Season Two, Episode Four “Grief Box”
Written by Desta Tedros Reff
Directed by James Reynono
[All images courtesy Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network]
Now, we continue the NFFA sanctioned All-American Carnage with The Purge Season Two, Episode Four, “Grief Box”!
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Plot Threads of the Dammed
*Esme (Paola Nunez) continues investigating Prof. Adams’s death, using NFFA resources.
*Marcus continues investigating into who tried to kill him.
*Ryan (Max Martini), Sara (Chelle Ramos), and Doug (Jaren Mitchell) continue planning their big heist.
*And Ben (Joel Allen) continues to get away with murder due to the NFFA’s obsession with keeping crime statistics down by manipulating crime statistics and reclassifying murders as heatstroke fatalities and suicides.
This week, the teaser takes the form of an NFFA public service announcement celebrating “Remembrance Day”, celebrated on June 21, three months after the annual Purge. We follow a formally dressed man (Choppy Guillotte) delivering “Grief Boxes” to families of Purge fatalities.
*The Star-Spangled Banner plays softly in the background.
*The soothing words of the female narrator urges viewers to “Wish a safe and happy holiday to every citizen who has a loved one sacrificed for the Purge … celebrate these great martyrs who gave their lives for our county …no greater act of service than to give your life for our great nation. We celebrate the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers who made the ultimate sacrifice … it’s the American thing to do.”
*Giving one’s life for one’s country … an idea going back to Roman poet Horace. His Odes (III.2.13) exclaim,
“It is sweet and good (or right) to die for your fatherland,” wrote the poet Horace (Odes III.2.13), and echoes of this idea are seen in requiems and memorials throughout history. “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” translated “What joy, for fatherland to die!”
*Thanking the families of Purge Night victims can be seen as the NFFA version of thanking veterans for their service, a rote phrase often accompanied by giving veterans discounted sport tickets or a lower interest rate on their new home.
*While many things have changed in the NFFA’s America, the American Way of Death is still intimately entwined with commerce.
*The driver eventually returns to an Amazon-like warehouse where an enormous assembly line puts together Grief Boxes. Each box appears to contain some items unique to each victim, a portrait of said Purge victim, and a miniature brass urn.
*As the camera pans away from the assembly line, we see wheelbarrows toting mounds of ashes from massive containers. Are the bodies we saw picked up from the curb in Episode Two taken to industrial scale crematoriums? Where have we seen that before in human history?
Esme Carmona, Plucky Detective
*Esme gets her jump scare quotient for the episode when Darren visits with hard copies of Prof. Adams’s test subjects. She’d deliberately misfiled them to keep them safe.
*The subjects have no names, only numerical identification. Esme plans to get around that by using NFFA facial recognition software.
*Darren said Prof. Adams was studying the addiction to violence, theorizing that those violent acts light up the pleasure centers of the brain like a drug. Which isn’t too far off the mark in real life.
*Darren speculates something the audience already knows from the Purge movies; the whole premise of the Purge is a lie. Instead of reducing crime, the Purge “makes people want to kill more, every day of the year.”
*The First Purge (2018), revealed the original Purge’s origins as a dodgy social science experiment. The Purge: Anarchy (2014) exposed the 1%’s practice of using the Purge to reduce the population of the other 99%.
*According to Esme, blowing a stop sign marks citizens as a “Level G”, and enables government tagging. Last week, we learned that Tommy’s crime marked him as a Level R offender.
*Esme learns that every test subject but one is dead. Deceased subjects include Jeremy Cain, Alex Wade, Ian Grossman, (Candace?) Remante, Sam Bogh, Dara Kurvitch, Serge Paloulian, Trent Sarreal.
*Esme finds the last test subject, Olivia Hughes, dead, and a broken window latch in the woman’s home. Detective Estrada (Gerardo Davila) is surprised. He hasn’t had a “B & E” (breaking and entering) in six years, much less a murder.”
*Back at work, Esme again uses work computers to search for video footage around Olivia’s home. Oddly, all she finds is an error message: “Media Offline: error code: 987aba468_23”.
*Det. Estrada is not pleased to get a call from Esme about this. Olivia’s death has been ruled a suicide. He understands that may upset Esme, given her sister’s troubled history.
*Except Esme didn’t tell Estrada about her sister.
*Aaaanndd her Supervisor (Connor Trinneer) is monitoring Esme’s reaction to this call – through her computer monitor.
The Ryan Grant Robbery Crew
*Ryan’s crew plots the bank/airport heist at his mother’s rest home.
