Thursday, July 28, 2022

REVIEW: 'Harley Quinn' - Harley and Ivy Enjoy the Bliss and Excitement of Their New Relationship in 'Harlivy'

HBO Max's Harley Quinn - Episode 3.01 "Harlivy"

After fleeing the wedding, Harley and Ivy go on an "Eat Bang Kill" tour that leads them to a secret project Ivy abandoned years ago.

"Harlivy" was written by Sarah Peters and directed by Juan Meza-Leon

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy love each other. For awhile, it felt like their romantic love would be purely subtextual throughout the storytelling. It would be obvious to a certain extent but could never be acted upon. And then, the second season pulled the trigger of making that love part of the text. It then became complicated by their fears of actually acting on those feelings. They feared the repercussions if they did so. They couldn't handle ruining their friendship. Ivy was even willing to settle for Kite Man. He was the one who ultimately shared that she deserves so much more happiness. He was heartbroken that he couldn't provide that for her. However, that relationship was the last thing Ivy was holding onto to prevent her from acting on her feelings for Harley. She wasn't good at that. These characters can only avoid their problems for so long. Harley and Ivy rode off into the sunset together. Of course, they were being pursued by cops hellbent on arresting them and sending them to Arkham. They were finally in love and a couple. And now, the new season gets to celebrate the greatness of them being together. Harley is especially excited. She wants to celebrate every single day of this relationship. Now, the two of them don't have to spend all of their time together. They don't have to share the same dreams and ambitions either. They simply have to respect what the other needs at all times. That lesson hasn't exactly been learned yet. In fact, it may actually be quite difficult for Harley. She has shown tremendous personal growth over the course of the series. She now wants to uplift Ivy's own dreams. She believes this relationship has been too one-sided for too long. It's all been dominated by what Harley wanted to do. She was allowed to be the chaotic and messy one. Ivy was trusted to come in and clean everything up. Ivy is so incredibly powerful. She doesn't use those powers to advance her own agenda. Instead, she has simply been swept up as part of the team and a lesser villain. She doesn't qualify for the super-villain moniker. Of course, she doesn't see herself that way. She wants to save the Earth from destruction. She sees how humans have abused the environment. She must make it blossom anew. That's her ambition. That's what she wants to achieve. She has prioritized her relationships lately. She focused on her personal life. That was full of struggles too. Now that she has some clarity, she has the opportunity to focus on devious pursuits once more. Harley wants to make those dreams a reality. She will do anything for Ivy. And yet, Ivy's picture of paradise is actually quite boring for Harley. Harley wants to be supportive no matter what. However, she's having the most fun when she is punching people and blowing stuff up. She doesn't exactly care about what's lost in the process.

This adventure eventually has to lead Harley and Ivy back to Gotham. They can't escape the confines of the show's premise for too long. It's still a delight to see them as a couple and break away from the restraints that have controlled them. This is a loving and freeing experience for them now. So much of how they process the world is the same. That's a good thing. The audience can't expect too much to change now that the two of them have clarity as a couple. Being together doesn't immediately remove tension from their relationship either. Sometimes, it's nice to live in bliss about the truth. Ivy chooses to believe Harley when she says Queen Elizabeth had an invisible parachute after being pushed out of Wonder Woman's invisible jet. Honesty is nice as well. Of course, so many people are trying to manipulate this couple into behaving a certain way. Harley and Ivy will return to Gotham in order to save Clayface and King Shark. They are valuable members of the team who have faced the punishment Commissioner Gordon truly wants for the new couple. He may be alone in his quest to bring them to justice. The city is mostly on their side. They see the heroic actions they took in stopping Doctor Psycho. Moreover, they already present as a couple people want to emulate. They want to be just like them. That clashes with Gordon's narrative about them being the most vicious criminals left in Gotham. Not everyone has that assessment. Harley and Ivy don't view themselves in the same lineup of those who've terrorized the city. They have moral lines they won't cross. They helped the heroes when they needed it. They aren't purely evil. They've still killed and been labeled crazy. They seek the ability to examine who they are and what they want out of life. Gordon may only be offered more power. He had to find his strength as police commissioner once more. He did. That doesn't immediately make him a good candidate for mayor. He may be the only option left after the current occupant is killed in a freak accident. Those happen all the time in Gotham. In fact, the storytelling mocks the tragedies that seemingly set these heroes and villains on their storied paths. The rats are a problem. From their perspective though, they seek vengeance in the name of their murdered parents. It's all a vicious cycle. Gotham falls apart and is rebuilt. People want to live in this environment. It's the first step to achieving world domination. But again, Harley and Ivy still have to change hearts and minds. They aren't worthy of being included in Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad. Meanwhile, Clayface is better served as James Gunn's director's chair instead of being an extra in the latest movie about Thomas Wayne. This narrative remains purely chaotic. That's the energy Harley has always thrived under. She's been forced to face some harsh truths. And now, she has to reckon with what it means to support the woman she loves despite how her dreams clash with what makes Harley happy. Their love is powerful. It still needs to overcome these obstacles that create a perilous future.