After months of teasing, Ryan Murphy’s highly-anticipated Election-esque Netflix series The Politician is here. Follow along with our binge-watch of the series:

Episode 1: “Pilot”

Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) wants to be president. Eventually, President of the United States. But first, student body president of Saint Sebastian High School.

We’re introduced to Payton during his Harvard admission interview, during which he reveals that his entire life revolves around his ambition to become president one day, which includes attending Harvard. He’s carefully studied the trajectory of past presidents — well, up to Reagan, as it was he who “established the modern presidency” — to mimic the best patterns of success in his quest to fulfill his destiny. However, when the dean asks Payton about himself, his passions and interests outside of his presidential dream, the calculated college student falters.

Payton later learns he’s been waitlisted at the school, a fate “worse” than rejection — in his words. Sure, his Winklevoss-esque brothers — who relish in reminding Payton he’s adopted — bought their way in with their family’s vast wealth, and Payton is intent on appearing self-made. But his waitlist from Harvard isn’t the only hiccup in his master plan…

Credit: Netflix

Payton has a very compelling opponent for student body president: the athletic, handsome, and (more) popular, River (David Corenswet). His candidacy, under the direction of his girlfriend Astrid (Lucy Boynton), throws Payton and his equally ambitious friends — err, campaign staff — into crisis. While everything Payton does is steeped in precision and practice, River’s casual authenticity easily wins over their Saint Sebastian classmates. During their debate, River captivates the audience by revealing a suicide attempt the previous year, as a shocked Payton looks on.

But River’s campaign also has a calculated branch in the form of Astrid, Payton’s nemesis. Under her guidance, River chooses Skye (Rahne Jones), a gender-nonconforming black classmate to be his VP, a move team Payton views as a clever polling strategy. Seeing his campaign in freefall, Payton again confronts his opponent, his earlier threats having fallen flat. After apologizing and professing his love for Payton, River takes his own life in front of his opponent.

In a brief flashback to 18 months prior, we learn a little bit about Payton and River’s relationship. With her son struggling in Mandarin, Georgina Hobart (Gwyneth Paltrow) hires River to tutor Payton. After a brief conversation in Mandarin, River is able to cut through to Payton’s deeply-hidden vulnerable side and the two kiss. Astrid confronts Payton in the library, revealing River told her everything. She’s fine with it — she’s “aware of [River’s] fluidity” — but wants to be present, inviting him over for a threesome.

At River’s memorial, Payton sings a moving cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River,” reducing the entire student body to tears. Taking the stage, Astrid (who blames Payton for River’s death) announces that she’ll be running for student body president in her late boyfriend’s stead — Payton’s worst nightmare. And thus, his search for VP continues.


To help with his polling numbers, Payton’s Harvard-bound “first lady” Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) decides the pair need to stage a break-up — with her announcing her infidelity — to garner Payton some sympathy.

Payton is set on having Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch), a child-like, cancer-stricken classmate, serve as his running mate. While her attention-seeking grandmother (Jessica Lange) is immediately on-board, Payton finally wins Infinity over by breaking down in tears about River’s death at their kitchen table.

But just when it seems Payton’s campaign is back on track, classmate Andrew reveals that Infinity is lying about her illness.

Episode Notes:

  • Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” is an excellent choice for a title track.
  • Welcome back to the Murphy-verse Jessica Lange!
  • This episode issues an important reminder to always make a reservation at the Olive Garden.
  • Georgina Hobart is definitely a dedicated Goop subscriber
  • Smart play by Murphy and co. to make good use of Ben Platt’s angelic voice immediately.

Episode 2: “The Harrington Commode”

While Payton is confident in Infinity’s ability to get him elected, McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss) and James (Theo Germaine) are wary — after all, Saint Sebastian does not need an Eagleton Affair. With Andrew’s warning in mind and the election looming, the trio decides to move forward with Infinity, and if she is, in fact, faking her illness, they’ll swiftly ax her.

But the campaign strategy meeting is interrupted when Payton learns his father Keaton (Bob Balaban) has jumped out of a window at the family mansion after his mother asked for a divorce. He’s now in a medically-induced coma.

At a campaign event to fundraise for a harassment czar, Payton seizes the opportunity to ask Infinity about her cancer, of which she doesn’t know the specifics. When she collapses, he accompanies her to the hospital, where their photo op is interrupted by Nana, who makes a scene removing Infinity from the hospital. Outside, Payton is confronted once more by Andrew, who continues to raise concerns about his running mate. He reveals he told two teachers about his suspicions regarding Infinity’s mystery cancer but was punished for bullying. He ominously encourages Payton to “follow the bloodwork.”

