Review – Hacks Season 3

At the end of the second season of Hacks, the writers made a decision that would make it seem like this beloved series had come to a close. Comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) successfully updated her material and blasted her way back into relevance thanks to the writing and life coaching from Ava (Hannah Einbinder). Upon learning that Ava was getting noticed in the industry and could build a career from her experience with Ava, she selflessly fired her, pushing her out to forge a career of her own. It’s been three years since that finale aired, and after some personal circumstances with the cast and two strikes, the third season is finally here. 

The third season has a one-year time jump, with the show centring around Ava at the start, who is now acting as a co-producer and writer on a new show. She is currently shacked up with her actress girlfriend. They look to be living an idyllic life as an artistic couple in the leafy suburbs. Deborah is capitalising on her career’s second renaissance thanks to the success of her stand-up special. She has reached the elite status of receiving Tom Cruise’s famous coconut cake, the ultimate sign that a celebrity is at their peak. While they have grown separately, the two have not stayed in contact and this is where the third series picks up. 

The first episode is slightly jarring as you realise these two are not intimately involved in each other’s lives. Watching the sheer panic on Ava’s face whenever someone mentions Deborah successfully conveys this estrangement. When the two do meet serendipitous manner, and go through the motions of breaking down those emotional walls they have built up as they both tried to move on as individuals is fascinating to watch. Once the two are past their issues and they begin laughing and taunting each other again, the show allows itself to settle back into a late season 1 and season 2 vibe. While this may sound like just a re-hash of their relationship previously, it’s actually an insightful look into these characters and how they are reacting to their careers progressing. Their feelings of dependence on one another that got them through both of their creative slumps, is pulled right back up to the surface as they try to navigate their new era in their careers, while holding onto each other for support. 

Smart is flawless as always. Her complete embodiment of Deborah Vance is stronger than ever this season. Smart is quick on the one-liners and gives us a side of Vance that we haven’t seen before. Einbinder really comes into her own this season as Ava. While her character definitely is on more of a level playing field with Deborah career wise now, she is still that unapologetic and fiercely honest (and sometimes annoying) friend you need in your life. Einbinder propels Ava to new heights and really helps this character feel like an integral part of the show. Elsewhere this year Jimmy (Paul W. Downs) and Kayla (Megan Stalter) have branched out on their own as managers in Los Angeles. Seeing their dynamic outside of the boss / assistant dynamic is a great side story and their stories interweave with Deb and Ava as the season goes on. 

It’s hard to imagine after the phenomenal writing and success of season 2 that the show could ever keep up with that pace. Fortunately season 3 propels the story and its characters forward, while maintaining the laughs. Deb and Ava are in very much a similar place in their careers, and how they try to navigate that while not being dependent on each other is perfectly written. Hacks continues to be the best comedy on television that has no problems making you laugh one minute and cry the next. 

Hacks Season 3 is streaming on Stan Friday May 3rd, same day as the U.S.

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At the end of the second season of Hacks, the writers made a decision that would make it seem like this beloved series had come to a close. Comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) successfully updated her material and blasted her way back into relevance...Review - Hacks Season 3