F&S Deep Dive Into the Penultimate Episode of THE PURGE – “I Will Participate”

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900Episode Eight “I Will Participate ”
Written by Nick Snyder
Directed by Ernest Dickerson

[All  images courtesy Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network]

For a full recap of episodes of The Purge on USA (and all his other cool recaps), please visit & follow Father Son Holy Gore!

Now, on to the All American Carnage of The Purge, Episode Nine – “I Will Participate”!

WARNING! Converging Plot Threads (and Spoilers) Ahead!  

The Purge - Season 1
Why oh why weren’t these Purgers wearing ROLLER SKATES, Show?

*While Miguel Guerrero (Gabriel Chavarra) and Pete the Cop (Dominic Fumusa) spend the episode identifying, tracking, and driving in pursuit of Joe the Sandwich Guy Who Turned Out to Be Quite a Jerk (Lee Tergesen) and his van full of hostages.

*Said hostages Penelope Guerrero (Jessica Garza), Jenna (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell), Jane Barbour (Amanda Warren), Joe’s old boss Eileen (Allison King), Lifesaver Guy “Pete” (Garrett Kruithof) and another woman who may be named Paige (Kelly Murtaugh) find themselves imprisoned in a cage on the auditorium stage at Thomas Paine High School, soon to be put on trial. 

Why? Turns out Joe’s been channeling a lifetime of resentment into an elaborate, and lethal, Airing of the Grievances. From petty slights to life-scarring bulling, Joe’s collected everyone responsible for everything wrong in his life on Purge Night for some state-sanctioned revenge. Joe himself is blameless, a perpetually innocent victim.

The Purge - Season 1
Purge-weary Pete finds a new mission – helping Miguel save Penny.

Will Miguel and Pete, like Spock in the Star Trek episode “Court Martial“, save these prisoners before Joe passes judgment on them all?

Notes on “I Will Participate”

*We find out why Joe said his motives on this Purge Night were “ personal.” We already knew he blamed Eileen for the closure of the Satacoy Supply Company operation. Everyone else in the van?

LifeSaver Pete physically and publicly bullied Joe to make him do Pete’s homework and take home exams throughout their time at Thomas Paine High School.

Paige denied coverage for treatment of John Owen’s cancer as a pre-existing condition. Joe’s excellent health insurance did his father no good.

Jane had the nerve to “swipe left” in the middle of a dinner date with Joe – and pay the tab! His insufferable racism and sexism might’ve been the reason for her mid-date ghosting.

Jenna and Rick (allegedly) failed to pay Joe for the security system he installed on one of their developments.

The Purge - Season 1
If you miss Sam and Dean driving around fighting evil, here’s Miguel and Pete!

Penelope’s crime? During her Purge Death Cult days, she failed to say “Thank You” after Joe held the door open for her when she exited a restaurant.

*Revenge is a classic motivator in movies as a whole, especially in the horror genre. From Oldboy, to Freddie Krueger, to the Saw series, punishment for slights and/or crimes, whether real or imagined, is a storytelling well that will never run dry.

*And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie’s classic 1939 mystery novel, also put a seemingly unrelated group of people on trial for unpunished crimes buried in their past.

*Joe’s endless High School Misery Monologue makes him sound more like the insufferable tourist played by Monty Python’s Eric Idle than a revenging hero.

*Bobby Sheridan is the bloodthirsty self-help guru Joe’s been listening to all series.

*Joe lives at 12018 Broad St., belongs to the NFFA, and according to Pete’s inaccurate database, has no living relatives. His license plate Q4OCFP bears the NFFA motto “A Nation Reborn”.

*Starting a security company as his second career allowed Joe the means to easily disarm Eileen and the Betancourt’s Sandin Security systems.

The Purge - Season 1
It’s just like The Warriors, except with bedazzeled neon.

*The aerosol tracking spray Joe used to stalk and capture his victims isn’t as implausible as I initially thought.

*His Stalker String Theory Wall of Crazy is a conspiracy theorist classic.

*If Lars Von Trier ever decided to direct a “black boxDogville style production of Our Town, it would look like the setup at Thomas Pain H.S..

*I previously misread a character  like Joe once before, in the person of Pierre ( Jean-François Sivadier) from the French cult series The Returned. If you haven’t watched it yet, I won’t spoil further for you.

*For all his meticulous planning and flawless execution, in the end Joe is just a small, sad man. Instead of looking inward for the answer to “why” he looks outward for someone to blame. Instead of being happy with the life he rebuilt, he lashes out at those who (in his eyes), destroyed the Way Things Used to Be. Who gained their position in society at his expense.

*Pete the Cop embodies that American cinema classic, the weary yet noble antihero.

Next Week:  Episode Ten “A Nation Reborn” brings The Purge on USA to a close.

The Purge airs Tuesdays on USA at 10/9c.

More official images, information, and other goodies can be found here.

For more of my deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist . My Channel Zero recaps and deep dives can be found here at F&S and SciFi4Me.com.

Until next week citizens, “Just remember all the good The Purge does.”

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