The Girls are Back in Town! “Harley Quinn” season 3 review

The hit HBO series is back after two years of waiting.


Bee Bishop, Managing Editor

Harley Quinn is one of those characters who had cemented her place in pop culture very early on in her career. She was funky and zany and was seemingly the perfect counter to the mayhem the Joker caused. She is one of the few characters from the Batman universe who didn’t get her start in the comics. It’s because of this abnormal start that there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that the “Harley Quinn” show was going to be a hit when it was announced.

One of the reasons I believe Harley Quinn has endured as a character, regardless of her abnormal start, is because she represents the ability to move on from a toxic relationship and be better off for it. And this characteristic is crucial to the themes of the show. 

Within the first few episodes of the show, Harley Quinn has to come to terms with the fact that her relationship with the Joker was not a healthy one. Throughout the show, we get to see her deal with the trauma and abuse from her relationship– although it is played off mostly as dark humor– and now the audience gets to see her start to get out and explore what it means to be in a healthy relationship. Her trauma and abuse doesn’t define her, and we are able to see her form her own identity from that and not because of it. 

It’s also the same reason I was a little devastated when the release of the third season was delayed for two years. Thankfully, I and other fans of the show don’t have to wait any longer. HBO finally released the first three episodes of season three on July 28, with new episodes scheduled to release every week. So while the season is not yet complete, the first three episodes promise a season full of the same violent, raunchy humor we have come to know and love for the series.

The biggest positive I’ve seen in the new episodes is the expansion of the characters. When the show premiered back in November of 2019, most of the characters were lesser known or more obscure. Which, with a rogue’s gallery as vast as Batman’s, is not a bad thing. It allows the audience to interact and interest to grow with these characters. But the downside to that is people start asking where the more well-known characters are. If Harley Quinn is galavanting around with the Queen of Fables and Poison Ivy is having a will-they-won’t-they with Kite Man, where is Superman in all of this chaos? Or Robin?

Thankfully, season three is beginning to open up the character roster so the audience can start to see more fan favorites. I was ecstatic when Batgirl joined the show in season two and even more so when Nightwing joined in season three. The fact that the show feels comfortable to expand into the vast depths of the DC character roster shows the writers are starting a better and more expansive story line and expansion of the world around the story. I hope  this applies to locals so the audience can start to see other cities besides Gotham, where the show is centrally placed. 

Season three also is developing the relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, a relationship I was so happy to see transfer from the comics. Not only do we get to celebrate the representation of a queer relationship in media, we also get to celebrate the healing and growth of a character who had dealt with a lot of relationship abuse. 

Though the show had a hiatus of two years, I feel confident that the show runners can maintain the same level of energy they had within the past two seasons. New episodes will be released on Thursday on HBO Max, and I cannot wait to see what hijinks are in store.