When Payton relays this new information to McAfee and James, they quickly shut him down, warning that he needs plausible deniability in case the truth comes out. But when Payton arrives at Infinity’s house, he sees Nana shaving her head. Over dinner, Nana reveals she and Infinity want compensation for their part in the campaign — specifically, a Disney cruise. While Infinity briefly disappears to see her secret boyfriend, Ricardo, Payton asks Nana if Infinity is actually sick… which goes about as well as you would suspect and ends with Payton scampering from the house while Nana throws medical documents after him.


Meanwhile, Payton’s twin brothers — the ridiculously named Martin and Luther — are taking their father’s precarious medical situation as an opportunity to try to cut Payton and their mother out of the will. But when Payton warns them that their father is improving, the pair devise a plan to commit patricide. The scheme goes awry when, as the twins squabble about the Menendez 9-1-1 call and who will hold the pillow, their dad reveals he’s awake and the coma was a ruse. The twins are left with nothing — save the titular Harrington Commode, a tax nightmare antique. And when Payton’s dad tells his mother that if she doesn’t leave him, he’ll do everything in his power to make Payton’s dreams come true, she calls the divorce off.

McAfee does some digging and determines Infinity may have Munchausen by proxy. But there’s only one way to truly find out: “follow the bloodwork.” Under McAfee’s direction, Payton organizes a fake blood drive to collect a sample.

Payton is haunted by River’s death, and while practicing piano, imagines River is playing with him. River reassures him that he doesn’t have to be a good person as long as he does good things. His thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Harvard officials, who reveal he’s off the waitlist… for a price. Specifically, a Slavic languages department.

Later, McAfee meets James and Payton with the blood test results: Infinity doesn’t have cancer. Or any illness. Now what?

Episode notes:

  • Someone call Operation Varsity Blues because —fake rowing scholarships or not — these Harvard officials are very overtly breaking the law.
  • Fans of The Act will be thrilled to see Murphy and co. weaving a little true crime into this political thriller as Nana and Infinity bear some eerie resemblance to Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

Episode 3: “October Surprise”

The episode opens with a flashback to the previous year, when a tense Payton is studying for a debate competition. River approaches and reassures Payton, helping him through some breathing exercises and reminding him that he’s going to change the world. In the present, Payton continues the breathing exercises before meeting with the Harvard admission team. Payton’s in Boston to play hardball: accept him on his merits or watch as he breaks ground on his billion-dollar presidential library in New Haven or Palo Alto. Stunningly, this pays off as the admissions team relents and accepts him to Harvard. When he goes to tell Alice about his acceptance, he discovers she’s been having an affair with James.

While Team Payton is sitting on a major bombshell that could derail the campaign, Team Astrid is at a frustrating crossroads: she’s ahead but barely, and anything could tip the election towards Payton. Skye, frustrated at Astrid’s inaction, suggests killing Payton.

Payton and company may think they have a lid on the Infinity situation, but Andrew’s running his own game, confronting Infinity’s sleazy boyfriend Ricardo about his theory. Dubious at first, Ricardo’s ultimately convinced as Andrew laments at how Nana and Payton are using Infinity. Ricardo scoffs, “What am I supposed to do, kill them?” But that seems exactly what Andrew has in mind.

Ricardo tries to make a sex tape with Infinity, but the tape is eaten, prompting them to watch the tape from Nana and Infinity’s trip to Busch Gardens instead. In the video, Ricardo sees Nana get upset and derail a news interview after a reporter asks about her daughter’s cancer, while an irritable Infinity calls the reporter a “buttmunch.”

Credit: Netflix

Meanwhile, Astrid plays tennis with her terrible father (Dylan McDermott), who calls her cold — a compliment — and suggests she caused River’s death. Calling Payton a “true politician,” he advises that she lean into the cold and use it for political gain. But she immediately falls for a trap set by Team Payton: James had turned to Martin and Luther under the guise of sharing a common enemy in Payton, and they unknowingly took fake information to Astrid. After embarrassing Astrid and Skye, Payton announces his gun control policy, which involves him purchasing every gun from a local store and announcing legislation in River’s name.

Ricardo approaches Astrid, offering the Busch Gardens video as a means to derail Payton’s campaign. Alarmed by a late-night phone call from the editor of the school paper asking for comment regarding Infinity’s use of an “offensive gay slur” in the video, Team Payton confronts Infinity about the remark, only to learn they’re too late and the video has been uploaded to the internet.

