Episode 20 Review
Two-Face has subjected Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy to a swift trial and Judge Bane sentenced them to life at his own prison, The Pit, a correctional and rehabilitation facility dedicated to bringing people to the light and encouraging positive thinking and redirecting aggressive energies into something more productive. They plot their escape on talent show night by starting a riot but things veer off track in typical fashion. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon and Batgirl attempt to curtail weapons sales but wind up in the cross hairs of Two-Face. Batgirl has enough and confronts Jim about his alcoholism but can he make full recovery and challenge Two-Face for the fate of Gotham?
Harley Quinn immediately protests the trial and claims it's a kangaroo court. Two-Face denies it and tells them a real judge was brought in. He turns to be just Bane. Bane promises to give them a fair shake to Two-Face's annoyance so he chooses the defense attorney. Man Bat. Ivy has no hope. Bane summarizes their charges as the murder of Oswald Cobblepot and "other stuff" then asks them how they plead. Man Bat stands and screeches. Harley's confidence plunges, too. A Penguin goon is brought to the witness stand and he identifies Harley as the one who bit off Penguin's nose. Man Bat objects on the grounds of leading and inflammatory but no one understands bat. For his last witness, Two-Face calls up Ivy. Harley tells Ivy to lie and blame it all on her because, for once, she wants to do something for her. Ivy insists they're a team. Two-Face asks Ivy if she helped plan and execute the murder of the Injustice League. Everyone awaits her answer. Ivy confirms they did and adds the League deserved it and they're going to finish the job soon. The audience gasps. Two-Face requests they be found guilty on all counts. Man Bat is irate. Bane sentences them to life in prison.
Jim Gordon isn't happy to be in the sewers with Batgirl. She reminds him, for the third time, the mission is to find Ratcatcher and stop him from moving weapons across Gotham. Batgirl soon realizes he is drunk. Jim claims he has a high tolerance. Batgirl quips she has a low tolerance for evasive answers. Jim reminds her he was putting criminals away when she was still in diapers. She gestures him to stop. They spy on Ratcatcher playing with his rats. Batgirl elects to circle around and block the exit then give him the signal. Jim sulks about his partnership with her and drops his flask. Ratcatcher sends his legion of rats after him while he runs off. Jim runs for it but falls into the water. Batgirl plucks a lone rat from his face and finds his flask. He denies its his. It had his full name and title on it along with the nickname of "Supercop Sauce."
Harley and Ivy are transported in a paddywagon to prison. Harley still can't believe Ivy didn't stick to the script. Ivy states she was never going to let her rot in prison while she's on her honeymoon. Harley points nobody knows they were kidnapped and she could have led the rescue attempt, even suggesting she call it a "mini-moon" but Ivy points out they can break out of Arkham Asylum in their sleep. Harley perks up. They smugly hop out of the wagon but find themselves in a desert instead of Arkham. Bane informs them he is also a warden and introduces them to the Pena Duro North Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility aka The Pit then pushes them in. The Two-Face goons are astonished but Bane assures them he put a lot of padding down in the Pit and he only pushed them in for dramatic effect. He does a cannonball down the Pit. Bane gives Harley and Ivy the tour and explains the main thrust is rehab. He calls out to Killer Croc. Croc shows off his water color painting "Reed in the Water." It's a white man being ripped apart by crocodiles. Ivy snaps at him as he tries to explain it. Croc states he's working on himself and walks away. Bane tells them there is a talent show the next night to showcase what everyone has been working on and he wants them to participate. Harley instantly chimes in Ivy won't do it as Ivy states she will never do it. Bane takes them to their cells. He explains there is no door because there's nowhere to escape to but quickly takes notice of the unkempt bed. He makes it and states the rule is to make their bed daily because a tidy room is the key to a tidy mind. He tries to hug them but gets a chilly reception before he can even get close to them. After Bane leaves, Ivy starts to freak out. Harley tells her to just beanstalk them out. Ivy can't sense any plants. She worries who will protect the rain forest with her gone. Harley name drops Swamp Thing. Ivy worries who will defend the Great Barrier Reef. Harley name drops Aquaman. Ivy worries who will write letters to the network when they're trying to decide whether to renew or cancel Love It of List It. Harley thinks some loser. Ivy laments she finally found someone she wants to marry and now she can't. Harley grabs her and promises they will escape and she will walk down the aisle. Croc comes up behind Ivy and spooks her. He gives them two welcome vanity knitted caps for the chilly nights. Together they read, "God's Dead."
