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S01.E08: Vienna

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Payton reevaluates his life after a reckoning, but when a window of opportunity opens, he grapples with a big decision about his political aspirations.

Episode eight dropping on Netflix on Friday, September 27, 2019.

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Am I the only one that thought we had jumped years ahead and the TX Senator was somehow Payton? That was probably totally intentional and you're all "duh stupid."

(Also, entirely possible I missed something that denoted the date at the beginning of the episode)

It does annoy me that instead of launching their own political careers, Skye, McAfee, Alice, Astrid and James just want to work for Payton.

All in all I really enjoyed the series.

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7 hours ago, Megan said:

Am I the only one that thought we had jumped years ahead and the TX Senator was somehow Payton? That was probably totally intentional and you're all "duh stupid."

(Also, entirely possible I missed something that denoted the date at the beginning of the episode)

It does annoy me that instead of launching their own political careers, Skye, McAfee, Alice, Astrid and James just want to work for Payton.

All in all I really enjoyed the series.

Yeah. I thought the same thing. I'd like to know how Team Payton came to be. The ending left me excited to see the next season.

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Overall I liked this a lot. It dragged towards the end with the Ricardo/Dusty/Infinity plot going on just that bit too much. I also thought that the backlash against Payton was a bit too much and very easy to spin back into his favour. (Regardless of the fact that all the actors are clearly adults) Payton was a teenager who in the space of a couple of months, had his friend shoot himself dead in front of him, his girlfriend cheat on him, his dad tried to kill himself and nearly did die, he found himself under suspicion of murder because a girl ran away from home, discovered that his terminally ill running mate was actually victim of her grandmother's poisoning, survived not one but two assassination attempts and woke from a coma to discover his family had broken up and he was penniless and alone. His "crime" was that in the middle of this shit tornado he elected to tell his running mate what was happening to her so she could deal with it in the way that suited her, instead of going to the police and having it made public before she was ready. The result being the grandmother arranging the more successful assassination attempt. Sure he had a selfish motivation for telling Infinity over the police but he was in a hellish situation and he suffered for it while Infinity actually benefitted.

The story could easily have been spun into the one where he was very much a secondary victim and a hero by James and McAfee. In fact I'd expected that to be episode 8, with the principal taking the blame for ignoring Andrew's warnings. I liked what did happen better obviously. Catapulting 3 years into the future to set up Payton going up against Bette Middler and Judith Light's VP candidate team is much, much more entertaining and I'm so looking forward to S2. But it did feel a bit silly that something that could so easily have been spun into a positive brought him down.

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I was underwhelmed. I mean it was shot beautifully and some interesting lines but can;t say I like anyone of that that much. I also do not get why any of them would drop their lives for Payton.

Why was Infinity no part of the final campaign crew though?

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This was definitely not one of Ryan Murphy’s best shows but it definitely was a great first try for direct to Netflix shows.  I enjoyed it more then I didn’t.   I started out not really liking Payton (but then I don’t think we were supposed to) but I grew kinda fond and at times horrified of him and the choices he made.  Especially when he made a choice not to do anything about Infinity but then I did feel bad for him again when everything imploded on him.  

I don’t think it really matters why everyone is dropping their lives for Payton.  I think they all have their reasons that will probably get into next season.

Which I will definitely watch. 

Edited by Chaos Theory
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This show has a lot that I really enjoy, but boy is there a lot of scattershot narrative development here.  In particular, the climax is supposed to be a big “reunite the band” moment, but it includes a number of characters (Astrid, most obviously, but also Skye in most meaningful senses) who were never part of the band in the first place, so their being there feels totally unearned.

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On 9/28/2019 at 2:29 AM, Megan said:

Am I the only one that thought we had jumped years ahead and the TX Senator was somehow Payton?

Before they showed the guy I thought it would be Payton.

I like the story line better now that it's not set in high school.

Payton's girlfriend reminded me of Newt Gingrich's wife.

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When it was clear that Judith Light's character has a skeleton in her closet I thought it was going to be she was Payton's birth mother and not the throuple that we were given. However, I won't be surprised if in Season 2 it's revealed she is Payton's birth mother.

