While this week’s episode of Harley Quinn will certainly be one of its most infamous, unfortunately it’s also one of its weakest. “Batman’s Back Man” is a disappointing albeit unique chapter in an otherwise remarkable story.
The story begins with two cliche losers smoking weed and talking about Lord Of The Rings. These two unnamed toxic fanboy types both wear shirts that brandish rather controversial messages, specifically “Release The Snyder Cut” and “The Last Jedi Is Not Canon”.
BACKGROUND ON THESE GROUPS
Late into the production of Justice League, Zack Snyder’s daughter tragically died, and so he left the film. Warner Brothers hired Joss Whedon to effectively remake the movie, and upon release, it failed colossally. Snyder finished his original version on his own time, but Warner Brothers refused to release the film. He has a large group of extremely loyal and intense followers, otherwise known as The Snyder Army or The Snyder Cult.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was an extremely divisive film within the fandom. For the most part, Episode 8 is either loved or despised. The film’s most vocal opponents are known for being rather unpleasantly aggressive in their opposition. Many blame that particular group of fans for influencing Rose Tico’s greatly reduced screen time in Episode 9.
“Batman’s Back Man” is making fun of the worst people within those respective schools of thought. These negative depictions do not represent the entirety of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement, nor are they intended to. Regardless, DC’s decision to openly mock the movement is sure to cause a great deal of discourse.
The two losers are supposed to represent toxic fan behavior, not one single movement. They never even discuss the Snyder Cut or The Last Jedi, spending most of their screen time attacking a TV show that they’ve never seen before.
“We could watch Harley Quinn.” “No!” “Have you seen the show?” “ Oh God no, it’s just another heavy-handed female empowerment story where the true villain is the quote un-quote patriarchy. So basic.” “Yeah I guess.” “I heard Harley takes down Joker at the end of season one! Sorry, but cucked isn’t a great color on the greatest villain of all time!”
THE FIRST BATMAN EPISODE OF HARLEY QUINN
The rest of their conversation carries out in a similarly unintelligent and offensive fashion until they actually read the synopsis and discover that “Harley Quinn and her best friend Poison Ivy aren’t in this episode, which focuses on Batman waking up from his coma and vowing to take back Gotham city.” at which point, the pair decides to watch it.
The Dark Knight leads this episode, and he does not meet expectations. The Batman of this world has always been a satirical version of The Caped Crusader, but before, he was always sidelined as a supporting character. When given his time in the spotlight, this Bruce Wayne reveals himself to be nothing more than a palid caricature.
In fairness, Harley Quinn has always proudly spoofed the DC universe, but it did so with leading characters who felt like the quintessential versions of those characters. Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are fantastic for that very reason. Unfortunately, the episode just felt like a mature episode of Teen Titans Go! With Batman in the lead role.
THE SATIRE FAILS TO CARRY THE FLAT STORY
After waking from his coma, Batman acts like a petulant child. He squabbles with Alfred who tells him not to fight due to the fact that he just woke up from a coma, but in classic Bruce Wayne fashion, he just needs to fight crime, so he calls Lucius Fox. Lucius effectively builds him an Iron Man suit to accommodate his impaired bodily state, Alfred takes it away, then Bruce steals it back and goes to fight Bane. Bane breaks his legs and leaves him for dead, and then Batgirl and Alfred, who is going by the vigilante alias of “The Macaroni”, save him from Two-Face goons. Batman admits that Alfred was right, and decides to work with Batgirl.
Like I said, it’s effectively Teen Titans Go!.
The episode does provide a few hearty laughs and some captivating action, but the story just feels uninspired. “Batman’s Back Man” is a serious low point for Harley Quinn, simply because this Batman story is nowhere near as captivating or interesting as the rest of the series.
The biting criticism of the inimical fanboy is mildly entertaining, and it’s certain to ruffle some feathers, but ultimately, it doesn’t add anything of value to the show. Thankfully, next week’s episode will put Harley back on center stage, where she belongs.
What did you think of “Batman’s Back Man? Were you offended by this episode? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!