Fang & Saucer Deep Dive-CHANNEL ZERO: THE DREAM DOOR Ep.1 “Ashes On My Pillow”

Channel Zero

Channel Zero: The Dream Door
Episode One “Ashes On My Pillow”
Teleplay by Nick Antosca
Directed by E.L. Katz

[All images courtesy Syfy]

For an in-depth recap of every episode of Channel Zero, I highly recommend a visit to  Father Son Holy Gore . Check out his other great recaps, movie reviews, and in-depth essays on horror.
Now let’s take a deep dive into the symbolism and references I noticed in “Ashes On My Pillow’, the first episode of Channel Zero’s fourth season.   My episode recaps and observations for Seasons One and Two are at SciFi4Me.com, and my observations for Season Three can be found here at Fang and Saucer.

CZDD Ep1
Tonight on “So There’s a Hidden Door in Your Basement

Dream Police Detections

* Every episode title for CZ:DD is a song title. Houston-born jazz/blues saxophonist Eddie “Cleanhead” Wilson released the single “Ashes On My Pillow” (with “Hot Lips” Page on vocals)in 1950.  Credit to Father Son Holy Gore for this tidbit.

*We get  hints of trouble between Jillian and her father – although it’ll be familiar to true crime fans and/or readers of Linwood Barclay’s 2007 novel No Time To Say Goodbye.

*As they enjoy unagi sushi, Jillian advises her husband Tom in a variation on that oldest of clichés, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

*It’s probably not the same house, but the kitchen/dining area/family room in the Hodgson home sure looks like the Sleator home in Season Two, No-End House.

CZDD Ep1
Those are X-Files level flashlights, folks.

*”Ashes” does a great job of laying a trail of clues from the start, starting with an adorable pug Tom and Jillian find in their new  home. Jillian notes, “When I was a kid, I had a stuffed toy animal that looked just like this.”

*Why would Tom have a copy of Jillian’s childhood flipbook? Did she give it to him when she moved away?

*Is the nickname Pretzel Jack a variation on that snack item classic, Cracker Jack?

*Jason (Nicholas Tucci) used Tinder to find his “plus 1” for dinner with Tom and Jillian.

CZDD Ep 1
Dr. “There’s a Rational Explaination for Everything” Carnacki at your service.

*Tom, Jillian, and her estranged father live in a fictional town (Caldecott), which is located in a real Minnesota county (Itasca). Tom and Jillian live at 48 Brahms Way, and not-so-dear-Dad lives at 249 Beverly St.

*Ian is a very affable, friendly neighbor. Almost too friendly.

*The alleged existences of a Berenstain Bears book with a differently spelled name and Sinbad starring in a Shazam movie are both examples of “the Mandela Effect.

*Jason may be a dependable friend, but a gun safety expert his is not.

*The first “dream door” opens to a sloping set of stairs and another door in a small antechamber. Along with the sloping descent and the whoosh of released air from the main chamber, Jillian’s discovery reminded me of Howard Carter opening the tomb of King Tutankhamen in 1922.

*Ian is pretty genre-savvy. Tom, Jillian, and Jason showing up at his door in the middle of the night reminds him of  ” the start of a horror movie.”

*But he doesn’t know how to hold a cat correctly.

Or Fluffy may be running away for an entirely different reason

CZDD Ep1
FREE HUGGGGGGGGGGS!

*How interesting that Friendly New Neighbor Ian just happens to be an expert of Jungian psyschology.

“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends.”― Carl Gustav Jung

*Jillian’s therapist shares a name with the fictional “psychic detective” created by William Hope Hodgson.  Carnacki  wasn’t as determined to shoehorn arational explanation on every mystery, however.

*When we first see Pretzel Jack (Troy James), his face to the wall pose seems strikingly similar to the last image in The Blair Witch Project (1999).

*The slogan for Hodgson House and Home – “Your Complete Renovation and Landscaping Specialists”.

*Sarah Winters (Diana Bentley) should look familiar to faithful Channel Zero fans; she played Edie Peach in Butcher’s Block.

