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This Week’s Most Noteworthy Performance: Kathryn Hahn

February 14-20
“Breaking the Fourth Wall” | WandaVision
Kathryn Hahn

Source: Disney Plus

Before we dive into this performance review, make sure you’ve seen the latest episode of WandaVision because this will be spoiler heavy.

We knew. We all knew, but a teeny tiny part of us hoped, perhaps even thought, no we’re wrong, it’s too obvious. Agnes can’t be Agatha Harkness, it’s just … too obvious. And yet sometimes, the obvious answer is the answer. It’s the one that makes the most sense and there could not have been a more perfect actress to play her than Kathryn Hahn.

While most of the women on the show, and in this episode particularly are given the chance to question—to grieve (as the prominent theme of the show), Hahn is given the chance to pull the strings. She’s calling the shots and she’s doing so with the kind of lunacy that we have always believed is the tipping point for actors or actresses playing villains. It can be overdone, quite literally sometimes, it can be too much, but with Hahn’s portrayal of Agnes and now Agatha Harkness, it’s embodiment that works in an incredibly meta, nuanced way. When she goes from Agnes’ reveal to Agatha, in a split second of acute hollowness Hahn shows the audience what a true threat she is, but then her theme starts playing and we get a glimpse of the more chaotic version that’s masterful in this series’ carefully crafted storytelling.

She’s insidious. She’s ridiculous. And Hahn is clearly having a blast, which is translating on to screen with tactful ease because from the very first episode she’s been building up to this moment. By layering and stripping her character marvelously she’s been showing us what she is capable of. Her maniacal laugh was meant to be just that, completely kooky and reminiscent of timeless witchy portrayal that’s graced our screens years before the storylines got darker, more realistic. It all works because for a split moment last week she made the audience believe she too was under Wanda’s control and while the truth has been revealed now, the sheer manipulative tactics Hahn is using to frame the character’s narrative is working wonders. It’s a performance that’ll be remembered for a long time because it’s ultimately a timeless and fun one.

This isn’t dark and heavy at the moment, but it’s crafting a character through a performance that should not be as riveting as it is, and yet—she’s Kathryn Hahn. From day one we’ve been screaming about her being an icon and in “Breaking the Fourth Wall” she showed us exactly why. The moment of brief, blink and you’ll miss it concern when she realizes Billy has his powers—the terror and villainy she wore in her eyes as she spoke to Monica, it’s all so tastefully done, and we’re here for every minute. We’re here for every ridiculous moment because this show is paying homage to shows that have come before it and portrayals like this that are undoubtedly going to be memorable. And the breaking of the fourth wall–there could not have been another trope for this reveal to work as remarkably in allowing Hahn to be our guide through a type of chaos that surely had us all screaming after.

Who was the most noteworthy performer you watched this week?

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