Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Harley Quinn Season 4 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Harley Quinn" Season 4

A lot of crazy stuff has gone down in the first three seasons of "Harley Quinn." Harley (Kaley Cuoco) has led a high-speed car chase along the loop-the-loops of the Harley Quinn Highway, attended prison therapy in a giant pit, and gone inside the twisted brain of Bruce Wayne (Diedrich Bader). You would think that the show, now in its fourth season, would eventually run out of places to go.

Well, "Harley Quinn" Season 4 still has plenty of wacky hijinks, perhaps more than any previous season. Season 4 takes Harley and her girlfriend Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) in bizarre and exciting directions. The highlights include a trip to Vegas, a jaunt to the future, and a potato-based cloning incident.

If you have just watched Ivy spar with a giant shape-shifting social media manager or Harley wrestle with a clone, you may be wondering what the heck is going on. Fear not, because we are here to break down the ending of "Harley Quinn" Season 4 for you. 

What you need to remember about Harley Quinn Season 4

When Season 4 of "Harley Quinn" begins, Harley and Ivy are still dating but working on opposite sides of the law. Lex Luthor (Giancarlo Esposito) appoints Ivy CEO of the Legion of Doom (aka the LOD), but she quickly discovers it's not all it's cracked up to be. Her employees don't take her seriously, while Lex tries to undermine her, and he is still technically running the company from his private retreat on the moon. Still, Ivy can't help but admire Talia al Ghul (Aline Elasmar) from the Evil Women in Business Collective (aka the EWBC ... there are lots of acronyms in this show). Soon Ivy starts to get a little too comfortable in her CEO chair, and she cares more about getting media attention than listening to Harley or her young female employees.

Meanwhile, Harley is training to be a hero, but the Bat Family needs to constantly remind Harley, "No killing!" Harley hates that the Bat Family is constantly accusing her girlfriend of being behind all the evil plans the Bat Family is trying to stop. Still, she starts to wonder if maybe they're right and that Ivy simply isn't telling her because she feels her job is more important.

Near the end of the season, a trip to the future forces Harley and Ivy to re-evaluate their priorities, and the couple needs to work together to escape the dystopian future and return to the present. Along the way, they realize that maybe they were letting their jobs get between them as a couple.

What happens at the end of Harley Quinn Season 4?

After some time-travel hijinks, Harley and Ivy return to the present to find the Earth is facing an apocalypse. Thanks to Lex Luthor's doomsday device called the Earth Saver, Earth's ozone layer has gotten so thick that it nearly blocks out the sun. This casts the world into darkness and makes Ivy's powers useless since she needs the sun to control plants, and is all part of Lex's elaborate scheme to weaken Superman — who also gets his abilities from the sun — and steal his powers. As a result, Ivy needs to find a craftier way to beat Lex. She tries exercising her power as CEO and courting the favor of the Legion of Doom's board members to vote Lex out. Ultimately, she can only stop Lex when she abandons the Legion of Doom and does things her way — in this case, that means stealing Lex's ozone laser and blasting her enemies.

Meanwhile, Harley discovers that she has a doppelgänger, thanks to a potato-based cloning incident. Harley's clone is even more enthusiastic about fighting crime — so enthusiastic, in fact, that she tries to eliminate the real Harley, insisting that she is the better version. By the end, Harley manages to stop her clone, sending it back to the potato from whence it came. Along the way, Harley decides to quit the Bat Family. Seeing the way her clone upholds justice makes it plain to Harley that she isn't cut out for hero work.

The Legion of Doom is a toxic workplace

The harassment and lack of respect that Ivy endures at the Legion of Doom will remind many viewers of real-life corporate culture, so perhaps Gotham's society for supervillains isn't too far removed from reality.

At first, the employees can't wrap their minds around the concept of a female CEO and they assume Ivy must have slept with Lex to get the position. Everyone ignores or actively undermines her plans for socially conscious evil. Lex won't let Ivy participate in any panels at Malcon, insisting she needs to save her voice for her big speech — no matter that this "big speech" is simply to introduce him. Meanwhile, her PR team makes decisions for her without her consent. Later, Ivy is forced to grovel to the board members and stroke their egos just to convince them of what ought to be a common-sense decision: to turn off Lex's doomsday machine.

