Episode-By-Episode Breakdown of Season 2 of Netflix's "The Politician"!

07-26-2020 by Victoria Martinez

  ( © Netflix)  

 

Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” has returned for a second season! The first season was pretty wild and the trailer for the new season showed us that even more drama was in store. The ambitious and political-driven high schoolers are now young adults living in New York taking on a new campaign. Season 2 picks up right exactly where we left off in the final episode of Season 1. Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) and his friends pursue the candidacy of New York State Senate against Dede Standish (Judith Light).

 

 

 

Like many, I binge-watched the entire season in a day and now prepared an episode-by-episode breakdown for you! Get ready for more scandals, a bigger goal, and, of course, Ben Platt’s vocals. Let’s get into it! [*cue “Chicago” bySufjan Stevens*]

 

Season 2, Episode 1: “New York State of Mind”

With a brief recap of where we left off last season, Payton had reassembled his high school crew for a new campaign. The first episode starts off with the team’s discussion over Payton’s stance a month ahead of the election. Which is no surprise when Dede has had a strong supporting base after running unopposed for years. So much is unfolded during this episode to set the entire season up.

 

Firstly, politics seems to run in the family after a surprising twist revealing that Georgina Hobart (Gwyneth Paltrow) was running for Governor in California. Payton was not so happy about it after seeing his mother’s impact on his campaign. Georgina shuts Payton down and encourages him to find something he is passionate about to make his campaign more authentic. So, his take was the fight for climate change. His high school running mate and current environmental activist, Infinity (Zoey Deutch), returns to present Payton to her supporters.

 

A very frustrated Astrid (Lucy Boynton) is proposed an offer by Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler) to be mole for Dede’s campaign. Andrew (Ryan J. Haddad) marked his return and commitment to help Payton by being his spy. As both campaigns have a mole, now we await to see how long they last before getting caught. For her first task, Astrid reveals the throuple to Hadassah and she begins to spiral. As her job intends, Hadassah confronts Dede about it.

 

If you don’t recall, River (David Corenswet), after his death, served as Payton’s conscience in Season 1. He makes an appearance when Payton seeks help to find his true self. As River tells Payton that he’s just a voice in his head, I begin to question, could this be the closure he needed? Sadly, this is the most River we get this season. We know that Payton is driven by his ambition, so he starts the rivalry by exposing any dirt he has on Dede. Meanwhile, Dede may have another worry coming her way as Senator Tino McCutcheon offers Georgina the Vice President slot.

 

 

 

Season 2, Episode 2: “Conscious Unthroupling”

The discussion about throuples is far from over; it actually plays an ongoing part in the season. Fans of the show have even started a drinking game for the times the word is used -- even Ben Platt shared it with his own twist! As of right now, we know that Dede Standish is in a throuple, and Astrid shared some information about Payton’s involvement in a throuple. Which was not actually a throuple, it was an unsuccessful threesome.

 

 

 

Hadassah suggests a solution to avoid a scandal: confirming a relationship with William (1/3 of the throuple). This plan seems to take a turn when Hadassah and William begin to have an intimate conversation about their past. It was such a sweet moment, as Hadassah’s devotion to her career has limited her to having a relationship. Having relationship troubles herself, McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss) snaps and pursues a date night. As all first dates, she had an awkward night with her Tinder date.

 

To continue the throuple storyline, Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) and Payton invite Astrid into their relationship, primarily to keep her on their side (quite cold!). AND just like that the first “mole” is down. Meanwhile, Hadassah and William go the extra mile and later on confess the actions to Dede and Marcus. That leaves Dede out of a throuple right after she made a formal announcement about her involvement in the relationship. Now what happens next for Dede? How will she handle this turn?

 

Season 2, Episode 3: “Cancel Culture”

After reading the title of this episode, I was looking forward to seeing how they tackle the subject of “cancel culture”.  