Reeling from this latest roadblock, Payton goes to Alice and the pair reconcile. Agreeing to a fresh start, Payton explains his obsession with River — revealing that in the wake of his death, he’s continued to “see” River, who dispels non-specific advice and words of encouragement. Oh, and Infinity’s faking her illness.

Feeling betrayed by Ricardo for giving over the tape, Infinity breaks up with him. Devastated, he breaks into Astrid’s house and seemingly kidnaps her.

Episode Notes:

  • Between Skye and Andrew’s overt suggestions of murder, Astrid’s presumed kidnapping, and the Hobart twins’ thwarted patricide attempt in episode 2, it seems someone(s) may be murdered by the end of the season.
  • Payton shouting that he was going to kill Astrid in a crowded diner just before she’s kidnapped is definitely going to come back to haunt him.
  • Martin Hobart delivers one of the most chilling lines of the series thus far. Upon being told the world was finished with entitled white men: “The world will never be finished with entitled white men. That’s why we’re so entitled.”

Episode 4: “Gone Girl”

Astrid is missing but her parents (McDermott and January Jones) have much bigger issues, namely themselves. Still, they believe Payton to be responsible and are willing to do whatever — or pay whatever — they need to take him down.

Meanwhile, Team Payton is still dealing with the damage from Infinity’s damning Busch Gardens video. With a loss imminent, they decide they have no choice but to cut Infinity loose from the ticket. Adding to the stress is James — vehemently opposed to digging into Andrew’s claims about Infinity from the start — who reminds McAfee and Payton of the ramifications of their knowing the truth about Infinity’s cancer (or lack thereof), should this ever get out.

While his campaign co-chairs continue their search for a new VP, Payton goes to break the bad news to Infinity but is first taken into custody regarding Astrid’s disappearance. It doesn’t take long for Payton’s diner outburst to make its way to the police. After being locked in an interview room, Payton is taken away in the trunk of a police car, where it’s revealed the police have been bought, once again… this time by Payton’s parents in exchange for his safe, press-free release. After asking Payton if he did, in fact, kidnap and murder Astrid, Georgina vows to do whatever it takes to ensure Payton achieve his goals — while lamenting her personal cost to seeing his victory.


Meanwhile, Skye hosts a vigil for the still-missing Astrid, vowing to run in her place. But it seems that Astrid is a regular old Amy Dunne, faking her disappearance — with the help of her new lover, Ricardo — and taking off to New York, with the hope that Payton is sent to prison. But Payton is cleared of wrongdoing by Alice, who makes her public return by providing him with a (false) alibi — expertly passing a polygraph.

Infinity meets with Payton in a church, where, despite her apologies, he tells her she’s off the ticket and that he thinks she has Munchausen by proxy. While she’s in disbelief, he tells her about the blood test and warns her against accepting her grandmother’s treatment. Infinity confronts Nana — at the Olive Garden, no less! — about Munchausen by proxy, adding that she was fired from the campaign. Nana repeatedly denies the claims — blaming Payton and Ricardo, among others, of taking advantage of her. Infinity continues questioning the obviously-dubious medical care she’s been receiving and reveals Payton’s blood test results. Bored in New York and missing Infinity, Ricardo vows to return to her, encouraging Astrid to also go home and finish her campaign.

Credit: Netflix

Fresh from her disappearance, Astrid returns to Santa Barbara, revealing to her mom that she staged the kidnapping. While her mom wants to pin the whole excursion on Ricardo, Astrid says the experience changed her and she’s determined to win the election as a “woman of the people.” Unfortunately for Astrid, the honesty route backfires politically, costing her the lead given by the Busch Gardens tape and causing Skye to abandon Astrid’s campaign in favor of Payton’s. While Skye offers to be Payton’s VP, he isn’t so sure and needs time to think it over, despite the election being a day away. However, McAfee, who is secretly seeing Skye, promises to make it happen.

Episode notes:

  • Adding to the growing death threat count is Nana, who threatens to kill Ricardo — for all of Olive Garden to hear.
  • Not gonna lie, I was a little surprised that Astrid just let Ricardo leave New York, giving him an extra hundred dollars for his aid in her disappearance. I’m still convinced there’s a very good shot any number of these characters are going to kill/be killed.
  • We’ve already reached the eve of election day just four episodes in. We can only expect the remaining four episodes to follow the chaotic fallout from the results.

