-on for world domination.
For all its jokes, it's definitely one of the season's darker episodes, with a deep dive into to the kind of villainy that 'Harley Quinn' has always stopped just shy of. Harley Quinn makes for a terrifying A-list supervillain. The comedically gory nature of the series' violence crosses the line into horror, with a Harley surrounded by flames and letting loose a maniacal laugh that the Joker (Alan Tudyk) himself would be proud of.
Once again, it's up to Ivy to ground Harley. Ivy remains the most grounded character on the show, with her entire story this episode being a supervillain version of the bride defending her man from a set of terrible in-laws. The show has not thrown the Kite Man-Ivy relationship to the curb in favor of Harley, and that's ultimately what makes Harley's plight so tragic: she can see how happy Kite Man makes Ivy. Harley and Ivy have made repeated sacrifices for each other through the series, and for Harley, not standing in the way of Ivy's marriage is just another sacrifice she believes she has to make.
Buried beneath this episode's violence, humor and shockingly dark turns, there's a deep pain felt by Harley. It's brilliantly portrayed by the sheer lengths she will go to to avoid feeling that pain, and when she finally admits to it, it's heart-wrenching. Last episode's kiss might not have immediately led to the relationship that the fans have been waiting for, but it's a real turning point for Harley Quinn. With Harley's surrender, New New Gotham may return to normal, at last, and for the first time in a long while, Harley's path forward is uncertain.
The next episode of 'Harley Quinn' airs May 29 at 9 AM ET, on DC Universe.