Jim and Barbara eat spaghetti for dinner at their home. Jim asks her to pass the mayo. She asks him how the crime fighting is gong. Jim drenches his plate and tells her it's not working out with Batgirl. He thinks she doesn't have what it takes and considers going solo. Barbara sighs and decides to confront Jim about his alcoholism. He is in denial. Barbara tells him Gotham needs him to be at his best. He claims he always has been. She asks if not for Gotham then to stop for her. She confesses it hurts her to see him in his current state. It finally hits Jim but the house is riddled with bullets. They both dive to the floor. Two-Face addresses them from outside. He doesn't like Jim playing cop and messing with his weapons sales. Jim is surprised Ratcatcher works for him. Two-Face points out the whole city works for him since he took over New New Gotham. Jim blindly shoots at them. Two-Face admits he should have killed Jim months ago when he took the police station. He gets out a flash grenade. Jim turns to Barbara but she's gone. The flash grenade goes off.
During group therapy, Victor Zsasz shares that he imagines himself in a bubble of calm in order to get rid of his urge to kill. Bane asks Ivy why she doesn't clap. She tells him because it's stupid then tells him they want to change but the Pit is too dark and depressing. Bane is amused by her request to be transferred to Arkham and states the Pit is for the criminally capable. He tries to boost morale by revealing George Lopez will be choppering down for a 10 minute set. Harley and Ivy quickly brainstorm a plan to incite a riot with bad jokes then steal Lopez's helicopter and escape in the chaos. Two-Face tries to draw out Jim by reminding him he took his station, took his city, and soon his life. Jim hides in Barbara's closet and finds an old father-daughter photo. He apologizes to her and steps out, surrendering. Two-Face is glad he came to his senses to die like a man and asks him if he has any last words. Jim asks him to tell Barbara he loves her. Batgirl intervenes and Two-Face ends up shooting his two goons trying to get Batgirl. He runs away. Jim is beside himself and confesses he knows he's in the way. Batgirl whips his flask out the window. She tells him stop feeling sorry for himself. Jim states Gotham doesn't need him and his daughter thinks he's a joke. She disagrees and reveals he inspired her. He doesn't believe her and points out her suit. She clarifies Batman only inspired her suit but her father inspired her. She removes her mask. Jim is astonished and realizes she was the one protecting Gotham this whole time. He's proud of her.
Harley practices a low brow joke targeting Killer Croc when Bane notices she didn't make her bed. He disqualifies her from the talent show and has her taken away by the Bane Boys. She tells Ivy to take her place but Ivy lacks the ability to tell jokes in front of strangers. Cheryl is put in charge of keeping Harley from leaving her time out. Harley asks Cheryl is she's going to make her kill her to escape. Cheryl uses Venom and bulks up. George Lopez arrives and kills it with the prisoners. Ivy bombs. Zsasz speaks out and calls her joke too reference heavy and derivative. Ivy is aghast and tells them to kill each other. Harley breaks Cheryl's arm over a chair and spin kicks her into wall. Cheryl is knocked out but falls on Harley. They watch as Lopez departs in his helicopter. Barbara finishes telling Jim about when she became Batgirl. Jim still can't believe it. Barbara admits she did screw up and call him "dad" but he was too drunk to notice. Jim quietly gets up and goes to the alcohol cabinet. Barbara tries to stop him but Jim starts pouring it down the drain. They get rid of all the alcohol then repair the house. Jim feels good as new but is dead set on taking back the police headquarters. He gets out his old beat cop uniform and states he will because he's a damn good cop. Ivy comes clean to everyone about her plan then goes into a confessional about herself, how she chose to live her entire life in an emotional pit for safety and security but she made friends and got engaged. She jokes about having sex at 10,000 feet. She admits she was happy and crawled out of her pit only for the universe to put her in another pit. She tells them no matter how much they change, or make their bed, they are all stuck in the Pit with Bane of all people. Zsasz and the others start to get her point about life being one unescapable pit. They riot. In no time, a towering pit of debris is built.
