Things are starting to fall apart for Harley and Ivy in Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 5. Considering the unstable foundation the two have been on in their own solo adventures, this isn’t surprising, though it does spell greater fallout later down the line — especially for Ivy — as the two on their own show signs of strain in an episode that’s as hilarious and light on it’s feet as the show has ever been. Things might be taking a turn for the worse in their plans but that only offers great chances for comedy.
“Getting Ice Dick, Don’t Wait Up” more than any other recent episode of the DC series demonstrates its further evolution into a show that feels reminiscent of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman — the first few seasons at least. This is most notable in Ivy’s storyline as she continues to struggle with the success she’s had and the power she’s attained. She might not see the problems that are growing around her and the hostility she’s being met with, but we, as the viewers, are able to see how her notoriety is changing her for the worse. She’s a villain, yes, but she never used to succumb to some of the pettier, vapid notions of Legion of Doom posturing.
But we see how that kind of power can be distracting. Where once she aimed to implement plans, now, with the help of Lex Luthor’s former assistants, she’s going the PR and visibility route with makeovers and statues built in her likeness. Meanwhile, the three mentees she had taken on — Volcana, Terra, and Tefe — have been left behind. Their team, Natural Disasters, is based on the fact that each of the three can control a different aspect of nature, powers that are befitting Ivy’s goals. But again, she’s lost focus, and at her statue debut when they try to confront her about plans gone awry, she’s distracted and they can tell, though it remains to be seen exactly what went wrong and at whose expense.
The writing is whip-smart in these moments though and the way in which power contorts a person is how the series begins to resemble Bojack Horseman which very often turned a blistering pen towards indicting the worst aspects of fame. Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 5, written by Jen Chuck, captures that same wit through the superhero genre.
Meanwhile, Harley continues to face a greater emotional journey. Not to say things are getting heavy, no. This is the episode where she goes to readopt two hyenas to keep her company. But she’s such a delightful oddball, a character whose severe earnestness gets her into trouble, that when she’s let down we do feel for her. This is seen through the most basic premise after she goes to get her vision fixed and needs somebody to pick her up and no one answers their phone. She’s indignant but the character work has been so well-executed that again, even if it doesn’t weigh on her we see again the wear of her and Ivy having such separate lives.
The repression of her villainous side has also clearly been affecting her, manifesting in her sleepwalking which we saw hinted at at the end of Episode 4. After finally being picked up by Babs’s roommate, Alysia, the two end up driving to the mountain where Babs has been, answering both Harley and Dick’s concerns as to her whereabouts. During the drive, Alysia mentions that while she’d been in the process of transitioning, she used to have nightmares that were caused by her repressed emotions over her experiences, and suggests that, in a way, Harley is experiencing something similar.
Babs is found, having gone to her mother’s aid after her father, Jim Gordon, had left her on the mountain in order to hastily accept a role as a security guard for the Legion of Doom, a far cry from his origin. His reappearance is a good reminder of just how strong this voice cast is. Not only does it offer Kaley Cuoco to give her best performance to date (not a slight, she’s also great in The Flight Attendant) but it also gives space to actors such as Christopher Meloni and Harvey Guillén to demonstrate their considerable skills as voice actors. Guillén in particular, as Dick sounds nothing like he does as Guillermo in What We Do in the Shadows.
Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 5 ends on a major cliffhanger that could have real consequences for whoever was involved in a character’s possible death. As the series continues to deliver top-notch episodes that skewer the power and influence that come with fame — even through the act of villainy — Harley Quinn only grows increasingly assured in its writing. In an episode that’s in constant motion, it keeps that throughline of criticism alive and acidic.
Harley Quinn Season 4 airs on Max with new episodes each Thursday.
Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 5 — “Getting Ice Dick, Don’t Wait Up”
Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 5 ends on a major cliffhanger that could have real consequences for whoever was involved in a character’s possible death. As the series continues to deliver top-notch episodes that skewer the power and influence that come with fame — even through the act of villainy — Harley Quinn only grows increasingly assured in its writing.