The Surface Layers:
The surface layer of story is comprised of two sub-layers: the fore-story and backstory. These two components are meant to dance in rhythm with each other, so let’s see how this episode holds up.
The four-story of this episode is about Harley coming to realize and except that her relationship with the joker is unhealthy, and so she breaks it off. That is the goal of this episode. The backstory involves a whole lot more, including character backgrounds, their past relationships with each other, and what has brought them to where they are now. Because there is so much content already out there on these characters, this show is making the assumption that you (the audience) already knows who these people are and of Harley’s abusive history with the Joker: this is what allows for so much to happen within the first episode. That said, they do give the just right amount of time to Harley’s dedication, Joker’s clear abusiveness, and a bit of history between the friendship of Harley and Ivy. For anyone who has a small knowledge of the Gotham world, the flow of fore-story and backstory is beautiful and perfect. For those who are less familiar, it can get confusing real fast. (But not quite to the point of danger.) If they’d gone the other rout, I think it would have dragged for some audiences as well as eaten into the limited amount of time the creators have to tell their story. I think the fast pace was definitely the better option.
I love the set up of this episode. The lengths that Ivy has to go through to finally open Harley’s eyes is both hilarious and heartwarming. Harley’s personal journey through her breakup is interesting, but I think it’s her friendship with Ivy that’ll keep me coming back to this, not her personal drama. (More on that in a bit.) I am both hoping and predicting that the climax of this series will sort of parallel what happened in this episode, but with Harley in Joker’s position. I can see things escalating to where she really has become very much like her past abuser, and then finally realizes that she doesn’t have to be him to beat him. That’s just speculation. This is just one episode of thirteen, so I can’t say much yet other than I’m on board.