Ivy isn't the only one impacted. The Legion of Doom offers no childcare program, forcing King Shark (Ron Funches) to bring his eight babies to work with him. Meanwhile, Volcana (Jeannie Tirado) and several other characters are expected to work on Sundays. The Legion doesn't even provide a microwave in the break room — just a cloning machine that looks an awful lot like a microwave ... a recipe for disaster in more ways than one. In summary, the Legion of Doom is a pretty terrible place to work, so viewers can't help but be a little relieved when Ivy destroys it at the end of Season 4.

Why has Clayface done an about-face?

Fans of the "Harley Quinn" series may find Clayface (Alan Tudyk) to be almost unrecognizable in Season 4. Where there was once a lovable washed-up actor, there is now an arrogant celebrity who wants nothing to do with Harley and Ivy. Whatever happened to the sweet sidekick we came to love?

His transformation makes sense if you consider that Clayface has become truly famous for the first time. For most of the series, he was a nobody, and he hung around with Harley and her crew because he was a misfit and nobody else would put up with him. When he auditioned for the movie "A Hard Wayne's Gonna Fall" in Season 3, the biggest role he could get was as the director's chair ... and yes, that means he was the chair for the director. His days as a piece of furniture were numbered, however, and after impersonating Billy Bob Thornton, Clayface finally received recognition. That's when the fame started to go to his head.

Of course, it probably didn't hurt that he endured heartbreak in "Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine's Day Special." Clayface met his "other half" (quite literally), only to have his lover yanked away from him. This incident may explain why Clayface has forsaken any meaningful human connection and become even more self-absorbed. If you think about it, Clayface has always been a bit of a diva. Season 4 simply shows what happens when he has millions of fans to indulge him.

Why is Harley slipping back into her old ways?

Harley has come a long way since the first season of "Harley Quinn," but there's one thing that hasn't changed: she is still giving up too much of herself for others. It's her biggest weakness, and it's been present in every season of the show so far. In Season 1, she let Joker (Alan Tudyk) influence her decisions even after she broke up with him. In Season 2, she wanted so badly to support Ivy in her relationship with Kite Man (Matt Oberg) that she pushed down her own feelings for Ivy. Harley finally acknowledged those feelings, but she spent most of Season 3 putting her own needs on hold to help Ivy terraform Gotham.

This time, Harley is giving everything up for the Bat Family. To help harness her hero instincts, Harley moves in with them, even though it means she will spend less time with Ivy. Likewise, she gets eye surgery just so she can better fight crime at night. She even lets her job interfere with her romantic life. Harley cares so much about what the Bat Family thinks that she asks Ivy if she is secretly sabotaging the Bat Family's plans, even though this undermines the trust in their relationship. "I gave up everything," Harley admits in Episode 5. "I wanted it to be perfect."

To fit in, Harley squashes down the part of herself that enjoys bashing people's heads with a baseball bat. But this turns out to have disastrous consequences.

Why does Harley decide to leave the Bat Family?

When Harley quits the Bat Family, initially seems to come out of left field. Didn't Harley just decide in Season 3 that she wanted to be one of the good guys? In reality, it's more that Harley realized that she never got a chance to think about what she wanted. Harley needed time to do some soul-searching, and this meant trying new things, even if they didn't always work out. So when Harley leaves the Bat Family, it's not a step back but another step forward for her.

Only when Harley meets her clone does she realize where she belongs. Watching her trigger-happy clone put people behind bars for minor offenses makes Harley realize she can never really be a "good guy." Harley acknowledges that she can be obnoxious when she acts all righteous and tells Batgirl (Briana Cuoco) that she can no longer pretend to be something she's not.

That doesn't necessarily mean Harley now considers herself a full-on villain, however. In the season finale, Joker criticizes Harley's indecision, urging her to make up her mind about whether she's a villain or a hero. Yet by the end of the episode, Harley realizes that she doesn't need to choose. Why does she need to identify as a hero or a villain? Why can't she just be Harley, someone who loves blowing up buildings but also gives people a chance to evacuate first? Ivy describes Harley as an outsider who plays by her own rules, and that's what Ivy loves about her.

Who really killed Nightwing?

When Nightwing (Harvey Guillén) is found dead, there is no shortage of possible suspects, including Harley's clone. Yet in a shocking twist, it turns out the killer is actually Harley (the real one). Throughout the season, Harley has been trying so hard to be a good guy that she has been repressing her true self.

It all started in Vegas after Harley created a "secret identity" for herself. She adopted the persona of "Hargaret" so she would feel free to have fun without feeling pressure from the Bat Family or herself. Yet by trying to separate her outward persona from her inner impulses, Harley may have planted the seeds for something more dangerous.

