A word of warning before the review proper: If you’re the sort of fan who is militant about the point that The Last Jedi was the worst Star Wars movie ever because of the presence of Rose Tico or is firmly convinced that Justice League would have been the greatest superhero movie ever made had Joss Whedon not been allowed to get his greasy mitts on the project, you might want to skip this week’s episode of Harley Quinn and this review. Of course if you are that sort of fan, the odds of you watching Harley Quinn and/or reading this review in the first place are slim to none. So forget we said anything and if you get offended, tough.
Now, for those who were looking forward to seeing what Harley does next in her roaring rampage of revenge against the Injustice League that put her on ice and turned her into a literal trophy in Penguin’s nightclub or what will happen next in the Kivy romance (That’s what we’re calling the Poison Ivy/Kite Man ship, right?) this episode might be a bit of a disappointment. However, for those who have been wondering where Batman has been all this time as Gotham City fell deeper and deeper into chaos… well, you may also be disappointed, if you were expecting this to be a dark, serious examination of the Batman mythos.
But if you are up for a good laugh? If you can accept that Barbara Gordon is simultaneously a brilliant strategist and martial arts master but still gets all gooey about meeting Batman and starts an Instagram live-stream upon meeting him? If you can tolerate Alfred the Butler trolling his boss over his inability to put on his own socks? And if you can accept that Two-Face would attempt to promote his new partnership with Bane with an advertising campaign featuring colorful billboards? You are going to laugh hard and laugh often at this episode.
After an opening scene in which two sexist fanboys begrudgingly agree to watch this week’s episode of Harley Quinn after discovering that it’s entirely focused on Batman, Two-Face and Bane, we discover just what Bruce Wayne has been doing ever since he was pulled from the wreckage of Joker Tower, sans Batsuit, in the season 2 premiere. The short answer is “not much,” having been in a coma for the past few months while the Injustice League have been terrorizing his city. It’s time for someone to stand up for the decent, tax-paying people of Gotham. Too bad it can’t be Batman, as he can’t even stand up unaided thanks to his injuries.
Thankfully, other heroes have risen to aid Gotham in its time of need, but Bruce can’t accept that he’s been replaced by a Batgirl with 1.3 million Twitter followers and some fop with a utility wig called The Macaroni. This leads Bruce to start secretly pursuing other options for bringing the Bat back, even as Two-Face and Bane start to consolidate their power after the deaths and disappearances of the rest of the Injustice League. Their new duoship is one-sided, however (oh the irony!) as Two-Face has about as much respect for Bane as the crew of the Hispaniola had for Long John Silver’s parrot.
As per usual, the voice acting is top-notch, with Diedrich Bader playing a decidedly straight-laced Batman. (If his voice sounds familiar, he was also Batman in The Brave And The Bold and uttered the meme-worthy line “BATMAN DOES NOT EAT NACHOS!”) Briana Cuoco manages to play both sides of Batgirl with equal ease. Tom Hollander (who, if you know who he is, you’re probably surprised to see his name here) offers a suitably dry and sarcastic performance as Alfred The Butler. The show is almost stolen, however, by Christopher Meloni, whose Commissioner Gordon is the runaway dark horse contender for the best character on the show.
Batman’s Back Man will be available to stream on May 1st, 2020!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.