Spoiler: Spoilers for Season 2 ahead.
Season 2 of Harley Quinn has finally come to an end and I think it’s safe to say that this will be my favorite show season of 2020. At the very least it’s one of the few shows still airing on streaming/television that I actively look forward to its release every week.
What started off as a quirky DC “hey look they’re saying the F word” has easily spun off into its own thing. Harley Quinn is funny, quirky, violent, profane, and knows how to twist your heart at just the right pressure.
Season 2 of Harley Quinn is shocking in how many times the show played itself out very seriously. Season 1 had a few serious moments but the show overall was pretty goofy and self-referential. By contrast in season 2 there was a lot more depression, crying, and moments of hopelessness. There was still a lot of goofy fun, a growing collection of D-list DC Universe characters getting dredged up, and referential humor like Batman’s shark repellant.
The most incredible thing about Season 2 is that show writer Justin Halpern has managed to stuff the cast with a wide range of characters and yet still managed to do most of the characters justice in their own individual arcs.
Fans of the show were promised that Season 2 would expand on the relationship between Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) and they did not disappoint. Harley got the opportunity to show her leadership chops by planning and executing the takedown of the Injustice League. Ivy struggled with the impending choice of settling down with Kite Man (Matt Oberg) who definitely loved her or acknowledging her feelings for Harley who was more unstable and dangerous.
If Season 2 had a theme it was all about relationships. We saw a wide spectrum of characters falling in and out of love over the course of the thirteen episodes. King Shark (Ron Funches) found himself in an arranged, loveless marriage of convenience to prevent the deaths of thousands of his kind. Joker (Alan Tudyk) discovered that even he, a psychotic mass murderer, could find feelings for and try to make things work with a suburban mom and her two kids.
Dr. Freeze shattered Harley’s preconceived notions about relationships (born from her abusive past with Joker) by sacrificing himself in the name of love.
While not romantic in the slightest we saw the abusive relationship between Two Face (Andy Daly) and Bane (James Adomian) as the former watched fellow Injustice League members get picked off one by one only to find himself more and more reliant on Bane despite also having no respect for him. Bane meanwhile has become more focused on rehabilitating criminals.
Out of the supporting cast the best character arc this season has been Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale). The countdown to Psycho becoming estranged from the crew was set in motion around the time Ivy warned Harley about working with a real villain like the Queen of Fables (Wanda Sykes) because Harley had standards and that would inevitably become a problem. Psycho’s commitment to Harley was always one of convenience and destined to fall apart over conflicting goals. Oh and Psycho is a misogynist scumbag who hates working for women.
Psycho and Kite Man are incidentally diametric opposites of one another throughout season 2. Both are villains who are ostracized from the villain community for several reasons, who attempt to redeem themselves. Kite Man mostly succeeds because he has a moment of self awareness and improves on his ideals of what it means to be a cool guy. Psycho meanwhile fails miserably and loses everything because instead of attending his flaws he magnifies them.
Harley Quinn has carved itself a nice area of the DC Universe where it can kill off major characters and portray the everyday lives of DC’s villains. As with the end of season one, the creators have given themselves all sorts of leeway to decide where the next season will go. There will definitely be plot elements of Harley accepting her role as anti-hero, her relationship with Ivy, the potential fight against Darskeid and/or Psycho, and Gordon attempting to become mayor.
We’ll find out if/when Season 3 gets announced.