Harley Quinn Season 4 Review

Harley Quinn Season 4 Review – Mixed Messages and Priorities

I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear in my past reviews, but I honestly shouldn’t like Harley Quinn’s animated series as much as I do. It’s gory, profane, insane, and abuses comic lore and characters like no other adaptation out there…well…except for Thor: Love and Thunder, but Harley actually does it…you know…with quality results! For three seasons, fans have loved everything Harley, Ivy, and their equally insane posse have done and were thrilled at the fourth season being greenlit. And while I can’t speak for other fans, I think my Harley Quinn Season 4 Review encapsulates well that when you do too much too fast…you lose what brought you praise in the first place.

Spoilers Updated 2022

So, a quick recap. In Season 3, Harley Quinn becomes a “good guy” and joins the Bat Family (in this case, Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl), while Lex Luthor asks Poison Ivy to become the new CEO of the Legion of Doom. This alone set up plenty of material to tap into in Season 4, and for the most part, especially at the beginning, they tapped into it well enough. A key thing that I appreciated was the overwhelming love that Harley and Ivy have for one another is still intact. There was honestly a point in the season where I thought a possible flirtation/affair would happen due to “cues” that occurred, but it never manifested, and thank goodness!

Don’t get me wrong, these two struggled with “boundaries” and trusting each other despite being on the “opposite sides of the law,” but it was very endearing throughout much of the season. Arguably, one of the best bits in the entire season dealt with the two going to the future and learning about their daughter and the two embracing it full-tilt without any issues. I loved that because it spoke to who the two were, how much they loved each other that having kids was something they were pumped for 100%.

With Harley’s side of the plot in early episodes, she had to actually learn what it meant to be a “hero,” and that…was a struggle for her. Remember, Harley Quinn is “chaotic good” and not someone who believes in structure. Her struggles to be the “justified good” that the Bat Family wanted her to do were funny, especially when she technically went “too far” with being good and had to learn how to be a B.I.T.C.H. thanks to Alfred. I seriously wasn’t expecting anything big from Alfred this season, but I was glad to be wrong…for the most part.

Meanwhile, Ivy was dumped into a dumpster fire situation with the Legion of Doom and had to learn how to be a true Boss Lady to get them to heal and understand her “conscientiously responsible evil” notions. This was another clever thing the show did because Ivy “is evil,” but in a very specific way. That concept is something DC Comics itself has forgotten at times. But here, she wanted to do her own kind of evil while making the world better, and she wasn’t going to let a bunch of dumb male villains get in her way.

Sticking with Ivy a little longer, I appreciated how they kept certain plotlines small while others had more episodes to flesh out. For example, I was VERY happy when the “social media fame” storyline with the Johns was only two episodes and ended with a unique fight scene and death. It was absolutely a storyline that needed to be short and sweet, and they did that while building up Ivy and her new team…more on that later.

Harley’s mental and emotional struggles throughout the season were also a highlight as she didn’t quite understand what was happening in key moments, and her desire to be both on Ivy’s side and the Bat Family’s side was well balanced for the most part (you picking up on a certain thread here?). Even in the comics right now, Harley isn’t someone who is able to fully conform to what Batman and the others do, and so her “repressed feelings” and sleepwalking episodes about her denying her “true nature” were an interesting concept.

Stepping away from the leading ladies, what might be the “biggest change” for this season was the supporting cast. The Bat Family obviously played a bigger role in things, but there were also new additions that added various “flavors” to things. For example, we got the arrival of Talia Al Ghul, who is…quite different from what you expect while also being (mostly) what you expect. She’s a cool and confident mother who doesn’t always know how to handle her son but absolutely knows how to get things done…to her satisfaction. Furthermore, characters like Gordon, King Shark, Clayface, Batman, Catwoman, and more “staples” are honestly relegated to much smaller storylines or straight-up cameos in the final episode. It’s a big departure. Granted, a show like this is at its best at times when embracing the larger DC Comics continuity, and they do showcase that with arrivals like Captain Cold, The Flash, Lex Luthor having a much bigger role and more. But for those who like the “classic characters,” you will feel a bit disappointed.

Animation-wise, the show looks as incredible as ever. Everything is crisp and beautiful, yet bloody and gory when the situation calls for it. There are numerous cameos, Easter Eggs, references, and more for you to find, and yet they still make their own stamp on things…for better and for worse.

Okay, I’ve teased it enough; let’s get to the real meat and potatoes of things. While the show revels in its own insanity and changes up the paradigm yet again…I would argue that this is the worst season because it doesn’t play enough “by the rules” to help things make sense and feel meaningful. It’s not a bad season, but it doesn’t hold up to how things were in the previous three.