*In their argument before his Eye Scream demise, Jason refers to Bob Clark’s 1974 horror movie Black Christmas (“The calls are coming from inside the house!“), while Jillian’s “Don’t gaslight me!” harkens back to the 1944 Ingrid Bergman-Charles Boyer suspense classic Gaslight.

*The Sonic Youth  version of “Superstar” played over the closing credits is a far cry from the most famous cover version of the song; The Carpenters 1971 version reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

*Sadly, Todd Haynes’ 1987 short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, hasn’t been available to view or purchase legally since 1990. Which is a shame, since Time Out magazine named it the Greatest Music Film Ever.

 

 

Episode Two asks “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”

Until next time, Dream a Little Dream of Contortionist Clowns …

The first three seasons of Channel Zero are currently on the Shudder streaming service. Channel Zero: The Dream Door is currently available on demand and will join them on Shudder in 2019.

 

 

F&S Deep Dive – THE PURGE S1 Finale Reveals “A Nation Reborn”

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900Episode Ten “A Nation Reborn ”
Teleplay by Nick Snyder and Jeremy Robbins
Story by James DeMonaco
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 Ten – “A Nation Reborn”!

WARNING! Converging Plot Threads (and Spoilers) Ahead!  

*Miguel Guerrero (Gabriel Chavarra) and Pete the Cop (Dominic Fumusa) take out a couple of Rex’s goons before making their way to Thomas Paine High School. Inside the school, Penelope (Jessica Garza) manages to free herself and Paige (Kelly Murtaugh) while Joe the Sandwich Guy Who Turned Out to Be Quite a Jerk (Lee Tergesen) continues his seemingly endless show trial of (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell).

A year later, we meet up with the survivors.

The Purge - Season 1
Tonight on The Purge Presents “Show Trial Theater” …

Notes on “A Nation Reborn”

*Chekov’s Gun makes another appearance, in the form of an unsecured screw on the frame of the cage holding Joe’s captives. Penny later uses it to both free herself and Paige from the cage AND jab into Joe’s left eye socket.

*In ten episodes we’ve seen one character blinded in the right eye (Penny’s abusive hipster boyfriend Henry), and another blinded in their left eye (Joe the Sandwich Guy), each at the hands of one of the Guerro siblings.

*Thomas Paine High School must’ve just closed; the pool hasn’t been drained yet!

*According to Bobby Sheridan’s opening voiceover, The Purge is 12 hours or “43,000 seconds” of possibility.

*Sheridan also claims that the “risk (of participating in The Purge) gives way to unyielding reward”. This phraseology seems a bit off. Wouldn’t “unending reward” make more sense?

*After his extensive vocal presence this season, will Sheridan make an in-person appearance next season?

The Purge - Season 1
Everyone is remarkably proficient in firearms on this show.

*For all his extensive planning, Joe is undone by two things; a continued weakness for monologuing, and atrocious time management skills.

*Throughout the episode we’re reminded how much time remains until the end of The Purge. Besides being nice way to ratchet up the tension, we can keep track of how much time Joe is wasting.
*6:12 Joe orders Jenna and Rick “On stage, NOW!” then yammers on about The Purge providing everyone with “an equal opportunity, a level playing field.”
*6:25 Joe asks, “What does a signature mean, Rick?”, spends more time lecturing R&J on the elements of a contract, then lets Rick goad Joe into an extended riff on the theme of “Let me explain in excruciating detail my reasons for being pissed off.”
*6:42 Joe insists “I’m not going to waste a lot of time on this,” as he forces Jenna to aim a gun at her husband’s head. Joe now has 18 minutes to get through both the Betancourts and his other two hostages!
*6:45 Joe holds Penny at gunpoint, and for some reson gives her a chance to monologue about “Desperate people hurting each other every year because they’ve been manipulated into doing it.

The Purge - Season 1
Joe dressed for success, but forgot to read the fine print.

Here’s some information on contracts, signatures, and fine print that Joe glossed over during his blah-blah-blah bloviating.

*A signature on a contact is, well, pretty binding.

*If you read a contract but don’t understand all fancy language in a contract’s fine print, having an attorney review it for you is recommended. Or at least print out a checklist for yourself.

