The Politician (2019) s01e03 Episode Script

October Surprise

- [bell ringing.]
- [people chattering.]
[whispers indistinctly.]
[girl giggles.]
[in Mandarin.]
[in English.]
I'm practicing.
Debate team competition this afternoon.
Oh, what's the debate about? Whether hate speech should be regulated or protected by the First Amendment.
Heavy stuff.
Which side are you arguing? Well, they don't tell you until you get there, so you have to prepare both.
Is it hard to be passionate about something you don't believe in? What I believe in most of all is winning the debate.
I don't think I could do it.
That's 'cause you're a better person than I am.
You're gonna change the world, Payton.
How do you know? Because I see you.
And, hey, because of that op-ed column you wrote in the student newspaper, there are healthy options in the lunchroom now, like sliced kiwi.
It does have four times the vitamin C of an orange.
I think you do so much all the time that you lose perspective on how special you are.
Hey, come here.
Do a breathing exercise with me.
It'll calm you down.
Four breaths in, four breaths out.
Nice and deep.
[inhales deeply.]
[inhales deeply.]
[exhales, whispers.]
Hey, if you get nervous out there, just look for me.
I'll be in the front row.
Bored out of your skull? No, never when I'm watching you, man.
Hey, do the breathing one more time.
[inhales deeply.]
- [River.]
- [exhales.]
[rapid typing on keyboard.]
It'll be just another moment, Payton.
I appreciate your patience.
[phone vibrating.]
- Hey.
- Hey.
Wanted to wish you luck.
This is a big day for you.
For all of us.
I want you to know that I'm ride or die and I want you to put this Infinity stuff out of your mind, OK? - Okay.
- You, me, James.
We're the only people on planet Earth who know about Infinity.
Well, four if you count her grandma, but I'm 100% confident that we can keep this locked down and a total non-issue for the remainder of the campaign.
[inhales deeply.]
- [desk phone rings.]
- Thank you.
That helps.
Now go get 'em, tiger.
We're with you every step of the way.
They're ready for you now.
It's a pleasure to see you again, Mr.
Hobart, though a phone call certainly would have been sufficient.
Well, it seemed to me that this warranted meeting face-to-face.
Uh It's a bit of an understatement to say that circumstances have changed for me.
I've recently been made the sole benefactor of my family's fortune.
Upon my father's death, I will inherit several billion dollars and become one of the richest people in the country.
Well, that's wonderful news.
- Congratulations.
- Ahh.
Does that mean that you have come to a decision with regard to our offer? Oh, so, you mean, your offer allowing me to buy my way into Harvard? Oh, well, we don't look at it that way.
This is just how these things are done.
We are arguably the most prestigious institution in the world.
Full stop.
A Harvard education can hardly be quantified.
I see.
I see.
You guys, you've really screwed the pooch on this one.
I beg your pardon? Well, if you had just accepted my application instead of extorting me, you would've gotten ten times that.
Now, don't don't get me wrong, I do want a building on this campus with my name on it.
About 500 yards from here on the north bank of the Charles, that's where I'm going to break ground on my presidential library.
On the day that I become a private citizen after my second term in office.
A second term that I will have won in a landslide.
[both chuckling.]
[chuckles stop.]
You see, gentlemen, I'm gonna be President of the United States.
Now, I don't say that to impress you or to seem terribly precocious, I'm merely stating a fact.
I will be president someday because I will stop at nothing.
You're aware that I've been accepted at Yale, Stanford, and Princeton without pulling any strings or buying any buildings.
So why not go to one of those schools? Well, see, now I really should be asking you that question, because the choice is gonna be up to you.
Politics isn't about policies, a candidate is elected on a story.
And the story I want to tell is that I went to Harvard.
Now if you don't let me in on my merits and my merits alone, then the story I tell will be about how I was rejected from Harvard.
And that's the story I'll tell when I'm dedicating my billion-dollar presidential library in Palo Alto.
Or Princeton.
Or New Haven.
I'm serious.
The choice is yours.
You get to decide what my story will be.
Honestly, I I'll I'll be fine either way.
[Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago" playing.]
I fell in love again All things go, all things go Drove to Chicago All things know, all things know You came to take us All things go, all things go To recreate us All things grow, all things grow We had our mindset All things know All things know You had to find it All things go, all things go [woman.]
OK, we've got some good news in this data.
Now, again, I just gotta say it, single poll, small sample size, you're gonna end up with a huge margin of error that's just baked into the cake, and we're looking at a lot of undecideds so that means a lot of uncertainty and some really long tails, okay? Kris, we get it.
You can't see the future.
I can't see the future.
That said, when we look at the polling data for all students, we're sitting on a nine-point lead.
I feel a really big "but" coming on.
However, when we look at likely voters our lead drops to two points.
That's well within the margin of error, but there is the issue of troublesome trending lines.
Since River died and you took over the race, we've lost about one percentage point every two days.
If that trend continues Payton's leading by election day.
You know, I'm having trouble seeing the good news in this data, Kris.
Just let me think for a second.
I did not join this campaign to get humiliated, Astrid.
We just need to get the undecideds.
We are losing to a dude.
To a boring, rich, white dude.
Do you have any idea how humiliating that feels? Yeah, I do, Skye.
Then let me see you get pissed off instead of sitting there watching it happen.
You're not playing to win, you're playing not to lose and the voters can smell it.
It's hard to get excited about a candidate who has the killer instinct of a guppy, you know what I'm saying? Show me that you want to win.
- Let me see some ideas.
- Why do people like him? What does the data say? Sixty percent of respondents cite his positive attitude, 70% think - Alice was wrong to cheat - We should have him assassinated.
Too dark? Jesus Christ, Skye.
You can't joke about things like that.
Who says I'm joking? We live in a dangerous world.
People die violent deaths every day.
- You're sick.
- Yeah, and you're a terrible candidate.
I realize you didn't ask me to be your running mate, River did.
Two generations ago, that wouldn't have happened because I was black.
One generation ago, it wouldn't have happened because I'm gay.
So when he asked me, I said yes because I realized, right now, this election, this is my time.
For me, this is about history.
Winning this election would be historic and meaningful for a whole lot of people who aren't used to seeing people like themselves in positions of power.
That's what I agreed to do.
I did not agree to playing second banana to some basic-ass rich girl who gets stuck giving a concession speech because she realized too late that she didn't want it enough.
You don't like my ideas? Fine.
I'm just spitballing here, trying to think outside the box for a second.
But, hey, you wanna hold a bake sale, have a car wash, and think that's gonna be what wins you this election, you go right ahead.
[door slams shut.]
[video game sound effects.]
Excuse me, do you work here? That game ate my money.
So? So, I put $20 on the card and then it said it couldn't read it, so I swiped it three more times and now it says Yeah? Well, I don't give a care, you little punk-ass bitch.
Why don't you learn how to read? It says "no refunds.
" You gotta a problem with that, go find another arcade, you little pussy.
Ricardo? My name's Andrew, can I talk to you for a second? Can't, I already had my break.
It's about Infinity.
I think Infinity's grandma is trying to kill her.
Wait, what? Or maybe not kill her, but at least make her sick and keep her that way.
Why would she do that? For attention.
Have you ever heard of Munchausen by proxy? Yeah.
Have you really or do you maybe not know what that is? OK, fine, I don't know what that is.
Haven't you noticed that Infinity and her grandma are always going on trips other people pay for? Like Disney World, Mall of America? I thought that's because she has cancer.
Well, I don't think she does have cancer.
So, what? Infinity's lying? No, I I don't think she knows what's going on.
- Does she ever talk to you about it? - Not really.
I mean, most of the time she doesn't really seem to be in any pain, except for when she has treatments at the hospital or her grandma gives her her shots, and then she's really bad for a few days, like, we can't make out or have sex.
Wait, how the hell do you know all this? Why should I even believe you? Because I'm in love with her.
Don't worry, dude.
I can't grow a rad mustache like you.
She's not interested.
So you need to do something.
You're her boyfriend, it's your job to protect her.
Infinity's in danger.
She doesn't get what's going on.
Her grandma, that kid Payton, they're all using her.
Well, what I'm supposed to do? Kill 'em? How much do you love her? [humming softly.]
Payton? This just came in for you.
This is from Harvard.
- I got in! I got in! - [housekeeper.]
Oh! - [laughing.]
I got in! I got in! - [squeals.]
- [gasping.]
- Oh! I got in! [knocking at door.]
Hi, Thomas.
Is Alice home? I saw her car out front.
- She's in her bedroom.
- Oh, good.
[Payton whistling.]
Why are you here? You're not supposed to be here.
I understand.
You and I should talk.
[Alice crying softly.]
How long has this been going on? Since the break-up? No.
- A while.
- Mmm.
What's more important, the train, the conductor, or the tracks? Um I don't know.
The train? Well, the train's what you see, it's beautiful and powerful.
Conductor drives the train, makes sure it gets where it needs to go.
But the train and the conductor are helpless steel and flesh without tracks to ride on.
Now, I'm the train, you and McAfee are the conductors, but there is a plan, James.
The plan's the tracks, right? The plan's what's gonna get us to the White House and that plan includes winning this election, it includes me getting into Harvard, and it includes my high school sweetheart being my First Lady.
What you've been doing is endangering that plan.
How are we supposed to work together the next 30 years if I have to worry you're screwing my wife? I'm in love with your girlfriend.
I understand, okay? I understand what it means to be a planet in my solar system, okay? I'm the candidate, right? I'm the one out front with the pulpit and the money and the girl, and you're not that guy.
You're the one with the ideas, behind me, because that is where you belong, by your own admission.
You can't be me.
So don't try, because we need you to keep being you.
I thought you understood that and were okay with it.
I am.
But I love her.
What now? I don't know.
Focus on the campaign.
I got into Harvard, by the way.
Oh, my God.
You look so sexy.
Come here.
Wait, let me take the shoes off.
I feel weird doing this.
What are you talking about? This was your idea.
I know, and it's so sexy I just feel gross using Nana's camcorder.
- Let's just use my phone.
- [Ricardo.]
You never wanna put a sex tape on your phone.
- Don't call it that.
- Fine.
A love tape.
Once you put a love tape on your phone, they could look through that stuff.
Facebook and the government, and, like, Russians.
This way it's private.
It's just a beautiful thing you and I get to share.
[tape whirring.]
Damn it! This stupid thing ate my tape! Let's just keep going.
Come on.
Can I just tape over one of these? No.
These are all tapes from all of our trips.
You know? My Nana wants as many memories of me as she can get.
For when I'm gone.
[Infinity giggles.]
This is when we took Ray with us to Busch Gardens.
I wanna watch this.
[people screaming on theme park ride.]
Well, don't waste the battery, Ray.
Wait until we're inside the park.
- [Infinity.]
Whoo! - [Dusty.]
Hey! - Stop acting like a big old, stupid baby.
- [Infinity.]
No, no! [whispers.]
Two, one, go.
Thanks, Bob and Vicky.
I'm here with Infinity Jackson, a brave little girl who is visiting Busch Gardens for the first time, thanks to KBSB Action News 13's Make a Different Wish Sweepstakes.
Infinity, you must be a special little lady to get an all-expenses paid trip to the Sunshine State.
What are you most excited to do today? [Infinity.]
I I don't know.
You're excited to see the giraffes.
- I am excited to see the giraffes! - [reporter laughs.]
That was great, okay.
Uh, okay, Infinity.
- You are such a brave lady.
- I love you so much, Nana.
I love you.
What do you have to say to the other boys and girls with leukemia out there? I wanna Oh - I don't have leukemia.
- Oh.
I thought, um - I'm sorry, should we cut? - Yeah.
Let's do it again.
I I'm so sorry, sweetheart.
What kind of cancer do you have again? [Dusty.]
No! No! Hey, excuse me.
We're done here.
I'm sorry.
My producer said she had leukemia.
I didn't know.
- That's what I was told.
- [Dusty.]
How dare you ask a child that.
I mean, how dare you make a child tell you, on live TV, what kind of cancer she got.
You sick son of a bitch.
- Hope you're getting this.
- We are not live.
- This is just a pre-tape.
- No.
Here, give me that.
This is over.
The interview is over.
We're done here.
We have We've got a whole day planned out here.
This is part of a whole thing.
We've got a schedule of events.
Yeah, well, we're going to see the goddamn giraffes.
I promise if we can get through this, we can have a nice, fun day.
Stay away from us, buttmunch! - [reporter.]
Infinity, you can't say that! - I want more grape juice, Ray.
Now! I was in such a bad mood that day.
Well, we can't use that tape.
Uh let me find another one.
Hmm [Infinity mutters indistinctly.]
- Boom.
- [racket clatters.]
Put a few pounds on since your boyfriend blew his brains out.
You can't say things like that to me.
It's slowed you down.
You should've at least taken one set.
I'm trying to be helpful.
I don't mean about my weight.
I mean about River.
I'm still traumatized.
I know.
I'm paying for your analysis four times a week.
Suicide is a uniquely traumatic experience for those left behind.
Especially when there was no warning.
No note left to explain things.
You blame yourself? - No.
- Maybe you should.
I'm not saying it's your fault, I'm saying, lean into the idea that it is.
Explore the ways in which you may be culpable, systematically rule some out.
I didn't do anything to make River kill himself.
Perhaps you were too cold with him.
You have a tendency towards that.
River seemed, um, a sensitive boy.
Verging on queer.
Perhaps your coldness created an insecurity.
- I'm not listening to this.
- [chuckles.]
I'm complimenting you.
You're calling me cold.
Cold is good.
Cold wins the day.
Everything good you have in your life is because of that glacial resolve.
And for some reason, you've decided to rebel against it.
That's why you didn't take one set from me.
It's why you're losing that election at school.
I'm not losing, I'm winning by ten points.
For now.
That boy you're running against [chuckles.]
he's a true politician.
If you wanna beat him, you need to embrace your inner coldness unapologetically.
It'll allow you to do things you might not think you're capable of.
Text me later.
[piano music plays over speakers.]
When is the last time you ate? Luther wanted cable, so that means one day a week each of us has to fast.
- Share that with your brother.
- Thank you.
Being poor is terrible.
I know.
I've been poor before.
Don't think of that as an allowance.
I love you boys, but I agree with your father that you need some seasoning.
The world is finished with entitled white men.
The world will never be finished with entitled white men.
That's why we feel so entitled.
I clearly missed the mark when raising you.
This forced poverty is a second chance for your father and I to make proper men out of you.
What if it kills us? Great lessons are only learned when the stakes are high.
[knocking at door.]
[knocking continues.]
Did Did you order another prostitute? No.
[continuous knocking.]
The hell are you doing here? Due to a few events that have happened over the last few days, you and I now share a common enemy and, I assume, the common goal of taking that enemy down.
It's Payton.
I'm in love with his girlfriend.
I hate him and I have some information that will tank his campaign, and therefore destroy him.
[doorbell rings.]
Nice ass.
Who are you? I'm Payton's brother.
Dude, I'm his brother t I'm Payton's brother too.
Who let you in here? Your, uh servant person.
Look we wanna help you.
We've been recently informed by someone very close to our brother that he intends to launch a major campaign initiative by the end of the day tomorrow.
Which means you should make it your initiative.
Announce it before he does, embarrass the hell out of him.
And why would you do this? Trust me.
We hate Payton way more than you do.
Keep getting those steps in.
That ass is bangin'.
[line ringing.]
Skye? Get over here.
Guinea worm could be eradicated in our lifetime and we could be the people who do it.
Guinea worm is a parasite that has devastated the lives of millions of people in Africa, just because they do not have access to clean drinking water.
If you elect me as your president, I promise to make this school the leading voice in eliminating this scourge from the face of the earth.
Sorry, what does this have to do with this school? Excuse me? Are you serious, Pierre? Quit being so damn selfish.
We can raise awareness, we can raise money.
See, this is the problem.
You are all caught up in your own privilege, you're not even aware that 3.
5 million people were afflicted by this disease last year alone.
Twenty five.
[low murmurs.]
I beg your pardon? Sorry, 25 people were affected by Guinea worm last year.
Three point five million were in 1986.
That was before Jimmy Carter made the eradication of Guinea worm a pillar of his post-presidency.
What are you talking about? No.
"What are you talking about?" is the more appropriate question.
I'm curious as to why you chose today to make this announcement and why you chose this as the thing you wanted to announce.
And I wonder where you got those lousy statistics that you didn't fact-check.
Wait, I know where.
I'm pretty they were on James's computer.
Should be expecting a call from the editor from the school paper about what it's like to run a campaign shady enough to steal your opponent's plank, and dumb enough to not realize it was fake.
Just admit you don't care about this school, Astrid.
All you care about is beating me.
Go to hell, Payton.
Yeah, that's the spirit.
All right, if if anyone is interested in the real issues, I would invite you to come join me in the auditorium after school.
Thank you.
You guys should come too, see what a real campaign looks like.
Did I or did I not tell you that Guinea worm was not the way to go? Hello, everyone.
I want to thank you all for coming.
Lights, please.
You may recognize this building.
It's the old Blockbuster in the Paseo Viejo Mall.
It's been vacant for over a year, about half a mile from where you're all sitting.
Now James, the co-chair of my campaign and a person who I count as maybe the closest friend I've ever had, recently pointed out that this shopping center has a new tenant.
This is a gun store, less than eight city blocks from here, whose inventory includes the same brand of Remington revolver that that my friend River Barkley used to take his own life.
Now here's what we know: each day in our nation, there are an average of 3,470 suicide attempts by young people, grades 9-12.
There are probably people here today who've wrestled with depression or feelings of hopelessness and have experienced suicidal thoughts.
And it is a known fact that the mere presence of a gun in the home makes a teenager five times more likely to attempt suicide.
Like River, they don't they don't get a second chance.
Now, when I spoke to the owner of Strictly Guns & Shooting, Terrence Woods, and I asked him if he thought it was appropriate to be operating a gun store so close to a school, he replied, correctly, that his establishment is in compliance with California's 1995 Gun-Free School Zone Act, which outlaws gun stores from within 1,000 yards of a school.
When I asked him what it would take to remove every gun from his store, he didn't need to answer because I already knew.
Woods isn't gonna remove those guns.
State law isn't gonna remove those guns.
So I decided that I'd remove them.
I bought every gun he had.
James, officers.
I'm turning over every one of these firearms to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, who will deliver them this afternoon to the Dowell Aluminum Foundry in Carpinteria to be melted down into steel rebar that sophomore Dallas Weintraub will then sculpt into an abstract art piece about America's gun violence epidemic, which will premiere this June at Santa Barbara's ForReal Gallery as part of this year's downtown arts walk.
Thank you, Dallas.
I also hold in my hand a sign-up sheet for anyone who's interested in joining me in a march on next week's city council meeting, where we will tell the mayor of Santa Barbara that 1,000 yards isn't enough and demand that he consider River's Law: that a portion of every gun sale in this state go towards suicide prevention at the local level.
So, join me in making River's tragic, irreversible death the last one that this school ever has to endure.
Thank you for your time.
Does your ass hurt? No, why? Because Payton just spanked you in front of the entire student body.
He just won this thing.
[door opens.]
- [Payton.]
Thank you.
- [door shuts.]
- [grunts, panting.]
- [ball thuds.]
[cigarette lighter flicks.]
Who's there? Who the hell are you, and what are you doing on my property? I'm Ricardo.
I have something you want.
It's a video recording.
Could help you win your election.
[Astrid grunts.]
What the hell? How stupid does Payton think I am? I already fell for this once.
Dude, I'm offering you dirt.
Why? Because I love Infinity and I'm sick of him using her.
What's on the tape? Show me your areola first.
- Do you have a brain injury or something? - No! How about you let me pick a pair of panties? Fine.
[ringtone playing.]
[ringtone playing.]
Hello? Speaking.
I'm sorry, what? [car approaching.]
[tires screech.]
Let's stay calm and not get ahead of ourselves.
We haven't seen the tape and don't know what's on it.
Okay, well, what is this tape? Assistant director of the school paper said she was shown a video of Infinity using an offensive gay slur.
What was the slur? - Wouldn't say.
- Don't know.
She's asking for comment before she puts it online.
How can we comment if we don't know what she said? What can I get you guys? You can't just sit here, you gotta order something.
How about three orders of nothing.
We're gonna take three nothings.
Thank you so much.
I asked what it would take to bury the story.
She said the person who showed her the tape still has it and will post it if she doesn't publish.
Well, who is this "person"? Who showed her the tape? Pretty sure it's Astrid.
[breath trembling.]
You know what? Screw Astrid, I'm gonna kill her! I gotta find out what's on that tape.
[rapid knocking at door.]
[knocking continues.]
Evidently, there's a tape of some footage of you using an offensive gay slur.
Do you have any idea what I'm referring to? - Uh - [Dusty.]
Excuse me, do you have any idea what time it is? Shut up.
Not gonna take your bullshit.
What'd you say on the tape? - I don't know what you're talking about.
- You're lying.
You said something you shouldn't have and they have proof.
I need to know what.
I can't believe he would do this to me.
Who? Ricardo.
Who the hell is Ricardo? You know what? It's the middle of the night.
Can it, Nana! What did you say on the tape? I did not mean it.
We were at Busch Gardens and it was really hot Found it! It's already up.
It's buttmunch.
She said buttmunch.
She called an obviously gay reporter buttmunch.
Goddammit! Thanks a lot, Infinity.
This is over now, do you realize that? This is all over now! Payton? [whispers.]
- [line ringing.]
- [breathing heavily.]
[phone ringing.]
- Hello? - It's over between us.
You understand? What? What's over? Baby, what are you talking about? You betrayed me.
- What are you mean? - I can't trust you anymore, Ricardo.
I'm breaking up with you.
It's over.
It's over.
It's - over.
- [phone clatters.]
I was trying to protect you.
[knocking at door.]
I asked Thomas if I could bring you your drink.
I saw the tape.
[clears throat.]
How bad is it? Her InstaPoll numbers indicate a 17-point swing.
Astrid's ahead.
I don't know how to spin this.
We're gonna lose.
I want to come back and help you, but I can't handle being humiliated again.
Is there anything else I need to know? I'm obsessed with River.
Not in the traditionally non-heteronormative way.
But he made me feel things.
That was his talent.
I love you.
I really do.
But I can't get him out of my head and I conjure him when I need him for advice.
Ask him how to get out of this one? No.
And he's not specific.
He always just says something poetic and deep or we play the piano.
That everything? Yes, I think so.
Do you know why the polls get so reactionary when something like this happens? - Mmm.
- Because people wanna follow a leader.
All you need to do is let them know that it's still safe to follow you, - the polls'll turn back in your favor.
- But how? We don't have time.
I don't know.
But I love you.
And I know what's right for the school and the world is that you win.
You have me.
I'm yours 100% from now on.
You are the only person who understands me.
Oh, and Infinity doesn't have cancer.
She's faking it.
[Chvrches' "Clearest Blue" plays.]
Light It's all over us Like it always was Like it always was Shaped By the clearest blue But it's not enough It's not enough, not enough Just another time I'm caught inside Every open eye Holding on tightly to the sides Never quite learning why You'll meet me, you'll meet me You'll meet me halfway Whenever I feel it coming on You can be well aware If ever I try to push away You can just keep me there So please say you'll meet me Meet me halfway Tied [gasping.]
God! How the hell did you get in here? You said you would protect me.
Infinity won't talk to me anymore.
She hates me.
She's probably just mad.
It'll pass.
For God's sake, who else is she gonna go out with? I have money.
She's my everything.
You took my sunshine away! No sex tonight.
I'm still sore from my lipo.
Did you break the glass on that door? Or bleed on the carpet before we left? I don't know, I don't remember.
Astrid? [theme music playing.]