Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder Weigh in on ‘Hacks’ Season 3 Finale: “My Baby Has Learned Her Lessons Well”

[This story contains spoilers from the Hacks season three finale, “Bulletproof.”]

Just hours after Hacks was renewed for a fourth season, the cast and creative team behind the hit comedy reunited for a conversation about its twisty season three finale.

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The final episode, which dropped this week, saw Deborah Vance (played by Jean Smart) beginning to put together her new late night show, promising Ava (Hannah Einbinder) the head writer job before yanking it away. In the final moments of season three, Ava gives Deborah a taste of her own medicine, threatening to go public with a scandal that could ruin the show unless she’s given the head writer job.

“My baby has learned her lessons well; this will be fun,” Smart joked at Thursday night event of her (and Deborah’s) reaction to the twist. “No, but it’s a mix of a lot of things. I think she is outraged and doesn’t like being manipulated like that, but at the same time, yes, she does kind of respect that a little bit. Although we don’t want to lose the old Ava.”

Einbinder replied, “I don’t think you will, I think she’s herself. I think she’s just been kind of pushed towards a behavior that is situational, that she’s probably struggling —”

Smart interjected, “Oh, it’s my fault?” as Einbinder joked, “We’ll talk about this in the car.” Smart also teased Einbinder about the look on her face in that scene, recalling, “When I came up to her and I said, ‘You wouldn’t’ and I took a step toward her, there was this moment of terror in your eyes before she pulled together and said, ‘I would.'” Einbinder deadpanned, “Which was acting, obviously.”

Smart and Einbinder were joined by creators Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky at the For Your Consideration event in Los Angeles, as well as co-stars Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Kaitlin Olson, J. Smith-Cameron and Christopher Lloyd.

Downs revealed that they knew the final scene “was the endpoint very, very early in writing season three” as the season focused on Deborah’s quest for the late night show. Aniello, who directed the season finale, also pointed out how in the college episode earlier in the season, Ava says “‘If you’re good to her, she’ll take care of you,’ and I think that in the finale we really wanted to put that to the test. That is how she sees the relationship and when that isn’t what ends up happening, we feel like her saying to Deborah in the end, like ‘You will not be getting rid of me, I will be taking what’s mine,’ [is] because she loves her so much.”

Asked what they hope for season four, Einbinder said, “I would like for [Ava] to hopefully continue to advocate for herself and to thrive at this job and I’m sure there’s going to be more push and pull between Ava and Deborah but I think that’s also so fun.”

Smart noted she’s never asked the writers what’s going to happen in upcoming seasons because she likes to be surprised but knows Deborah will be doing the talk show “which just tickles me to death because I think it’s gonna be so much fun and also we have a great opportunity to have amazing guest stars just come on and play themselves as my guests. But I’m very curious to see how this is going to play out in that situation where we’re working together very closely every day, with that wicked, wicked thing you did,” teasing Einbinder. “And I’m also curious to see what happens with Marty and his French whore — I mean his lovely fiancée.”

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