A New Race
The second season of The Politician starts with a strong first episode with a similar tone and pace to its first. With a delicious slice of satire and dark humour throughout, the show picks up where it left off but this time with a more mature premise as Payton campaigns to become senate. All the actors continue with great chemistry on-screen too, helping to give the story more substance.
Episode 1 of The Politician Season 2 begins with Payton discussing his senate campaign with James, McAfee, Skye and Astrid. After the polling results, he is still 10 points behind so James suggests using the “throuple” scandal they have on their opponent, Dede Standish, to gain the upper-hand. Payton refuses though as he doesn’t want to win using dirty tactics. Astrid has some suggestions though, but they all dismiss her. She leaves soon after but is followed by Hadassah Gold, Dede’s chief of staff.
Hadassah takes Astrid for some lunch and after the latter complains about how ignored she feels by Payton and the rest, Hadassah suggests she come work for them and becomes a mole. Astrid refuses so Hadassah tries using her father and also mentions that she found out she would have won the election. At the same time, Andrew arrives at Payton’s headquarters and suggests the exact opposite. He will get hired by Dede and act as a mole in exchange for being set up with Infinity as he is still in love with her.
During a live debate, Dede manages to get the upper hand by claiming that Payton is not a real New Yorker and that his plans to get greener energy will cost trillions of dollars. Her latest bill has helped thousands of low income families without raising any taxes. Payton meets with Alice for tea afterwards and bemoans his choice of not using the scandal against Dede.
After reaffirming her love for him, they both decide that they need to keep focusing on climate change. However, Payton thinks that he should first stop her mother, Georgina, from running for governor as she is casting shadows over his campaign.
Payton leaves for California to talk to his mother. He goes to watch her in a live debate where she shockingly suggests that California should become an independent country as the state leads in all areas. He later speaks with his mother and after catching up, he asks her to drop out of her race. She tells him that he needs to try harder and be himself instead. He has doubts about his abilities though but Georgina does her best to reassure and encourages him.
Back in New York, Andrew manages to get hired by Hadassah and Astrid accepts her proposition. However, her condition is that when she runs for senate, she wants Gold to run it for her. She also tells her about Dede’s throuple and to get that sorted first.
Dede meets with her running mate, Tino, who is worried about Payton’s young followers as hers are slowly dying off. She later receives a visit from Hadassah at home who confronts her and her two partners about what she has just found out. All three try to reassure her that it will be fine as they probably have no proof. Hadassah doesn’t take it though and gives her an ultimatum: him ( William) or her. Dede refuses to choose as she doesn’t want to lose the best thing in her life. William then walks off and leaves Dede devastated.
Payton, James and McAfee head to a climate action rally organised by Infinity. Payton gives a passionate speech on climate and the difference he is willing to make for future generations. This is met by cheers and approval from the crowd just as James finds out that this is being live-streamed too.
In California, things are getting a little tense between Georgina and Alison. The former is approached by Tino who reveals that he is planning to run for presidency next year and wants her to be his running mate while Dede and Marcus head to find William who has been working on a lobster boat. She tells him she can’t do this without her and convinces him to come back.
Back in New York, Andrew arrives to see Payton as he has uncovered some dirt. He has managed to plant bugs and found out that Hadassah knows about the throuple but it is still happening. He has also learned that Dede doesn’t care about the race anymore and that Tino is going to run for president with her as his VP.
After wrestling with his conscience, Payton makes a decision and meets with Dede and Hadassah. He announces that he is ready to be authentic and release the throuple story. He blackmails them and explains that Dede is to drop out of the race for medical reasons and announce him as her replacement. She will still be able to run for vice-presidency so it is a win-win. He calls his mum to update her, where we see she has slept with Tino. The episode ends with Astrid meeting with Hadassah to reveal that Payton used to be in a threesome too.
While the main premise is similar to its first season, The Politician remains an enjoyable drama to check out thanks to its satirical tone and interesting characters. All the actors manage to pull off some great performances as they have now aged by a few years and have to tackle more serious issues.
Just like Jessica Lange in the first season, Bette Midler really stands out here even if she is not the main character. Her presence on screen is always welcome and she has some great chemistry with Judith Light. Whether the rest of the season remains as entertaining as this first installment remains to be seen, but for now The Politician is definitely worth checking out for anyone who enjoyed its first season.