Episode 5: “The Voter”

Taking a brief hiatus from the dramatic campaigns, this episode follows Elliot, an average student — a very horny average student — at Saint Sebastian High School on election day. As one of the few documented undecided voters, Saint Sebastian’s polling data is really second to none, both Astrid and Payton are intent on securing his vote.

After being lectured about his civic duty to vote by his dad — and the virtues of veganism by his newly-vegan sister — Elliot arrives on campus, only to be immediately accosted by Kris, Astrid’s campaign strategist, who reveals Astrid’s new running mate is Pierre.

While masturbating in the boy’s bathroom, Elliot, from a stall, overhears Payton win over an undecided voter. James enters the bathroom and the pair strategize over the remaining undecided voters, including Elliot, who James shrugs off as a forgettable nobody, before voting to secure his vote for Payton. James immediately catches up with Elliot, upon his exit from the bathroom, and after several attempts to casually win him over, Elliot punches James.

At the election day debate — where Elliot isn’t paying attention, instead of playing a shooting video game — Payton unveils Skye as his new running mate. Taking the stage, she berates Astrid for her quick foray elsewhere, while making an impassioned plea to vote for her and Payton. Taking the stage to introduce her new running mate, Pierre, Astrid claims she fired Skye. During his speech, Pierre goes off-script and makes a slew of empty promises, including having Drake perform at prom. However, the excitement is quickly drowned out by Infinity, who interrupts the debate to accuse Payton of using her for her cancer and announcing Astrid ran away with (and had sex with) her boyfriend.

However, Elliot couldn’t care about the dramatic turn of events and in an exit survey conducted by McAfee, he displays exactly zero discernible opinions. Astrid corners Elliot at lunch, where she doubles down on Pierre’s dubious campaign promises, while on his other side, Payton makes the case for himself.

With Elliot wedged between them, Payton and Astrid air a lot of dirty laundry — including River’s death and the sexual encounter between Payton, Astrid, and River mentioned in the pilot — allowing him to slip away. Payton corners Elliot, once more, at mandatory study hall where he appeals to the horny junior about issues close to his heart — including solo bathrooms for everyone and vending machine options and prices.

Later, Elliot follows Georgina to the polls, where she’s insisting a freshman with a lost ID have the right to vote. During an impassioned plea against voter suppression and a call for a more tight-knit community, Elliot slips away without voting.

Episode notes:

  • After all that, Elliot managed to walk away a non-voter. What are the implications of his missing vote? While he’s depicted as a skeezy outlier, if he’s at all indicative of the electorate, both Astrid and Payton are in trouble.
Credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix

Episode 6: “The Assassination of Payton Hobart”

It’s election day once more, and Payton is preparing his acceptance speech. Astrid arrives to deliver one last election day surprise she withdrew from the race to spite him. Her data also suggesting she’d lose, by dropping out she ruins his victory; Payton is president but he didn’t win. His administration is off to a tempestuous start as the school board swiftly defeats his policy proposals. When he confronts Principal Vaughn about his lack of success with the school board, she drops a bombshell of her own: they counted the ballots and he didn’t actually win — Astrid did, by two votes — so therefore, he has no mandate. Skye, disillusioned by Payton’s agenda, suggests to McAfee that they eliminate Payton so they can make real change.

Meanwhile, Infinity confronts Ray at the hospital and tells him she knows everything, blackmailing him into bankrolling her newly independent life. Nana makes a plea to Infinity to come home, but Infinity doubles down, also inquiring about her mother’s death to a sudden illness. With Infinity not speaking to her nor Ricardo, Nana invites him over for dinner and manipulates him into thinking Payton is the cause of Infinity’s estrangement — suggesting Ricardo kill him.

Confronted with the reality of his presidency, Payton is feeling down. Georgina suggests he do normal teenage things, which, if you’ve been watching the previous episodes, you know is a foreign concept to Payton. He apologizes to Infinity for the ruthless manner in which he laid out the devastating reality of her life. Taking a new approach to living their lives, the pair decide to join the school play Assassins. Despite not being a student, Ricardo also manages to snag a part in the play.

Payton shares the truth about his presidential loss to McAfee and James, deeming they now share two secrets that could derail their careers. Payton asks for their loyalty, in writing, to the tune of an NDA — with a $5 million breach clause. While the pair balk, they eventually sign. Afterward, McAfee gives Payton a cupcake made by her and Skye, which appears to make Payton very ill. Wound up by his Assassins research, Payton accuses McAfee of trying to poison him and fires her. She, in turn, accuses Skye of poisoning Payton, who denies the claim and dumps McAfee. However, later Skye disposes of a box of rat poison.