 

Hadassah gets a hold of controversial images of Payton provided by an anonymous sender. As the images get published by the local media, Payton begins to see the consequences of appropriating Native American culture. Alice suggests that Skye (Rahne Jones) should stand by Payton’s side as he addresses his actions. Skye agrees to do so, but she starts a conversation to make the team understand why cultural appropriation is wrong. “There’s a thin line between appreciation and appropriation,” said Skye (YES QUEEN, MAKE SURE THEY GRASP THE CONCEPT!). Unfortunately, Payton commits the same act; even if it was for a plan, he knew better to not do it again. (Come on, we were all rooting for you!)

 

 

 

In the first episode, we learned that Infinity became a climate activist. If you’re still wondering how that happened, that gets explained in this episode. Basically, she had a realization during her book tour and decided to change her lifestyle. Going completely zero-waste, Infinity challenges Payton and Skye to go zero waste within 24 hours if they want her to continue supporting their campaign. An example of practicing what you preach. Infinity has learned to stop taking any BS and stand up for herself. She even calls Andrew out on his obsessive behavior, which was way too creepy.

 

Season 2, Episode 4: “Hail Mary”

If things weren’t shocking enough, hold on because there are way too many twists in this episode. It’s even a game-changer. First off, it turns out that McAfee returned to work for Dede’s campaign to update Payton on any dirt she could find on the NY State Senator. And, of course, it worked. Through “Operation Spicy Lube” and hiding in Hadassah’s closet, McAfee discovered that Hadassah and William have gotten together. A shocker to them, even though we the viewers found out earlier. Eventually, Payton confronts Hadassah and threatens to break the story if Dede doesn’t drop out of the race. Being the headstrong person that she is, Hadassah takes no threat and challenges Payton to do it.

 

James (Theo Germaine) lashed out after finding out about McAfee’s latest role and involvement in the campaign. During the argument, William makes an unexpected visit. [*gasp!*] William exposes information about Marcus that was even unknown to Dede. After all, the Hadassah and William situation was not the “Hail Mary” Payton was seeking, it was actually the Marcus story -- a story they had scheduled to share with a reporter.  

 

The news that Mary, Senator McCutcheon’s wife (or now ex-wife), had awakened from her coma broke out. Mary holds a press conference where she reveals her husband’s betrayal and his affair with Georgina Hobart. Georgina speaks out on the affair and confirmed the end of the relationship. Tino still plans on running as President with Dede as his VP, although there is a chance he won’t win after the situation.

 

Earlier in the episode, we find out that Alice is pregnant. The moment seen in the trailer arrives, and Astrid reveals her pregnancy as well. Offering her financial support, Astrid walks out of the conversation due to the lack of compassion. She did so rightfully; her child deserves a father as well! To end the wild episode, James goes behind the team’s back to break the Marcus story.

 

Season 2, Episode 5: “The Voters”

Just like in Season 1, there is an episode solely dedicated to the voters' perspectives on Election Day. For this, I say that Ryan Murphy is a genius. This episode was centered on the importance of the young voter turnout and how the older generations should take into account the issues the next generations will have to deal with later.

 

A mother and daughter argue over their preferred candidate. After dropping an “OK Boomer” on her mother, Jayne Mueller leaves to work as a volunteer for Payton’s campaign. When Jayne enters the building, Payton is seen arguing with James for exposing the Dede story to a reporter. Not being able to handle such betrayal, Payton fires James in front of the entire team (yikes!). Further pressure is placed when the news reports a huge voter turnout. McAfee is directed to assemble a team, including Jayne, to prepare for an event at Madison Square Park. Meanwhile, the mother, Andi Mueller, serves as an election judge. When Dede and Hadassah show up to the polling place, the press follows to question the candidate on the new scandal. Shortly after, Payton and Alice arrive to the same site, where they reveal the pregnancy when questioned about the same article.

