When it comes to the DC Universe, one thing is certain: Harley Quinn, whether brilliantly portrayed by Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey or voiced by Kaley Cuoco in Harley Quinn, has evolved and become more prevalent than ever. The infamous anti-heroine appears to be thriving in another great chapter of the show centered on her exploits. Season 3 of Harley Quinn, created by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey, is even raunchier, packed with relationship matters, guts exploding, and hilarious cameos.
After Harls and Ivy (Lake Bell) admit their feelings to one another and finalize their “Eat. Bang! Kill.” tour, Gotham City calls them right back. The third installment allows the characters to mature and settle into their new romantic relationship, progressing from best friends to lovers. The pair, hilariously dubbed “Harlivy,” aims to be the best versions of themselves, alongside King Shark (Ron Funches), Clayface (Alan Tudyk), and Frank the Plant (JB Smoove). As the group reunites, they are also ready to work with Ivy to turn Gotham into an Eden paradise. Or “Iden,” if you will, in honor of the creator. Meanwhile, the infamous city prepares for a new mayor, commencing a race with some unexpected candidates.
The season’s first episode is already off the chains, full of absurd moments, and exactly what you’d expect from its central character. Harley Quinn continues the raunchy jokes and name-calling; the show is certainly not for the faint of heart. At the same time, the season feels different than the previous ones, as sexual innuendos fly back and forth or the opposite — there is no subtlety. In some ways, the series becomes more mature and seasoned. Cuoco’s Harls and Bell’s Ivy navigate their relationship while battling personal demons. Each anti-heroine flourishes in season 3, in love and individually. There is a narrative about the difficult meanders of the beginning of a relationship or how one must occasionally compromise when with someone. The character of Poison Ivy, furthermore, keeps on her ever-important lesson on the significance of nature in our lives. These moments are expertly combined with amusing situations, providing a necessary balance of both.
If one doesn’t mind the occasional blood splatter or a flying, decapitated head, the latest installment feels domestic, almost cozy — even though it sounds like a contradiction. Among scenes or moments that may make one nauseous, there are also plenty of tender moments between the central pair and supporting characters. This is Harley Quinn in a nutshell. In addition to Harlivy’s newly found comfort zone, Halpern, Schumacker, and Lorey include unexpected, comical cameos; expect filmmakers, actors, and even Queens.
One of the show’s most successful aspects is that each episode contains elements that keep us entertained throughout. Whether it’s Batman and another of his “man-downs,” Harley being jealous of Catwoman (Sanaa Lathan), the gang searching for missing Frank, or the pair watching an adult film–of themselves–each insignificant, most silly factor contributes to Harley Quinn being one of the best contemporary adult-animated comedy series. The show’s writers deserve all the praise for never being dull and consistently delivering first-rate entertainment and character development.
When we take a trip down memory lane, we can easily deduce that Harley Quinn was largely known as an “extension” of the Joker, frequently objectified and not treated as an individual. This animated series tosses out the old, shabby concept and shows Harls as she truly is: crazy, quirky, loud, vulgar, empowering, and full of love. The anti-heroine is an exemplary lead, taking the audience on a journey to showcase her relationship with Ivy, go inside Batman’s mind, or travel to New Orleans, among other places.
If you’re up for the challenge, I recommend taking a trip out of hell with Harley and Ivy this summer. Remember, you can’t flirt with Ivy unless you want to get a mad-dog stare from Harls, but everything else is fine, including mayhem.
Harley Quinn Season 3 is premiering on July 28 on HBO Max, with episodes airing weekly.