The Joker was dead. This was generally assumed to be true, even though nobody ever found a body. Which is always a mistake. Especially when The Joker is involved. Still, Harley and Ivy were satisfied that The Joker was dead… until a new bartender showed up in Noonan’s Bar who looked just like The Joker!
Okay, so what if he had pink skin, brown hair and looked to be in remarkably good health and NOT like someone who had a skyscraper forged in his own image collapsed on top of him? Run him through an Instagram filter and he looked JUST LIKE the not-so-dearly-departed Clown Prince of Crime.
This raised the question of what to do with him. Ivy was all for just killing him and letting that be the end of it, but Harley, at the moment, had an objection to killing normal people. At least, normal people who hadn’t done anything to annoy her or try to kill her recently.
Besides, there was a much larger moral dilemma at play – if The Joker had, as Harley suspected, fallen prey to his own normalizing acid bath and been turned into an Average Joe with no memory of who he had been and no desire to seek revenge on the women who destroyed his empire, then wasn’t it wrong to punish him for the crime of who he had been. Are people, in fact, capable of honest change?
This leads Harley to recall her first day at Arkham Asylum. How she met The Joker. How she met Poison Ivy. How she nearly got killed because of Jim Gordon’s incompetence, Batman’s arrogance and Harvey Dent’s obsession with appearances. But still the question remains; do people change or just their circumstances?
Oh, and what do they do about the now normal Joker?
“All The Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues” is oddly light on funny moments and heavy on philosophy, relative to earlier Harley Quinn episodes. Thankfully, it never gets preachy, but there’s also not as much as the usual wacky randomness the show is famous for. About the weirdest it gets is Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent having shirtless push-up contests with a rematch involving squats.
Most of the humor is slow-boiling and dark, coming from the characters being themselves and the conflict between who they were and who they are now. The irony is that Harley, who claims to have changed the most, is probably the most static of all the main characters. Ivy is still aloof but she does, much as she tries to deny it, actually care about some people now. Jim Gordon was still clingy, but nowhere near the alcoholic sadsack he is in New New Gotham. Harvey Dent is still a violent lunatic, but nobody noticed in the past because a complete disregard for human life is a requirement for holding political office
Still, the drama is played out well, even if the jokes are fewer and far between. And after this episode I think it can safely be said that Alan Tudyk has cemented his place as the heir apparent to Mark Hamill when it comes to the question of Who Is The Best Joker Voice-Actor?
All The Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues will be available to stream on May 8th, 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.