 

By the time the candidates cast their vote, both Andi and Jayne have had interactions with their preferred candidate. Senator Standish is quite confident about winning the campaign; her team is seen finishing up the setup for the victory party. Meanwhile, Payton takes a cold shower in front of his supporters at a park to demonstrate his commitment. Andi, after hearing Dede’s views on the youth and seeing Payton’s act, she re-evaluates her choice. It’s a touching moment when the mother reveals to her daughter that she voted for Payton. That single action showed that she listened to her daughter and took into account that they are the future. Together, they tune in to watch the election results. And then comes the cliffhanger as the reporter is cut off right as he announces the winner. Who could it be? Did Payton manage to win this election? Ahh! Quickly tuning into the next episode...!

 

Season 2, Episode 6: “What’s in the Box?”

After multiple recounts, it turns out there was a tie! WHAT?! Initially, Dede was leading the election by 23 votes, but the inaccurate initial counting triggered a recount. So, now what? Their options are another Election Day or flipping a coin. It sounds pretty crazy, until they begin to mention the duels that were done to end a tie in previous elections. Eventually, Payton and Dede decide on breaking the tie through a traditional game of Rock-Paper-Scissors.

 

What makes this episode entertaining is the determination from both sides to discover a way to win the game. Ricardo (Benjamin Barrett), Infinity’s ex and the guy who attempted to murder Payton last season, makes a brief reappearance. Payton, McAfee, and Alice visit Ricardo in prison to ask for techniques. Meanwhile, Hadassah resorts to a research paper. With different sources, they ultimately get the same theory. Switching between the two discussions makes this scene outstanding.

 

But wait, there’s more to just the game in this episode! Infinity reveals a stolen ballot-box, which she plotted under “Operation Steal our Planet from the Boomers Who are Trying to Kill It”. Now that you think about it, there are way too many operations in this season. Anyway, this jeopardized the campaign and left Payton with a huge dilemma: reveal the location of the box or destroy it. At the same time, Alice deals with a dilemma of her own that leads her to leave Payton. Georgina visits her son and, through her words of wisdom, Payton makes a decision about the ballot box. Honestly, who wouldn’t gain motivation when you have Gwyneth Paltrow giving you advice in a soothing tone? With Alice’s departure, Payton regains the ambition he had since high school in becoming President of the U.S. But, of course, before he can get there, he needs to win that game of Roshambo.

 

 

Season 2, Episode 7: “Election Day”

The final episode is here! Time to find out who takes the State Senate candidacy. Both candidates take up final preparation for the Rock-Paper-Scissors battle. But first, we are taken to a farm -- quite random, until you see Astrid and Alice. After pondering, Astrid made the decision to have an abortion and Alice stands by her side through it. Meanwhile, Alice decided to get back together with Payton and continue her education (btw, McAfee was the only one from the crew to have finished college).

 

Now back to the election… Dede concedes to her opponent. Yep, Payton is now State Senator! What a plot twist! But wait, there’s more. Before Payton officially accepts his title as State Senator, it is revealed that Payton would have actually won the election if the stolen ballot box was turned in (WOW!). Meanwhile, Georgina, now Governor of California, makes the decision to run for President and invites Dede to be her VP. Let me mention that this scene was actually filmed during quarantine. They worked it into the show as a video call and honestly it fit in perfectly! So, ultimately, both Dede and Payton got what they sought.

Like in the first season, there is a time jump. Here we learn that Payton is about to win his re-election, McAfee is engaged, Alice and Payton are married and have their first child, aaaand [*drum roll*] Georgina was elected President. Beyond being rivals at first, Dede and Payton have found their peace. Dede even offers Payton a slot as Vice President for her Presidency campaign. If you missed River (I, of course, did), he makes a brief reappearance toward the end of the episode.

This episode was quite the handful and now leaves us wondering on what will happen next. Will Payton accept Dede’s offer? What happened to Astrid? Who will Dede run against? Will we even get a Season 3? Time will only tell!

 

Season 2 of “The Politician” is now streaming on Netflix!