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Well, I wasn't sure if I would watch-the first episode left me Meh. But I did watch and found myself quite drawn in. I thought the first Assassination episode felt more like a season finale and then the next two episodes dragged and took a long time to get to the point. But once it did! And basically-once Bette Midler and Judith Light came on the scene-WOW! They were both so good, and I loved the way that plot came together. Except that it took forever. Also-loved The Graduate references, especially Alice trapping everyone in the church with the cross. Lastly-Astrid! The actress really grew on me and I thought she did a lot with a tough character who could have been very one-dimensional. 

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On 10/6/2019 at 8:06 PM, Bill1978 said:

When it was clear that Judith Light's character has a skeleton in her closet I thought it was going to be she was Payton's birth mother and not the throuple that we were given. However, I won't be surprised if in Season 2 it's revealed she is Payton's birth mother.

For a show that has celebrated sexual fluidity and freedom, I'm disappointed that the skeleton in the closet is a throuple (and c'mon, they were openly kissing in public at that event - don't tell me in this day and age they wouldn't have already been caught on camera a dozen times!). Yes, I get there are generational differences when it comes to voters, but I'm disappointed that they would exploit someone for personal choices which hurt no one else. If he goes through with it, I  guess Payton didn't evolve as much as I'd hoped.

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Payton was very forgiving of Skye. He's glad she didn't go to jail for trying murder him so she could become class president. 

I'm glad they revisited some of the Payton/Alice stuff that wasn't addressed earlier. I did wonder why Payton didn't look back. I still wonder about the Alice/James dynamic. Didn't James say it started before the break-up and thus before Payton failed to give Alice the assurances she wanted.

Payton's new set-up sounds very AOC influenced. A young politician running against a New York institution who is so well-connected that they don't think they need to campaign. I wonder how much real life events inspired that ending.

I'm excited to see more Judith Light and Bette Middler next season.

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First of all, I've always found "Vienna Waits for You" to be one of the saddest songs, ever.

This seemed like a really bizarre way to end the season. I'd be interested to know what's in Bette Midler's contract. I'm guessing the second season began filming immediately after the first because it's very unusual to introduce an entirely new premise in the last episode of the season then wait a year to see how it's going to play out. And I don't imagine the show negotiated with Midler for one episode then went back to the table for more episodes in a possible second season.

I feel like Alice was always an underdeveloped character, as was her relationship with Payton. There was far more focus on McAfee and James, and Patyon's relationship with River. I never really got a sense of any true feelings between Payton and Alice. They maybe should have dropped her going forward. 

I also find it baffling that Payton would still be friends with Skye. I couldn't even figure out what she was doing there. She tried to poison him! I don't know how you come back from something like that. They sort of crossed the line with her and then weren't brave enough to eliminate her. This happens far too often in TV. "Well, we really like her, so . . . eh, murder schmurder!" 

I think the tone of the series was very uneven. At times it was typical Ryan Murphy camp and at other times it aspired to be more upscale. I'm not sure it has found its footing.

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I find anything different, with talented actors and great photography, worth a viewing. This series fits that bill, despite its weaknesses.

I kept thinking of "House of Cards" as I watched this. I worked in politics at the congressional level and believe me, many people will cheat, lie, steal, babysit, clean bathrooms, pick up dry cleaning, all in robotic devotion to a politician. For very low salaries or no salary. It's the proximity to power and the fawning and freebies that come with that power. Of course Payton is a school kid, but he lives with obscene wealth and comfort, which is compelling to acolytes. Heck, I'd stuff envelopes for Payton just to get inside that fabulous home.

I guess Payton's ambition was the result of being the "bastard stepchild" (or adoptee) whose father and brothers were jerks. He was the fish out of water all of his life.

I enjoyed the occasional musical interlude. Ben Platt is very talented.

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Payton's girlfriend reminded me of Newt Gingrich's wife.

Which one? [snark]

Zoey Deutsch looks so familiar. At first I thought Rose Byrne, but I see that Lea Thompson is her mother.

Edited by pasdetrois
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On 11/16/2019 at 1:35 PM, pasdetrois said:

Zoey Deutsch looks so familiar. At first I thought Rose Byrne, but I see that Lea Thompson is her mother.

I actually recognized her from the Netflix movie "Set it Up"... It took me a moment, but there it was.

I agree with the poster upthread who said that this series didn't exactly land. I felt the swings from 'campy' to 'real' to 'deep' too often. I would have preferred them to pick a lane. But maybe that was intentional? Overall, I enjoyed the series and look forward to next season.

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