Jim goes into headquarters alone and kills all the goons but gets rammed by Two-Face in a cop car. Bane goes after Harley and Ivy as they traverse the pile and pleads with Ivy to stay and continue working on herself. He soon loses patience and uses Venom. Some debris manages to expose some earth and a plant tendril comes to their rescue. However, Bane jumps and grabs Harley's right leg. Two-Face and Jim go at it. Jim takes a letter opener through his left hand but knees Two-Face in the crotch then knocks him with a glass bottle and stabs him. Two-Face comes to in a jail cell. Jim declares he's back. Bane tells Harley she can't run away from her problems and only love will set her free. Harley decides to sacrifice herself so Ivy can escape and have her happy ending. She lets go and Ivy is propelled to the surface like a bungee jumper. Harley yanks the tubes from Bane's head and reduces him to a frail form as they fall towards the debris pile, now fully on fire. Ivy bungees back down, wraps up Harley, and they launch back to the surface. They are elated to have escaped and make out. They are shocked and stare at each other dumb founded.
"There's No Place to Go But Down" continues on the heels of last week's "All The Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues" and fully returns the show to the current season arc about getting revenge on the Injustice League. However, it's a welcome shift to see Harley and Ivy with their backs to the wall instead. Naturally, as an ex-District Attorney, Two-Face subjects them to a trial. Man Bat was a truly hilarious choice for the defense. More so because he was actually really good at it but no one could understand him. There was also great character moments for Harley and Ivy right off the bat. More so with Harley openly admitting once again that she always gets bailed out by Ivy and for once she wants to return to the favor to Ivy. Or Ivy once again shows how strongly loyal a friend to Harley she is by fessing up to her part in the revenge murders. Even though Harley makes a surprisingly good point that no one knows they got kidnapped and Ivy could have led the rescue, I didn't think it would have mattered really. Two-Face would never have allowed either of them to walk scot free. But overall it was a really big Ivy episode finally. Like Catwoman questioning what her brand is anymore, Harley basically points out there are superheroes out there that do what she does like Swamp Thing and Aquaman. But from watching Ivy since the first episode and see her lower her guard and bare her soul at last felt really rewarding. She's freaking out there's no plants, angry she can't get married, strategizing with Harley, totally bombing on stage, and moving all the criminals with her self-reflection. Just the whole notion of Ivy finally addressing why she has that wall up and using The Pit to illustrate it was so well done here. For all the crass this show gets into, Ivy was really introspective and moving here.
And it can't go without mentioning the A-story shifted to reveal what Bane has built with his free time since "Batman's Back, Man" a new prison, this show's version of The Pit from "Dark Knight Rises"! Bane's dead set on rehabilitating his brethren is a hilarious turn but not totally out of nowhere. Thinking back to last season, Bane was doling out advice to Harley after the Crew quit on her or when he caught Joshua's transactions on the company card. Bane cultivating his proclivity to help people into a rehab prison thus makes a sick kinda of sense. While it was admirable to see Bane never really quit on Harley and Ivy and tries to reason with them down to the last moment, the real irony is of course the trope of the reformer not admitting to his own sins. Bane was part of the Injustice League after all and was at least complacent in what happened to Harley despite not really being antagonistic with her compared to the other supervillains. It was a nice little bonus like with Man Bat earlier this episode to learn that Killer Croc also survived the earthquake and he finally gets fleshed out with some characterization as well as some cameos of character debuts like with Anarky I think, Professor Pyg, and Victor Zsasz. It's also a credit to the showrunners and crew to hold back on showing Bane being reduced to a frail regular sized man until now. Most of the time in animation, Bane has been treated as a one-in-done threat. Not here, after that horrific battle in "Batman's Back, Man", and in the 20th episode, finally someone disables Bane and rips those tubes out of him. Naturally it had to be Harley. But as they saw, no body, not dead. I mean, we had the super obvious fall to his fiery death but it's not the same as being stabbed in the neck and left to bled out on the floor. Bane is one my favorites, as I imagine the crew, but even Bane had it coming yet I still hope he cheated death here.
