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"Thawing Hearts" is the fourth episode of the second season of Harley Quinn, and the seventeenth episode of the series overall. It was released on April 24, 2020 on DC Universe.

Synopsis

Harley and crew try to infiltrate Mr. Freeze's lair only to become human lab rats for his experiments to find a cure for his cryogenically frozen wife, Nora.

Plot

Harley Quinn sets out with Firefly's plasma flamethrower to burn her way into Mr. Freeze's fortress, creating a vagina-shaped opening in the ice for her crew to enter through, much to everyone's amusement. While entering, Harley muses about roasting Mr. Freeze "like the pig he is", but everyone else is excited about Kite Man and Poison Ivy's engagement (sans Doctor Psycho, saying that Kite Man could do better). While fighting through Mr. Freeze's henchmen, Doctor Psycho insists that Harley bring a date to the wedding, with King Shark saying he intends to bring his betrothed, Tabitha. Harley brushes this off since she doesn't want love after breaking up with the Joker, and finishes off the last of the goons.

Mr. Freeze himself enters the fray, with King Shark and Clayface mistaking him for Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, respectively. Doctor Psycho is unable to use his telepathy to help due to the cold giving him a brain freeze, so Mr. Freeze rapidly each of Harley's crew with his freeze ray, freezing them with ease, and then deftly freezes Harley as well, despite her fruitless attempts to dodge. While she and her crew are then taken into custody, Ivy and Kite Man are preparing to get a venue for their wedding, who Kite Man's nemesis Condiment King is mocking him over. Ivy supports him, and together they leave to arrange the wedding.

We're saved!

Rats rejoice as Mr. Freeze moves to human trials

Back at Mr. Freeze's lab, he places Harley and her crew in a cell before unfreezing them. He notes that he is trying to find a cure for his wife's incredibly rare and terminal blood disease, and after experimenting on rates - although every single one of them died - he now wants to move to human experimentation. Harley, being the only human female present like his wife, is his first subject. Although she insists that the dead rats indicate serious problems with his research, he assures her that it is likely because of the 2% difference in human vs rat DNA causing the problem.

Harley Quinn
Wait! I know how we can save your wife!
Mr. Freeze
You're only saying you'll save her life to save your own.
Harley Quinn
So what, you don't want me savin' your wife's life? Okay, I won't.
Mr. Freeze
Hey, relax, relax. Let's not jump to conclusions. This is a negotiation. How do you propose to perform this miracle?
Harley Quinn
My friend's a doctor and the smartest person I know.
Doctor Psycho
Wow! That's the nicest thing you've ever said about me.
Harley Quinn
Not you, idiot. Ivy.
Doctor Psycho
Yeah, that makes sense.
— Harley negotiates with Mr. Freeze

Harley tries to fight her way free, killing Mr. Freeze's two guards, but Mr. Freeze easily incapacitates her and freezes her to an operating table. He prepares to inject her with his experimental serum, at which point Harley panics and claims that she can help save his wife by having Poison Ivy, a "genius biochemist", search for the cure, saying that she would help Mr. Freeze for Harley's freedom. Mr. Freeze readily agrees to Harley's proposition, and accepts Harley and her crew as his guests while they await Ivy's arrival, even leaving to prepare lunch for them as their host, even going so far as to prepare food for them that he himself cannot eat.

However, Harley doesn't intend to follow through on her end of the bargain, and doesn't even summon Ivy at all because she doesn't want to put Ivy in danger. She instead comes up with a plan to take his wife Nora hostage to force Mr. Freeze to surrender his freeze gun, but Mr. Freeze doesn't trust his guests yet, and only lets them out of their cells with their lower bodies frozen in ice at his banquet table, leaving them almost totally immobile and unable to act on the plan. Mr. Freeze then arrives at the lunch with his wife, frozen in a block of ice long ago to halt the blood disease from killing her. Harley mistakes this as Mr. Freeze getting his "jollies" by "freezing women". Enraged, Harley decides to take up the standard for "ice-blocked women all over the world" and save Nora first, before killing Mr. Freeze.

At the venue with Ivy, Kite Man encounters Mitchell, aka the Condiment King, his nemesis. The Condiment King spatters mustard on Kite Man's suit to make him appear unkempt, and attempts to take the last reservation spot from Kite Man for his own wedding. Despite Ivy's assurances that they could do the wedding anywhere they wanted, Kite Man refuses to yield. However, the establishment disapproves of Kite Man almost immediately.

Mouthfeel

"Describe the mouthfeel of your steak"

Back in Mr. Freeze's banquet, he presides over his guests' meal and hungrily watches them eat, unnerving Doctor Psycho. Because Mr. Freeze can't eat cooked meat, lest it raise his body temperature and kill him, he asks Doctor Psycho to describe the mouthfeel of the steak, unnerving them even further. Things get even stranger still when Mr. Freeze "feeds" his wife through a tube in her block of ice, talking to her as if she can respond, having been without his wife for so long that he began to pretend that she could. At King Shark's prompting, he tells the story of how they met, him the CEO of a multinational corporation and she the owner of a "mom-and-pop cryogenics lab" that he was sent to squash. He ended up falling in love with her anonymously online, not knowing who she was, and when he realized she was the same person, he married her.

Harley is contemptuous of Mr. Freeze's tale despite his reverie, describing it as a story of a "big swinging dick coming in and ruining a woman's livelihood". King Shark calls her a grinch and excuses her as being "sour on love right now", with Doctor Psycho concurring, since she wasn't even bringing anyone to Ivy's wedding. Still mildly insulted, Mr. Freeze also fires back that he suspects that she's cynical because she's never experienced actual love, prompting Harley to go on an angry tirade about her relationship with the Joker and denounce love as "bullshit".

