The third season of the Harley Quinn show is rolling out on HBO Max, and the show still remains one of the best things coming out of DC Comics. And we all know that company could use a win right now given how Warner Bros. seems to be imploding and cancelling DC projects left and right. But this latest episode felt incredibly directed at me, specifically, as it brought back one of my favorite superhero portrayals for a quick cameo: Matt Ryan as John Constantine, who came with a reference to the character’s relationship with King Shark.
The following contains spoilers for Harley Quinn Season 3, Episode 5, “It’s a Swamp Thing.”
Without getting too hung up on the specifics of the episode’s plot, Harley Quinn season 3, episode 5 “It’s a Swamp Thing” revolves around Harley and Poison Ivy looking for the nature-loving creature Swamp Thing and in one scene, they’re asking the locals for any information at a bar.
In comes John Constantine voiced by Ryan, who portrayed the character in both live-action form in Constantine and Legends of Tomorrow, as well as in animation like Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, where it was confirmed he and King Shark had entered some form of relationship. That fact has been a delightful footnote on the warlock’s lore for me, and Harley Quinn is all about taking tidbits of DC’s in-universe stories and out-of-universe controversy and riffing on it. As a DC fan, it’s one of the most rewarding sides of a show that still props itself up with its humor and excellent performances. So getting to see it make a funny reference to Constantine’s relationship with a bipedal shark man was a delectable morsel in this episode’s main course.
Constantine says he’ll tell the girls where Swamp Thing is, but only if they can outdrink him. Once Harley and Ivy are down to drink, we get a hard cut to Harley, Ivy, and Constantine passed out on the bar floor. The night may have been rough, but under his coat, Constantine is wearing a blue t-shirt that says “I TANKED THE SHARK” with a shark fin used for the “A” in SHARK.
Constantine and King Shark’s relationship hasn’t been explored much, but Justice League Dark: Apokolips War confirmed the two were no longer together by the time it was revealed. But even so, the relationship has become a well-known gag for its delivery in the animated film, and seeing it recognized in the Harley Quinn show was delightful. It’s too bad that the show’s version of King Shark wasn’t around to get reacquainted with his ex. But hell, the season’s not over.
More DC and Harley Quinn:
- The Injustice Movie Rushes A Story That Deserves A Slow Burn
- ‘The Suicide Squad’ Review: A Do-Over Done Right
- Pitch: Forget Batman, Give Me a Green Arrow Video Game, Dammit
Personally, my favorite relationship I’ve seen the character with isn’t Zatanna, the ship most often associated with DC’s favorite warlock, is his relationship with Desmond in Legends of Tomorrow. Both because it’s one of the best examples of Constantine’s bisexual identity, and because it plays into some of the Arrowverse’s best tragic melodrama and I eat that shit up. But even so, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing that version of the character again any time soon after he was written out of Legends of Tomorrow in a way I deeply hated. But it did result in Ryan getting to play a new character, Gwyn Davies, who I loved during the last season of the show before it was canceled on a cliffhanger. But if some fans have their way, we could get closure on that story.
In the meantime, I’m just glad that Ryan is still getting to play John Constantine whenever he gets the chance. Keep it going DC. It’s the least you could do after dragging him through the mud before writing him off of Legends of Tomorrow.