"Harlequinade" is the 7th episode of the 2nd season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on May 23, 1994.
The Joker steals an enormous bomb from a mob auction, plotting to "make Gotham one big dent". Mayor Hill refuses Commissioner Gordon's request to evacuate the city, saying that they don't have enough proof that the bomb is still in Gotham to risk mass panic.
Harley cheerfully (and suspiciously) accepts the offer. She first leads Batman to Joker's most recent hideout. Joker is not there, but Batman is appalled to find that Joker has the entire city under video surveillance. While he is looking at the screens, Harley changes into her usual, harlequin outfit—seemingly oblivious when Joker's hyenas attack Batman.
Batman holds them off with difficulty, and Harley calls her "babies" to her. Finding the hideout a dead end, Harley and Batman then crash a mob gambling party, run by Boxy Bennett, where Batman is captured. As Robin sneaks in to aid Batman, Harley sings a darkly humorous number, "Say that We're Sweethearts Again" to distract the gun-toting party goers.
After they escape, Batman begins to lose his patience, and Harley laughs and mocks him for not having figured it out already: Joker is holding Mayor Hill prisoner at his mansion, using Hill to distract the cops.
After handcuffing Harley in the Batmobile, over her protests, Batman and Robin sneak onto the mansion's grounds, finding the bomb on the lawn and Joker frolicking in Hill's swimming pool. Hill asks for Joker to just make his ransom demand and the city will gladly pay it. Joker says he's not planning to ransom the city—instead, he's just going to activate the bomb and take care of the cops and Batman in one fell swoop. He and his goons already have an old-fashioned biplane set up on the grounds to escape the explosion.
Batman and Robin appear, and fighting ensues. Harley, escaping her cuffs, appears and ties up both of them. She claims that Batman's attempts to hurt Joker blow off the deal entirely. Joker is somewhat surprised to see Harley there, but cheerfully invites her to board the plane with him. He starts the bomb's timer for 10 minutes.
Robin points out that countdown wouldn't have left Joker enough time to swing by Arkham and save Harley. Joker laughs this off, but Harley also realizes that there isn't enough time to save their fellow inmates. Since the clock is ticking, Joker tries to override her objections, but she panics when Batman mentions their hyenas. "I'll buy you a goldfish!" Joker yells, exasperated, "let's go!" Harley resists, and he flies off without her.
Harley frees Batman and Robin just as Joker circles around, strafing the ground with the plane's machine gun and dropping bombs. Batman manages to evade them, and Robin successfully defuses the bomb. Now totally crazy, Joker sends his plane on a suicide dive toward the bomb, firing the machine gun at it, saying it's going off, one way or another. But Harley fires a pinpoint shot with a spring-loaded Joker head, hitting Joker and knocking him into a daze. He loses control of the gun and shoots his own fuselage, and the plane crashes into the Mayor's mansion.
As Joker stumbles out of the wreckage, Harley levels the machine gun at him. Batman yells for her to stop, but they are too far away to prevent her. Joker scoffs, saying she doesn't have the guts to shoot him.
She pulls the trigger, Joker flinches—and a flag that reads "RAT TAT TAT" pops out of the barrel. Batman and Robin sigh in relief. For a moment, Harley looks afraid of Joker's reaction, then he laughs and says "Baby, you're the greatest!" They embrace each other, their nonsensical romance rekindled.
- Boxy Bennett appears later in the episode "Harley's Holiday", with a grudge against Harley.
Home video releases
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Joker's Return (VHS)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: The Joker's Last Laugh (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- Harley Quinn claims in this episode that she's not a natural blonde with the joke, "And here you thought I was just another bubble-headed blonde bimbo! Well, the joke's on you: I'm not even a real blonde". However, according to Paul Dini, this was an old joke she reused and she really is a natural blonde.
- When Harley starts blanking on the names of their fellow inmates at Arkham, she calls them "Lizard Man" (Killer Croc), "Hat Guy" (Mad Hatter), and "Puppet-head" (Ventriloquist).
- When Joker and Harley embrace in the end, Joker says to Harley "baby, you're the greatest". That is a spoof of the endings of The Honeymooners, when Ralph and his wife embrace in the end after their relationship getting back to normal.
- "Say That We're Sweethearts Again" was written by Earl Brent and first appeared in the 1944 film Meet the People.
- The piano player appears to resemble Fred Astaire.
- There are several cartoonish gags in the episode, including Joker's parachute opening after the plane has crashed. This gag previously appeared in "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne".
- Mayor Hill's home closely resembles the house the Joker purchased in the episode Joker's Millions. Both houses are similar to the headquarters of the Justice Guild.
- Like in "The Laughing Fish", the end of this episode displays the Joker's unexplained ability to cheat death, shown when his plane crashes directly into Mayor Hill's mansion, yet he merely emerges from a nearby door, completely unharmed, even though he was in the seat nearest to the plane's front.
- The quote "How about a ha hacienda?" would be used by the Joker himself in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne/Batman|
|Loren Lester||Dick Grayson/Robin|
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner James Gordon|
|Lloyd Bochner||Mayor Hamilton Hill|
|Dick Miller||Boxy Bennett|
|Arleen Sorkin||Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn|
Harley: (After nearly wrecking the Batmobile) Oops.
Harley: (singing) Life used to be so placid/
Joker: That bomb's going off, even if I go with it!
Joker: Baby, you're the greatest!