*Joe sure enjoys sadistically coercing confessions out of people. Too bad it’s pretty terrible way to NOT get the truth out of people subjected to it.

*”I didn’t understand what I was signing” isn’t a great thing to bring up after the fact.

*Joe’s petulant question to Penny “Where the hell were you born?” Thanks to the 14th Amendment, she’s just as American as Joe.

*Like the classic Warner Brothers cartoon starring Ralph Wolf and Sam the Sheepdog, Joe expects everyone to shake hands, go on with their lives, and meet up again next year.

The Purge - Season 1
Spoiler Alert – Joe, Miguel, Penelope (and Bartender Guy)survive!

*After all, “without rules, we’re animals.”

*Rick begs Jenna to take their daughter away and raise her “anywhere but here.” We see them living in France in the episode’s coda. But according to the news, the European Union will debate bringing The Purge to the EU. In the real world,  far-right, nationalist parties are currently gaining strength across Europe.

*The mortality rates for gunshot wounds to the stomach/abdominal wounds like Rick’s are – not good.

*If ALL crime – including murder – is legal during The Purge, why does the NFFA need  “Loyalty Squads” to prevent “Revolutionary Purge Night Terrorism”?

The Purge has been renewed for a second season. More official images, information, and other goodies can be found here.

Click the links for more of my deep dives into Bates Motel and The Exorcist. Channel Zero recaps and deep dives can be found here at F&S and SciFi4Me.com.

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

The Purge - Season 1
Since we don’t see Joe die, is he actually dead?

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.”

Maria Sten Opens THE DREAM DOOR on SYFY’s CHANNEL ZERO

Channel Zero

 

Channel Zero: The Dream Door
[All images courtesy SYFY]

Producer, Writer, Director, Actor – Maria Sten makes her mark in every aspect of the creative life; from producing, directing, and writing short films (Wild Things Run Free and When It Burns) to acting on the big (Straight Outta Compton) and small (DC’s upcoming Swamp Thing) screen. Tonight, Sten joins CZ veteran Brandon Scott (CZ: Butcher’s Block), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), and Steven Weber (Wings) on the fourth season of Channel Zero’s Creepypasta-inspired trippiness, The Dream Door.

Below are some non-spoilery questions and answers on Maria’s thoughts about her character Jillian Hope Hodgson, working on genre projects, and how Channel Zero approaches filming each season. (Along with my goof in referring to Jillian as Hope!)

How much did you know about your character’s history at the beginning of the process? Did Nick and the writers/showrunners clue you in early on?
I had read the first episode when I auditioned and then I read the rest after I got the job so I was all the way in the know from the beginning. We were blockshooting (shooting all episodes at once and out of sequence) so it was quite necessary to know all of the material before we started shooting.

Hope is very interesting in the way she keeps things to herself, even though she and Tom have known each other most of their lives. How did you approach Hope’s trust issues with her husband? I assume you mean Jillian? Jillian definitely has trust issues that stem from her childhood and she struggles with the feeling that any man she allows herself to love is gonna screw her over somehow. I think anyone who’s ever been cheated on can relate to what it feels like to have that deep trust betrayed by someone you love. Tom is different in that he’s supposed to be her only ally, but there’s this notion of a woman’s intuition that comes to play a lot throughout the show. Jillian’s line to her therapist “Just because you love somebody doesn’t mean you really know them” very much encapsulates this issue of trust/distrust.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door - Season 2.5
On the plus side, Tom and Jillian a LOT more square footage now.

After Channel Zero, is the DC series “Swamp Thing“. How are  the superhero & horror genres different – or the same – as non-genre work? It’s different in the way that it’s a higher form of suspended disbelief. It’s not just every day human problems, it’s the supernatural heightened version of them so you have to really make your imagination do a lot of the work, which can be both challenging and fun. And of course, working with puppets, visual effects and special effects always spices things up a bit as well.

