Our spoiler-free look at what's to come in 'The Politician' series two.
Here we go again - picking up one month before the electorate goes to the poles, we join Ben Platt's Payton Hobart as he and his team attempt to unseat Judith Light's Dede Standish in the New York State Senate race. The long-time incumbent and greatly admired Senate Majority Leader has a lead on Payton, with her no-nonsense Chief of Staff, Bette Midler's Hadassah Gold at her side. But after the discovery from the end of season one that Dede is enveloped in a scandalous Throuple, Payton may have the upperhand as the race finally begins to heat up.
It's unfortunate then, that after moving forward three years after highschool, Payton is still going through the same struggles he went through in season one of the show. Yet again, he feels out of place in the world and has a need to discover who he is, who is this politician that he wants the public to see him as. Sometimes it feels like we're re-watching the first season all over again, just under a different, slightly more exciting setting, and it makes his character even one dimensional when everything else around him is much more captivating.
While Payton's storyline is a rehash of what went before, it's the secondary characters who shine most in 'The Politician' season two. Judith Light, who plays Payton's long-running competition Dede Standish, plays the powerful politician card in a likeable way that makes you question whether you really want Payton to win this whole election malarky. Payton's band of followers from high school all make a triumphant return of course, but unfortunately for them they are pushed very much to the sidelines - yet again. Lucy Boynton as Astrid doesn't get enough screentime to really do her character justice, while Theo Germaine, Rahne Jones, and Laura Dreyfuss as James, Skye, and McAfee are only given moments of very brief celebration.
Zoey Deutch pops up at random points whenever the plot suits, but her character of Infinity is unrecognisable and doesn't really have a place in the lineup this time around. Gwyneth Paltrow as Payton's mother Georgina and Jackie Hoffman as a receptionist also provide fleeting moments of respite, and you find yourself looking forward to when you can next see them. Finally, we've saved the best for last, with Bette Midler who is undoubtedly the star of the show as Hadassah Gold. She does the best that she can with a sometimes airy-fairy script and really is the star of this supposedly politically satirical show.
Having said that, we're unsure if 'The Politician' really is so outlandish that it can be called satire. We won't ruin anything, but the points touched here are all things that we've seen happen in real life. The word "throuple" is thrown around all too often early on, and with only seven episodes to watch, it overstays its welcome for far too long.
The potential reason as to why there are only seven episodes in season two is probably down to the show being a casualty of production shut-downs from earlier this year. However, with original series creator Ryan Murphy nearly nowhere to be seen this season at all (he only helped pen the opening episode), his lack of presence is very much felt as the series progresses. His distinctive style, that was present in season one, is missing. The episodes don't pop, they're not as colourful, and the LGBTQ characters that are often at the forefront of his storylines have been forgotten about.
If you watched the first season, then the second one is a worthy follow-up for sure. It's pretty much more of the same for sure, but with a meatier setting that has more at stake than highschool politics. However, the series not as outlandish as it could have been - come on, Trump has said more scathing remarks - and with the secondary characters vying for more screen presence, it's not executed as well as it's trying so hard to do.