After her vacation ends, Harley keeps that side of herself locked away. These bottled-up emotions build up inside of her, only escaping when she is asleep. She begins sleepwalking, at first only doing little things, such as smashing Nightwing's belongings or seizing the steering wheel, yet the pressure quickly builds. Nightwing rejects Harley's attempts to give him a friendship bracelet, accuses her girlfriend of kidnapping Batgirl, and tells Harley that she will never be a true member of the Bat Family. That's when Harley snaps, and while sleepwalking, she strangles Nightwing with a friendship bracelet.

Harley is horrified to learn what she's done. At the same time, she knows it never would have happened if she hadn't been trying so hard to be somebody that she wasn't.

Meanwhile, in Italy

Although the episode where Bane (James Adomian) goes to Italy is a huge detour from the main plot, it's still worth mentioning because of the character growth in Bane.

If you recall, Nora (Rachel Dratch) sent him on a fool's errand to replace the handle for a pasta maker, and Bane obliged because he's a pushover and he secretly has a crush on Nora. His errand takes him to the pasta machine manufacturer in Italy, where he learns that the model has been discontinued. So Bane simply wanders through the Italian countryside until he meets legendary pasta maker Mama Nacaroni (Janeane Garofalo), and under her tutelage, Banes learns how to make fine pasta by hand. When Bane announces his plans to bring this recipe back to America, Mama Nacaroni quickly puts him in his place. "You cannot come to this country, steal from us, and then leave," she says. The sequence cleverly lampoons the all-too-common trope of a character from another country enriching the life of an American tourist, yet somehow never expecting anything in return.

Still, Bane learns something far more important than a pasta recipe, and he realizes that even his huge, bumbling hands can create something as delicate as pasta. It is gratifying for him to taste something he made with his own hands. Sure, when Bane returns home, Nora rejects his advances, and Bane is too dense to notice, but we'd like to think that Bane has at least discovered some newfound confidence following his trip.

Ivy discovers the best way to make a difference

For the entire season, Ivy has been trying to reform the Legion of Doom, but she never seems to get anywhere. Lex has been sabotaging Ivy at every turn, using her as a puppet CEO while he secretly runs things from the moon. Whenever Ivy finally does beat him, it's only after she undergoes the humiliation of sucking up to the board members, and even then she just gets lucky. If the wife of a dead board member hadn't sympathized with her, Ivy might not have succeeded.

Even after Ivy ousts Lex and replaces him with more women like her, nothing has changed. Nobody cares about her ideas for socially conscious evil, and all the ladies from EWBC want to carry on with business as usual. Worst of all, Ivy knows that she too is guilty of perpetuating this system. When the Natural Disasters came to her with their ideas, Ivy insisted she had no time to listen to them, even though she was once an up-and-coming supervillain like them. "I didn't build anything," Ivy tells Harley in the season finale, "I was just part of the problem."

In the end, Ivy decides she doesn't need to be CEO to make a difference. Instead, she seizes control of Lex's doomsday machine the old-fashioned way — by stealing it. From there, Ivy uses it to destroy a bunch of corrupt corporations, including those that belong to the Legion of Doom members who dismissed her. For Ivy, this is enough.

What the end of Harley Quinn Season 4 could mean for the franchise

The ending of "Harley Quinn" Season 4 gives us a pretty good idea of where the franchise is going. So far Warner Bros. hasn't officially greenlit Season 5, but it seems likely they will. In fact, the showrunners must feel pretty confident about a renewal, because the finale of Season 4 includes some setup for future seasons.

This is not the first time a season finale in this series teased potential plotlines for the next one, but it may be the first time that they've included the setup for (presumably) the main villain in the next season. In the final episode, we see Talia al Ghul resurrecting Nightwing for some kind of evil purpose. Talia still seems to have Robin (Jacob Tremblay) wrapped around her finger, though that may change once Robin sees Nightwing as nothing but a brain-dead zombie. On the hero side of things, the next season will clearly follow Harley, Ivy, Batgirl, and Catwoman (Sanaa Lathan). This team of not-quite-heroes, not-quite-villains will be known as the Gotham City Sirens, a team-up featured in the DC Comics.

Since Ivy destroyed the Legion of Doom at the end of Season 4, that means series regulars like King Shark and Bane will be out of a job. Plus, Harley still hasn't admitted to Batgirl that she's the one who killed Nightwing, so this skeleton in her closet will inevitably come rattling in Season 5.