I’ll start with easily one of the best examples of this: the Bat Family. Remember, at the end of last season, Harley joined the Bat Family and was meant to learn from them. But, thanks to Talia Al Ghul’s meddling…she was the one teaching them. How does that work? Well, apparently…the Bat Family is useless without their weapons. That’s…wrong in various ways. Not to mention it kind of betrays the athletic abilities that each of them has (and even showed last season). Second, how some of the characters were treated hardly, or were acted out in general, felt in conflict with things that had happened before. Nightwing was the one who said they should “give her a shot” in the S3 finale, and yet even after she helped them save Wayne Manor, he didn’t trust her nor feel she was a true part of the family. Talk about whiplash out of nowhere.

Then, with Ivy, her plotline was about building herself up to be the ultimate female boss…and yet…by the end…it was kind of just…thrown to the side for no real reason. She beat Lex Luthor at his own game, twice, and yet it was like, “I didn’t really do anything,” and she went back to being a more basic villain by blowing things up with a laser. Just as important, three key side characters that Ivy mentored, the “Natural Disasters,” were straight-up ditched after the time travel episode. Ivy didn’t even THINK about finding them after they saved everything, or even help them fix everything, and that’s odd because there was an arc of them bonding and fostering a meaningful relationship. I’m not saying that the crew was better than the OG Season 1 squad, but it was nice seeing Ivy in a maternal and mentoring role, even if it was a waste that it was tossed aside like so many other plot points. Such as with…

…the Joker. Oh yeah, I got thoughts on this one! It was one of the things I KNEW I had to talk about in my Harley Quinn Season 4 review. The Joker has had a roller coaster of an arc throughout the first three seasons, and yet, counterintuitively, the series threw him back to basics too. If you recall, Season 3 had Joker learning to be a good guy, too. He became a family man, the mayor, and did everything he could to make Gotham City better for his “new kids.” And yet…all it took was him being “left out of the loop” by villains and getting bored to return to villainy. Now, some might say that’s “very Joker,” given his chaotic nature, but I would counter by saying that this isn’t how THIS Joker would think.

Remember, he was fully Joker again when he decided to be with his new partner and her children. He WILLINGLY didn’t kill people who were holding his stepson back from learning his heritage, and he fought on proper platforms to become the mayor. He even risked losing the election to save his son from Two-Face and then didn’t kill Two-Face afterward! So…why would he suddenly get “bored” and throw all that away? Just as important, why was the family so “happy” to be on board with being evil? It made no sense, and the Joker plotlines and scenes that followed were either on the nose or a really tacky way of doing a key Joker/Batgirl storyline.

Oh, and Harley wasn’t immune from the “makes no sense” plotlines. A key moment in the season is when Nightwing is murdered, and they need to find out who did it. As we discover…it was Harley who did it during one of her sleepwalking episodes. I know many fans were upset about that, and rightfully so, for numerous reasons. However, what I most had a problem with was that even after discovering the truth and wanting to atone, she just…dumps off the blame… on her clone… who was part potato. I’m not making this up.

Not only was the clone thing REALLY dumb (even for this show), but Harley, just tossing the blame away, felt honestly out of character. Remember, she was STRUGGLING with repressed feelings about who she is, yet felt bad about Nightwing but didn’t admit to what she did. Plus, despite saying that she “wasn’t with the Bat Family” anymore, she was still acting heroic by saving Superman, ensuring that people who were in danger of getting blasted by a moon laser were evacuated, and more. So is she an anti-hero now? It’s honestly a bit hard to tell. And yes, based on the ending season stinger, we are going to get more from Harley and Nightwing, but that doesn’t save it from what happened here.

Furthermore, many characters and comedy plotlines were kind of just…there…or further mishandled. Like with Talia. She was the “epic boss lady” that Ivy looked up to, and yet, very uncharacteristically, when Ivy needed her for help to take down a superpowered Lex Luthor, she said, “Businesswomen take the L and move on.” Except, even for this kind of show, that wouldn’t be how Talia handles things. She wouldn’t just LET Lex Luthor do whatever he wanted. She would use the situation to her advantage, and yet that’s not what came off here. Also, the plotline with Bane in Italy was just…so dang long, and the payoff was non-existent. Just as bad was Alfred’s multi-episode plot to get into Blackgate to be with Batman…only for that to change on a whim that equally made no sense, and now Alfred is even more stuck.

Yes, this show isn’t known for its “structured and well thought out stories” as it likes being chaotic by design…but there’s a difference between “embracing the chaos” and not making sense as you plot out a show.

In the end, while my Harley Quinn Season 4 Review might seem harsh, there are still lots of things to like about the season. The comedy elements will have you roaring in laughter, you’ll love seeing Harlivy doing their thing and still being very much in love, and you’ll want to see all the pop-ins and outs and what comes next. It’s just a shame they were so eager to try so much…that they didn’t put enough focus on the things that mattered.

Harley Quinn Season 4 Review


Harley Quinn Season 4 brought lots of new ideas and characters into the mix. Not all of it works, and things do stand out that hold the season back. But overall, it’s another nice season for a show that many adore.

  • Harley Quinn Season 4 Review