*Their problem with their plan; using jamming devices to disable the money plane’s electronics would be illegal, along with putting the triggering device in the money before it’s loaded on plane.
*Visiting Tommy (Doug Vargas) in jail gets Ryan the name of a possible bank connection.
*Tommy’s been in the clink for three months and appears to be getting beaten regularly.
*Wonder what Ryan’s gift of The Count of Monte Cristo to Tommy signifies? The future storyline for Tommy?
*Turns out you can use Grief Boxes to get free lap dances at strip clubs!
Marcus and Michelle: I Don’t Know Who Wants to Kill Me
*Turns out Marcus didn’t lose his wife Tonya (Devyn Tyler) to a Purge related event but just having different visions of life. Tonya wanted to stay in their neighborhood, Marcus wanted to move up and out to the Garden District. (Interesting. Click that link and you’ll see a house that looks very familiar from Season 1.)
*The P.I. Marcus hired last week discovered that the assassin, name of Heywood Diedrick, lived on the same street Marcus grew up on.
*14 yrs ago on Purge Night, Marcus and Tonya gathered their neighbors inside their house, with the children in the center of the room for safety. A masked Purge gang bursts in. One holds a knife to Tonya’s throat. She recognizes the teen, Eli, (Joshua Rivera), by his voice and Nike Air Force 1 shoes.
*Tonya, with help from Marcus and Andre Damien D. Smith) talks him down to put the knife down.
*Eli uses a hunting knife as his weapon of choice; an up-close and personal weapon used by Ben fourteen years in the future.
*Present – Andre arrives at BBQ in a GMC Denali truck that tried to run Marcus over. M assaults Andre, but D points out A’s car has a Jamaica front plate cover and a roof rack with spotlights
*Marcus learns from Tonya that someone had come around last summer asking about him. Marcus goes home and again abandons Michelle (Rochelle Aytes) to rework his suspect board (aka String Theory Wall of Crazy) and visit the Ivory Road message boards.
Ben and the Really Bad Strawberry Road Trip
*Ben relives killing last week’s grifterfarmer (ops, I meant “beloved berry farmer”) as he punches a boxer’s training dummy. He’s even more relieved when Kellen shows him a news report revealing the farmer’s body was discovered. The cause of death? Heatstroke!
*Interesting NFFA news blurb on tv “NFFA Cancels Iowa Event So Level 10 Officials Can Remain With Their Loved Ones”. Is this plot-related or just Remembrance Day Weekend scheduling?
*Ben’s visit to the “Purge USA Store” “Remembrance Day Sale” is the visual highlight of this episode, featuring more of the Purge Commercial Industrial Complex.
*Along with signs advertising “New and Used Purge supplies at 20-80% Off!” we see this gem –
“Lost a Loved One?
Purged a Pal?
Present a new
For 25% Off!”
*Items on sale run the gamut – Chain saws, heavy-duty flashlights, along with what looks like WW2 hand grenades and Civil War minne balls. Crossbows, Throwing Stars, hunting knives with wicked serrated edges, handguns, and shotguns.
*I didn’t see semi-automatic weapons; they must be above the “Class 4 and lower” allowed during the Purge.
*Get your Purge All-Purpose Bleach in the Purge Cleanup Section, featuring products to remove “blood, urine, fecal matter, odors – Guaranteed – Natural Ingredients!”
*The store PA system announces “We Blow Out So You Can Blow ‘Em Away!”
*Ben meets a Purge True Believer at the store. Andy Tran (Lawrence Kao) loves the Purge, and loves to drink, so Ben invites him to Remembrance Day Frat Party.
*Andy would add his roomie to his Purge list, but needs him for answers to Organic Biology tests.
*Ben picks out a knife, Andy perceptively notes, “You like that up-close kind of sh*t, huh?”
*Are the hooded, bound young men at the party frat pledges, or something more sinister?
*Instead of putting his turncoat friend Turner (Matt Shively) on his Purge list (or killing him right there), Ben ends his evening stalking of the annoying Anti-Purge activist (Hayden Guthrie), wearing the blood-smeared God Mask.
The Purge Season Two, Episode Five, “House of Mirrors” airs Nov. 12 at 9/8c on USA.
Official USA network images, articles, and other Purge related goodies can be found here.
My deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist, and Seasons 1 & 2 of Channel Zero reside at SciFi4Me; Fang and Saucer is home to my deep dives into Season One of The Purge TV, and Channel Zero Seasons 3 & 4.