The latest episode of the intrepid DC Universe animated series Harley Quinn gifted fans with an inverted adaptation of the classic Mad Love story.
In this version of the story, Harley’s relationship with Poison Ivy begins on her very first day at Arkham, the same day that she met Joker. The seeds of Harley’s romance with Joker and someday Ivy were sown that fateful day, and this episode reaps the fruit of that tantalizing setup.
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Ivy and Harley Quinn have had a strong, deep bond since the series premiere, but their relationship has stayed strictly platonic until now. Their feelings for each other have been simmering and slowly heating up for the series run, and it’s finally boiled over. As a fan of the HarlIvy romance, their kiss in the final shot of this episode made me incredibly happy. As a fan of Kite Man, it broke my heart.
Now, the realization of their feelings comes at the very end of “There’s No Place To Go But Down,” and in a more standard episode, I would cover the events of the episode in approximately chronological order. Episode seven is unique because the story is much more resonant when you can see the whole picture. When you know the destination, the journey is that much sweeter.
The Secondary Story Finally Gets Batgirl Right
The story alternates between Harley and Ivy’s “trial” and subsequent imprisonment in The Pit (a special prison which Bane oversees as warden) and the continued adventures of Batgirl and her drunkard partner, Commissioner Gordon. Batgirl really came into her own this week, evolving from a sad, uninspired cliche of a technology addicted millennial into a legitimate protector of Gotham. On top of that, she reveals herself as a touchingly caring daughter, helping her father to overcome his alcoholism in the most Harley Quinn way possible – with gratuitous violence and a wickedly hilarious montage.
Regardless, as unexpectedly moving and engaging as the Gordon families side story was, it was eclipsed by Harley and Ivy’s groundbreaking story. Back at their trial, Harley tells Ivy to blame all of their crimes on her, saying
“Ive, blame it all on me. You’ve had my back no matter what stupid messes I’ve gotten myself into. For once, let me be the one who does something for you”.
This strikes a chord with Ivy, reminding her of Harley’s undying devotion to her. She decides to spit in the face of the court, boldly admitting that she murdered the Injustice League with Ivy and then vowing to finish the job. She loves Harley for offering to take the fall for her, and it’s thanks to that very same love that she can’t let Harley go through this ordeal alone.
Bane, who makes for a riveting judge, sentences them to life in The Pit. After landing in Bane’s impossibly (and hilariously) progressive and healthy prison, the two immediately begin scheming an escape plan. After they discover that George Lopez is flying down to perform a short routine in The Pit’s talent show, Harley’s plan manifests. She plans to follow up Lopez with a stand-up performance of her own, one so upsetting that it incites a riot. When the riot occurs, the guards would abandon Lopez’ chopper, creating the perfect window of opportunity for our beloved supervillains.
Harley Quinn’s Escape Plan In Action
Unfortunately, Harley failed to make her bed, forcing Bane to remove her from the talent show. Ivy steps up to take Harley’s place, but her set fails to bring the seemingly reformed villains to action…at first. Lopez’ chopper leaves, leading Ivy to flip her routine on it’s head.
She speaks from the heart, delivering a touching eulogy to her life outside of The Pit. Her bittersweet acceptance of reality (that reality being an inescapable life in prison with Bane of all people) is so tragically poignant that it brings the rest of the prisoners to discard their acquiescent attitude, bringing on the riot they wanted all along.
Harley and Ivy are reunited, and they join the rest of the prisoners in their prison break attempt. The ensuing chaos causes some shifting in the lithosphere and revealing a plant to Poison Ivy, the first one seen since they entered The Pit. Ivy calls it to her, and she grabs onto it with Harley’s arms around her waist. Their freedom is just within reach, but their ascent is halted by Bane. Bane grabs onto Harley’s leg, and Harley makes the same sort of selfless decision that the episode opened with; She lets go so that Ivy can escape.
Obviously, Poison Ivy is incredibly powerful and so she uses her abilities to hop back in and rescue Harley Quinn without skipping a beat. This leads to their long-awaited kiss. Their embrace is passionate, intense, and extremely confusing to them, as evident by the look on their faces as the credits roll.
This kiss is what the series has been building to since day one. It’s sure to throw a wrench into not only Kite Man and Ivy’s engagement, but the show’s entire dynamic. How do Ivy and Harley move forward? Does Ivy actually love Kite Man? As much as the fans (myself included) want to see the HarlIvy romance blossom, there’s no guarantee it sticks. Only time will tell what the future holds for DC’s best dynamic duo – but one thing is certain, it’s never been brighter.
What did you think of “There’s No Place To Go But Down”? Does Ivy belong with Harley or Kite Man? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.