The Politician Season 1 Episode 3, “October Surprise” shows the stakes are getting higher for Payton, in plenty of twists and turns.
This recap of Netflix Series The Politician Season 1 Episode 3, “October Surprise” contains significant spoilers. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.
The start of Episode 3 offers us a flashback — Payton (Ben Platt) is preparing for a debate and is extremely nervous. River (David Corenswet) comforts him, encourages him to breathe and gives him words of encouragement. It’s obvious their bond will be important as the series progresses.
In the present day, Episode 3, “October Surprise” sees Payton play hardball with Harvard admissions. He speaks of becoming the President of the United States, and with his newfound wealth, Harvard can be part of the story, or he will give the story to a University like Yale or Princeton. Payton now has leverage.
Payton’s opposition, Astrid (Lucy Boynton) and Skye (Rahne Jones) realize that they are way behind in the polls. Skye questions Astrid’s ruthlessness in the campaign and tells her to step it up. Astrid seems void of ideas, but Skye’s words seem to have had an impact.
In terms of Infinity, Andrew confronts her boyfriend — he believes Dusty, her mother, is trying to kill her daughter and asks Ricardo to help her.
Payton finally gets into Harvard on merit, and he goes to meet Alice to celebrate. He soon learns that Alice is having an affair with James. Payton and James argue, but Payton discusses the main goal — becoming the President of the United States. James makes it known he is in love with Alice.
Simmering beneath the story is the volatile Ricardo, who is entirely in love with Infinity. They try and make a sex tape together, which fails, but then Ricardo is treated to her other tapes — trips with Nana. In one of the recordings, Infinity claims she does not have leukemia, and Dusty gets angry at the reporter.
In a double bluff, James meets Martin and Luther about Payton. He gives them false information about one of Payton’s upcoming campaigns, which in turns hurts Astrid’s campaign even more. I fell for this bluff.
Payton’s actual campaign in Episode 3 is about guns and suicide prevention. He makes a rousing speech in “October Surprise” about the law-keeping gun stores 1000 feet away from schools — a bill that failed River. To make his point, he bought every gun in this store and vowed to create a campaign that keeps stores even further away from schools.
But Payton’s point gain in the election campaign is soon undone by Ricardo who offers one of the tapes to Astrid, believing he is protecting Infinity. When Payton confronts Infinity, it is revealed that the scandal is not that she doesn’t have cancer, but that she called a gay reporter a “buttmunch”. With the news out, Astrid gains a 19-point swing.
The Politician Season 1 Episode 3, “October Surprise” ends with Payton visiting Alice and admitting he had feelings for River. Alice and Payton confess their love for each other and vow to solve the campaign. As this is happening, Ricardo breaks into Astrid’s house, angry that he hurt Infinity. When Astrid’s father returns home, his daughter is not there.
- Astrid’s father believes Payton is a true politician.
- Georgina gives Martin some allowance.
- Infinity breaks up with Ricardo over the tape scandal.
You can read the recap of the fourth episode by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.