Although deeply angered, Mr. Freeze continues to act as a gracious host, leaving to get spinach puffs for them and to calm down. Harley immediately tries to grab his freeze ray but only manages to knock it off the table, still frozen in the ice, as King Shark and Clayface comment on her abandonment of love. Clayface then gets out of the ice with ease to get some more food from the banquet, shocking them as they had no idea he could get out, so Harley has him give the freeze ray to her. After accidentally freezing Doctor Psycho completely, he manages to unfreeze him and then toss the ray to Harley.

Mr. Freeze cheerfully walks in with spinach puffs for his guests, but Harley suddenly unfreezes herself and declares that she doesn't believe his story about Nora having a rare blood disease. Embittered after her treatment at the Joker's hands, Harley presumes that Nora in fact tried to leave Mr. Freeze and so he selfishly froze her in ice to prevent it. She then prepares to unfreeze her, much to Mr. Freeze's shock and dismay, but Harley insists that she's freeing Nora and that Mr. Freeze is a "control freak" who treated his wife like property, as the Joker did.

Mr. Freeze gazes at his wife

Mr. Freeze as Nora realizes she's still sick

Terrified for his wife, Mr. Freeze tries to convince Harley to stop, but her rage against men prevents her from seeing reason, and she frees Nora from the block of ice as Mr. Freeze screams in horror. He catches his wife, and she wakes up jubilant, thinking that he unfroze her because he found a cure, that they can finally spend the rest of their lives together in happiness at last. Mr. Freeze begins to cry when he sees her nose begin to bleed, as Nora realizes that she is not cured after all. In a black fury, he accuses Harley of condemning Nora to death, seals off the exists, and threatens to blow them all up if Ivy doesn't arrive in time to save Nora. Finally compelled by self interest and having no other option, Harley is forced to keep her word and honor their original arrangement.

Well, I hope you’re proud of yourself. You've falsely accused the most woke ice-themed villain in all of new New Gotham.King Shark to Harley Quinn

Once again at the venue for Ivy and Kite Man's wedding, Condiment King has easily won over the establishment, leaving Kite Man dejected and wanting to go home. However, Ivy supports him and encourages him to keep trying, but soon has to leave when she gets Harley's call and realizes the situation. When Ivy arrives she begins working to save Nora, with Harley apologizing for not being able to avoid calling for her help. Harley justifies herself as seeking revenge for Mr. Freeze orchestrating the Injustice League hit on her, but Mr. Freeze says that's absurd, that he alone convinced them to freeze her when they initially wanted to kill her; he saved Harley's life, and in exchange she endangered his wife.

Meanwhile, Kite Man fails to impress the venue. Ivy then calls, having figured out a potential cure, and asks him to get a particular herb from her garden, and so he gives up on the venue and flies there. However, he doesn't know what "magenta" means so he accidentally grabs the wrong flower and smells it, which happens to be a paralytic one. He plays it off and finds the right one before flying out on his kite to Mr. Freeze's territory, using the vagina-shaped hole in the ice to gain entry. At the last second, the paralysis kicks in and he crashes to the ground at Ivy's feet, giving her the flower.

I will never stop loving you

One final touch

Ivy uses it to create a serum to transform Mr. Freeze's blood into Nora's very rare blood type, so that he can perform a blood transfusion to save her. However, when his blood type changes, he will die as his body rejects it. Mr. Freeze is more than willing to sacrifice himself for his wife however, saying that the only reason he went through life in "this godforsaken cryo-suit" was to find a cure. Although Harley is stunned at his selfless sacrifice, he insists that it is not insane, but what anyone would do for those they truly love. He then injects himself, and begins the transfusion.

My beautiful girl. Goodbye, my love. Have the life I could never give you.— Mr. Freeze's final words

As Nora wakes up, she realizes that he has sacrificed himself for her, and she says she'll never stop loving him. They try to touch hands one final time, but Mr. Freeze dies just before they can, leaving Nora alone. She begins to sob in abject misery, but Harley and her crew continue to comment on the situation, with Harley saying that what they had is "nice" compared to what she had with Joker. Ivy encourages Harley, and Harley expresses how happy she was for her and Kite Man, then finally seems to notice Nora crying her eyes out. She finally goes to try and comfort her, but Harley's crew continue to comment about how great of a guy Mr. Freeze was until Nora screams at them to leave, so they shuffle out.

To top it all off, Condiment King calls Kite Man to gloat about winning the venue, using several condiment-related puns as he does. At the end, Ivy becomes so frustrated that she proclaims that he's now her nemesis too.

Cast and Characters

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Trivia

  • Dr. Psycho sarcastically refers to Harley as Georgia O'Keeffe after she melted a vaginal shaped tunnel in the ice-walls at Arkham. Psycho is alluding to O'Keeffe's famous up-close flower paintings that have often been interpreted as being allegorically vaginas.
  • King Shark mistakes Mr. Freeze for pop musician Beyoncé when the villain makes his appearance. Subsequently, Clayface mistakes Freeze for Lady Gaga, another well-known musician. Both singers are known for their extravagant stage performances.
  • Dr. Psycho and Clayface both make movie references while at the dinner table at Arkham:
    • Psycho compares Mr. Freeze with Hannibal Lector, the central character of Silence of the lambs, after Freeze asks Psycho to describe to him the taste of the stake.
    • Clayface believes that Mr. Freeze met up with actress Meg Ryan on the internet before Freeze reveals that it was actually his future wife Nora. This is in reference to the plot of You've Got Mail:, wherein Meg Ryan's character, owner of a small-time book store, begins dating a charming stranger online, unaware that the man is the owner of a chain of book stores which rivals her own. Freeze's encounter with Nora is similar to the plot of the movie.

Gallery

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