Harley Quinn just joined the Bat Family and things are falling apart. Batman is in jail, Talia al Ghul repossessed all of their high-tech weaponry, Batgirl went missing, and then Nightwing fell out of a tree, seemingly dead? It’s almost like Harley Quinn was never meant to be a full-on superhero. Spoilers follow for Harley Quinn Season 4, Episode 6, ‘Metamorphosis.’
It’s true. Nightwing is dead–at least in Harley Quinn’s own personal version of the DC Universe. The episode opens on Nightwing’s funeral. Many of DC’s greatest heroes are in attendance, standing around a casket that’s been customized with a butt compartment to fit Nightwing’s legendarily bodacious booty.
Batgirl, of course, suspects Poison Ivy from the beginning, even as Harley tries to persuade her that Ivy wouldn’t do such a thing. And as it turns out, Ivy didn’t. She’s too busy dealing with her own drama (not to mention that Nightwing is hardly an environmental concern). Despite the death of a significant DC character, this is kind of the A-Story this week. Following Nightwing’s death, Ivy looks to make a statement about the hero’s death only to find that her PR team, the Jons, have already done so.
This becomes the last straw for Ivy. Despite climbing the ladder of power rapidly, she hasn’t been in control of any of it. In the process, she’s ignored her partner, left her students to fail without her guidance, and–worst of all–is supposed to emcee a L’il Poison Miss Ivy competition.
This feels like somewhat of a return to form as Ivy reclaims responsibility for her position and makes a plan with the mentees she’d previously failed. It results in a great action sequence with an animated stone statue and the Jons mutating and joining into one MegaJon.
Harley is doing her best to console Barbara throughout all of this, but Babs is on a tear. After deciding to go back to living at their old spots–Harley at Ivy’s, Babs at Alysia’s–they end up at the Legion of Doom headquarters where Babs begins inciting fights with villains as a way of handling her grief over Nightwing’s death.
That’s when Joker shows up and, honestly, this should’ve been obvious the moment that Nightwing dropped out of the tree. Earlier in the episode, Joker revealed to his family that he’s planning to go back to a life of crime. His opening move, he explains, is one of his classics: killing a member of the Bat Family.
With Ivy reclaiming agency in her position and Joker returning to crime (with his family’s consent and cooperation), this feels like it could be a resetting of the deck. This episode also spends a significant amount of time with King Shark, who is now a nervous father. Jim Gordon latches onto that, trying to offer (terrible) fatherly advice to the new dad. The big remaining mystery is what’s up with Harley’s sleepwalking. At the very end of the episode, she sees herself across the room and suddenly doesn’t know if she’s awake or asleep, and it’s a genuinely spooky moment in an otherwise very irreverent and silly animated show.
The show is still suffering from the group being separated, but we get more interaction between core characters than we’ve had in weeks, and that can only be a good thing.