24th Jun2020

‘The Politician: Season 2’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

Having reviewed season one of The Politician, starring Ben Platt, I was very excited to see how the story will progress in this latest season. This show has the most dramatic twist and turns in any series I have seen in a long time and deception is a key idea embedded in the storyline throughout. The Politician is a show for a mature audience as there are scenes of a sexual nature, strong language throughout as well as scenes that depict strong drug use. As well as the show itself being a critique of modern politics, a young viewing audience may miss the themes and ideas the show portrays. For example, the show opens with a scene in which the characters are discussing voting statistics and political tactics which a young audience may find somewhat confusing and may not understand the statistics the show is discussing.

In my original review of The Politician, I talked about how I thought Ben Platt was the perfect casting choice due to his appearance and skills he possesses. Ben has a fresh-faced demeanour that portrays him as this innocent and hard-working young person but at the same time has a sense of drive and eventual desperation to achieve by any means necessary. This matches the character he plays flawlessly and makes him an incredible casting choice for this role. I, however, was somewhat disappointed that viewers have to wait till almost the end of the second season to hear Ben singing – as in Season 1 this happens in the opening episodes. His rendition of “Corner of the Sky” was absolutely flawless and I am so glad he was able to bless our ears with this insane performance in the show! When we did eventually hear Ben’s vocal abilities it was incredible as always and led to one of the funniest moments in the whole show, where someone said he should be on Broadway rather than running a campaign (which is a reflection of his real-life career of being performing in shows such as Dear Evan Hansen in the past.) Which was hilariously funny and clever for viewers who have followed Ben’s career.

The Politician is one of the best shows for representation that I have seen in recent years, as it portrays a range of sexual identities and relationships (most predominantly troubles being a focus of this season) but also has a character who possesses a range of additional learning needs; and people of different racial backgrounds, who all play a key part in this political campaign – which fantastic to see and can only empower and inspire any viewers who fall into any of these categories! The producers should be proud that they were able to positively represent so many groups of people so accurately, which is honestly fantastic, and they should be very proud of the difference they will make in the lives of the viewers. The Politician also maintains a heavy focus on global warming and reducing one’s waste to protect the world which is yet another fantastic idea that can only have a positive benefit… As an aside, the fashion in this series is incredible with many of the outfits used being clothes that I wish to own if I can find a way to!

The Politician follows the profession of Payton Hobart (played by Ben Platt) as he progresses from classroom politics to real-world state senate. This means that all the drama and tension in this show is based on plausible and real-world activities which helps the audience to truly relate to the characters in this show. There is a big focus of the issues surrounding cultural appropriate with Payton representing an ignorant person who is unaware of the impact of appropriating parts of culture; with one character delivering an impactful speech about the importance of culture and how white people stealing parts of this can be very damaging to a culture, which even taught me something… which is great to see! Overall The Politician is not only a show with morals but it’s a great way as a way to promote politics to young people and  encourage the younger demographic to vote in local elections by showing the power they can have.

The Politician also uses insanely clever imagery – with the idea of an albino lobster being one particular image that stands out for me. It’s not made a big deal but instead subtle enough for attentive viewers to realise without it being overwhelming. Also in episodes that utilise flashback, the producers have clearly thought about how the modern-day would link to other scenes and have utilised clever mirroring of actions and words which made these scenes such much easier to watch which again is fantastic. However, the scenes that utilised voiceover were very strange, as it felt as if the audience were being taught whatever the character is describing, and this subtle fourth wall break in the show could be very confusing to watch for some. The end of season 2 of The Politician did feel very rushed as it invoked a flash-forward in time which initially befuddled me; and I imagine many others will find this off-putting. However, it is clear that a third season is going to be produced as there was a cliffhanger ending that makes it easy to imagine what the third season will bring.

Overall, The Politician is a hyper-modern show that represents a massive range of types of people, in a fantastic and accurate way but also is a clever critique of modern politics and the deception and techniques that many politicians utilise. The show encourages young people to vote and to be interested in politics which is obviously fantastic for the young audience viewers. I eagerly anticipate the third season!

**** 4/5

Season two of The Politician is on Netflix now.


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