It feels like it’s been years—wait, it has been years—since the last new episode of Harley Quinn, but our sad collective dry spell is now over. The Kaley Cuoco-starring animated series made its triumphant return yesterday with three new episodes that are now streaming on HBO Max. We were treated to some truly inspired R-rated jokes, more than a few heartwarming moments, dozens of comic book Easter eggs, and even a musical number from the Joker. The pace of Harley Quinn has always been pretty breakneck and if anything, season three seems to have increased the pace. But don’t worry about whether you missed anything. We’re here to round up all of the insanity we caught in the Harley Quinn season three premiere.
- In case you’re new here, this show has a filthy mouth. By my count, a total of 33 f-bombs were dropped across the triple episode season premiere. If you’re curious, that brings the series total to 273 f-bombs after the 116 that were dropped in season one and 124 in season two. Yes, I counted every single one of them, and what’s even more ridiculous is I got paid for it.
- So, which characters had the filthiest mouths? Over the first three season three episodes, Harley dropped twelve f-bombs, Ivy dropped five, Frank dropped two, and Gordon, Nightwing, Riddler and a random audience member at the mayoral debate each dropped one.
- It’s dangerous to be a character in this show! The season premiere had ten deaths. Harley killed one guy during a robbery montage, a paparazzi on a yacht, and I’m crediting her with the death of the bird that crashed into the Invisible Plane. (It’s only fair, Harley was driving.) In addition, Super Squirrel caused a bystander to fall into an acid puddle. A child bus driver killed a mouse version of Thomas and Martha Wayne (yes, you just read that sentence). Plastique detonated explosives that killed herself. Billy Bob Thornton was killed by Princess the tiger, but that one is also on Clayface. One of Ivy’s dandelions killed itself by jumping into toxic waste, while the other one died because Ivy injected it with a formula it couldn’t handle. When you’re in Harley Quinn, wear a helmet. Or better yet, go find a safer show to live in like Game of Thrones.
- If you’re curious about what Ivy and Harley have been up to since they ditched the wedding, check out the DC comic series Harley Quinn: The Animated Series – The Eat. Bang! Kill Tour. (Even better, if you don’t sleep on it, the entire thing is temporarily free to read on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE as a part of the monthly DC Book Club.)
- We’ve been very clear from the start that this is an adult animated series, but this season begins with a first for DC (and probably pretty much everyone in the superhero business). Can anyone name another piece of comic book media that opens with the main character watching an adult film starring a fictionalized version of themselves?
- “Was that only two weeks ago? It feels so much longer,” Ivy says, referring to the events of the season finale. Ivy is right, it was two years ago. It would’ve been great if we only had to wait two weeks between seasons two and three, but the animators probably would’ve broken their wrists.
- Jor-El says the Fortress of Solitude has a sign that reads “No Girls Allowed,” which makes me wonder if Krypton had their own version of The Little Rascals.
- The Eat. Bang! Kill Tour montage includes a scene where Harley and Ivy are in a bed covered with money, which is a fun homage to the film Danger: Diabolik.
- Did you spot any of the Themysciran artifacts in the back of the Invisible Plane?
- I didn’t add the Queen of England to the kill count because I’m going to choose to believe Harley about that invisible parachute.
- It’s the return of one of the most underrated characters in the series—Cheryl! And she drops some interesting facts about Gotham. According to her, the city suffers from potholes, sinkholes, Super Squirrel, exploding sewers, haunted crosswalks, children driving buses, pregnant rats on every corner, and it costs $38 to mail a letter. Later in the episode, we living proof of most of this over a span of thirty seconds.
- Cheryl also mentions that she has to leave early to pick up a prescription for her pet lizard. Cheryl, what is your life and can we please see more of it?
- Apparently, the adult film actresses starred in “The Drilling Joke,” a porn parody of the famous Alan Moore and Brian Bolland comic The Killing Joke. I have so many follow up questions.
- You probably caught that the mouse family is supposed to be based off of Thomas, Martha and Bruce Wayne, but did you notice that they’re dressed exactly like their human counterparts in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film?
- The Suicide Squad introduction graphics pay homage to the 2016 David Ayer film.
- Do you remember the first time you heard they were making an animated series starring Harley Quinn? You probably had some predictions about the crazy things we would see. Still, I feel I can safely guess that none of us predicted Clayface inviting director James Gunn to sit on his face.
- By the way, yes, James Gunn is playing himself.
