A television show creator rarely promises that a couple in their series will never break up. But that's what happened with HBO Max's "Harley Quinn." Well aware of fans' fervor for the relationship and the few naysayers who dislike the couple, "Harley Quinn" co-showrunner Patrick Schumacker told The AV Club that "Harley and Ivy will never break up in the series as long as we have a say." Schumacker's statement relieved many viewers, especially LGBTQ fans who have long been dismissed and undervalued by television writers.
Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) are an unexpectedly heartwarming delight in a show best described as irreverent and a little demented. Season 1 of the series follows Harley breaking free from the Joker's (Alan Tudyk) chokehold and establishing herself as a fearsome villain. Her best friend, Ivy, is there for her every step of the way while trying to sort out what she wants to do with her life.
In the end, Harley and Ivy find themselves in a (relatively) healthy relationship in an altogether unhealthy world. It took a long time for 'Harlivy' to get to a place where they were secure enough in their identities to embark on this journey together -- but I wouldn't have it any other way! For posterity's sake, here's my account of the 12 best Harley and Ivy moments thus far in the series.
Ivy Frees Harley From Prison (Season 1, Episode 1)
Let's start at the show's first episode, where it all began. In "'Til Death Do Us Part," Harley and Ivy find themselves in the place where they first met all those years ago, Arkham Prison. Harley's left to rot in jail while the Joker is living large. But she's still convinced the Joker will come and rescue her. Ivy and the rest of Arkham's residents know this is not true, and when Ivy orchestrates her prison break, she takes Harley with her. Of course, Harley doesn't go willingly, so Ivy has to knock her out with some flower power to get the job done.
When you think about it, this scene is a kind of role reversal for Harley and Ivy. Harley was once Ivy's psychiatrist. By Ivy's account, she was the only one who got through to her. But now Ivy must counsel Harley, who is still in an abusive relationship. The fact that Ivy is willing to put this much effort into helping someone should tell you everything you need to know. "A classic misanthrope with abandonment issues who befriends plants to avoid human intimacy" going to bat for someone she later admits to caring about? Now that's growth, and we're only on episode one!
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Ivy Drops Harley In Margarita Mix To Prove A Point (Season 1, Episode 1)
When Ivy had Harley tied up with one of her plants to stop her from going back to the Joker, she learned a valuable piece of information. Harley told Harleen (yes, the talking picture in the picture frame) that someone in an abusive relationship needs to see that there's no future with that person to reclaim their identity.
Despite Ivy's best efforts, Harley returns to the Joker after Ivy breaks her out of Arkham. To finally convince Harley that the Joker doesn't love her, Ivy hatches a brilliant plan. She teams up with the Riddler (Jim Rash), who suspends Harley and Batman (Diedrich Bader) over a vat of acid and forces the Joker to choose one of them to save. The Joker can't bear to let the Riddler get the credit for defeating Batman, so he chooses his cloaked nemesis instead of Harley.
But the "acid" is margarita mix, which Ivy reveals to Harley when she pulls her out of the vat. Ivy's plan works. Harley realizes the Joker never loved her -- it's Batman he's been obsessed with all along. Again, the effort Ivy put into getting Harley to this point says it all. "I care about you so much that I spent my entire Saturday setting up something this f******g stupid," Ivy eloquently says.
Ivy Reveals That Harley Is Her Greatest Fear (Season 1, Episode 11)
In the series opener, Ivy tells Harley that she loves her in "a very odd, hard-to-articulate way." But the girl still has a lot of issues to work through regarding her feelings for her best friend. Luckily, we get more insight into what exactly makes Ivy tick in "Harley Quinn Highway."
After a truly horrifying experience with her parents, Harley picks herself up off the floor (literally) to save Ivy from Scarecrow. Scarecrow injected Ivy with a toxin that amplifies her greatest fears. To free Ivy from the prison of her brain, Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale) and the gang enter Ivy's mind. Harley bounces around the place with her bat, defeating Ivy's subconscious boogeymen with sheer brute force.
The surprise comes when Harley learns that Ivy's greatest fear is Harley. When Harley demands Ivy explain herself, Ivy tells her, "You wanna know what my biggest fear is? Finally allowing myself to count on someone and then having them ditch me." Ivy's referring to an earlier episode where Harley broke her promise to Ivy to spend time with the Joker, a heartbreaking betrayal. Luckily, Ivy's admission is a turning point for the dynamic duo, as Harley commits to being a better, more reliable friend from there on out.
Ivy Comes Back To Life And Saves Harley (Season 1, Episode 13)
In "Devil's Snare," the Joker and the Queen of Fables (Wanda Sykes) team up to take control of Gotham. Following a series of ludicrously improbable events, Ivy transforms into a green giant to save Harley, only to be stabbed through the heart by the Joker. Ivy dies in Harley's arms, and Harley is devastated beyond belief.
Luckily, Ivy doesn't stay dead for long. Near the end of the season 1 finale, Harley has her final showdown with the Joker. The Joker corners her, forcing her to jump into a vat of acid. But before she goes under, a mysterious vine catches her fall. It's Ivy, back from the dead! Harley's convinced it's her "tears of friendship" that brought Ivy back to life, but Ivy puts a damper on her romantic tale. She tells Harley it was "the renewing power of nature" that brought her back, though "maybe the tears helped a little, too."
