How 'The Politician' Finale Set up a Third Season
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2 of The Politician.]
The Politician's Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) is one step closer to achieving his dream (President) by the end of the second season.
The Netflix original series details what he hopes is a journey (which began with student body president) that leads to the White House, and in the episodes that dropped Friday, he challenges New York state senator Dede Standish (Judith Light) for her seat. In fact, Payton wins over enough people — especially the young vote, with his platform for climate change — that it's going to come down to rock-paper-scissors after a tie to determine the winner. (Yes, it gets that outrageous.) However, then Dede concedes the election to him, to everyone's (including his) surprise.
"When you're a politician ... you have to hear what no one else does. You have to hear what your constituents want," she says in her speech. She heard that young people are angry and "the voice of a young man, who fights diligently to solve the problems that these young people are so angry about [and] who inspired them, who made them believe that someone was finally listening to them."
As it turned out, he would have won to begin with if Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch) hadn't stolen a box of ballots in a bid to secure his victory; his staffers McAfee Westbrook (Laura Dreyfuss), James Sullivan (Theo Germaine), and Skye Leighton (Rahne Jones) counted the votes.
Meanwhile, after winning the election for governor in California, Payton's mother Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow) decides she's going to run for president. She chooses Dede to be her vice president. "You are so smart," she explains. "You're so good at all of the governing and all that stuff that I really can't be bothered with." Furthermore, she doesn't plan on running for a second term, so the stage would be set for Dede to follow her.
Then, just like the Season 1 finale did, we jump forward—to two years later, in this case. Payton has had a very successful first term, and he and Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) are married, with a son, Archie. She's also on her way to becoming a doctor. And Payton isn't looking ahead to something bigger; he's happy to be running unopposed for his next term.
"The last two years have been a revelation, not just because I became a husband and a father, but because I learned that a meaningful life is not all about ambition," he explains. "We didn't worry about the next thing. We stayed devoted to the thing in front of us: a cause we believe in and that needs us. We have a lot more work to do, and I for one plan on doing it."
But when Payton's out for a jog, Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler), Dede's former chief of staff who will be making the move to the White House with her since Georgina won the election, finds him. She directs him to where Dede's sitting on a bench, waiting for him. After the two exchange congratulatory messages on their political successes, she gets right to it: when she runs for president in four years, she wants him to be her vice president. (She's not worried about Georgina not sticking to their deal because Payton's mother is "already bored" of holding office.)
While he wonders about his age (he won't be 35), Dede assures him that she and Georgina are going to change that, as part of his mother's "Let's Fix the Dumb S**t in the Constitution" campaign for her first 100 days. With that no longer standing in his way, the smile on his face as the finale ends suggests that a potential third season will cover that campaign.
And if Netflix does renew the series and we get a similar structure to the most recent episodes, Season 3 will end with the results of that election. Payton's decision to accept Dede's offer could also put a strain on his marriage to Alice; she is, after all, pursuing a career in medicine, and we saw their relationship be affected by his senate campaign in Season 2.
Furthermore, as Payton notes in the finale, "For someone who has staked his future on winning elections, I don't win many elections." (Even though he did technically win the most recent one, the world doesn't know that since he can't admit that someone connected to his campaign stole a ballot box.) Will that change with the next one, or will something get in the way of it (assuming he and Dede don't lose)?
Whatever happens, Season 2 did set up the series to continue. How will Payton's next campaign go? Will he and Alice make it work? Will McAfee's fiancé stick around? (We saw her have problems with an attempt at dating early on in the season due to her close friendships with James and Skye. We only briefly met her fiancé after the time jump in the finale.) What will Georgina do after her time in office is over? The Politician can address these questions and much more in a Season 3.
The Politician, Season 2, Streaming now, Netflix