Developed by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey, ‘Harley Quinn’ is a Max adult-animated series that revolves around the eponymous DC character and her journey to become a hero. Harley is ultimately part of the larger mythos developed around Bruce Wayne/Batman, so he is predictably an important part of the narrative, even though he isn’t the central character. Portrayed by Diedrich Bader, Bruce is not as infallible as he generally is in animated adaptations. He has plenty of shortcomings, and the showrunners have little problem addressing them. If you are wondering where he is at the start of the fourth season of ‘Harley Quinn,’ we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Where is Bruce Wayne?
The fourth season begins with a noticeable absence of Bruce Wayne as a character. Those who have watched season 3 know the reasons for it. Bruce starts to lose his sanity in the third season of ‘Harley Quinn’ after learning that a movie is being made about his parents’ deaths. In episode 8, Harley and Ivy abduct Bruce hoping to force him to reveal the whereabouts of Frank, but no matter how much torture they put him through, Bruce refuses to say anything. Exhausted, the girls reach out to their former teammate, Dr. Psycho, who helps them enter Bruce’s subconscious mind. However, the crew soon finds themselves trapped in the memory loop of what happened to Thomas and Martha Wayne. This leads Harley and Psycho to deduce that Bruce’s mind has rejected every memory except for the most terrible one.
When Harley tries to save Bruce from Joe Chill, Bruce’s mind ejects everyone except her, and she later finds out that Bruce is actually Batman. Joe Chill eventually reveals himself as a manifestation of Bruce. Bruce blames himself for what happened to his parents and considers his obsession over the deaths of his parents and his vigilantism his punishment. In response, Harley deduces that she must help Bruce in the real world and also promises that she will not reveal his secret identity. Bruce’s fixation on the most tragic moment in his life leads him to nearly cause a zombie apocalypse when he tries to revive his parents using Frank.
Eventually, Bruce realizes his folly and decides to kill his zombified parents. To spare him further trauma, King Shark volunteers to do it in his stead, and Bruce accepts. By the end of season 3, Joker, who has become the mayor of Gotham, has established himself as a socialist leader. He has Bruce arrested over tax evasion, much to the shock of the Bat-family.
Why is Batman in Jail?
In the season 3 Finale, Bruce is invited to the premiere of the movie about his parents. When he attends the event, he is arrested for tax evasion by Joker and his new group of underlings, who are former GCPD officers wearing clown masks. Batgirl suggests they can break him out of the prison, but Bruce tells her not to. Instead, he wishes to use this time to deal with his trauma. Harley promises him that she will help him through the process.
Bruce Wayne/Batman is subsequently incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary, and Harley joins the Bat-family. In ‘Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special,’ Bruce receives a box of bat-shaped chocolates from Catwoman in his cell and is visibly happy about it. In season 4 episode 2, Alfred orchestrates a bank robbery so he will be sent to Blackgate and reunite with Bruce. Unfortunately, the minimum security prison is for the more affluent members of the society and Alfred ends up at Arkham, much to his dismay.