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Recap / The Adventures of Batman & Robin E7 "Harlequinade"

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The Joker steals an atom bomb, so Batman and Robin must team up with Harley to find him and stop him.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Harley is genuinely disturbed by the idea of leaving their fellow rogues in Arkham to die, but she only actually knows Two-Face and Poison Ivy by name. The others she refers to before being interrupted are Hat Guy (Mad Hatter), Lizard Man (Killer Croc), and Puppet Head (Scarface).
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Implied, When Harley tries to shoot Joker with a "Bang!" Flag Gun, Joker takes it surprisingly well and embraces her.
  • Auction of Evil: A group of gangsters auction off a bomb only for it to be stolen by the Joker.
  • Author Appeal: According to Bruce Timm on the DVD Commentary, Joker's getaway craft in the Third Act was a helicopter in the original teleplay. But episode Director Kevin Altieri loves old aircraft and changed it during production to the World War I-esque plane.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Harley, finally pushed over the edge by the constant abuse she has been subjected to at the hands of the Joker, points a gun at him. The Joker responds by taunting her, telling her that she doesn't have the guts to actually shoot him, but then Harley, in a moment of determination, actually pulls the trigger... only to reveal the gun was merely a "Bang!" Flag Gun. The Joker then scowls at Harley, and her newfound defiance quickly evaporates as she smiles nervously back at him, but his scowl then turns into a sincere smile as he tells her: "Baby, you're the greatest!" And the two of them then embrace.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: Joker goads Harley Quinn into trying to shoot him, but it turns out the gun is of the stick-with-a-"bang"-flag variety. The Joker is still impressed that she pulled the trigger—though the Joker didn't know the gun was a fake, either.
  • Batman Gambit: Started by Robin when he mentions to Harley how Joker didn't leave enough time on the nuke for him to save her before it detonated then carried on by Batman when he reminds her that Joker was also willing to let their pet hyenas die as well.
  • Berserk Button: Harley doesn't appreciate seeing her Mr J. attacked, but even he gets no immunity when it comes to her "babies" (their two pet hyenas).
  • Chaotic Stupid: Harley frankly comes across this way in this episode. She keeps switching sides for no apparent reason despite the Joker threatening to set off a nuclear bomb, and only turns completely against the Joker when Batman points out her friends and pets will die as well. Considering this apparently never occurred to her, the implication is she doesn't really understand what a nuclear bomb even is.
  • Convenient Misfire: The episode originally ended with one of these, where Harley Quinn has a machine gun pointed at the Joker (because she was pissed that he was willing to let their pets die in his latest scheme). Joker makes it clear that he doubts she has the guts to shoot him, but she does... only for a flag reading "RAT TAT TAT" to pop out, to her surprise. According to the commentary, originally there was simply going to be a click, but the flag was added to soften the blow.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Batman may be working with Harley, but in truth it's the second episode, after "Harley and Ivy," in which she stars and takes most of the screentime.
  • Description Cut: Batman says he needs someone who thinks like the Joker. We then cut to Harley in her cell.
  • The Dog Bites Back: There's one glorious moment where Harley has a gun and is planning to shoot the Joker. While he claims she wouldn't dare, he's visibly terrified. The gun turns out to be a toy, but neither of them knew that.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: After Harley Quinn wants to listen to the Batmobile's radio and presses a button that instead deploys a drag chute that causes the car to swerve wildly.
    Batman: Listen, and listen good. You don't touch anything, say anything, or do anything unless I tell you! Got it!?
    Harley: [small voice] Yes, sir.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Harley has her share of stupid moments in this episode, but when hearing that Mayor Hill won't evacuate the city, she immediately realizes Joker is holding the man hostage to kneecap the proper response to this crisis. Even Batman and Robin didn't figure that one out themselves, which Harley is quick to gloat about.
    Harley: What better way to tie up the cops than to tie up the Mayor?
  • Empty Quiver: The Joker gets his hands on a nuclear bomb from a Gotham Mob Auction of Evil, who in turn had stolen it from a government transport. The trope's picture is a scene from this episode.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: In Harley Quinn's eyes at least, because one of the things that leads to her defying the Joker is the realization that all her "friends" will be killed by the bomb.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: An in-universe case where the characters expect a subversion. Everyone present fully believes Harley's gun is loaded and lethal, making her intent to shoot the Joker significant. Of course, since this is a kid's show that works under parental guidelines, the audience knows this couldn't have been shown if it were actually the case.
