Harley Quinn Finally Helps Batman Grieve (In A Way That Makes No Sense)

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Harley Quinn season 3, episode 9.The resurrection of Bruce Wayne's parents as zombies in Harley Quinn season 3 gave Batman a chance to grieve their death, albeit in an incredibly disturbing way. This is par for the course for the HBO Max animated series, which delights in absurd humor while offering a deconstructive examination of the classic DC Comics characters. Unfortunately, the show's message regarding Bruce Wayne's mental health seems somewhat conflicting and confused after the events of the first two seasons.


While the main plot of Harley Quinn season 3 has centered upon the romance between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, the chief theme of the season has been about the dangers of emotional repression. All of the main characters have reflected this idea to some degree, but Batman took center stage due to the complications caused by his other failures in his life which led to the reasons behind his abduction of Frank the Plant. While Batman originally took Frank to thwart Poison Ivy's plan to turn Gotham City into a jungle by restoring life to dead plants through Frank, he adapted her technology hoping he could use it to bring back his parents, kicking off a zombie apocalypse by accident.

Related: Harley Quinn Is Robin? DC Might Be Hinting At A Big Twist

Harley Quinn got a first-hand glimpse into just how disturbed her self-appointed nemesis was after taking a journey into Bruce Wayne's memories and learning he was Batman. Both Harley Quinn and King Shark offered to help Batman overcome his trauma and deal with his parents' death, although King Shark's "help" seemingly involved eating the zombie Waynes so that Bruce didn't have to kill them himself. Ignoring that, there are still many mixed messages in the series' exploration of how Batman lost touch with reality due to his failure to grieve.

Harley Quinn's Grief Message For Bruce Is Totally Hypocritical

Harley Quinn Season 1 Funeral of Poison Ivy

Harley repeatedly decries Bruce Wayne's inability to cope with his parents' death in a healthy way. This ignores that Harley had a similar breakdown after the apparent death of Poison Ivy in the build-up to the Harley Quinn season 1 finale, spending a week in hiding while mourning the one friend who encouraged her to leave Joker. She almost went back to Joker, but was saved by Ivy's sudden resurrection and return. Granting that Bruce Wayne has been failing to confront the death of his parents for 30 years, it still seems hypocritical for Harley to tell Bruce he should just move on when she struggled to do that without returning to old habits and dangerous support systems.

Did Harley Quinn Forget Its Own Season 1?

Harley Quinn Season 1 Phantom Zone Portal

Harley's apparent hypocrisy is made worse by Harley Quinn season 3, episode 9, "Climax At Jazzapajizza," making direct reference to the same Harley Quinn season 1 episode where Poison Ivy died. The Harley Quinn season 3 episode had a major plot point involving Poison Ivy's love of jazz music and her taking over a Gotham City open-air concert called Jazzapajizza as a platform for transforming the city. Ivy's love of jazz was revealed in Harley Quinn season 1, episode 12, "Devil's Snare," where, just before her death, Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth forced her to confess to really loving jazz music but being secretly ashamed of that fact. Poison Ivy's love of jazz was not mentioned again until the penultimate episode of Harley Quinn season 3, making it odd the series would make such an obscure callback into a major plot point yet not acknowledge Harley's grieving issues from the same episode.

Wait...Why Did Bruce Wayne Use Frank To Resurrect His Parents?

Harley Quinn Season 3 Bruce Wayne Resurrects Parents With Frank The Plant and Alfred

Perhaps the biggest question raised by Harley Quinn season 3, episode 9, "Climax At Jazzapajizza," is why Bruce Wayne would turn to Ivy's science as a means of resurrecting his parents in the first place. While Batman has a record of using his enemies' technology for nobler purposes in the comics, using a plant growth formula to raise the dead seems like something of a leap even by the loose standards of comic book science. It also seems utterly nonsensical in a setting where the long-lived Ra's Al Ghul and the Lazarus Pit exist.

Related: A Magical Girl Transformation Gave Poison Ivy A Major Power Upgrade

While Ra's has yet to appear or be mentioned in Harley Quinn, the fact that Batman's current Robin has been identified as Damian Wayne strongly suggests that Ra's and his daughter Talia (who is Damian's mother) exist in this setting. This makes it all but unthinkable that this Batman hasn't encountered the Lazarus Pits before or considered using one to resurrect his parents. There are logical reasons Batman might not have done this, ranging from not wanting to be beholden to Ra's Al Ghul to his parents being dead for too long for the Lazarus Pits to work safely. However, it remains strange that the disturbed Batman of Harley Quinn would turn to the questionable science of Poison Ivy before tried-and-tested Lazarus Pit in dealing with his grieving issues.

Harley Quinn season 3 premieres new episodes on Thursdays.