Later this week, Harley Quinn makes a long-awaited return after some worry that the hit series could be cancelled like several other DC shows on Max and CW. Happily, Harley Quinn season 4 is about to release on Max, with Kaley Cuoco voicing Harley along with her girlfriend/partner-in-crime Poison Ivy voiced Lake Bell. Let’s take a look at these new episodes and see how they stack up with previous seasons.
[Warning: Spoilers from Harley Quinn season 4 are below!]
A new dynamic for Harley and Ivy
The fourth season premiere, directed by Vinton Heuck and written by Tom Hyndman, opens with a very romantic scene between Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Ivy (Lake Bell). Now that Harley is working with the Bat-family as a hero and Ivy is the leader of the Legion of Doom, their relationship is complicated. They still love each other very much, but the “conflict of interest” they have is really a big burden for both of them.
From this point on, we witness their emotional journey as they both grapple with their identities, morality and the blurring lines between heroism and villainy. The screenwriters expertly explore the complexity of Harley’s character, allowing us to see her weaknesses while never losing her trademark wit and charm.
One of the standout aspects of this season is the exploration of Harley’s relationships with the people around her. Her evolving dynamic with Poison Ivy takes center stage, and we see their romantic relationship grow as they deal with the challenges of balancing love and supervillainy. Their bond is interestingly portrayed and adds depth and heart to the overall narrative.
But I must admit that when I watched these nine episodes, I was starting to get bored with it. Harley wants something to look like this, and Ivy wants it to be different. Or their goals are different, and that’s why the whole story of this season needs to focus on this one thing. I know that all the funny and unconventional things happening around are supposed to compensate for this, but for me it was not needed and not properly executed.
The Harley Quinn season 4 supporting cast
One of the most interesting aspects of Harley Quinn is the supporting cast. They continue to shine, with standout performances from Clayface (Alan Tudyk), King Shark (Ron Funches), Nightwing (Harvey Guillén), Batgirl (Briana Cuoco), Robin (Jacob Tremblay), Alfred (Tom Hollander) and even Lex Luthor (Giancarlo Esposito). Each character has their moments to shine, and their comedic timing remains spot on. The series does not shy away from pushing the boundaries of these characters, giving them both entertaining and iconic stories that contribute to their development.
Of course, in terms of their importance in the storyline… well, let’s just say that at least 70-80% of them are there just because. Even if I enjoyed the scenes with King Shark or the Bat Family, they became part of the background to Harley and Ivy’s story, rather than an equal part as in previous seasons.
Of course, with the new season also comes new characters, such as Talia al Ghul and even Steppenwolf. But unfortunately, none play a significant role in the season’s story.
All in all, discovering new stories and new perspectives is great fun. Instead of making Harley and Ivy fully evil or spoiled characters, as in the comic books, the screenwriters are trying to do something new and interesting with them. And it works, at least in the first episodes, because the farther it goes, the less interesting it gets.
The potential to be something more
Harley Quinn is an unconventional series that purports to be a parody of all the DC projects that ever were, are, and probably will be. Sometimes, however, the comedic potential of the series is wasted on not very funny or repeated jokes. For me, the amount of funny stuff in season 4 is not a lot. There was a Bane (James Adomian) story arc in one of the episodes that was really funny and original, as well as one enjoyable scene with Lex Luthor during the villains’ convention.
But beyond that, I feel like I’ve seen it before, and either they’re forced or I’m just not their main target. Either way, the potential to explore more interesting and darker things, as in the Valentine’s Day special, was not planned for this season. And that’s a shame, because learning more about the other heroes/evil-doers, and learning their secrets, was the most fun part.
Harley Quinn must get more unorthodox in future seasons
The whole reason the first 3 seasons of Harley Quinn and the special episode worked is because they surprised viewers at every turn. This season I have a feeling that we’ve already seen at least half of these things. Of course, we had to see some old jokes to add context to them later, but it was all for naught.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked some of it, but in a fuller perspective looking at the whole season 4, it was just… predictable. Future seasons need to be more original and vary the jokes/funny situations more so as not to bore viewers. That all being said, don’t let that stop you from giving the new season a try and see what you think!
Season 4 of Harley Quinn will release on Max July 27 2023, with next episodes premiering weekly. Are you hyped for more HarlIvy soon? Let us know on social media or our own Discord channel.