 What did you think about having the same director for the entire series? Did it help shape your character’s journey? Channel Zero – and this season in particular – is really an extended movie, and I think maybe that’s why the producers choose to shoot it accordingly (blockshooting). So I don’t think it would have been logistically possible to do with more than one director, but furthermore, I think it’s also helpful because not only do you develop a shorthand in the collaboration, but that director has been with you from the inception so can very much speak to the arc and growth of the character as much as the actor can.

Channel Zero: The Dream Door begins tonight (Oct. 26) on SYFY as part of their 10th annual “31 Days of Halloween”.

Maria Sten’s official website can be found here.

And SYFY.com has much more on Channel Zero: The Dream Door and the 31 Days of Halloween.

F&S Deep Dive “The Giving Time Is Here” on THE PURGE & It Isn’t Pretty

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900Episode Eight “The Giving Time Is Here ”
Written by Thomas Kelly
Directed by Michael Nankin

[All  images courtesy Patti Perret/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 Eight – “The Giving Time Is Here”!

The Purge - Season 1
“We’re in a relatively safe place. Let’s leave and rescue some cult members!”

WARNING! Converging Plot Threads (and Spoilers) Ahead!  

*Miguel (Gabriel Chavarra) & Penelope Guerrero (Jessica Garza) reach Pete the Cop’s hangout. Pete (Dominic Fumusa) gives Penny a quick history lesson cribbed from The Purge: Anarchy (2014). She learns that not only did Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif) get her funding from the NFFA, she specifically targeted members for her cult from those the government thought of as “disposable”.

Miguel saves Pete from a disgruntled criminal’s brother, while Penny summons the Blue Bus of Death to confront Tavis over her lies.

*Jenna (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell) At Chez Betancourt, Rick and Lila attempts to make nice for Jenna’s sake don’t last past a meal of grilled cheese sandwiches. Lila reaffirms the offer her father made to invest in the Betancourt’s company. Rick demurs; it’s not just his decision to make and  he’ll have to talk it over with Jenna. 

Jenna overhears this discussion and asks to speak to Lila alone. She explains to Lila that whatever existed between them, professionally or personally, “we’re through”. Undone by Jenna’s decision, Lila attempts to murder Rick, only to be stabbed to death by Jenna.

Oh, and their dead neighbor’s wife (Amy Parrish) is murdered on their doorstep after Lila informs her that Ross is dead and totally deserved it.

The Purge - Season 1
What kind of Hallmark card to get for someone’s First Purge?

*At the end of this episode, we come to the Converging of the Plot Threads, courtesy Joe the Sandwich Guy Who Turns Out to Be Quite a Jerk (Lee Tergesen). Penny greets the Blue Bus of Death, confronting Tavis and begging the remaining cultists to leave. Just as the bus driver grabs Penny, Joe shoots him and Tavis. He grabs Penny and forces her into the back of his van. Miguel sees the van speed off.

Rick and Jenna are jarred from their shock over Lila’s death by their security system deactivating. We see them dragged out the front door in chains, moths gagged with duct tape. As they’re tossed into Joe’s van, we see – Surprise! Jane Barbour (Amanda Warren), Penny, Joe’s old boss Eileen (Allison King), Lifesaver Guy (Garrett Kruithof)and another woman. Like Rick and Jenna, they are chained, with duct tape across their mouths.

Notes on “The Giving Time Is Here”

*Joe the Sandwich Guy – it’s not that I’m mad, I’m just very disappointed … ok, I am really mad at your departure from “rescuing the helpless” to “imprisoning people in your van” this week.

*Joe remarks “It’s a little personal tonight.” How? Joe blames Eileen for the closure of the Saticoy Supply Co. factory. What’s his connection to the others held prisoner in his van? Where is he taking them?

The Purge - Season 1
“Have you seen any of The Purge movies? Okay, here’s the story …”

*Checkov’s Fraternity Paddle comes into play this week as the blunt instrument Lila bludgeons Rick with, after weeks of hanging on the wall. As Russian playwright Anton Chekhov noted,”If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.”

*But the fraternity on the paddle, Psi Theta Gamma, doesn’t actually exist (that I could find) as a recognized fraternity.

