Acting as a judge, Two Face (ANDY DALY) sentences Harley and Ivy to life in Bane’s prison: a giant pit in the ground. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon (CHRIS MELONI) and Batgirl vow to take back the GCPD headquarters from Two Face.
It would be easy to spend my review this week reflecting on a game changing moment for Harley Quinn. A moment that swathes of you have been waiting for and asking us when it would happen.
Yes this episode features the first kiss between Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell). But this is still only another step in the long journey to relationship goals for the two characters.
But before we get to the emotional pay off there is a lot more to talk about “There’s No Place To Go But Down.”
This episode also finally feels like serious pay off for fans of Bane (James Adomian). For a season-and-a-half Adomian has been winning fans with his hilarious impression of Tom Hardy’s Bane voice from The Dark Knight Rises. This version of the character, despite being physically imposing, is so insecure it almost verges on comedically bipolar.
But something which Harley Quinn has failed to do thus far is spend time with Bane and understand more about his corner of Gotham. Finally this week we’re heading to his hole in the ground thanks to a farcical courtroom scene.
It feels organic to the plot line of season 2 to have the other criminals try to bring Harley to justice for the deaths of Penguin and Mr. Freeze but this being Harley Quinn it was never going to be straightforward.
Let’s just say that legal representation by Man-Bat is not recommended but hats off to the writers for making this scene emotionally resonant between Harley and Ivy, yet hilarious from the point-of-view of anyone else in the room.
Therein lies the reason for Harley Quinn’s continuing success. Yes, we’ve spoken at length about the character development but this episode is the pinnacle of the shows excellent storytelling. The balance between drama, comedy and comic book action is unparalleled in the animated world.
Of course Bane’s prison is a pit of hilarity. Adomian’s house proud Bane seems excited to have new prisoners joining and delights in giving them a tour and explaining his house rules. I see nothing wrong with wanting all the beds in your prison made. Also, who doesn’t love a talent show?
But comedy aside the prison is an analogy for where both Harley and Ivy find themselves emotionally in this episode, the bottom. It seems that for both there is nowhere to go but down as they spiral towards separate realisations.
For Ivy, this episode marks a huge emotional turning point. She’s forced to confront her own portrayal in the series, her cold stoic nature is suddenly challenged and only when this happens is she able to accept her own troubled nature.
The development for Ivy follows on nicely from the reveal of her troubled childhood in the previous episode and puts the character on a trajectory of self discovery for the remainder of the season. Given the kiss at the episode climax there is plenty more self-discovery for her to be doing.
Harley’s journey is more of a realisation at how her actions have impacted her best friend and how that makes her confront her own feelings. Though we’ve seen Harley struggle with the ideal of losing her best friend to marrying Kite Man, we haven’t seen her struggle with romantic feelings for Ivy.
However, as she tries to protect Ivy in court and then throw herself to what appears to be certain death also for Ivy it also challenges Harley’s perception of what she knows to be true.
The episode cleverly circles both characters towards each other in their individual emotional arcs with the two converging nicely in the closing moments when… yes, they kiss.
The moment will play to a huge cross-section of the Harley Quinn audience. It’s something they have been championing from the moment the series was announced. But fans need to look beyond the mere act of kissing to understand what the series is doing.
The kiss itself is momentary and will certainly not lead to an instant coupling between the leads. Instead this is the next stage in the development of their relationship as the show really strives to portray a realistic exploration of the fine balance between friendship and romance, how those feelings develop and how they individually impact those involved.
It’s going to be a wild ride from here on out #HarlIvy fans!
“There’s No Place To Go But Down” is the moment that plenty of fans have been waiting for. But more than that it’s payoff to the emotional investment in these characters and a moment in pop culture history.
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.