'The Politician' Season 2: Fans enjoy higher stakes of Senate election but wanted to see more of River Barkley

Fans were somewhat disappointed with the revelation that River was not queer. Astrid told Payton, according to her, he only wanted to see the two of them happy but wasn’t sexually attracted to Payton


                            'The Politician' Season 2: Fans enjoy higher stakes of Senate election but wanted to see more of River Barkley
David Corenswet and Ben Platt (Netflix)

Spoilers for ‘The Politician’ Season 2

Season 2 of the Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan comedy series on Netflix, ‘The Politician’ is out. Unlike the student body elections in season 1, the stakes are much higher in season 2, as Payton (Ben Platt), the show’s flawed hero competes for the New York State Senate against the powerful duo of the incumbent Dede Standish (Judith Light) and her Chief of Staff Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler). Obviously, fans have many thoughts. 

While the opinions about the second season as a whole varied, most people on social media seemed to enjoy the fact that the stakes this season were much higher. In the same context, the appreciation for Dede and Hadassah was all present across Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook. A fan wrote, “Season 2 of @the_Politician is here and I've never seen a more dynamic duo than @JudithLight and @BetteMidler,” echoing the similar opinions expressed by many.

Another fan wrote, “Bette Midler steals every scene she's in. Literally one of the best actresses ever.”

Aside from that, there was a lot of appreciation for Payton’s breathtaking singing. In Season 1, viewers got to see very little of his singing. Season 2 made sure there was plenty to go around. Payton’s voice in the show is magical for a reason -- Ben Platt is a singer-songwriter after all, who has been part of several Broadway plays!

One complaint that fans seemed to have with season 2 was how little they got to see Payton’s best friend River Barkley (David Corenswet) this season. River died of suicide in season 1, and since then, he has existed a lot on either flashback or as a kind of embodiment of Payton’s conscience. While season 2 has him in the latter form, the frequency and the duration of his appearances were far lesser.

A fan on Reddit wrote, “First of all, I was a little bit disappointed that there were no flashback scenes in s2, I mean I expected some sort of an explanation as to what Payton and River’s relationship was exactly and why his attachment to River runs so deep? But in s2 why does Astrid [River’s girlfriend] say she thinks River loved Payton more than he could ever love her?”

Another fan on Twitter wrote, “I wish there was more River this season. I understand that in some senses Payton no longer needed River (morally). It still, however, would have been nice to see some flashback scenes between River and Payton.”

In season 1, River, Payton, and Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton) had allegedly engaged in a threeway once. While that was never shown, season 2 addresses it. It was something they started but never finished. Astrid, before anything could happen, got upset and locked herself in the bathroom.

Fans were somewhat disappointed with the revelation that River was not queer. Astrid told Payton that, according to her, he only wanted to see the two of them happy. He wasn’t sexually attracted to Payton per se. In that regard, a fan on Reddit wrote, “At the start of the first season I thought Payton was gay and was hopelessly in love with River but kept Alice around for the looks of it or because society expected that from him. But later it became clear that he genuinely loves Alice and cares for her. So I figured he might be bi.”

“But the second season rolls around,” the fan continued, “and it turns out that he never was gay and kept River as a sort [of] ‘moral compass’. And according to Astrid, River too was not gay just cared deeply for Payton. So here I am sitting wondering what their relationship was to each other and why were they so fixated with each other. I guess neither were sexually attracted to each other but were definitely romantically into each other or was it just platonic.”

‘The Politician’ Season 2 is available for viewing on Netflix.

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