Setting aside the fact that Harley calls her tears "tears of friendship" and not the earth-shatteringly romantic tears they really are, this episode is an important moment for the pair. Ivy's (temporary) death made Harley realize just how much she cares about her "friend," and Ivy seems just as invigorated by her re-animation. Defeating the Joker's is just the cherry on top.
Their Death-Defying First Kiss (Season 2, Episode 7)
As far as dramatic first kisses go, Harley and Ivy's kiss should be in the pantheon of all-time greats. In "There's No Place To Go But Down," Harley and Ivy get sent to Bane's (James Adomian) subterranean prison for rehabilitation. Harley and Ivy hatch a plot to escape: Of course, things don't go according to plan. The whole place goes up in flames, and they attempt to escape using one of Ivy's fines. Unfortunately, Bane also hitches a ride, preventing them from reaching the surface.
After Bane tells Harley, "Only love sets us free," she has an epiphany. She realizes she loves Ivy with all her heart, enough to sacrifice herself for her. As Harley prepares to let go, she implores her to have a good life and name her babies after her – the boys and the girls. But Ivy's not about to let her best friend go down like that, so she jumps back into the pit and pulls her to safety.
They're elated to have survived, but this feeling turns to something else, leading the pair to have their first, long-awaited kiss. The shock on their faces afterward -- in addition to the fact that Ivy is still engaged to Kite Man (Matt Oberg) -- suggests they still have a lot to work through together. But at least for a moment, Harlivy shippers had something to celebrate.
Their Bachelorette Party Hookup (Season 2, Episode 9)
Following their thrilling first kiss, Harley and Ivy avoid the topic entirely, brushing it off as due to adrenaline. Harley spends the entire episode denying her feelings and describing herself as "impetuous," but we all know the truth. Their dual denial doesn't last long, and things come to a head during Ivy's bachelorette party in a hilarious and brilliant episode entitled "Bachorelette."
Harley plans an elaborate weekend gateway to the island of Themyscira (home of Wonder Woman), intending to get everyone drunk and defeat an anti-environment plot. They succeed on both counts, but something unexpected also transpires. Their drunken revelry leads Harley and Ivy to embark on an "accidental" hookup. When Ivy wakes up and discovers what they've done, she delivers an iconic line: "Oh, s**t, piss-cakes of a d**k!"
They resolve that it will never happen again. Of course, it does. After taking Themyscira back from Lex Luthor (Giancarlo Esposito), Queen Hippolyta (Rachel Dratch) throws a raging party to celebrate -- leading Harley and Ivy to hook up again. Afterward, Harley tells Ivy she loves her and asks her why they can't keep living like this forever. Ivy considers Harley's question but replies, "I trust you with my life, but I don't trust you with my heart." Harley is heartbroken by Ivy's rejection, but it's clear that while Harley may be ready for a relationship with Ivy, Ivy is not.
Harley And Ivy Ride Off Into The Sunset Together (Season 2, Episode 13)
By the end of season 2, Harley has finally accepted her feelings for Ivy, while Ivy continues to live in a state of denial. After Ivy rejects Harley in episode 9, Harley does her best to reckon with this loss. She isn't entirely successful at this, and in the season 2 finale, "Something Borrowed, Something Green," it seems like Harley might try and sabotage Ivy and Kite Man's wedding. She eventually decides to support Ivy's marriage to Kite Man. However, things get out of hand when the Gotham Police try to raid the event.
Harley heroically saves all the wedding guests and even offers to marry Ivy and Kite Man herself while things descend into chaos. But it's Kite Man who puts an end to things, telling Ivy that he's always known he's not the one for her. As Harley and Ivy ride away in the "just married" car, Ivy finally admits that it's Harley she's loved all along, and while she's far from perfect, Ivy can see that she's trying. It's a joy to see these two clowns -- well, one clown -- decisively admit that what they feel for each other far exceeds the bounds of friendship, and it's a fittingly romantic conclusion for such an explosive episode.
Harley Wants To Help Ivy Achieve Her Supervillain Dreams (Season 3, Episode 1)
Following their getaway at the end of season 2, Harley and Ivy go on a honeymoon of sorts -- a vacation Harley lovingly calls the "Eat Bang Kill Tour" (based on the comic of the same name). They spend their time engaging in the aforementioned activities while Harley makes it her mission to show Ivy how much she cares about her.
Their final stop is Iden, a plot of land that Ivy terraformed with prehistoric plants with the scheme to terraform the entire earth. At first, Ivy is angry at Harley for bringing her there because she thinks it represents her failures. But she quickly warms to the place, getting re-inspired by all the luminous plant life around her. Unfortunately, Ivy's wonder is short-lived. After breaking King Shark (Ron Funches) and Clayface (Alan Tudyk) out of prison, Harley kidnaps Amanda Waller (Tisha Campbell), head of the Suicide Squad, because she insulted Ivy.
