Episode 24 Review
"A Fight Worth Fighting For" is an interesting mirror to "Dye Hard". Whereas in "Dye Hard" we saw Harley venting her problems to sane Joker, the world's best listener, we've got the opposite with Joker challenging Harley on her hang up, calling out her b.s., and coming to terms with his own love life. And all of it was thanks to the narrative set up of Harley pulling a Waller and putting a bomb in his head to ensure complicity in the hunt for the Queen of Fables' book. Hate to say it but Joker has some great retorts in this episode like, "I can't believe you were ever a therapist." And seeing them fight pretty much as equal partners like she always wanted in the Parademon hive was such an odd and vivid contrast to the series premiere on the banker's yacht. Hard to believe that was only 22 episodes ago and so much has changed. They're even bantering with Batman in the backseat of the Batplane telling him how dumb his accusation is and all he can say is "Oh." -- like what?!
The Joker's arc in this episode might be met with objection and/or skepticism from the DC fanbase. I mean, the Joker realizes he found true love and makes amends with Bethany? What?! But it's not out of nowhere. I'm not talking about sane Joker this season. Although it was the right choice to have Joker remember the memories of sane Joker rather than erase them. Then you have an interesting amalgamation and funnier nuances like Joker mentioning Benecio is lactose intolerant in the same sentence saying serial killers can be dads, too. If you think back to the season one finale, the Joker got bored with his takeover of Gotham and felt there was still a void in his life. He thought erasing Harley was the solution but then, of course, things backfired for him. But picking up on an existing thread and answering something no one could have predicted was going to be brought up again, lends a bit more credibility to the producers doing a 'happy ending' twist for the Joker. And the irony is that Harley's failure is what convinces him to give it another shot with Bethany. That's the reasonable approach to it, but there will still be dissent about it. The one nitpick is they didn't address Joker knowing Batman's secret identity but the pacing and editing was so well done, there wasn't really a place for it. Hopefully it comes up but not a deal breaker if it doesn't. But let's talk about the debut of Bethany at long last. Not what I was thinking. But I love it. She's a civilian but not exactly an angel. Just the montage alone, especially of her breaking a bottle and saving sane Joker from the big angry motorist endeared me to her. She's a mother of two and nurse so she definitely cares about humankind in general and took on a thankless job, but she's pragmatic, too, and knows how to handle herself on the streets.
It's scary good how well everything is going for Dr. Psycho. He's got Gotham and the Parademon army (and I'm just gonna saw I love these recurring bird jokes). And now he's got Darkseid's backing and Ivy. While not as extensive as King Shark, we do still get back story on Dr. Psycho (leaving just Clayface's past unexplored) and insight into his sadism and dwarfism. Tacking on that's when he decided to hate women and Darkseid's reaction was the clincher and coup de grace of comedy gold. I'm still suspicious of Riddler though. He looked down on Psycho so much at the start of the season then allies with him, if there's not a last minute betrayal in the works – I'd be surprised. But overall, Psycho's arc into becoming the surprise big bad was seamless and well plotted. There's no question it's got me happily guessing how he will get his comeuppance.
Okay, so Ivy is running away from confronting her feelings unlike Harley and she isn't pushing back the wedding after Debbie the Wedding Planner is carried off. But how can she double down and not aware of sabotaging the wedding by taking Kite Man shopping for the wedding dress? Even Kite Man points out how it's against protocol. She has really just built a pillow fort in her mind and is staying there. But hilariously enough, he seems to be pretty good at it. The cream question was well played and hilarious. I love the last straw was a $13,000 Vera Wang she wasn't sure about getting damaged was the final straw. Psycho taking advantage of the situation and pitting a mind controlled Ivy against Harley next episode is a pretty perfect set up for the penultimate episode of the season and a damn good metaphor for the status of their relationship. I wonder if they're going for a reversal of last season, in a way, and when Ivy comes to at the end, she sees Harley's body and realizes she might have killed her. Totally bet on a Crisis on Infinite Earths posing for the final shot.
Zatanna, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, and Green Lantern are a sight for sore eyes and a welcome return at long last. As one of the lingering threads from the end of season one, makes sense they would be back at the end of season two. Much like they were around to finish off the tree monsters, it looks like they'll be around to finish off the Parademons next week. Although, a part of wonders if Darkseid will pay a visit to Earth and end up fighting the League, too. Or will Psycho just put the psychic whammy on them, too, and make more problems for Harley? Certainly Wonder Woman knows how to deal with Psycho and his telepathy so that shouldn't happen. Alfred, while in a brief scene, is still utterly delightful. Totally destructing how writer's oversplain and underestimate how much the audience can be adept at with context clues. They went there. They totally went there.
I really loved all the references, easter eggs, and callbacks this week. We see the maze at Riddle U from a bird's eye point of view. The Batcomputer is always a choice way to slip in some easter eggs. Listing some famous creatives as Joker and Harley's known accomplices is as awesome as it gets. One of Harley's listed crimes "Nuclear Intimidation" was a nice nod to her Harley Quinn Highway scheme last season. The majority of easter eggs were all really hilariously crafted really. Joker admitting he liked The Sopranos, even Darkseid knowing about Psycho's c-word debacle -- can I just say I love the indirectly funny Darkseid? On hold, using the I'm late for a meeting, that doesn't track – Psycho's address book is a who's who of villains whose names start with a "D", a funny send up of the Nighthawks painting, Harley remembering Jurassic Park rules. Joker's classic maniacal laugh interrupted by a series of slaps? What?! The callbacks and easter eggs were so on point this week! Ton more but well played. Well played.
The bookends with Frank and Chaz are much more enjoyable and likable than the fanboys in "Batman's Back, Man" and still hilariously meta but focused on the show. Frank's meta line about himself tested while and being shoehorned by the producers whenever possible? That was just comedy gold if not just kinda true. Or the recurring award name drops, not caring how to pronounce Darkseid's name correctly, complimenting the interwoven storytelling, and throwing a tantrum about getting butter in his popcorn. All rounded up with a hat tip to William Dozier's Batman '66 narrations. It would be pretty entertaining if Frank and Chaz did podcast commentaries of each episode.
"A Fight Worth Fighting For" keeps the momentum going, throws out more twists and turns, and ups the stakes even more as another near perfect season draws to an explosive finale. The show can do no wrong, the execution and pacing is flawless, the themes and story fleshes out the world and the most unlikely of characters while pushing Harley to try one more time with Ivy. Hope and a corner has turned with the liberation of the Justice League but with the most inopportune of timing, she has to fight a mind controlled Ivy without harming her or worse while trying to avoid getting killed herself. Dr. Psycho has proven himself to be the big threat no one saw coming.
Rating: 8.4 out of 10