In episode 6, “O Click” we get to see Deborah (Jean Smart) finally fucking loosen up a little and live. When she’s going through a bit of a rut she calls in reinforcements – Kiki (Poppy Liu), her personal blackjack dealer to spice things up a bit. Deborah’s rut is one that she’s been going through for most of the season, it’s so bad that even when one of her eleven stalkers comes to see her show and he’s unimpressed. She actually has to chase him down in order to get him to tell her his real thoughts. It’s a new low, especially for her.
In a season where Deborah hasn’t been able to catch a break, in this episode she catches a…man (Devon Sawa). While sitting at a bar with Kiki, Kiki points out that a younger man is watching her and leaves her to her own devices. The man in question is in his forties and Deborah finds it a little hard to believe that he’s actually interested in her, going as far to ask if he has a fetish for older women, to which he invites her back to his place.
When he takes her back to his place in a Uber, Deborah is surprised to learn how Ubers work, that it’s a different driver every time. It’s such a simple comment, but Jean Smart’s genuine intrigue as she delivers it is one of the many little moments that remind us that she will be winning the Emmy again this season.
Deborah and the unnamed man kiss in the back of the car and when we cut back to them, we see them in bed together. He asks her about a scar on her knee, offers her a massage, and more importantly offers her a second orgasm. It’s the first time we see a man genuinely interested in Deborah just because they’re attracted to her, not because of who she is and what she does. In a television landscape that hardly focuses on the pleasure of women, especially not older women, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a show allow its lead female to explore her sexuality through a one-night stand. This man allows Deborah to get the attention she deserves because she’s still a sexual being at her age, and that’s okay! Older women should be able to have sex with younger men and not be demonized for it, as long as it’s not something wildly inappropriate! Where other shows have dropped the ball with this particular scenario, Hacks picks it up and shows them how it’s meant to be done.
The one-night stand gets Deborah out of her rut and at her next show, she absolutely kills it when she realizes that what she’s been needing to do this entire time is make fun of herself. When she punches at herself instead of down, the audience eats it up and that’s when she realizes that what she needs isn’t another Vegas residency, but a comedy special.
While the bulk of the episode focuses on Deborah, the b-plot involves Ava (Hannah Einbinder) and her mother Nina (Jane Adams). Nina’s come to visit unexpectedly while they’re on tour and she’s gotten herself mixed up in a pyramid scheme since her husband’s passing last season. When she learns that Deborah is suing Ava, she immediately knows that whatever happened was Ava’s fault. Moms really do know their children like no one else. Both of them are at weird places in their lives and it shows, but what they really want most is to just…make one another proud.
In a series that revolves around complicated relationships between women of different generations, Hacks has always reminded viewers that at the end of the day, no matter what’s going on between the characters, they will always show up for one another when it matters most.