Harley Quinn Season 4 Review
When you’re the Clown Princess of chaos, there’s no such thing as a normal and stable life. At the end of last season of Harley Quinn, Harley went through a major shift in her life. Her girlfriend stepped up her villain game and ended up getting tapped to lead a new-and-improved Legion of Doom by Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Harley broke good and got invited to join the Bat Family. At the time, I fully thought that this would lead to a major rift before the dust settles. It seems I was only partially right, because at the end of the day, Harley Quinn isn’t a hero or a villain. She’s freaking Harley Quinn, and she does what she wants!
Fall of the Batfamily
With Batman in prison for creating a plant zombie apocalypse, Harley steps up to take his place in the Bat Family. However, besides Batgirl, none of them trust her. Less so when Harley’s first outing leads to her killing a villain!
Things go downhill from there. Nightwing’s edgy nature leads to him getting killed by, spoiler alert, a sleepwalking Harley. Damien’s taken back by his evil business mom, Talia. Alfred goes to jail to be with Bruce (and fails). And Batgirl goes from being a chipper crime fighter to her famous, wheelchair phase before the season’s out. The Bat Family falls apart on Harley’s watch.
Despite everything, though, Harley ends the season with a greater grasp on who she is. She’s not a hero or a villain; she’s a chaotic neutral anti-hero. She does whatever she wants or thinks is right no matter if it’s good or bad. She’s like her ex, the Joker, but without the pure malice in him!
Arleen Sorkin would be proud of her.
Ivy Bombs at Being a She-E-O
The other big plot point of the season is Ivy trying to make her mark as the CEO of the Legion of Doom. At first, it looked like Lex put her in charge because of how she let loose with her plant powers. However, it soon becomes apparent that he intended for her to be a puppet with little to no power. Worse, none of her new employees refuse to respect her, while her “assistants” want to make her a shallow vanity project.
At first, Ivy tries to play by the rules and use her new power to perform “socially conscious evil.” I.E., replacing every male tree in Gotham with female ones to prevent pollen, creating a space laser to help the Ozone, etc. But the more successful she gets, the more she realizes that one cares about what she’s trying to do. Not even her fellow evil female CEO’s like Talia, who only cares more about her profits.
All of this puts a good amount of tension on Harley and Ivy’s relationship, and it takes going to the future and finding out they wrecked it to realize how bad things have gotten. So, by the end of the season, what does Ivy do? She takes a page from Harley’s book and burns everything down. Legion of Doom? Gone. Wayne Enterprises? Done. Lexcorp is likely gone, as well.
So, by the end of the season, the show’s reverted to as close to the status quo of season three as possible. Batman’s out of jail, but the Bat Family’s broken up. Harley, Ivy, Catwoman, and Batgirl form the Gotham City Sirens. And Harley has embraced the fact that she’s a chaotic anti-hero. Those are all the positives.
Now for the negatives.
The Initial Supporting Cast out of Focus
By this point in time, much of the initial supporting cast from the first season has largely lost its importance. Clayface’s working as a successful actor while King Shark focuses more on being a King and father. Dr. Psycho gets it hardest, though, focusing more on his podcast at Arkham. It’s a little disappointing seeing the initial cast losing focus, but the process started in the prior season.
One side-plot that could’ve gotten more focus, though, was the one involving the Joker. Despite now being mayor of Gotham City and having a girlfriend and stepkids, Joker looked like he reformed. However, he’s still the Joker, and once he gets fed up with his semi-normal life, he tries to go back to villainy, with mixed results.
Considering his status as one of the greatest DC villains and his importance in Harley’s life, one would the show would put a little more focus on Joker’s return to crime. It feels like it’s a big deal. However, it’s relegated to a secondary plot until it becomes relevant. It’s a missed opportunity, if you ask me.
Regardless of whether or not this season hit the same highs as previous ones, this show’s still about Harley Quinn. Her character is immensely interesting, and the fact that she has her own show is a testament to how popular she is. Which only makes it harder to know that the woman who first inspired and voiced her is no longer with us.
In Memory of Arleen Sorkin, the OG Harley Quinn
During the airing of Season Four of Harley Quinn, Arleen Sorkin, famous for voicing Harley in Batman: The Animated Series and the DCAU, passed away. Her importance to Harley’s success cannot be understated. Series Producer Paul Dini, Arleen’s longtime friend, got the inspiration for Harley after seeing her play a jester on Days of our Lives. She was Harley, and Harley was her.
While other talented people would go on to play Harley Quinn, such as Tara Strong and, in the series proper, Kaley Cuoco, it was Arleen Sorkin who made Harley Quinn the icon she is today. She will be missed, but she got to see her character become a success that can live beyond her. It’s her legacy. Her crazy blonde, mallet-wielding, baseball bat-bashing legacy.