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Behind The Surprises Of Harley Quinn’s Latest Episode

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It’s a long-standing cliche that superheroes fight crime because they’ve been personally affected by crime. Though Batman was one of the first characters to have this element, his backstory remains one of the harshest. When you think about it, the fact that this character beloved by billions of children is one who had to watch the random murder of his parents when he was eight…that’s kinda screwed up.

What’s even screwier is the fact that we’ve seen it so many times by now, we’ve gotten desensitized to it, and the makers of Harley Quinn decided to explore that with the episode that premiered today, “Batman Begins Forever.” They sat down for an interview with Vulture about the episode, which is so far the standout of the third season and one of the best episodes of the series as a whole.

Note that this episode is just hours old at the time of this writing so there’s a chance you haven’t seen it yet. Be sure to watch the episode before you read this article, as it contains spoilers.

“The first time you hear about Batman’s origin, it’s a moving thing,” says episode writer Jamiesen Borak. “It’s a really tragic scenario. But then the fact that I can watch a child cry as his parents get murdered, and I’m like, I’m so bored of this, that’s so ****** up that you can feel that way. Let’s explore that.”

So when Harley and the gang attempt to probe Bruce Wayne’s mind to find the location of their potted friend Frank, they instead find Bruce replaying the darkest night of his life on an endless loop. It’s all he can think about, and the incident is displayed an endless, ridiculous number of times. Harley’s reaction is the inverse to the audience’s: she’s bored at first, but eventually becomes so disturbed she tries to stop it.

One cool fact Borak revealed about the episode is that many of the BTAS-inspired backgrounds in Bruce’s mind were literally from BTAS. Some of the art for Gotham’s streets was pulled from the archives and used in Harley Quinn. Elements of Shirley Walker’s score were also weaved into the music.

Borak decided to go traditional with Bruce’s origin, meaning the fact that his family was coming out of a showing for The Mark Of Zorro was left untouched. There was talk of turning that into a gag instead: “This has been a discussion on social media for it seems like over a decade: What movie would Bruce have seen now? If Bruce is 40 now, what is The Mark of Zorro,” said Patrick Schumacker. “At one point we were just like, they saw Freddy Got Fingered and got shot.” Justin Halpern added, “I just want to say it would have been really funny if it had been Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever that they had come out of.”

The current third season of Harley Quinn is now streaming on HBO Max and a fourth season is now in development.