Summertime is almost over, but one of the most highly anticipated seasonal romps has just begun with the arrival of season three of HBO Max’s Harley Quinn series. The raunchy adventures of Harley Quinn and friends have resumed with three strong episodes to set up even more fun down the line.
[Warning: Spoilers from the first three episodes of Harley Quinn Season 3 are below!]
Around the world in the Harley Quinn season 3 premiere
Picking up two weeks from where we left off in Season 2, we see Harley (voiced excitedly by Kaley Cuoco) and Ivy (calmly voiced by Lake Bell) embarking on their “Eat Bang Kill Tour” of a honeymoon around the world in Wonder Woman’s Invisible Plane. After leaving Kite-Man (Matt Oberg) at the altar, Ivy formally enters a relationship with Harley.
They begin by going to the extremities of dining in Paris (with the restaurant patrons tied and gagged). Next comes a fly-by of England where Harley kidnaps the Queen. And ending the tour with a relaxing extended stay at the Fortress of Solitude packed with snacks and “adult” entertainer versions of themselves. Although they are away from Gotham they hilariously find ways to mess with Commissioner Gordon (Christopher Meloni) from afar, who with the help of Two-Face (Andy Daly) is trying to run for Mayor of Gotham.
From the beginning you can see the admiration and love that Harley has for Ivy, giving her gifts on daily anniversaries and taking her back to a project where Ivy tried to reclaim the Earth for nature by terraforming. Meanwhile, Gordon works on a plan to end their honeymoon early and return to Gotham, using Clayface and King Shark as bait. So while we do some brief global touring, we ultimately return to Gotham and the story resumes.
After a hilarious doppelganger trick of Harley/Ivy and the aforementioned “Adult” versions of themselves, Clayface and King Shark are now free and ready to resume life. Clayface intends to pursue a career outside of crime, by auditioning in front of the one and only….JAMES GUNN (voiced by the amazing director himself)! It’s a weird moment since he’s directing a Thomas Wayne movie, but one I can feel that Gunn was absolutely on board with and that should be a recurrence throughout the season.
Improvements from previous seasons of Harley Quinn
As far as the stars of the show, it feels like Ivy is going to get a better story arc, exhibited by a Harley Quinn AND Poison Ivy credits stamp at the end of episode one. It was nice to see Harley turning the table around and pursuing the interests of Ivy, and fun to see Ivy so wrapped up in perfecting the Edin (Eden with an I for Ivy) Serum to start terraforming Gotham!
At the same time, we get to experience Poison Ivy’s insecurities as she develops some social anxiety when the pair are nominated for “Best Couple” at the ‘Villy’s’. As always, the Joker is a dick who orchestrated the seating chart and sat Ivy and Kite-Man next to each other only making Ivy further uncomfortable.
Within the first three episodes, we get plenty of inside jokes, DC world references, and moments outside of “Harlivy”. I found myself really enjoying the bits from Nightwing (voiced by the brilliant What We Do In The Shadows alum, Harvey Guillen), the dry delivery of every line, and his over-ambition. Another great moment is the mouse family tragedy that resembles the Wayne’s, and then later on Batman talks about how beat to death that origin story is. I’m glad DC is poking fun at itself lately, and this show is just the one to do so.
Including Amanda Waller (Tisha Campbell) and having her “rescued” by Plastique was not expected at all, and I hope we get further moments like that. In Harley Quinn, it feels like a guarantee and I can’t wait to watch the following seven episodes as they release weekly on HBO Max.
Some of the plots that were set up in the first episodes are interesting, Catwoman’s indifferent relationship with Batman, Frank’s growing feet from Ivy’s serum, and The Mayor’s death. Knowing the personal vendetta that Gordon has against the two leading ladies may prove as destructive as the first samples of the Edin Serum. Where they go with Frank, I have no idea, but I hope to see a good follow-up to it as well as Clayface taking over as Billy Bob Thornton, and King Shark getting another Meyer lemon tree.
Final Thoughts about Harley Quinn Season 3 premiere
All in all, a great start to the third season, I have strong faith that they will stick the landing again and a fourth season is called for. The relationship between Harley and Ivy is more genuine than ever and the setups should make for a highly entertaining season. The only thing remaining is when and how they spin off Kite-Man’s Noonan’s as we finally met Golden Glider in “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards.”