- Nightwing says, “F*ck the Macaroni!” as an homage to Brenton Thwaites’ version of Dick Grayson saying “F*ck Batman!” in the series premiere of Titans. For some reason, we have a feeling this sentiment will be less controversial.
- Harley Quinn claims that Jurassic Park is sixty percent of her personality, which means she is exactly like me when I was nine years old.
- Bane wants revenge on Harley and Ivy because of a wedding gift, which is an odd motivation. Hey Bane, the couple trapped you in a pit last season. Wouldn’t that be more important? Then again, the guy is clearly going through some stuff, as his later trip to the bank reveals.
- The pink flower that Ivy hides in was based on a similarly designed plant seen in the Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death limited series.
- Let’s recap Bane’s credit card transactions. He spent $20 at Big Belly Burger at 8 a.m., then another $30 there at 9 a.m. He bought twenty-five cases of hard seltzer and spent $50,000 on the wedding dress Sarah Jessica Parker wore in the Sex and the City movie. Where do we even begin? Bane, buddy, get yourself a life coach.
- During his escape room meltdown, Nightwing mentions that he allowed Tarantula to kill Blockbuster. He’s referring to the events of the infamously controversial Nightwing #93.
- Nightwing lays on his back and announces he’s going to kill himself. Who wrote this episode? Dan DiDio?
- Did you catch the names of the folders on the Bat-Computer during the final scene of episode two? They’re labeled Bat-Taxes, The Ayer Cut, Batsuit Nipple Concepts, and Robin’s Homework. (What does it say that out of the four of them, the one I most suspect is empty is the last one?)
- Yes, that’s the real Billy Bob Thornton playing himself, playing Thomas Wayne. This scene brings up an interesting point, though. Who wears pearls when they go to the local movie theater? We think a new DC movie is a pretty big deal here on the DC site, but even we wouldn’t bust out the formal clothes for one.
- Ryan Reynolds sends a text to Billy Bob, inviting him to try his gin. This is a reference to Aviation Gin.
- I wasn’t expecting Riddler and Clock King to become a couple, let alone an award-nominated one, but they are cute together. Plus, the way Riddler emotionally supports Clock King at the end was touching. This might be the healthiest romantic relationship we’ve seen in the series so far.
- The 83rd Annual Villy Awards are being held at the Monarch Theater on Crime Alley. Yes, the same theater where Bruce and his parents spent their last night together.
- The Joker’s opening skit at the Villy Awards was interesting. It looks like he’s about to beat a Jason Todd lookalike with a crowbar, but instead they begin to dance and sing about the award ceremony. That didn’t happen in my copy of Batman #427. Why didn’t the 1-900 number give us an option to vote for that? That would’ve been epic and unexpected!
- Let me guess, most of you thought that Cock King was the guy with the crotch-gun, and not the guy in the chicken suit. The crotch-gun guy is actually a really obscure Doom Patrol villain called Codpiece. He has a single appearance in Doom Patrol #70, making him one of the deepest cuts in the premiere.
- Joker has a lot of nerve mourning Scarecrow during the “In Memoriam” segment considering he’s the one who murdered him.
- Let’s be honest, we all knew that one way or another Billy Bob Thornton was not leaving that apartment alive.
- Harley is appalled when Imperceptible Man leaves the bathroom without washing his hands. Apparently, she missed that joke from the Justice League Unlimited episode “The Great Brain Robbery.” Villains don’t wash their hands because they’re evil.
- Finally, were you happy to see Kite Man doing so well? He has a new squeeze, Golden Glider (and she seems really cool!), and he’s willing to forgive and forget when it comes to Harley and Ivy. Well, perhaps he’s so chipper because he’s getting his own show. That’s right, both Kite Man and Golden Glider will be the focus of an animated Harley Quinn spinoff series that’s coming to HBO Max sometime in the future. (I hate that we don’t know when it’ll be debuting, but in this case, I’m willing to be patient to give Kite Man a chance to get over his hangover before his moment in the spotlight.)
So, who else has that Joker song stuck in their head? Did they have to make it so dang catchy? We all knew the Joker was sadistic, but this is next-level stuff from him. It’s going to be in my head for at least a week…which, coincidentally, is when the next episode of Harley Quinn drops. Until then, DC fans!
Harley Quinn Season 3 is now streaming on HBO Max. Look for all-new episodes of Harley Quinn every Thursday. (And be sure to visit our official series page for more slightly deranged articles like this one about our favorite Maid of Mischief.)
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.