  • Foreshadowing: Early on, when the mayor is on the phone, one can see that his sleeve is purple
    • The torch song sequence, where Harley sings a song from the perspective of a woman whose lover is trying to kill her. While the Joker wasn't specifically trying to kill her with the bomb, he was deliberately leaving her to die.
  • Hartman Hips: While it's standard for women in the DCAU to possess Impossible Hourglass Figures (Harley being no exception), Harley's hips and thighs are incredibly pronounced during her performance of "Say That We're Sweethearts Again".
  • Head Desk: Well, headtable. Batman does this when Harley manages to fall off the piano she was sitting sexy on.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Subverted with Mayor Hill. Both Gordon and Batman are baffled and frustrated by Hill's insistence on not alerting the public or evacuating Gotham to avoid creating a panic. While it initially seems like Hill's playing politics despite the severity of the crisis, the Mayor's actually being held hostage by Joker and being forced to kneecap the civic response. It doesn't even occur to Batman that the Mayor might have been compromised until Harley points it out (justified, as all his focus was on trying to trace Joker's whereabouts rather than the larger civic picture).
  • Ignored Epiphany: The amount of abuse Harley puts up with comes to a ridiculous point when she realizes the Joker is planning to nuke Gotham, without rescuing their friends at Arkham or their pet hyenas, and goes ballistic. She comes to the realization that Mister J "might not be the guy for me" (that's a huge epiphany for Harley to have) and fires her grappling hook at him, knocking him senseless. This causes a plane crash that has absolutely no excuse for not being fatal. When he emerges unscathed, she holds him at gunpoint; he proceeds to verbally beat her down until she cries, snaps, and pulls the trigger. That's right, Harley Quinn tries to whack the Joker. Of course, it turns out she picked up a gag gun by mistake, and nothing happens. And what happens within seconds of Harley's huge emotional breakdown? Joker comes out with a fluffy romantic line and they're back to being lovey-dovey. Even Batman sulks after seeing that!
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Harley managed to launch that harlequin-scepter head at the airplane-riding Joker and clonk him square on the noggin.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: The Joker, being the Joker, leads him to find the fact that Harley would actually attempt to kill him when pushed far enough to be extremely endearing.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Batman and Harley visit an old Joker hideout. Harley protests the need to be sneaky because "nobody's been in this dump for years!" Batman opens a door to reveal that it's been converted into a well-populated speakeasy.
  • Iris Out: A heart-shaped one.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: "And you thought I was just another bubble-headed blonde bimbo! Well, the joke's on you, I'm not even a real blonde!"note 
  • Noodle Incident: Harley and Boxy Bennett apparently had history together.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A near-literal instance. Harley betrays Joker when Batman mentions that her pet hyenas will be caught in the explosion. Earlier in the episode she is also seen cuddling with and feeding the hyenas (which were mauling Batman).
    • She also refuses to go with Joker because she considers her fellow Arkham inmates genuine friends, which is rather sweet, all things considered.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Harley does her impromptu musical number she instructs the orchestra that she will be singing in the key of A flat, as Lina does for her impromptu musical number at the end of Singin' in the Rain (and in very nearly the same nasal voice). However, unlike in Singin' in the Rain, the song actually is in the key of A-flat, proving there were some musicians on the writing staff.
    • Joker's line, "Baby, you're the greatest!" was Jackie Gleason's catchphrase on The Honeymooners.
    • For the bomb to look specifically like an atomic one, the episode based the design off the "Fat Man" bomb dropped on Nagasaki.note 
  • Slip into Something More Comfortable: Harley Quinn takes Batman back to the Joker's last hideout to look for clues. Once there, she recites the trope as she says, "Have a look around while I slip into something more comfortable," and changes out of her Arkham jumpsuit and into her regular costume.
  • So Proud of You: The Joker is genuinely proud that Harley had the guts to kill him despite nearly falling back to her old love-stricken ways. In a twisted irony, he only loves Harley when she has a murderous hatred for him (as he wants Batman to have towards him).
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: Technically, the torch song Harley Quinn sings is one, but because of the nature of her relationship with the Joker, it's also a twisted love song.
  • With Catlike Tread: Batman sneaks into a building. Harley, following him, says out loud, "Sneak sneak sneak!"
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: The Joker says this to Harley when she has him cornered at gunpoint. At first it seems to work; Harley hesitates, clearly not wanting to do it, but pulls the trigger anyway. However, it turns out that the gun is merely a "Bang!" Flag Gun, though neither Harley nor Joker knew that.
    The Joker: You wouldn't dare. You don't have the guts, not in a million years would you—
    [Harley points the gun at the Joker's face and pulls the trigger]
The punchline is that the Joker is actually pleased to see that she had it in her to shoot him.