Harley Quinn Gives Bane His Biggest Trial Yet

The following reveals spoilers for Harley Quinn Season 4, Episode 8, “Il Buffone,” now streaming on Max.

As the explosive Season 4 of Harley Quinn proceeds on Max, the spotlight has been shared with many other villains. Harley and Poison Ivy are the focus of the season, but Ivy’s mentees in the Natural Disasters, as well as the rest of the Legion of Doom are getting their chance to shine too.

In addition, the likes of Talia al Ghul and a queer Steppenwolf have been introduced to the series. It gives the series a lot more character and personality, even if it’s with some of DC’s most despicable faces. Thankfully, they have a humorous edge to help balance it all off. That said, the latest episode of Harley Quinn puts the focus on an older tyrant — the fan-favorite Bane. This time, he’s faced with his biggest tribulation yet, affirming why the show ought to pivot on side stories when it can.

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Harley Quinn Season 4 Creates a Hopeless Romantic Bane

Bane makes pasta in Harley Quinn

Bane went on a rampage as a horny kaiju-like figure last season, but now, he’s more sentimental and is trying to better himself. At the same time, Bane is trying to woo Nora Fries, but she’s not not into him. She’s not into hopeless romantics — as seen by her constantly trying to hook up with the unsavory Captain Cold.

Nonetheless, Bane travels to Italy to find the perfect pasta maker, as he knows it’s Nora’s favorite dish. He ends up studying the art of pasta with Mama and, in time, he perfects the art. After things get violent, Bane promises Mama tickets to Clayface’s show and returns to Gotham having honed the craft of making pasta in the hopes he can finally seal the deal with who he thinks is true love.

Bane’s goal is to make Nora the ideal dinner and have a dream date. Sadly, Nora quickly belittles what he did for her, telling him she had pasta for lunch. It’s her way of saying shove off, but it reiterates just how little she cares about Bane. Still, he trudges on, eager to find a way into her heart. Notably, the way the endearing Bane broke down and struggled at Mama’s proved that his feelings for Nora are real. He almost lost his fingers due to Ma’s violent methods, but he does learn the skill due to the way Nora makes him feel. This leaves Bane adamant to keep working on new schemes because no matter what, she’s his inspiration and a muse he can’t let go of.

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Harley Quinn Season 4 Confirms Bane As Its Best Villain

Bane rides a moped in Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn has certainly inverted many of DC’s well-known heroes and villains, remixing them with dark comedy. It’s evident in how Lex Luthor is obsessed with Superman, even having a sex show where he watches a ‘Man of Steel’ be emasculated. Bruce Wayne is also painted as a tyrant, enjoying his time in prison with the wealthy elites.

But Bane has a charm and innocence like no other character on the show. Yes, he loves blowing things up — aka ‘splosions’ — but it’s because he’s a big kid at heart that needs to vent. His rage stems from wanting to be loved. As such, Harley and her crew feel sorry for him. Even Harley Quinn’s King Shark wants to befriend Bane, making up for the times they rejected him. The problem is, Bane just rubs people the wrong way, coming off as a tad clingy and needing attention.

Bane gets neurotic and whiny; a far cry from the brute seen in so many books, cartoons, games, and movies. Granted, it’s funny hearing him mimic the Tom Hardy voice from the Christopher Nolan Batverse, but if Bane doesn’t find a way to become a people person, socializing with someone like Nora just won’t be on the table. Nonetheless, Bane is pure, filled with heart and soul, and someone Harley will still care for. It doesn’t matter that she’s a superhero now; she knows Bane is a lost soul who just wants warmth, compassion, and empathy. In fact, it’s similar to the feelings Harley wants after coming back from the future with Ivy.

RELATED: Harley Quinn Season 4 Takes a Stab at the Wealthy Elite – And It Actually Works

Harley Quinn Needs To Add Side Stories

Bane romances Nora in Harley Quinn

While Harley Quinn’s main narrative is great, the show could benefit from extra side stories. This anthology approach can help flesh heroes and villains out because, right now, they feel more like cameos than characters. Fans didn’t know much about the show’s version of Nightwing, for example, so there wasn’t an emotional connection when Dick Grayson died. The same applies for a Lex who owns the toxic Legion of Doom. More backstory would inform his fetishes with Superman, creating extra intrigue.

It’s a tried, tested, and proven formula, as this sort of nuance has been gleaned for characters like Jim Gordon and an angry Barbara/Batgirl. They feel whole and properly informed. Even Bruce’s grief got a deep dive last season, explaining his fears as the Dark Knight. When Harley Quinn fully details its personalities, they — and by extension, the show — really glows.

Bane compounds this, giving fans a peek beneath the mask (spiritually). It’s easy to see why he broke bad, and why he would come to the light after Mama peeled back all his layers. Thus, whatever Bane’s decision, while viewers won’t condone it, they’d understand it. Ultimately, this is what helps the Harlivy relationship stand out, as well as their friends. The side quest that highlighted their daughter in 2048, Neytiri, achieved this kind of depth too. So, here’s to hoping others get this Bane treatment to continue punctuating how rich, diverse and kooky this part of the Harleyverse really is.

New episodes of Harley Quinn Season 4 come out Thursdays on Max.

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