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Review: Harlivy Returns with More Make-Outs, Madness, and Mayhem in ‘Harley Quinn’ Season 4

Review: Harlivy Returns with More Make-Outs, Madness, and Mayhem in ‘Harley Quinn’ Season 4

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Last summer, Harley Quinn fans were salivating for Season 3 after a two-year wait between seasons. But since Season 4 came sooner than expected, there’s nothing to do but celebrate. This season of the animated comedy, now residing on Max, sees series writer Sarah Peters (Ghosted) taking over as showrunner for Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker (Abbott Elementary). 

Peters met her goal and then some, telling The A.V. Club, “I hope to strike that balance with Season 4: bringing our amazing fans even more of what they love, as well as exploring new territory of what it means for these two badass superwomen, who see the world very differently, to move forward in their relationship.” It’s official: she succeeded. 

When we left off in Season 3, Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) were still going strong as Gotham City’s hottest couple. However, Harley’s realization that she’s drawn to heroics more than villainy was the beginning of a new challenge. Making things even harder, Ivy accepted the offer from Lex Luthor (Giancarlo Esposito) to become the Legion of Doom’s new CEO. In typical Harley fashion, she freaks out, thinking this might be the end of their relationship. But Ivy assures her that they will make it work. 

Thanks to Mayor Joker (Alan Tudyk), Bruce Wayne (Diedrich Bader) is locked up in Blackgate for tax evasion, meaning there’s an open position in the Bat Family. Fighting crime sans Batman leaves Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (Briana Cuoco), Nightwing/Dick Grayson (Harvey Guillén), and Robin/Damian Wayne (Jacob Tremblay) weaker than ever. The addition of recently realized hero Harley Quinn (her Bat-Harley costume is everything) isn’t much help since the fam’s number one rule is no killing, stifling her murderous instincts. But she takes a few lives before she’s strongly reminded she can’t kill anyone.

We know Harley’s at her best when she’s smashing heads. Batgirl’s witnessed this firsthand. But as the temporary leader, she’s gotta rein in her new (sort of) bestie’s destructive habits.

As for the rest of the former crew, they get less screen time this season. Frank the Plant (J.B. Smoove) joins Ivy at the LOD; King Shark (Ron Funches) prepares for single fatherhood; and Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale) still hosts his podcast. In the Season 3 finale, Clayface (Tudyk) had just completed his masquerade as Billy Bob Thornton. And back in February, he was heavily featured in A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special, getting catfished by Captain Boomerang, falling in love with his detached sentient lower half, and impersonating a giant Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso). Now he’s busy with a Vegas residency, a very fitting place for the thespian. He’s also pretty salty with Harlivy for reasons I won’t spoil. 

Bane (James Adomian) had one hell of a Valentine’s Day too. It doesn’t seem like the special’s events impacted the new season since there’s no sign of his dominatrix Valentine Betty (Casey Wilson). The Season 4 trailer promised more “Bane being Bane,” which is true, though he doesn’t have much to do. Then again, his main story last season revolved around a pasta maker and his undiagnosed depression. Well, a different pasta-related situation leads him on a silly side quest that may not be the most riveting storyline but is hilarious nonetheless. 

Review: ‘Evil’ Returns with a Devilishly Delightful Final Season

Similar to Season 3, the fourth season of Harley Quinn centers around Harlivy’s relationship. Harley kept Ivy from terraforming Gotham and finally admitted to herself that maybe being a villain isn’t her thing anymore. Ivy forgave Harley and squashed the terraforming mission. Instead, she stepped into the role of “SheEO,” as Lex condescendingly calls her, and formed a new “socially conscious evil plan” for Legion of Doom.

The BFF-GFFs try to find that work-life/crime-justice/hero-villain balance for their relationship. But this season isn’t all about the struggle. They’re so adorably supportive of each other’s new careers while also learning to set boundaries. Harley and Ivy still are sickeningly sweet together and pack on the PDA more than before. Honestly, the two are extra but we love to see it. 

Harley and Ivy still live at Catwoman/Selina Kyle’s (Sanaa Lathan) place but aside from a single visual mention, she’s not in this season. The same goes for Batman/Bruce. Two-Face (Andy Daly) and Riddler (Jim Rash) make brief appearances. It’s not surprising that we don’t get to see Kite Man (Matt Oberg) since he’s about to headline his own show, Kite Man: Hell Yeah! (formerly titled Noonan’s) penned by Halpern and Schumacker. While the decreased presence of fan favorites like Clayface and Batman might be disappointing for some, the show’s commitment to giving other characters the spotlight is refreshing and takes us on one adventure after another.

The entertaining and aggressive Nora Freeze (Rachel Dratch) becomes a prominent character as Ivy’s new assistant. She’s a tad less wild but not completely out of her party-girl phase. Former Commissioner Jim Gordon (Christopher Meloni) was forcibly retired when Joker dismantled the GCPD and landed a security job at the Legion of Doom. 

New Harley Quinn characters are always fun because the creators love to highlight the most obscure DC villains and heroes. As seen in the trailer, this season adds the lesser-known Snowflame, a cocaine-addled member of the LOD and one of the many men displeased with Ivy’s arrival. Yes, he gets his superpowers from cocaine like a character you’d see on The Boys. Other additions include Volcana (Jeannie Tirado), Terra (Kerry Knuppe), and Talia al Ghul (Aline Elasmar), who all have great moments. 

Since its inception, Harley Quinn has touched on several relatable aspects of life, especially when it comes to relationships. Season 4 focuses on two people trying to make things work, messing up, making up, and learning from their mistakes. The series continues to serve up hilarious and touching moments, fascinating character explorations, and killer DC Comics deep cuts. The extensive voice cast and nuanced writing only get better every season. From the running joke about a phallic-shaped rocket to Nightwing’s notoriously admired bum, the series never ceases to be an absolute blast. 

The first three episodes of Harley Quinn Season 4 drop July 27, 2023, on Max, followed by one episode weekly through September 14.

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