In a similar vein, it was illuminating to see the other part of this episode turn out to be Jim Gordon coming out back on top and redeeming himself. I guess it makes sense if being chased by a ton of rats in the sewer while drunk qualifies as rock bottom. Yes, it makes perfect sense that Barbara is the catalyst to Jim owning up himself and turning things around at long last and the foe to overcome is none other than Two-Face, who was a bit of a rival back in the day and the one who took his beloved police headquarters at the start of the season. While, yes, this is mainly an R-rated comedy with f-bombs and gratuitous violence, it also can hit those emotional highs and lows that tug at your heart string. Jim really did lose his last of willpower and accepted death at the hands of Two-Face. But it was his own daughter who picked him back up and the revelation of her secret identity was that ray of light that brought him back from the brink. It was a nice touch that in addition to getting rid of all the alcohol, Jim's back to basics approach involved him donning his officer uniform. And Jim taking back the station was pure action entertainment, it's also where you really feel a sense of hope coming back and think maybe Gotham really can be saved after all if Jim can turn it around. Coupled with the dual defeat of Bane and Two-Face, the Injustice League is all but done for on paper. Couldn't have come at a better time: the midpoint of the season also serves at what looks to be a big turning point for Jim Gordon and Gotham.
Well, a turning point in more ways than one. So yeah, after all is said and done, I'm sure everyone will only be talking about that ending. The show runners have been teasing it. Personally, I'm not as beholden as to how Harley and Ivy's relationship should be and I've been in on seeing how their friendship hit its high and lows since season one. In fact, I mean, I haven't read the mainstream DC in decades so I really had no clue that this ship was inspired from the comics until it was pointed out in interviews. I'm down for letting it ride and see what unfolds. I can totally see them going into denial and being totally awkward around each other for comedy sake at least. I'm sure there's a lot of supporters and detractors to it and everyone has their own opinions about it but we'll see what happens in the back half of the season. They'll chalk it up to emotions running high from the stage confessional and the adrenaline from escaping the inescapable prison and the kiss meant nothing. And Harley will gather her Crew and run off to look for a wedding present in probably the most dangerous places in all of the DC universe, Apokolips, just so Harley doesn't have think about what just happened. While of course, things probably start changing between Ivy and poor old Kite Man.
"There's No Place to Go But Down" nails it and gets the show back on track after two weeks of side stories and flashbacks but more importantly is a big turning point in the season and perhaps the series. Another strong and well produced character study, the episode really gets into the minds of Poison Ivy and Jim Gordon this time around and the emotional growth that results was surprisingly moving, touching, inspiring, you name it – it hit all the right beats. Ivy climbs even more out of that emotional shell of hers and Jim is finally on the mend 20 episodes in. And with the Injustice League down for the count, all that's left is to dismantle their power bases for good and shuffle those goons off – what big threat is next to challenge Harley and her allies for the city? The city itself trying to root out all villainy as efforts are made to rejoin the USA? Or Mr. Freeze's widowed wife out for revenge? The dark clouds seem to be clearing but perhaps it's just making way for an even bigger storm... either way, it'll be a lot of freakin' fun and carnage.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10