Credit: Tyler Golden/Netflix

McAfee goes to musical rehearsal to see Payton, who apologizes for suggesting she tried to kill him. However, McAfee confesses to the definite possibility that Skye did poison him, adding that the pair were in a secret relationship. Feeling betrayed by her secret, Payton ends his professional (and presumably personal) relationship with McAfee.

Despite being a truly terrible performer, Ricardo takes the method approach to his role of John Wilkes Booth. Payton goads him backstage, nixing his insistence on using BB rifle onstage, leading to Ricardo shooting Payton in the butt with a BB pellet. Nana is outraged that Ricardo didn’t follow through with her plan to shoot him with a real gun. However, he reveals that inspired by the story of Philoctetes, Ricardo shot him with a BB pellet soaked in possum bacteria, which will lead to sepsis and therefore absolve him of wrongdoing.

Ricardo’s plan comes to fruition as Payton falls deathly ill, causing Georgina to miss her romantic departure to Wyoming with her lover Brigitte.

Episode notes:

  • Principal Vaughn comes through with a truly cruel burn: “You’re no Barack Obama. You’re Gerald Ford.” OUCH!
  • A second musical moment for Ben Platt with a duet of “Unworthy of Your Love” (from Assassins) with Zoey Deutch.
  • Dusty Jackson aka Nana is truly the most deliciously heinous person in this series, launching into a very OJ “if I did it,” revealing just exactly how she (would have) killed Infinity’s mother and spent two decades poisoning her granddaughter.

Episode 7: “The Assassination of Payton Hobart: Part 2”

We’re up to our second medically-induced coma of the series, as doctors try to save Payton.

Georgina reveals that Payton thought someone might have poisoned him. That’s twice in one week but “he’s a very polarizing figure.” Keaton arrives at the hospital, flanked by Martin and Luther, and reveals Brigitte called him and told him everything about her love affair with Georgina. She and Payton are out of his will — after he recovers.

Ricardo goes to visit Infinity at her motel, where she’s mourning Payton’s precarious medical situation. Ricardo comes clean to Infinity, revealing Nana was behind the attack. She races to the hospital to inform Payton’s doctors and mom. She then goes to see Nana, revealing she’s called the police and told them everything. While Nana refuses to admit her role in Payton’s hospitalization or the death of Infinity’s mom, she admits to poisoning Infinity — claiming she needs help with her addiction to adulation. However as she attempts to prevent Infinity from leaving, they’re interrupted by a devastated Ricardo, believing Infinity called the police on him, intent on dying by self-immolation.

While Infinity tries to prevent Ricard from setting himself on fire, Nana grabs a gun. Claiming she thought the hospital would save Infinity’s mom, she tries to shoot herself in the head — but the barrel jams, and she ends up shooting Ricardo.

Still comatose-induced dream-like sequence, Payton is visited by River, who opens up about his depression and absolves Payton of any guilt. While Payton laments he doesn’t know how to continue living without River, he tells Payton that he can’t stay and encourages him to continue to do good in the world. With that, Payton awakens from his coma.

From his hospital bed, Ricardo confesses everything to the police. And for two fillet-o-fish, fries, and a milkshake, Ricardo will spill all the dirt on Nana Jackson. The police arrest Nana for the murder of Dana Jackson and attempted murder of Infinity. Nana knows she’s going down and she’s taking Payton down with her. With Payton’s knowledge about Infinity’s lack of cancer public, he returns to school a pariah. Forced to resign as president, he explains to Principal Vaughn that while he’s a terrible person who didn’t go to the police for very calculated, political reasons, he was also the person who told Infinity the truth.

Credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix

This is his Chappaquiddick, James laments, concluding that Payton can never recover from this incident. The dream broken, James is formally out. Skye, now president, offers McAfee the vice presidency and the opportunity to deliver on their mutual goals. However, even still, McAfee’s loyalties lie with Payton and she turns Skye in to the police for the (first) attempt on Payton’s life. Meanwhile, Andrew calls for Principal Vaughn’s resignation, revealing his (albeit flawed) receipts in the school courtyard.

Tired of her father’s bullying nature, Astrid calls the FBI on her dad — who is proud of her for fighting back —and decides to take off to New York, where she was poor, alone, and happy.

