Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are at Noonan's Bar when Harley suddenly notices what appears to be the Joker, bartending. Although Ivy initially does not believe that they could be the same person, Harley eventually convinces her, and they seek to leave stealthily. However, the Joker ends up tripping over Harley as she crawls toward the door, spilling drinks and food everywhere. He politely lifts Harley up but has no idea what she or Ivy mean when they ask about purple suits, as he mainly thinks about taking care of his girlfriend and her kids. Ivy repeatedly expresses her desire to kill the Joker, but Harley holds her back on the assumption that he might have changed. Ivy insists that "you are who you are at your core, now and forever," but Harley decides to prove her wrong by recounting her own changes.
Going back to Harley's time in the Arkham Asylum, a younger Harleen Quinzel is seen introducing herself to Harvey Dent and a younger Jim Gordon, although they weren't even aware that she wrote her thesis paper on the Joker's pathology and apparently only hired her to be the Joker's psychologist "because you're cheap and you've got a pulse, skirt". They task her with discovering where the Joker has placed a bomb in Gotham City, since every other shrink they've put to the task of cracking Joker has been "screwed up" by him, but are soon interrupted by one of a younger Poison Ivy's escape attempts, which they quickly foil by burning and tranquilizing her.
Harleen is concerned about prisoner abuse, but is overruled and quickly sent off to attend to the Joker, bantering with the Riddler en route and attempting to apologize to Poison Ivy, who spits at her and tells her to "fuck off narc". Finally arriving at the Joker's cell, he compliments her thesis as pretty good fan fiction and goads her into his cell, where he attempts to kill her but cannot do so due to Harleen's acrobatics. Even so, he manages to charm her before she leaves the cell, to then be scolded by Jim Gordon for risking herself.
- ❝ You wanna know how I got these emotional scars? ❞
- — The Joker
They send in Batman to interrogate the Joker, but he laughs and mocks throughout the physical abuse Batman subjects him to. Batman then gives up, brushing off Gordon's invitation to go out later, but Harleen insists that she can get through to the Joker. She goes to Ivy, who mentions that the Joker killed his therapist when they tried to talk about his family, so Harleen uses this as leverage, goading him into talking about his family history. He tells a story of an only child to neglectful wealthy parents when one day he found his father having an affair, so he took his ferret (named Ferris) away and physically abused him.
With the Joker finally showing some emotion for once, Harleen seemingly plays off it and convinces him to reveal the bomb location in exchange for allowing him to have a meal that night in the main asylum cafeteria. Batman and Gordon head out to stop it, amazed at her success, while Harleen gives Poison Ivy a plant in thanks for her help. Batman and Gordon arrive at Little Italy but find no bomb in "the heart of Little Italy," where the Joker said it would be. As Harleen sits down to eat with the Joker, their chef Luigi doubles over in pain, and the Joker mentions that his nickname is "Little Italy", at which point he promptly explodes.
The bomb blasts through the wall and allows the Joker to escape with Harleen as a hostage. Harvey Dent orders them to shoot the Joker through Harleen (who was on his back), but Ivy blocks the bullet, thanking Harleen for the gift she gave her because she had literally never received a gift before. Ivy then surrenders to the surrounding guards so that they don't respond with deadly force, she and the Joker are both recaptured, and Harvey arrives to congratulate Harleen and offer her a promotion. However, she angrily spits in his face and calls him "Two-Face" before leaving to resume her duties as the Joker, and now also Ivy's, shrink.
Snapping back to the present, Harley Quinn smugly says that she changed Ivy to not hate all of humanity that day, but Ivy still insists that she didn't always hate all of humanity, with Harley simply brought her back to her true self. She mentions that she only started to hate humanity after her ficus named Ferris died, prompting her and Harley to realize that the Joker's story of physical abuse was actually just stolen from Ivy and completely made up. When Ivy's father hit her, Ivy gave up all hope for humanity until Harley came along.
However, with their argument still unresolved, they pull in a "tie-breaker" in the form of Doctor Psycho to confirm if the Joker really has lost all memory of his past. In his mind, they see the Joker's newfound love for his new family, making a wholesome life for himself, which disgusts both Harley and Ivy. They then leave and are promptly captured by Two-Face and placed under arrest. As they leave, the Joker is sent a picture of his kids with sauce on their faces, prompting him to laugh maniacally in his old unhinged fashion, but he soon returns to normalcy once again.
Cast and Characters
- Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn
- Lake Bell as Poison Ivy, Cheryl
- Tony Hale as Dr. Psycho
- Christopher Meloni as Commissioner Gordon
- Alan Tudyk as Joker
- Diedrich Bader as Batman, Loving guard
- Andy Daly as Two-Face/Dent
- Jim Rash as Riddler, Unloving guard, Luigi
- Killer Croc
- Calendar Man
- Sofia (pictured/in Joker's mind)
- Benicio (pictured/in Joker's mind)
- The episode's title is a reference to the eleventh episode of Lost titled "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues".
- As confirmed by Patrick Schumacker on twitter, the flower Ivy pulls out of her jacket to kill Joker is the same flower she got from Harley in the flashback.
- In an earlier cut, Ivy was wearing the flower as earrings, but because of some inconsistencies in continuity, they ended up changing it to her just pulling it out of her jacket.
- There are several parallels to the movie The Dark Knight in this episode, including:
- A bomb set to go off at midnight.
- Batman beating up Joker in interrogation.
- A bomb placed inside a person.
- Joker asking Harley a rendition of the line "Do you want to know how I got these scars?"
- A reference to Harvey Dent's campaign slogan "I believe in Harvey Dent".
- Joker's look in the past with his runny make-up, and semi-long hair also resembles his appearance in the film.
- Joker commenting "You got spunk. I hate spunk!" to Harley is a reference to the first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when Mary's boss said the exact same line to her.
- Joker taunts Batman by bring up the death of Jason Todd who also held the mantle of Robin within the Haley Quinn animated show's continuity.
- Harvey Dent's face getting half-obscured by the Joker's blood on the cell window foreshadows his transformation into Two-Face.
- Yes, her earrings are the same plant. I believe it was more of a pronounced connection in the script and an earlier cut (it's been a while!), but yes, your observation is correct. Twitter, Patrick Schumacker (September 29, 2020)