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Harley And Ivy's Best Moments In Harley Quinn

One of the nice surprises in an awful 2020 has been the emergence of the animated Harley Quinn series into the popular consciousness. Although the hilarious and heartfelt show found rabid fans immediately upon its debut in 2019, its existence on the little-watched and now comics-only DC Universe streaming service kept it relatively obscure. It was also competing with the better-marketed Harley Quinn movie, Birds of Prey, which, despite decent reviews, marred the brand with bad press in the form of low box office and a last-minute title change

But once the newly launched HBO Max subsumed all DC live content, the show immediately found a larger audience, and reviewers began to rave about it. As the series built a fanbase on HBO Max, fans prayed that a third season would further develop the relationship between Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) — the show's beating heart amid the chaos and carnage. After months of suspense, the network finally announced a new season in September. As fans wait for the new episodes to drop, we celebrate Harley and Ivy's best moments in Harley Quinn.

Ivy saves Harley from Arkham Asylum

The strength of the Harley/Ivy bond is established from the outset. In the series opener, "Till Death Do Us Part," the Joker (voiced by Alan Tudyk in a version that rates with the classic Jokers) uses Harley as a shield to allow him to escape Batman. Knowing she will be captured and imprisoned, the Clown Prince promises to spring her from Arkham Asylum that night. Six months later, Harley is still waiting for him, while her fellow inmates — Calendar Man, Killer Croc, the Riddler, and especially Ivy — try to convince Harley that Joker doesn't care about her. He's only been gaslighting her in an abusive relationship.

When it becomes clear that Harley won't let go of her Joker fantasies, Ivy takes matters into her own hands and springs her from Arkham during a prison riot. Back at her apartment (after watering her plants), Ivy tries to boost Harley's self-esteem by reminding her that she was once such a brilliant psychiatrist that she even helped Ivy overcome her misanthropic instincts. The rescue is the first important moment between the two, showing that Ivy — even despite her avowed hatred of all of humanity — really does care about Harley and wants the best for her.

Ivy drops Harley in fake acid

Despite Ivy's efforts, Harley returns to the Joker's manipulative embrace. To convince Harley once and for all that Joker doesn't care about her, Ivy concocts an elaborate plan involving fake acid. (Fake acid is a trendy plot device in adult animation, having also been used to uproarious effect in a recent Emmy-winning episode of Rick and Morty.) Ivy enlists the Riddler to string up Harley and Batman above pools of what they think is real acid and then invite the Joker to save either Harley or Batman, plunging the other one into the vat.

Joker, of course, saves Batman. His ego could never allow the Riddler to get credit for killing the Caped Crusader. In what she believes is the moment of her death, Harley finally realizes that Batman, not her, is Joker's true forever love. When Ivy pulls Harley out of the vat to reveal that the "acid" is just margarita mix (it's still "kind of sting-y," she complains), she finally accepts that the Joker doesn't love her. Fortunately, she still has Ivy by her side, who tells her, "I care about you so much, that I spent my entire Saturday setting up something this f*cking stupid." This brilliant first episode immediately establishes the tone of both the show and Harley and Ivy's relationship.

Ivy reveals her greatest fear

The hardest thing about relationships is learning to trust. It must be even harder for social outcast supervillains who have never been particularly loved. This is the premise of Harley and Ivy's friendship, and their arc in season 1 is that of two broken people learning to trust each other and themselves. In episode 9, "A Seat At The Table," Harley allows Joker to seduce her into a romantic evening, and she fails to keep a promise to aid Ivy with an act of environmental terrorism. She also neglects to help her crew — Dr.Psycho, King Shark, and Clayface — get out of a heist, in which King Shark gets badly hurt. They all feel betrayed and abandoned, but especially Ivy, who tells Harley, "I am done believing in somebody who just doesn't believe in herself. I need people I can count on."

Harley gets a chance to redeem herself in episode 11, "Harley Quinn Highway," by rescuing Ivy from Scarecrow. During the rescue, Dr. Psycho transports Harley and the crew into Ivy's unconscious mind, where Scarecrow's fear toxins have activated Ivy's greatest fears. After "Empire Strikes Back-ing it" and smashing her doppelganger with a bat, Harley learns that the thing Ivy fears the most is ... Harley — in particular, allowing herself to count on someone who promptly ditches her in her time of need. Recognizing her "months of emotional neglect," Harley resolves to be a better friend, and the bond between the two tightens. 