Selling all her beloved caftans and jewelry — to Keaton, who spends tens of millions of dollars to buy (and destroy) her belongings — Georgina is leaving Santa Barbara, donating the proceeds from her auction to a Munchausen by proxy charity in Payton’s name. She and Payton share a tearful goodbye at the train station, where she reveals hitting rock bottom is the best thing that could happen to him.

In an iconic fashion, she invites him to cry after him, as she walks away. And reader, he really does.

Episode notes:

  • Gwyneth has been leaning into her zany Goopiness throughout The Politician and honestly, it’s really working for me.
  • This episode also delivers double Sufjan as “Chicago” also plays as Georgina and Payton soberly (but glamorously) drive to the train station.
  • After a lot of near-misses, it seems (most of) the chaotic Saint Sebastian student body survived election season.
  • McAfee’s stunning pant/short suits were one of the most underrated elements of this entire series.

Episode 8: Vienna

We may have reached the end of The Politician but the finale is already setting up for a juicy, diva-filled second season — which was announced by Netflix when picked up the series. The episode opens a few years after the penultimate episode in New York City, where Payton — now a student at NYU — is performing in a club. Dedicating his next song to Skye and Infinity, who are in town visiting, he performs a rousing rendition of Billy Joel’s “Vienna.”

In a helpful bit of exposition, the trio catch us up to what they’ve been up to these last few years: Skye didn’t end up in prison for poisoning Payton and after some home detention and a few anger management courses, she’s now at Vassar. The Saint Sebastian election scandal was picked up by Vanity Fair, though Payton was, fittingly, not portrayed well. Skye and Infinity deposit a drunk Payton at his dorm to reveal James, forever loyal, as his roommate.

The cold open fades away, not to our fast-talking millennials, but Judith Light and Bette Midler as the equally rapid-mouthed New York State Senate Majority Leader Dede Standish and her chief of staff Hadassah Gold. The pair take a meeting with a freshman Democratic senator from Texas, who reveals some of his more right-wing are just public stances to help him attain a higher position: president. And he adds he wants her to be his running mate as together they tick every target demographic. Despite boasting that no opponent has ever found any dirt on Standish, she’s keeping a major secret: her throuple with husband Marcus and William.

McAfee is also in New York and she’s about to begin a job as a low-level staffer on Standish’s next re-election campaign. However, she’s appalled by the campaign: which is a handful of staffers. Windows ‘99, and some fliers. McAfee levels her concerns with Hadassah, who lambasts McAfee, her opinions, and ambitions, spelling out just how unstoppable Standish is.

After another night at the bar, Payton staggers home to an invitation to Alice’s wedding to a man hamed Thad. Citing the day River killed himself — where he was cruel and selfish — Payton wallows. At the urging of their usually-silent third roommate, Khai Zhi, Payton drives to Boston to get Alice back, accompanied by “River,” who is essentially the manifestation of Payton’s feelings. However, his plan backfires as Alice recalls their toxic relationship — also citing his original sin: didn’t look back in the hallway after their breakup, her one stipulation.

Dejected, he retreats back to his NYU dorm, where James and McAfee are waiting for him. Having relayed her horrific single day on the Standish campaign, McAfee and James have a plan: Payton is going to primary her. However, Payton rejects the offer, his political ambitions have deflated. Unrelenting, the pair make some calls: Skye at Vassar; Astrid at her waitressing job; Alice at her wedding.

At a bar, a newly sober Payton mulls over the offer with “River,” believing using the MTA as their main play alone can’t beat Standish — they need something bigger. He’s also worried that with his political ambitions are back on track, he’ll lose the ability to feel. Arriving back on track, he’s greeted by his team: McAfee, James, Skye, Alice, and Astrid — who reveals her knowledge of the Standish thrupple.

From their campaign headquarters, Standish and Hadassah watch as Payton, with this Saint Sebastian team behind him, announces his candidacy for state senate.

Episode notes:

  • I’m very glad Murphy and co. continued to sparingly utilize Ben Platt’s vocal talent throughout the season.
  • While this episode was sadly devoid of Jessica Lange, the introduction of Bette Midler and Judith Light as Ben Platt’s new sparring partners was nothing short of magical.
  • Zoey Deutch only made a brief appearance at the beginning of the episode but I truly hope we haven’t seen the last of Infinity — who seemed to enjoy her newfound fame a little too much.
  • I also hope we haven’t seen the last of Georgina, who is, according to Payton, now in Bhutan.

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