The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy romantic drama took a break this week, as the focus in “Dye Hard” shifted to the men in Harley’s life.

Joker, Dr. Psycho and Sy all play central roles this week, although not in the ways that fans might expect. Joker plays the role of confidant and unlikely friend, Psycho fills the role of vengeful antagonist, and Sy tragically and unexpectedly becomes a martyr. Only some of these changeups work, making for a flawed but ultimately effective episode.

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Harley’s journey to forget the pain of rejection truly begins at the Wayne Tower bar, with none other than Joker – or rather, a kind and compassionate individual with amnesia who used to be Joker. The two are forced into working together towards escape when robbers storm Wayne Tower.

Harley Quinn And Her Many Men

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Their journey together is easily the highlight of “Dye Hard”. Harley understandably feels a good deal of resentment for the monster she used to know, but she represses her hostility in order to preserve his amnesia. Whether or not she is trying to save this man from himself out of compassion or out of fear isn’t explicitly stated, which provides their dynamic with a good deal of healthy ambiguity.

Their escape is ultimately foiled by Riddler and Dr. Psycho, both seeking revenge against Harley Quinn for her treatment of them. Working together, the two acquired a psychic helmet which amplified Psycho’s powers, enabling him to reassamble the Parademon army seen in “Inner (Para) Demons”.

Their supervillain team up proves to be insurmountable, especially due to Clayface and King Shark being turned against Harley against their will. Harley only survives the encounter thanks to the selfless and heartbreaking sacrifice of her former landlord Sy. Sy’s invulnerable to Psycho’s attacks thanks to his status as a cyborg, an advantage which proves invaluable in his final moments.

Psycho’s turn towards antagonist seemed promising at first, but I can’t say that I’m thrilled with the execution. Over time, Psycho grew from a simple misognystic bad guy into a slightly more complex and nuanced character as a part of Harley’s crew. Unfortunately, as soon as he turns on the team, all that character development is flushed down the toilet as Psycho is reduced to a one note villain with cliche, motivation. This twist could have been impactful in theory, but it felt uninspired in practice.

Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 10 Review: "Dye Hard" - The Illuminerdi

As I said, the reinvented character interactions didn’t all stick the landing. While Joker’s new identity was captivating opposite Harley, it seems that his freedom from his past is coming to an end. Harley pushed Mistah J into the classic Acme chemicals vat at the end of the episode in order to resurrect the only man who knows how to find the Justice League, Joker.

Without the support of Sy and Ivy, Harley needs some extra firepower to combat her former teammate, and so she’s forced to bring back her worst nightmare. Joker’s return is sure to upset the status quo, shaking things up in the seasons final three episodes. On top of that, Ivy’s wedding looms on the horizon, and it’ll be fascinating to see how Pamela Isley responds to Quinn’s actions in “Dye Hard”.

As season two draws ever nearer to its conclusion, stakes are high and tensions are even higher. This week may not have reached the heights of “There’s No Place To Go But Down” or “All The Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues“, but it still delivered a riveting DC story filled with intriguing character interactions.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our review of episode 11, “A Fight Worth Fighting For”.