A series of bombs go off, and Iden is (virtually) destroyed in the fight. Harley is worried Ivy's upset with her for decimating her "baby," but Ivy says that Iden was doomed to fail regardless. Harley can't stand to see Ivy dejected, so she tells her she's "all in" and wants to be right by her side as she achieves her supervillain dreams. BFFs/GFFs like this are hard to come by.
Harley And Ivy Realize Their Love Is The Real Award (Season 3, Episode 3)
Harley and Ivy adapt with surprising ease to their new circumstances of being girlfriends -- probably because they've basically been in a committed relationship for longer than either of them would care to admit. But that doesn't mean their relationship is without problems.
In the season 3 episode "The 83rd Annual Villy Awards," Harley and Ivy attend the awards ceremony, with Harley determined to win "best couple" to prove that her relationship with Ivy matters and that she can succeed without the Joker. Meanwhile, Ivy, who still hasn't gotten over her aversion to being around other humans, feels a lot of anxiety about the event.
Harley goes a little overboard with her plan to win, which means she ignores Ivy's anxiety. Various violent shenanigans ensue, and Harley and Ivy end up coming around to the other one's point of view. Ivy apologizes for not being more excited about something that means a lot to Harley, while Harley recognizes that she should have been more focused on Ivy's feelings. "Who cares about a dumb trophy?" Harley asks. "I've got the real award right here." Funnily enough, Harley and Ivy win best couple moments later, but they've already ditched the awards ceremony to eat burgers and engage in R-rated activities.
They Have A Heart-To-Heart In The Middle Of An Orgy (Season 3, Episode 4)
The best thing about "Harley Quinn" is how it brilliantly juxtaposes contrasting tonalities. Some of the most violent scenes you've ever seen might pair with something uproariously funny. Something obscene might come just before a moment of heartfelt mushiness. This playful incongruity is what makes Harley and Ivy's conversation in "A Thief, A Mole, An Orgy" so wonderful.
Throughout the episode, Ivy finds herself getting more annoyed at Harley and her crew for distracting her from creating a serum she can use to terraform the city. Not wanting to hurt Harley's feelings, Ivy bottles up her frustration and lies about what's happening. The issue comes to a head when they find themselves at an orgy comprised of Gotham's elite, and Harley discovers that Ivy used to hook up with Catwoman. While everyone around them enjoys the evening's entertainment, Harley and Ivy finally hash it out.
Ivy admits she never told Harley about Catwoman because she was ashamed of how needy she acted around her. But when she got together with Harley, she realized what a real, two-sided relationship is. Ivy tells Harley she means everything to her, and they almost join the orgy until Harley accidentally turns on the lights. The evening may have been a letdown for the orgy participants, but for Harley and Ivy, this display of vulnerability is a huge step forward.
Ivy Thinks Drooling Harley Is Beautiful (Season 3, Episode 8)
Harley and Ivy are obsessed with each other to an almost comic degree, and that's one of the things fans love about them. Harley is obsessed with Ivy's brilliant brain and beautiful green body, and Ivy finds Harley adorable -- despite her chaotic antics. There are numerous moments where they express these feelings, but one of my favorites comes in "Batman Begins Forever."
In this episode, the crew abducts Bruce Wayne after realizing he's the one who has taken Frank (J.B. Smoove). With the help of Dr. Psycho, Harley and the crew enter Bruce's mind. After witnessing Bruce's most traumatic memory, which plays on a loop inside his brain, Ivy, Dr. Psycho, and Clayface are ejected from Bruce's mind, while Harley remains. Ivy is understandably concerned for Harley's safety and cradles her unconscious form in her lap.
Ivy remains by Harley's side for the duration, quietly stroking Harley's hair despite Dr. Psycho's vocal judgments. Later, we cut back to the apartment once more to find Ivy looking down at a drooling Harley, saying, "She's just so beautiful." It's a touching and hilarious moment. Dr. Psycho's obvious disgust at Ivy's devotion doesn't diminish the cuteness one bit!
Harley And Ivy Realize They're On Different Paths, And That's Okay (Season 3, Episode 10)
Much of "Harley Quinn" has followed our titular character's quest to define her identity separate from the Joker. Thus far in the series, she's assembled a crew, pulled off some elaborate heists, had a highway named after her, and embarked on a serious relationship with her best friend. By the end of season 3, it's clear that Harley's changed a lot as a person since we first met her.
But Harley and Ivy have some important decisions to make in the season 3 finale. Lex Luthor offers Poison Ivy a chance to run the Legion of Doom as long as she kills the Joker. Meanwhile, Harley has to face the fact that she hasn't really been a villain for a while now. Near the end of the episode, Harley and Ivy have a heartfelt discussion about their differing lifepaths.
Harley admits she was scared to talk to Ivy about having different priorities because she was afraid Ivy would leave her. She reveals that she's been struggling with where on the spectrum of hero or villain she is. "As long as you're honest with me, I will support whatever you wanna do," Ivy reassures her. Their conversation is more than just heartwarming -- it proves how strong of a couple they are. Together, they can weather any storm.
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