For a series that is committed to a level of excessive carnage, Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 9 still manages to surprise with a shocking moment of violence. But when an episode of the series is as non-stop dour as “Potato Based Cloning Incident”, there’s an expectation for things to career further off the rails. There’s a reason why, by episode end, Ivy mutters to herself that her latest victory hardly feels like a win. As we move into the final episode of the season with some of the biggest questions having been answered, Harley and Ivy are facing greater personal hurdles as their adversaries — Lex and the Joker — leverage their power and shared histories.
All of that being said, this is still an episode where Harley kisses the potato-based clone of herself, so how miserable can it really be? It’s that inherent silliness and rebellion against any sort of narrative rules that helps Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 9 become too depressing. It’s the bits of character lore, such as The Flash’s sense of humor that people don’t know how to read, or Lex’s commitment to ruining the atmosphere and hiding the sun for the sake of his petty resentment of Superman that give the episode levity.
Due to the missing sun, the episode is shrouded in an off-putting gray that affects more than Superman. Ivy’s powers are also dimmed, as she must resort to mingling and schmoozing in order to get Lex to fix what he’s done as the apocalypse continues to press on around them. It’s a solid reminder that this version of Ivy is a businesswoman, and her commitment to the bit results in a hilarious display of accidental strength while golfing, as she kills a man she’s trying to win over not once, but twice, in an effort to one-up Lex. Ivy’s characterization can be irksome at times, especially when she fails to listen to Harley, but her ability to get petty in order to win is a hilarious character development that brings greater layers to her perceived cool demeanor.
The sequences between her and Lex are also a lovely little reminder of the general disdain Harley Quinn shows for men in power. From Batman to Commissioner Gordon, to Lex Luther, the series is gleeful in depicting these often-called superheroes or supervillains as whiny, petulant, social climbers.
While Ivy’s her efforts pay off, as she watches Lex leave on his rocket ship to go to his planet to hide out while the sun peaks through the clouds, the world still in turmoil, she doesn’t feel victorious. It echoes Harley’s own mounting guilt and twist of emotions as she learns through her clone — who she hasn’t been hallucinating — that she is, after all, the one who killed Nightwing. The revelation isn’t surprising. As we’ve watched her suffer from bouts of violent sleepwalking throughout the season as well as being told that she’s likely repressing her villainous side for the sake of being “good,” there’s been little doubt that these actions would have consequences.
Perhaps the greatest indication that Harley hasn’t completely changed — though there’s been very little doubt — is her hesitance in telling Batgirl, lying and saying it was her clone who killed him. But while there seems like there’s about to be a moment of honesty, it’s ripped away from her by the Joker, once again arriving at a time to fully try and dismantle the life Harley’s built for herself. He shoots Batgirl and retreats into the shadows, a welcome reminder of his influence and impact on her life. It might be the most unsettling moment the show has ever had due to its randomness and the reminder that violence isn’t dictated by schedules or face-offs between heroes and villains. Instead, it’s that out-of-nowhere brutality that lands the greatest hits.
While we don’t know yet if Batgirl lives or dies due to the wound inflicted on her, Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 9 ends on a severe note of unease. To earn the moment, the show will need to justify its inclusion as more than just vapid shock value for the sake of moving along Harley’s characterization or jettisoning her into a fit of rage-fueled revenge. Season 4 has been an exercise in seeing just how far these characters can push against their own natural instincts and, with only one episode left, it will be interesting to see if they return to the status quo or utilize what they’ve learned, such as Harley’s excursions in heroics, and marry them with the skills they know best.
Harley Quinn Season 4 airs on Max with new episodes each Thursday.
Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 9
Harley Quinn Season 4 Episode 9 ends on a severe note of unease. Season 4 has been an exercise in seeing just how far these characters can push against their own natural instincts and, with only one episode left, it will be interesting to see if they return to the status quo or utilize what they’ve learned.