The Politician season 2, episode 6, “What’s in the Box?” puts morals and ethics on the line.
This recap of Netflix series The Politician season 2, episode 6, “What’s in the Box?” contains spoilers.
How does The Politician season 2, episode 6, “What’s in the Box?” open?
Episode 6 opens up with the revelation that there is a “too close to call” count in one of the districts, which has triggered an automatic recount. Both Dede and Payton have declared they will come out victorious. The Election board tells Dede and Payton that it is an exact tie — 45,256 votes apiece. Both campaign teams start arguing amongst each other but there is “next steps” — either do re-election in 10 days or do a coin flip.
Rock, paper, scissors
Hadassah tells Dede that Payton is trending up while Payton is trending down. Meanwhile, McAfee and Skye believe that they have a bigger chance of winning with the coin toss because students do not like voting. Hadassah proposes “rock, paper, scissors”. Payton agrees to it. Afterward, Payton believes Hadassah knows how to game the system for “rock, paper, scissors”.
Alice, McAfee, and Payton head to the prison to speak to Ricardo about the game as apparently, he’s an expert at it and he calls it “roshambo”. Meanwhile, Hadassah has looked into research on patterns emerging amongst humans for “rock, paper, scissors” — Ricardo also has his own research based on what he’s seen in prison. The Politician season 2, episode 6, “What’s in the Box?” is so purposefully ludicrous that it is funny.
Stolen ballot box
Skye brings in James due to the emergency. Infinity Jackson has given Skye an official ballot box that is still locked — she stole it. Infinity tells Payton that she wanted to stop Dede from winning the election so she made sure she stole a ballot box from an old-voter district. She used mimes to distract the old people while her squad stole the box. Payton believes they are all going to go to prison — Infinity states they are at war and they need to stop Dede: “It’s not a crime, it’s self-defense”. While they figure out what to do next, James offers to look after the ballot box. The Politician season 2, episode 6, “What’s in the Box?” puts morals and ethics on the line.
Get the life you want
Alice thanks Astrid for not doing anything harmful to Payton before the election and apologizes for her reaction to Astrid. Alice states she is not happy with what she’s become due to politics and that she has put her dreams on the line for Payton. Astrid says “screw Payton and get out of this town and never look back” and suggests running away will give her the life she wants.
Hang on to power
Dede tells Hadassah that she’s so tired of the game. Hadassah tells Dede that she is the game and has been for four decades. Dede explains that since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she will always be opposed. Hadassah claims she will miss it if she walks away and that she should hang on to power — Dede states this will be the last race she runs. This is the end of the road for this politician, realizing she’s exhausted from all the war.
Alice tells Payton that she’s leaving Manhattan, the campaign, and him. She believes she has become a bad person because of Payton — “I don’t think you are a bad person; I think you are indifferent to morality and ethics. I think that you struggle with these kinds of ethical conundrums because you think that you’re supposed to, but you only choose the side of light when it means that you’ll still probably get what you want”.
She gives him examples; Payton puts his jacket on the seat next to him in the theatre so he doesn’t have to share an armrest. He lies and says that the office steals Wi-Fi from the Indian restaurant downstairs — “There’s always a rationalization for everything which is why Infinity stole the ballot box for you”. She also hints that she has never forgiven Payton when he didn’t look back at her in the hallway back at NYU.
Alice states that she doesn’t know what her dream is. Payton says he will do anything in his power to make her dream come true after the election. She asks what if her dream interferes with his, would he put his on hold. Payton agrees that he would.
And then the argument
Alice decides she’s walking away so Payton makes a sly comment that she always leaves men when it gets serious; the pair argue and it gets passionate — Alice says goodbye and leaves.
How does The Politician season 2, episode 6, “What’s in the Box?” end?
Payton speaks to his mother Georgina for advice regarding the morals and ethics of getting to where he needs to be in life. Georgina states that “ethics say you should turn the ballot box over and explain what happened… Infinity will probably be arrested and they will count the votes // morality is how we govern ourselves. You can throw that ballot box in the East River, but can you live with the consequences to your conscience?”. Georgina relives the time when Payton as a kid used to always relax when he got away with things — “You are who you are, Payton”.
Payton heads to the campaign office and says they are going to do nothing with the ballot box; he says Alice left him but he only has his career left and he will lie and cheat if he has to get to the White House. The penultimate episode surfaces Payton’s character, making him the most authentic he has ever been since his mother’s love gave him a sudden realization of who he is.