How did Harley Quinn become Harley Quinn in the first place? We were finally given the answer to that question in “Mad Love.” Harley starts to wonder where her life went wrong after the Joker once again gets physical with her and throws her out when she tries to get his attention as he’s focused on killing Batman. The episode transitions to showing us Harley arriving at Arkham for an internship and her first interactions with the Joker. After trying to prepare herself for his tricks, she sets up a session with him but his stories about being abused by his father shock her. Eventually she decides he’s just a tortured soul and falls in love with him, worrying about him when he escapes. It’s seeing how roughed up he is when Batman returns him to Arkham that makes Harley snap and finally get her iconic costume, breaking him free. Back in the present, we see Harley determined to end Batman who she sees standing in the way of their happiness. Tricking him into thinking she’s turning on the Joker, she captures him and almost kills him but Batman talks to her about how the Joker used her and then convinces her the Joker won’t believe he’s dead unless he sees it himself. Joker arrives but is not happy about what Harley’s done and tries to kill her, knocking her out a window. Injured horribly, Harley at first thinks its her own fault and then is shown at Arkham determined to be through with the Joker. However then, in her cell, she sees a flower left by him with a note saying feel better soon and she is immediately drawn back into her obsession calling him an angel.
It’s the ultimate episode for getting inside Harley’s head, which is why it tops my list. Here we see exactly how the Joker manipulated Harley and encouraged her just enough for her to take the step into the world of crime. We also see how little the Joker cares for her and that she is much more capable on her own, when not under his thumb. It also solidifies just how strong the Joker’s hold on her is. After almost being killed by him, all it takes for her to be dragged back into their unhealthy relationship is the smallest of gestures. It shows Harley as a character who is much more than her relationship with the Joker, but one that has yet to find a way to escape it no matter what happens.
Which episode featuring Harley Quinn is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!