HARLEY QUINN: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
Studio: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
Release Date: Blu-ray, DVD – Sept. 5, 2023
Description: The mayhem and madness continue in season three of this biting and uproarious adult animated comedy series. Wrapping up their “Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour,” Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) return to Gotham as the new power couple of DC villainy. Along with their ragtag crew – King Shark (Ron Funches), Clayface (Alan Tudyk), Frank the Plant (JB Smoove) – “Harlivy” strives to become the best version of themselves while also working towards Ivy’s long desired plan of transforming Gotham into an Eden paradise.
By James Harvey
After Harley and Ivy drove off into the sunset at the end of Harley Quinn‘s second season, with a bevy of police cars on their tail, it was impossible to say where the show would take the lovebirds next. Thankfully, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment’s Harley Quinn: The Complete Third Season answers just that with a bevy of legit surprises and welcome twists throughout its ten-episode run. Harley Quinn, the character and even the show itself, takes the next step and proves the Maid of Mischief has plenty of mirth still to spread!
Season three of Harley Quinn starts off with Harley and Ivy wrapping up their “Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour” and returning to Gotham as the city’s new villainous power couple. However, things have changed and while the couple’s ragtag crew – King Shark, Clayface, Frank the Plant – strive to become the best version of themselves, they still want to help Ivy achieve her dream of transforming Gotham into an Eden paradise. But, with this being Gotham, Batman can’t be too far behind!
Things remain as complicated as ever in Gotham City in Harley Quinn‘s third season. The Joker is running for mayor, Batman is having trouble with his feelings for Catwoman while also dealing with an impending biopic about his parents by James Gunn, Frank the Plant has been abducted, and Harley’s former “crew” has scattered to the wind. In short, things are changing, but it’s nothing that “HarlIvy” can’t handle together as they learn to navigate their new relationship.
While Harley Quinn keeps its brand of meta, self-aware humor rolling this season, it makes sure to give plenty of airtime for its cast of characters. Season three invests heavily in the “HarlIvy” pairing, and we follow them as they learn to navigate an actual healthy relationship while establishing their own identities. We also get to see the show’s supporting cast legitimately strive to be better versions of themselves, despite it usually being hilariously disturbing or just plain wrong.
Season three of Harley Quinn, moreso than arguably any other iteration of the character in the last 30 years, allows Harley to grow beyond what we’ve come to generally expect of her. In the wake of the previous two seasons, Harley’s struggling to learn who she really is at her core. Is she a hero, a villain, or something else? By keeping the focus nice and tight, Harley Quinn is able to dig a little deeper in the lives and minds of both the show’s star and her growing supporting cast.
Outside of her evolving relationship with Harley Quinn, Ivy gets her own meaty material this season as she works to improve her powers and execute her eco-terrorist ambitions. Batman has his own story-line too, which takes a surprisingly warped turn as the season progresses. Harley even uses her psychiatry background to try and fix some of the Caped Crusader’s many, many issues. We also get updates on Harley’s former crew, the results being pretty hilariously satisfying overall.
Harley Quinn builds on the story-lines and subplots from seasons past, such as Batman and Catwoman’s growingly troubled relationship and the official addition of Batgirl to the Bat-Family. James Gordon’s well-established self-destructive shenanigans even lead him to run against The Joker for Mayor of Gotham. Amid all the rampant chaos and comedy, Harley Quinn spends ample time with its cast members, saddling most with terrific storylines which tend to have lasting consequences.
While the writing is really top-notch in Harley Quinn‘s third season, unfortunately the animation can be a little iffy. The quality is inconsistent, and can sometimes take the air out of a joke or make a set piece fall a little flat. Thankfully it doesn’t really hold the season back in any real way, but it’s an occasional annoyance. Still, there are moments where the show tosses in a few visual treats, such as in the episode “Batman Begins Forever” where a good chunk of it looks ripped straight from Batman: The Animated Series in a loving homage to the classic cartoon.
Harley Quinn continues to prove its one of the best superhero TV shows out there with its third season, setting some lofty goals for its cast and delivering on more than a few surprises along the way. Harley’s journey of self-discovery here, arguably a meta-commentary on the haphazard handling of the character since she lept from Batman: The Animated Series to DC Comics continuity back in the late 1990s, offers real development and shows there’s a lot more depth to the Maid of Mirth than she’s given credit for. For someone who’s been around for 30 years, it feels like Harley is finally starting to establish herself on her own terms with this stellar series’ third season.
And what’s the best way to experience Harley Quinn‘s third season? Well, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment’s Harley Quinn: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray collection is easily the way to go. While it may be unsurprisingly lacking in special features, the audio and video presentation is absolutely top-notch and, really, worth the purchase price alone.
Harley Quinn: The Complete Third Season includes all ten episodes on one Blu-ray dis, and every single one looks pretty great. Episodes include “HarlIvy,” “There’s No Ivy in Team,” “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards,” “A Thief, a Mole, an Orgy,” “It’s a Swamp Thing,” “Joker: The Killing Vote,” “Another Sharkley Adventure,” “Batman Begins Forever,” “Climax at Jazzapajizza,” and “The Horse and the Sparrow.” The two-part “A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special” is not included here, as it’s technically part of Harley Quinn‘s fourth season.
When it comes to the audio and video quality, and even taking into account the 4K streaming options available, the Harley Quinn: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray clearly offers the best presentation for this uproarious season. The video is sharp and crystal clear, with colors appearing nice and bright and blacks fairly deep. There are unfortunately instances of blocking and color banding, likely the the result of compression issues due to cramming ten episodes on a single disc, but it’s pretty infrequent and not too much of a bother.
In terms of audio, this Blu-ray collection brings a lot more heft to the mix. While dialogue and sound effects always sounded fine during its streaming and digital presentations, they lacked that sense of weight needed to really make those action beats and big comedic moments land. Here, everything sounds full and robust, making for an ultimately more enjoyable listening experience. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is center-focused, but all channels get plenty of use during the cartoon’s many absurdly hilarious (and usually explosive) set pieces.
Moving on to bonus content and, as expected, there’s nothing to be found here. Since Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons didn’t have any extras, even though that was a Warner Archive label title and this was released through Warner’s main home video label, it’s not a surprise. Still, ideally this changes for future season releases. The lack of extras isn’t really a real strike against the set since it’s more the result of the home media market shifting toward prioritizing digital releases than anything else.
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment’s Harley Quinn: The Complete Third Season makes for a solid release of another gut-busting season of Harley Quinn. A strong string of episodes, Harley Quinn remains just as gleefully violent and deceptively upbeat as ever, even as the season pushes both the characters and the show itself into some pretty neat directions. With the best audio and video quality currently available, there’s no better way to watch season three of Harley Quinn. Highly Recommended!
Harley Quinn: The Complete Third Season is available to own on Blu-ray, Digital and DVD from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.
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