Harley Quinn 4×08 Review – Pasta Making and Climate Change

Harley and Ivy are back together, and that means it’s the perfect time to take a detour to the Italian countryside. This Bane-centric episode is hilarious and weird. Spoilers follow for Harley Quinn Season 4, Episode 8, ‘Il Buffone.’

“Il Buffone”

The title of this episode translates to ‘The Buffoon,’ just in case that isn’t plainly clear. The main story follows Bane to Italy, where he tries to harass the pasta maker company into giving him the handle he wants. When he finds out it’s discontinued, he blows up the place and seeks out the greatest pasta maker in all of Italy. Some kids call him a toilet (bagno) and point him at a house on the hill.

Meanwhile, things are going down at the Legion of Doom headquarters, where Lex wants Volcanica to help him thicken that atmosphere so that his Earth Saver Ray can reach the planet, which leads to a bunch of people–Nora Fries, Captain Cold, King Shark, and Volcanica–being locked inside LoD HQ.

Both of these storylines are packed with great gags, and I don’t want to cover the gags in great depth here because they’re going to play much better on the show. One that sticks out, though, occurs when Lex starts filling the LoD with noxious gas, sending the occupants looking for gas masks. When it’s King Shark’s turn, there’s a split-second moment where we start to wonder how they’re going to get a gas mask over his giant face. And then he puts them behind his eyes, where they look like ears–that’s where shark breathing holes are located. This moment is indicative of how the show consistently is both super dumb, and super smart about its dumbness. Everything happening is ludicrous, but it was done with the utmost thought.

The same goes for the entire Bane storyline. For literally years, Bane has had this pasta-maker storyline hanging over his head. Instead of just forgetting about it or closing it with a quick joke, the writers devoted an entire episode to it. Every Bane scene kills, too. The woman he meets is as comforting as an old grandmother and as scary as a ruthless mafioso. It’s a perfect pairing with Bane’s capacity for what he calls ‘Splosions and the soft emotional core that lets him adore Nora despite her utter coldness to him.

James Adomian, who voices Bane, deserves so much credit for how enjoyable this character is. Bane tends to be a pretty boring character on his own. The silliness they’ve imbued him with, where he’s fully aware of his own quirks–see his “Coffee is my Reckoning” coffee cup–and also relentlessly himself, full of helpless rage and ability to ‘splode things.

This is the best episode of the season so far, and it’s not even close. The whole thing is hilarious from moment to moment, and it makes great use of all its characters, both lampooning them and reminding us of their core characteristics (why do you think Lex is trying to thicken the world’s atmosphere with a volcano?), and finding the narrow path that lets both of those exist in harmony.