DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Harley Quinn episode “It’s a Swamp Thing” has spoilers. Prepare to terraform Gotham and proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, queenpins of crime! It’s hard to believe we’re at the halfway point in Season 3 of Harley Quinn, but here we are! So far, so fun. “It’s a Swamp Thing” brings a few familiar DC characters into the Harley Quinn fold while honing in on relationships. It’s not as plot or action-heavy as previous installments; instead, it focuses more on character development. That’s a-okay with me.
Ready to delve into “It’s a Swamp Thing”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Ivy (Lake Bell) attempting to find Frank the Plant via the Green. However, she’s struggling to reach that zen place to pinpoint him. It doesn’t help that Harley (Kaley Cuoco) keeps munching loudly on potato chips. Hey, she gets snacky!
Then, Ivy breaks through the cloudiness, locating Frank (J.B. Smoove) on an operating table in a lab. Harley encourages her girlfriend to find ways to relax so she can discover Frank without mental impediments. Harley reveals that today’s the day they get to chill (Get it?) with Nora Freeze (Rachel Dratch), who bursts into Selina Kyle’s swanky pad on the broad shoulders of a man donning a “Booty Patrol” t-shirt. That should be the title of a future Doom Patrol episode.
Meanwhile, Selina (Sanaa Lathan) plays what looks like a crossword puzzle game on her phone. Bruce Wayne (Diedrich Bader) tries to persuade her to spend the night. He even gifts her a toothbrush she can keep at his sprawling mansion. However, not even his wealthy white man’s tears are enough to convince her to stay.
Ivy’s not excited to have Nora around, but what can ya do? The woman was frozen for 25 years. Ivy reveals that Swamp Thing could find Frank easily in the Green. Nora and Harley desperately want to flee to New Orleans, not only to ask Swamp Thing to locate Frank but for the delectable beignets.
Unfortunately, Clayface (Alan Tudyk) must prepare to portray Billy Bob Thornton in James Gunn‘s Thomas Wayne biopic. Oof, that’s a mind f*ck of a sentence. King Shark (Ron Funches) believes someone should stay behind to watch all the cats. They do love him, after all.
Here, Take These Cats I Named After My Dead Parents
Later, after the gals leave for New Orleans, Selina returns to her apartment and promptly gives King Shark the boot. She draws herself a bubble bath, pours a glass of red, busts out the cheese puffs and watches TV. Admittedly, her version of self-care looks like heaven to me.
Then, Bruce knocks on Selina’s door while armed with two adorable kitties, whom he names Thomas and Martha after his, you guessed it, dead parents. He presents them to Selina. She’s flabbergasted that Bruce only knows she loves cats. Bruce, dejected, drops the cats in Alfred’s (Tom Hollander) arms.
Meanwhile, Harley, Ivy and Nora run into John Constantine (Matt Ryan) at a bar in New Orleans. They ask for directions to Swamp Thing’s hideout, but Constantine won’t oblige unless Ivy challenges him to a drink-off.
I Tanked the Shark
The following day, Harlivy wakes on the bar floor next to an unconscious Constantine. Nora calls Harley, revealing she found Swamp Thing’s humble, swampy abode. So, she’s now at the location, waiting for them. Harley and Ivy procure the map from Constantine’s jacket and pinpoint ST’s place of residence. Side note: Ivy’s “Team Brangelina” shirt is like staring into a time capsule. Weird.
Next, after getting off the phone with Harley, something drags Nora down into the muck. Later, Harley and Ivy arrive at Swamp Thing’s (Sam Richardson) home, only to find the swampy green giant cheerfully offering them chai tea. Meanwhile, Alfred knocks Bruce unconscious while the latter’s in mid-conversation with the cats he named after his dead parents. Bruce wakes next to Selina while a disembodied voice laughs menacingly.
We learn that Nora and Swamp Thing hooked up before Harley and Ivy arrived. Ivy urges Nora to ask ST about locating Frank, but she fears their coupling is still too new for that step. Harley gently nudges her girlfriend in the direction of reconciling with her feelings. The psychiatrist comes out to play! Harley also urges Ivy to stop being so hard on herself.
Music Meister’s Musical Therapy
Later, we see Music Meister (Larry Owens) thrusting Bruce and Selina into a musical therapy session. He hopes that, through song, these crazy kids can work through their relationship troubles. Back in New Orleans, Harley, Ivy, Nora and Swamp Thing are in line for beignets, much to Harls’ delight. Nora clarifies her bond with Swamp Thing by stating they’re not a couple. Unfortunately, this declaration causes ST to throw a temper tantrum. He harnesses and unleashes his impressive swampy abilities on the masses.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Selina sing their feelings to each other with the assistance of Music Meister. Selina wants to be alone, while Bruce craves company. Bruce also gets really into it and executes some pretty smooth dance moves. The session ends with Bruce sitting forlornly on the couch while Selina nonchalantly asks about the bill. It’s over, folks. No more Bat-Cat. Cat-Bat?
Ivy vs. Swamp Thing
Ivy squares off against an irate Swamp Thing, who claims that Ivy only cares about herself. When they were friends, he used to listen to her constantly, but she wouldn’t give his issues the time of day. Ivy emotionally reveals that Frank, her best friend, is missing. He’s the only one who understands her besides Harley. Swamp Thing, moved by Ivy’s tears, embraces his former BFF. Finally, the turbulent, swarming, non-eco-friendly storm around them ceases.
Later, Nora believes Harley and Ivy brought her to New Orleans so she’d realize she didn’t have to live her whole life simultaneously. Ivy asks Swamp Thing if he can help her locate Frank. ST reveals the ability to find Frank via the Green was always inside her. Ivy, empowered by a new sense of confidence, gets a clear picture of Frank’s location.
We see he’s on an operating table, with Bruce Wayne towering above him. Alfred watches while Bruce prepares to experiment on Frank. He knows Ivy did “something” to the plant, so he intends to discover what that is. Uh-oh.
“It’s a Swamp Thing” is heartfelt, heartwarming and lighthearted. All the hearts. It’s not a jaw-dropping, overstuffed spectacle, but it’s a perfectly suitable, fluffy outing that provides escapism for 22 minutes. Sometimes, that’s all I want. Make me chuckle and forget about the world for a bit.
Rachel Dratch is inexplicably perfect as Nora Freeze. I know this isn’t her first go-round as the character, but I’m always floored whenever I hear her voice. Plus, it’s always a good time when Sam Richardson’s around, and I hope we get more of Swamp Thing in future episodes. Matt Ryan’s return as John Constantine feels natural. Time to revive that live-action Constantine series!
What do you think Bruce will do to Frank? How did King Shark kill time for six hours when Selina ordered him out of her apartment? Will Nora move on from Swamp Thing? Join me next week while I continue recapping Harley Quinn, only on Geek Girl Authority.
Harley Quinn drops new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.