HARLEY QUINN S01E07 “The Line” review

Harley Quinn (DC Universe)

Harley Quinn debuts new episodes on Fridays via the DC Universe streaming platform in North America. International air dates are yet to be confirmed.

Synopsis

Harley breaks the Queen of Fables out of prison to add some evil oomph to her crew – but is she a little TOO evil?

Review

This week Harley Quinn eels back on track for me after last week’s episode (reviewed here) pushed the boundaries a little too much. Although I will admit that on second watch last week’s episode was more enjoyable.

This week we’re back to picking up the overarching plot threads of the season. Harley (Kaley Cuoco) is back on trying to get in to the Legion of Doom, Ivy (Lake Bell) is confronting her feelings for… *whispers* Kite Man (Matt Oberg) and Queen of Fables (guest star Wanda Sykes) is set free from her Tax Code prison.

The series definitely functions at its best when the episodes is more focussed on Harley’s goal. The brash nature of the writing tends to overcompensate during mission-of-the-week episodes whereas the more serialised episodes feel, oddly, more relaxed and comfortable.

After seven episodes the cast feel incredibly comfortable in their roles. Cuoco is a compelling lead as Harley and I’ve got genuine admiration for her portrayal. She brings something likeable to the role which is important given than Harley Quinn is focussing on her career as a villain and not painting her as an anti-hero like we might see in Suicide Squad.

“The Line” does challenge Harley’s own moral code when she teams up with Queen of Fables. In another moment of strong empowerment for the character, she makes her own choices and stands by them throughout. The series is continuing to push her character forwards week-by-week and that is impressive in the context of such a batshit crazy series.

There’s also a lot going on for Poison Ivy this week as she faces up to her feelings for Kite Man. It’s a controversial plot point given that many fans will want Ivy and Harley to become a couple in their own right.

Whilst I can understand the frustration that some fans might feel the series is ignoring LGBTQ aspects of the characters personalities, to me it makes sense to the story.

Harley has only just broken free of Joker, this season is following her as she tries to learn just who she is and where she fits in to the world. Much of the episodes so far have focussed on her journey to independence and what that means to her.

Her friendship with Ivy has been an integral part of helping her to discover her identity. To pair the two characters up romantically so early on would have defined Harley by another relationship and not given her time within the narrative to really discover who she is.

It is absolutely a plot point the series will need to address down the line. But now is not the time.

The story this week feels incredibly cohesive. There are well defined points at the beginning, middle and the end which allow the story to flow organically. I find that when the story is better defined in this manner the more outlandish events, such as Fables ripping through a family picnic with the Big Bad Wolf, function better as part of the overall narrative.

As we move towards the back half of the season I would like to see the pacing of the story pick up a little more. Seeing Harley interacting with other villains has been excellent but as she gains notoriety the series needs to start pitting her against heroes from the DC Universe more to keep it feeling contextually relevant.

Verdict

“The Line” challenges Harley Quinn’s moral code as well as pitting her against some fairytale madness. It’s another fine example of how serialised storytelling can really enhance an adult comedy series.

7/10

Harley Quinn stars Kaley Cuoco as the voice of Harley, and she’ll be joined by Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Ron Funches, JB Smoove, Jason Alexander, Wanda Sykes, Giancarlo Esposito, Natalie Morales, Jim Rash, Diedrich Bader, Tony Hale and Chris Meloni.


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By Neil Vagg

Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & TV and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG