Warning: Infinity-related spoilers for The Politician below!
If you've watched the first handful of episodes in the first season of Netflix's The Politician, then you're likely experiencing a case of déjà vu, thanks to one Infinity Jackson.
The character, played by Set It Up's Zoey Deutch, goes to school with Payton (Ben Platt) and is coerced into being his running mate when he decides he needs a sympathy vote of some kind to hook his fellow students. The quiet, mostly wheelchair-bound Infinity, who suffers from . . . some kind of disease, immediately seems like the perfect choice. Sadly, Payton soon discovers that Infinity's "illness" might stem from a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy involving her grandmother, Dusty (the fabulous Jessica Lange), bringing to mind the infamous murder of Dee Dee Blanchard by her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard.
The real-life case of the Blanchards was recently fictionalized in Hulu's The Act, and no doubt inspired creator Ryan Murphy's onscreen creations, Dusty and Infinity. From the first minute we see the pair together, it's obvious that something's up with the high-voiced Infinity (which seems to be a riff on the pitch of Gypsy Rose's voice) and her overbearing Nana. So, is she actually sick, or is her grandmother making her ill in order to get money and free vacations? Unsurprisingly, it's the latter.
After Payton puts it all together, he tells Infinity, and it doesn't take long for her to confront her abusive Nana about it. (Infinity was genuinely under the assumption she was ill.) Apparently, Dusty struck a deal with a lowly technician at the local hospital, Ray, years earlier, who agreed to let Dusty bring Infinity in for "treatments." Ray also aided her in forging documents regarding Infinity's medical history. In return, Dusty brought Ray on the free trips to amusement parks that Infinity was sent on, as well as other perks.
The story takes an even sadder (and bizarre) turn when it's revealed Infinity isn't the only person Dusty has poisoned and abused — she's also responsible for killing her daughter (Infinity's mother), who she fed lead paint to in an effort to keep her from moving away. Luckily, Infinity escapes from her Nana's hold before it's too late, igniting a reckless streak inside her.
In episode eight, "Vienna," we check back in with Infinity a few years later when she visits Payton in New York City. She looks healthy, her hair has grown back, and she's mostly cut off contact with her violent ex, Ricardo (who's in prison). She goes on to reveal she got "a pretty hefty advance" from a book deal about living with Dusty, titled Counting Back to Infinity: One Girl's Courageous Battle Against Munchausen by Proxy. She also notes that despite having her own money, she never has to spend it since people are giving her "more free stuff than ever." Maybe she'll put that unused cash towards Payton's election campaign in season two?