*The voice or voices Lila heard after her conversation with Jenna could’ve been more distinct; it was difficult for me to understand what they were saying to her. Seeing the spirit of Albert Stanton (Reed Diamond) counseling his daughter would’ve tied the moment more closely to Lila’s flashback.

The Purge - Season 1
A Very Purge twist on The Big Day for Daddy’s Little Girl.

*Lila offers Rick 5, then 10, and finally 20 million dollars to leave Jenna.

*Lila’s initiation ceremony takes place just before her 18th birthday

*She is offered a choice between a curved dagger and a gun (and what looks like a crystal salt shaker).

*Lila’s ceremony looks like it’s about to begin way before 7 pm. Since the actual ceremony is in a windowless room, it’s possible it didn’t actually start until after commencement of The Purge.

*LOVED how the beginning of Lila’s flashback called back to Shirley Jackson’s story The Lottery; using the language and symbolism of a wedding (something borrowed, wearing a white dress, references to “cold feet” and a “big day”) to misdirect the viewer before the big reveal.

The Purge - Season 1
Pete’s Cantina has a Class A liquor license, but also serves coffee!

*Lila’s ceremony shares two classic tropes with The Lottery – Regularly Scheduled Evil and a Tomato Surprise.

*Ross’s wife Carol might’ve survived if Rick and Jenna had NOT made the mistake of “trying to warn somebody to look behind them but you’re all screaming at each other so they don’t understand what you’re saying”.

*The furry bunny gang from Episode One shows up at Pete’s Cantina.

*There’s a bit of meta discussion between Penny and Pete regarding why people commit crime and if the crime rate is actually as low as claimed. As Pete knows (and Penny will soon learn), the actual reason of the Purge has nothing to do with controlling crime.

*Counsellors helped re-enforce the NFFA “party line” about The Purge after the deaths of Penny & Miguel’s parents.

The Purge - Season 1
The Patrick Bateman/American Psycho cosplayer behind Pete? Nice touch, Show!

*I’m surprised that more people don’t try to circumvent the metal detectors used on Purge Night with 3D printed guns.

*If you want a class A liquor license like Pete, here’s a primer (though it’s links aren’t current).

*Pete accuses the NFFA of playing “the long con”, using The Purge to consolidate power. The role of winning a person’s trust to lure them into committing a crime also reminded me of sting operations in movies like American Hustle.

*TPS reports, made famous in Office Space (1999) are a real thing. But why is Pete hanging on to reports from 2016 & 2017?

The Purge - Season 1
Too bad Lila got killed off just as she became an interesting, multidimensional character!

Next Week:  Episode Nine “They Will Participate” Who is participating, and how unwillingly are they doing so?

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, and Channel Zero, check here at F&S and at SciFi4Me.com.

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

F&S Deep Dive Into “Lovely Dark & Deep” Territory On THE PURGE

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900Episode Six “Lovely Dark and Deep”
Written by Nick Betancourt & Krystal Houghton Ziv
Directed by Nicole Weyr

[All  images courtesy Patti Perret/USA Network]

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

Now, on to the All American Carnage of The Purge, Episode Seven – “Lovely Dark and Deep”!

WARNING! Converging Plot Threads (and Spoilers) Ahead!  

*Jenna (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell) Rick and Jenna bicker over raising the Sandin Security gate to save Lila (Lili Simmons). Neither of them sees a figure sneaking into the house before the gate shuts. The Rick-Jenna-Lila triangle continues inside Chez Betancourt, with Jenna expending all of her concern on Lila; from gently cleaning Lila’s wounds, to offering to let her stay as long as she needs, before giving Lila a goodnight kiss on the forehead. 

Lila repays the hospitality later in the evening when she brutally stabs the gun wielding home invader. The now deceased intruder? None other than the Betancourt’s passive-aggressive neighbor Ross (Joe Chrest). Turns out he’d had enough of Jenna and Rick chopping down his maple tree, parking in front of his house, AND (horrors) not inviting Ross and his wife over for dinner.

The Purge - Season 1
Lots of Jenna/Lila/Rick angst this episode.

