Another year, another Purge Night – on TV, at least. USA just released a teaser trailer for the second season of The Purge. Take a look.
This fall, “what happens on Purge Night doesn’t stay on Purge Night“. Like last year’s highly rated “television event”, Season Two follows a select group of characters through the night. According to USA this season “dives deeper than ever before in to what the Purge world looks like the other 364 days of the year.”
It’ll be interesting if Season Two both follows and reinterprets last season’s format. Season One flashed back to the choices made by characters leading up to Purge Night. I’d love to see this season mix it up a bit, mixing Purge Night events with flashforwards, showing this season’s characters dealing with the consequences in the following days, months after the Purge.
We have no specific premiere date beyond “this fall”, but official images, information, and other goodies can be found at the official Purge USA site, as well as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Season Two’s cast includes Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why, Antoine Fisher), Max Martini (Saving Private Ryan, NCIS: Los Angeles), Paola Nuñez ( La Reina del Sur, The Son ), and Joel Allen (Never Goin’ Back).
*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.
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 tounyielding 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?
*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.”
Here’s some information on contracts, signatures, and fine print that Joe glossed over during his blah-blah-blah bloviating.
*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”?
*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.
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.
–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 Sheridanis 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 aerosol tracking spray Joe used to stalk and capture his victims isn’t as implausible as I initially thought.
*If Lars Von Trier ever decided to direct a “black box” Dogville 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.
*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.
*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?
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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?
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.
*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.
*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.
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.
*There is a whole area of legal practice devoted to “Neighbor Law”
*”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.
*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.