Joker kills Ivy

In episode 1.12, "Devil's Snare," Joker and Queen of Fables team up to wrestle control of Gotham from the Justice League and the Legion of Doom. When Ivy calls Kite Man to rescue them from the top of a giant beanstalk (just go with it, all the plotting in this show is delightfully ludicrous), Harley learns that Ivy has been dating the be-kited goofball villain. Incensed, Harley demands to know why she hasn't been told. Ivy angrily informs Harley that she hasn't been keeping it a secret. Harley just hasn't noticed because she's so self-involved!

Later in the episode, Ivy goes all 50-foot woman and saves Harley from a man-eating tree monster (again, just go with it). Harley, tucked into the palm of her friend's giant hand, apologizes for not being a more receptive friend. Just as they are making up, Joker impales giant Ivy with a spear, shrinking her down to normal size. Harley begs Ivy not to leave her, but Ivy dies in her arms. The episode ends with Harley shrinking bloody murder at the Joker and cradling her friend's body. Of course, Ivy will be resurrected in the next episode, but Harley doesn't know that. In her staggering loss and grief, she realizes just how much she loves her friend. The heartbreaking conclusion is one of the great Harley/Ivy moments, while the episode overall epitomizes the way that Harley Quinn skillfully shifts tones, juggling broad slapstick, dry wit, and genuine pathos.

Cobb Squad!

In season 2 episode 3, Harley and her crew need to bust into Gotham museum to pilfer a special flamethrower that will melt Mr. Freeze's ice palace. One problem: Dr. Trap (evidently channeling Professor Frink from The Simpsons) has taken over the museum and rigged it with every manner of pitfall and tripwire. Recognizing they need help for this next-level heist, Harley contacts Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, to bring her professional skills to the gig. 

The episode introduces an unexpected twist to the Harley/Ivy dynamic. Up until now, Ivy has seemed cool and unflappable, dispensing wry advice to a needy Harley about how she should manage her insecurities. Here, the script flips, with Ivy being intimidated by Selina because she is so cool, confident, and aloof. When Selina meets Ivy and Harley for lunch, Ivy goes from her usual dry and cynical self to fawning and obsequious the second Selina arrives. She complains to Harley about Selina's "controlling" move in ordering Cobb salads for the table without asking but then praises the salads as a bonding moment for the three of them. She even suggests they get Cobb Squad tattoos

This great Harley/Ivy moment shows that Ivy can be as vulnerable and insecure as Harley. Not only does her awkwardness make her more charming, but it adds a little balance to the Harley/Ivy dynamic. As a bonus, the Cobb Squad pays off hilariously later in the season 2 episode "Bachelorette."

Harley and Ivy become friends

Episode 2.6, "All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues," flashes back to Harley and Ivy's first meeting in Arkham Asylum, when Harley Quinn was still the psychiatrist known as Harleen Quinzel. The episode serves as a dual origin story, also revealing Harley's introduction to Joker. The Clown Prince has planted a bomb somewhere in the city, and Commissioner Gordon, DA Harvey Dent, and Batman can't get him to divulge its whereabouts. At their wit's end, they call in the novice Dr. Quinzel to try to reach the Joker. As Harleen proceeds to her fateful rendezvous with him, she encounters Ivy being roughly subdued by Arkham guards. When Harleen tries to comfort her, Ivy tells her to f*ck off but later provides some useful advice that helps Harleen make a breakthrough with Joker. Harleen gives Ivy a plant as a gesture of thanks.

It turns out that Joker planted his bomb inside Arkham. When it goes off, Joker escapes, kidnapping Harleen in the process. As he flees toward the woods outside the asylum, Harleen strapped across his back, Dent orders them both shot so there will be no witnesses. But Ivy shows up at the last second to save Harleen. No one had ever given Ivy a gift before, and she wanted to return the gratitude. Before Ivy is returned to Arkham, Harleen agrees to become her new therapist, and their special friendship is born — a key Harley/Ivy moment from Harley Quinn.

Harley and Ivy's first kiss

In "There's No Place to Go But Down," Two-Face puts Harley and Ivy through a sham trial that even their public defender Man-Bat (indecipherably) protests. They are sentenced to the Peña Duro North Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility run by Bane, a hybrid of his home prison in the comics and the pit from The Dark Knight Rises. Turns out the supervillain takes the "rehabilitation" part of the facility very seriously, offering group therapy, art treatment, and even a talent show where George Lopez (yes, that George Lopez) is scheduled to appear. Harley and Ivy come up with the not-at-all-nuts plan for Ivy to do a stand-up routine, during which she insults the other patients, thus starting a riot which will allow them to escape on Lopez's helicopter.

