While “Joker: The Killing Vote,” the sixth episode of Season 3 of the animated Harley Quinn series, is flawless, it does reveal a flaw in the character’s backstory. Harley Quinn’s television show depicts her maturing into her own person following her breakup with the Joker. Her friendship with Poison Ivy and the other villains who eventually join her cause are also major plot points.
Harley’s ex and former boss has changed for the better since he regained and then re-lost his sanity in the earlier seasons of the Harley Quinn, as seen in “The Killing Vote.” In his role as a political candidate, the Joker energizes Gotham by promoting forward-thinking initiatives. He believes in equal access to healthcare, public school funding, and wealth redistribution, the latter of which he initiates during his campaign by stealing banks and giving the money to the citizens of Gotham in classic anti-hero fashion.
The episode itself is fantastic, but it only serves to draw attention to a broader issue. The fact that an entire episode of Harley Quinn was dedicated to the Joker serves to show the media’s inability to separate Harley Quinn’s story from the Joker’s. Harley Quinn does a complete drive-by at the end of this episode, which is her only role. The episode is titled “Joker: The Killing Vote,” which hints to the program’s focus on the Joker and its intention to appeal to Joker aficionados by filling the sitcom-like episode with references to various live-action depictions of the Joker.
To what extent The Joker’s candidacy for mayor threatens the future of the Harley Quinn comics
Even though Harley has moved on from her ex-boss, having a story arc in “Joker: The Killing Vote” dedicated to his endearing redemption keeps him in the picture and related to her story. While the TV program Harley Quinn has trouble breaking its Joker addiction, the comic book character herself undertakes a lot of self-reflection and grows as a person after breaking up with the Joker. This change completely negates the character development that had been established previously in the episode, when Harley Quinn pondered the poisonous legacy of her history and began dating Poison Ivy.
Most of the first season of Harley Quinn is devoted on Harley Quinn’s character development, which makes sense given that she is still reeling from her breakup and comparing her progress to the Joker at this point. Her primary goal in the first season was to earn Joker’s approval by becoming a member of the Legion of Doom and other groups that he admires. Her journey up to this point is what validates Joker’s importance to the show. However, Harley makes the breakthrough of no longer needing Joker and other villains’ validation of her relationship in “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards,” episode 3 of Harley Quinn season 3. This was because Harley had previously decided that she didn’t care about winning Best Couple with Ivy, an award that had previously been one of the few validations she regularly received for her relationship with the Joker.
The decision to focus a whole episode on a sitcom-style analysis of the Joker’s personal evolution shortly thereafter, while completely neglecting Harley, suggests that a storyline including the Joker’s development is more appropriately situated in the story of Harley Quinn. In season 3, the majority of the show’s themes and primary motifs suggest that Harley Quinn’s story no longer involves the Joker. As entertaining as the Harley Quinn episode “Joker: The Killing Vote” is, it manages to muddle that point.
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