*Miguel (Gabriel Chavarra) & Penelope Guerrero (Jessica Garza) are the only characters who spend any time in the woods, which may be “dark and deep” but are not at all “lovely”. They spend their time fleeing from  Bygones, stealthily running  past some Fight Club wannabes, and bickering about the past before escaping from a Purge Night snare trap.

*Jane Barbour (Amanda Warren), tied up as an unwilling exhibit in the Most Sexist Party Room Ever, endures verbal, emotional and sexual harassment from David Ryker (William Baldwin) in the present.

Her past, in the form of flashbacks of her childhood, provide no respite. Lorraine Barbour (Deneen Tyler) loves her daughter and works tirelessly to provide for their family of two. But where Jane sees brains and hard work as the pathways to success, Lorraine believes her daughter must “play the game” and use her looks. Attractiveness is an asset Jane must use to “play their game” and win.   That’s why Jane asked a  nurse (several episodes back) to relay the message “I forgive you” to her hospitalized mother. As part of that game, Jane’s mother corralled her daughter  into a humiliating (if successful) run on the teenage beauty pageant circuit for the scholarship money.

The Purge - Season 1
Kudos to The Purge for NOT making Jane’s mother a one-dimensional “bad mom”.

Back in the present, David doesn’t get to enjoy his lecherous activities for too long. The Joe the Sandwich Guy (Lee Tergesen) story joins Jane’s. He cuts the power, then bursts into the party room, shotgun blazing. He cuts the ropes binding Jane’s wrists and buys time for Jane to free the other imprisoned women. Surprisingly enough, Anya (Alyshia Ochse) follows Jane’s prompt to assist her. After they are all unbound, Jane shoots David in the head.

Earlier, Jane persuaded Anya to take her Matron Saints contact card. As Joe’s van drives away from the scene, the Matron Saints van pulls up to David Ryker’s house.

Notes on “Rise Up”

*Is Lila lying? She seems genuinely shell-shocked, but …

*I hope this is heading for a twist, because the Lila/Jenna/Rick triangle is the least compelling storyline on this show.

*All of Jenna’s concern and worry are directed towards Lila and her unborn baby. At this point I wouldn’t blame Rick if he separates from Jenna, works out a custody arrangement regarding their baby, and leaves Jenna and Lila to their own devices.

The Purge - Season 1
Jane’s vision of her life is very different from her mother’s plans.

*There is a whole area of legal practice devoted to “Neighbor Law

*Did Ross know there are entire books to deal with issues like neighbors cutting down a tree on the property line, or finding out if you can do anything about people parking in front of your house on a public street.

*Turns out Fight Clubs actually exist outside of movies and television.

*Snare traps aren’t usually set up for humans.

*Hmm. I didn’t see anyone eating pancakes at Pete the Cop’s hideout, but I bet that’s where Miguel and Penny end up.

*Ziplines can put you at risk for anything from broken bones caused by falls to flesh eating bacteria, but not being burned alive.

*Robert Frost’s 1922 poem,”Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening” is the source of this episode’s title.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

*Jane’s family hails from the island of Barbados.

*Her high school, named after the third President Thomas Jefferson, is one of many, many schools named after the oft-controversial Founding Father.

*”If this is about scholarships, why am I wearing a bikini?” Ironic that America under the NFFA features pageants with the swimsuit competition that both the Miss Teen USA and Miss America pageants eliminated in real life.

The Purge - Season 1
Penny and Miguel pause for an argument in the woods.

*I loved the  contrast between Jane’s academic accomplishments (Captain of the Math team, VP of Student Counsel, Excelling  in science and calculus) read over the PA, and her refusal to smile on the runway.

*Did Lorraine Barbour have a part in Jane forgoing a science or math centered career path for a more lucrative job in finance?

*A plaque on the wall of Jane’s home reads “I can do things through Christ who strengthens me”. This quotes Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 13.

*David Ryker was the Worst Boss Ever, but he knew his Renaissance artists (comparing the terror in Jane’s eyes to the work of Caravaggio).

Next Week:  Episode Eight “Giving Time Is Here” (which makes me think of the Peanuts Christmas song “Christmas Time Is Here“).

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, and Channel Zero, check here at F&S and at SciFi4Me.com.

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