Of course, nothing goes as planned. The criminals, newly enlightened by Bane's treatment, condemn Ivy's mean-spirited remarks. Lopez departs without them, leading a disappointed Ivy to confess the existential despair she feels. This, of course, starts a riot, as the other inmates confront their own unhappiness. Harley and Ivy then attempt to escape up a burning pile of rubble as Bane struggles to pull them back down. Harley sacrifices herself for Ivy, but as she tumbles into the fiery abyss, Ivy retrieves her with a vine. Safe at the top, they impulsively kiss against a starry backdrop. As they regard each other in stunned amazement, a great cry of joy arises from Harlivy shippers around the world.

Harley and Ivy pretend their kiss meant nothing

But no romantic comedy worth its salt allows its lovers to get together right away. Every kind of obstacle must prevent their happiness, creating  tension and suspense as we wonder, "Will they or won't they?" Episode 2.8, "Inner (Para) Demons," begins with Harley and Ivy dismissing their kiss outside the pit as an impetuous celebration of freedom rather than a revelation of true feelings. Thus relieved, Ivy sets off to meet her fiancé Kite Man's parents. Meanwhile, an unhinged Harley tries to convince herself that the kiss meant nothing. But denial isn't enough to keep her true feelings for Ivy at bay. She needs a really good distraction. And what's a better distraction than attempting global domination?

Thus determined, she enlists Dr. Psycho's help to teleport her and the crew to Apokolips, the hell planet ruled over by the DC archvillain Darkseid. After Harley defeats Granny Goodness in hand-to-hand combat, Darkseid gives her command of an army of parademons. Back on Earth, Harley and the parademons fight Commissioner Gordon for control of Gotham. When Ivy shows up, she chastises Harley for the wanton violence her rash actions have caused. Harley, ashamed, relinquishes the parademons (who continue to ravage Gotham) and admits the truth to herself. The episode is a great Harley/Ivy moment because it shows the extent of Harley's true feelings for Ivy and allows her to admit how heartbroken she is that Ivy doesn't appear to reciprocate them.

Harley and Ivy drunkenly hook up ... twice!

In Episode 2.9 "Bachelorette," Harley finds a more suitable outlet for her unrequited Ivy love than wanton destruction. Having accepted Ivy and Kite Man's impending nuptials, Harley plans an elaborate bachelorette weekend on the Amazonian all-female island of Themyscira, which, in Wonder Woman's absence, has been curiously rejiggered into a corporate vacation destination. Along for the ride are Ivy's old school friend, Mr. Freeze's widow, and Catwoman. The women don't initially get along, but after Harley screams them into submission for Ivy's benefit, the group loosens up by getting hammered drunk. The debauchery leads to Harley and Ivy's first hook-up, as well as Ivy's immortal line when they wake up together: "Oh, sh*t, piss-cakes of a d*ck!"

Ivy plans to leave the island until Harley reveals the true reason why they have come: Lex Luthor has taken over Themyscira, and Harley enlists the Cobb Squad — as Ivy has christened the bachelorette party — to take it back for Queen Hippolyta. The Queen celebrates with an epic rager, after which a drunken Harley and Ivy hook up once again! "Bachelorette" — which also features a hilarious Little Mermaid-inspired King Shark subplot — may be the funniest episode of Harley Quinn, which is really saying something. It also pushes Ivy and Harley closer together. Ivy is still determined to marry Kite Man at the episode's conclusion, but at least she is no longer pretending like she doesn't have romantic feelings for Harley.

Ivy finally admits her feelings for Harley

In Episode 2.13, "Something Borrowed, Something Green," (formerly titled "The Runaway Bridesmaid," before someone evidently realized that the title would have been spoiler), Ivy and Kite Man break up at the altar, and she and Harley run away together. But not before epic wedding shenanigans! The beginning of the episode finds Harley and Ivy's friendship on the outs and Harley trying to find some tranquility in Arkham. Harley plans to let Ivy get married in peace, until she discovers that the Gotham Police intend to raid the wedding and snatch up all the supervillains in attendance.

In a homage to both The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde, Harley and Ivy escape the wedding in an old convertible with the police hot on their tail. As they flee, Ivy finally admits her feelings for Harley and tells her how amazing she is for having changed. Earlier in the season, Ivy has said she is "ride or die." And this is how the two lovers end the season — as outlaws on the run. Perhaps most importantly to fans, the showrunners don't try to wimp out or hedge their bets about the queer nature of Harley and Ivy's romance. Had the show ended here, it would have been the perfect conclusion — completely unambiguous about the nature of their relationship. As an affirmation of their love and a setup for their future adventures together, it is the greatest Harley and Ivy moment so far in Harley Quinn.