Deborah Vance is a perfect character for the talent of Jean Smart, who deservedly won an Emmy for the role. In the first season of Hacks, we are introduced to the irascible comedian who scares us and makes us cry, and laugh in equal measure. Complicated when she’s in a good mood, terrifying in her constancy of arrogance and impatience, Deborah is a one-of-a-kind anti-hero who’s making history on HBO Max. His return in season two was more than welcome.
Season two picks up right where it left off, with Deborah striving to improve as a person and restart her career. With her personality, of course, it’s not easy, but she’s genuinely trying. For Ava (Hannah Einbinder) this only makes matters worse because her devastating email that ended Season 1 could destroy everything. Literally.
And the drama comes in the 2nd episode, with a scene that guarantees Jean’s second Emmy in the role. Upon learning the truth, Deborah forces Ava to read her the email and with every line she hears the uncomfortable truths, we see her silent reaction. It’s an acting class. It’s great. It’s the reason why Hacks is so spectacular and essential right now.