TV Review: Harley Quinn: Season 2: Episode 1: New Gotham (DC Universe)

“God bless the United States of America, and god help Gotham City.” Harley Quinn, the character brought to life by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for their excellent Batman: The […]

“God bless the United States of America, and god help Gotham City.”

Harley Quinn, the character brought to life by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for their excellent Batman: The Animated Series, returns for the second season of her eponymous adult animated online tv show on the DC Universe. Episode one, ‘New Gotham’ is written by Adam Stein and directed by Vinton Heuck.

After season one’s colossal climax, the cataclysmic toppling of the Joker’s (Alan Tudyk) tower has thrown Gotham City into chaos. The seismic ripples of that event will be felt far beyond this single episode. It is reminiscent of the Batman Family titles dealing with the repercussions of 1998’s ‘Cataclysm’ event that led into the year-long ‘No Man’s Land’ plotline which engulfed all of the Bat-related books.

Without giving too much away, the sudden collapse of law and order, as well as most of the city’s infrastructure, has led to simultaneous societal collapse. The power vacuum at the top, formed by the events in the previous episode, leaves Harley (Kaley Cuoco) with a monumental decision to make, and with only Ivy (Lake Bell) to turn to for competent counsel.

This show bounces with energy and sly wit, amidst brutal, visceral violence. That dichotomy is reflected in some of the casting choices. King Shark (Ron Funches) encapsulates this perfectly, dealing out Funches-Esque one-liners before biting people’s heads off. Clayface (Alan Tudyk) and Sy Borgman (Jason Alexander) shine as part of Harley’s misfit crew. Stein gave this episode’s villains some great dialogue to play with. Bane’s (James Adomian) near-unintelligible interactions with Two-Face (Andy Daly), the Penguin (Wayne Knight), the Riddler (Jim Rash), and Mr. Freeze (Alfred Molina) were quite funny. At the same time, the ominous danger of such formidables is ever-present, simmering just beneath the surface of the comic diversions. James Gordon (Chris Meloni), the remnant of the woefully outmatched GCPD, is just straight-up crazypants. As Gotham City degrades around him, Gordon seemingly degrades with it.

This episode was solidly made, well-drawn, quite well-acted and a lot of fun to watch. The decisions made at the end will resonate down the road for these characters. ‘New Gotham’ was a hoot. Harley Quinn’s season two premiere airs April 3rd.

About Dan Kleiner

Dan Kleiner is a strange visitor from another planet who resides in Brooklyn, New York with two cats and his amazing girlfriend. When not plotting world domination, he spends a great deal of his time watching movies and anime of all sorts, reading comic-books and book-books, studying politics and history and striving for the day when he graduates as a Class A-Weirdo.