CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; directed by Kevin Altieri.
REVIEW: Seems like everybody's going to get a "gone legit" episode, but Harley's is probably the best. It's funny, for one thing, with favorite gags including Harley "armed" with a mannequin's limb, her taking the hyenas for a stroll and them eventually gnawing at Boxy's... uhm... boxers, her recognizing Batman's chin (as Bruce Wayne's, fooled ya), Robin's use of fish-chuks, and that whole sequence with the neon signs harking back to a time when Batman used giant props as battlegrounds a lot.
It's really the comedy version of The Killing Joke's "one bad day" idea, with Harley the victim of people's bias against the (formerly) criminally insane, over-reacting by almost accidentally kidnapping trouble-magnet Veronica Vreeland, and finding herself pursued by all parties, including the mob, the army (Ronnie's dad drives a tank through town), the cops and the Bat (who at least tries to help her). Wait--a tank? I did say it was a comedy. And yet, it's one where Batman admits he was created by one bad day too, and though this is out of a comic I've read, it still put a lump in my throat. Make us laugh before you make us cry.
I do like that Batman has an arc here. In the past, we've seen him be quick to judge his rogues when they were released into genpop, sometimes unreasonably so (Ivy was up to no good, but the Penguin could almost have made it, for example). In this episode, he starts out shaking Harley's hand too hard, the first to show his mistrust at her recovery, but he grows more open-minded when he meets her in his civilian identity, and tries desperately to have her walk back from the edge. So the kiss she gives him is totally earned, and a fun twist on her codependency on the Joker. Love that Robin and Ivy, the two's normal second halves, are standing right there reacting with shock and amusement, too.
IN THE COMICS: Harley and Batman both being the product of "one bad day" is a moment pulled from The Killing Joke (where, obviously, her part was played by the Joker).
SOUNDS LIKE: Frank Cover plays General Vreeland; he was Tom Willis on The Jeffersons. Suzanne Stone will reappear as Dr. Joan Leland, but was perhaps also known as Cissy on Sanford.
REWATCHABILITY: High - A great deal of fun, but not without a healthy share of pathos as well. Can they do no wrong with Harley Quinn?