This The Purge review contains spoilers.
The Purge Season 2 Episode 10
Near the end of “7:01 AM,” Marcus dumps an unconscious Ben onto the sidewalk outside of the medical clinic with the comment, “Let the Purge take care of him.” The Purge is the solution to Marcus’s problem; he brought a maniac into a hospital, and said maniac killed a lot of people before Marcus caught him and stopped him with a mystery syringe.
The Purge is the solution to the problem Ryan and his group have of being disgraced cops who need jobs; you do a few robberies on Purge night and you don’t have to work for the other 11 months of the year. The NFFA also uses The Purge as a solution to the problems of the legal system; hold onto all the prisoners for a year, then let them go on Purge Night to be hunted down and killed in exchange for huge fees from interested hunters.
The Purge is the solution to pretty much every societal problem in this universe. Gun and ammunition sales are high throughout the year. Home security is a must, as are things like Purge-resistant automobiles with run-flat tires and bulletproof glass. Unemployment drops after every Purge, because thousands of jobs become open due to death and dismemberment. The construction industry is booming thanks to all the destruction of property. Homelessness definitely isn’t a thing. Any problematic elements for the government are merely a Purge-night hit squad away from being eliminated from the equation.
And, if you believe the story of Esme, the NFFA don’t always wait for Purge night to solve their problems.
That’s the crux of her plan to destabilize the NFFA regime. There’s one night a year in which they can do anything, and yet they still need to kill people outside of the Purge all the same. The NFFA isn’t playing by their own rules, and by exposing that, Esme hopes to destabilize the regime, at least in New Orleans. A wall is simply a pile of bricks stacked up, and all it takes is removing one brick to destabilize the whole mess. Get the word out to an entire city in a way that can’t be brushed off or ignored, and really start a push for grassroots change that the anti-Purge foundation and people like Darren can pick up and run with.
Change, in any monolithic system, comes from the bottom influencing the top. It will be things like Marcus jumping in to help a Purge trauma center, not Ben stabbing a bunch of medical professionals who are just trying to help due to some misguided sense of accomplishment. Ben’s brief moment with Marcus is illuminating; Ben says that Marcus and people like him are denying people’s right to a good Purging by keeping folks alive. That’s a philosophical divide that will be difficult to bridge, even with the changes to the legal system that are shown later on in Purge movies, and some will always be irredeemable.
One of the better touches of the script, from Krystal Houghton Ziv and Nick Zigler, is that there’s no magical solution to the problem. Esme gets into the broadcasting room, makes her impassioned speech, gets executed on live radio after the end of the sirens, and, the next year, people are still preparing for another yearly Purge. A person getting shot by the government, unsurprisingly, isn’t a huge deal for the average person, and it’s certainly not enough to derail the train on which the NFFA’s economy rides. How things end for Ryan and Esme isn’t all that unexpected; it’s telegraphed, but it’s also honest.
Had Ryan’s friends showed up and saved their friends from a locked-down government facility that would have been a step or two too far. The ending made much more sense, and was executed well, without a ton of maudlin stuff from either party during the final moments of life. They simply share a look before Ryan’s body armor finally fails and he’s killed.
It’s handled well by Max Martini and Paola Nunez, and a nice capper for a solid string of action sequences. The whole break-in of the building by Ryan is an action flick in miniature, and Tim Andrew plays that up along with the more graphic elements of Ben’s slaughter through the already bloody hospital. The car shoot-out with Ryan and company isolating and robbing the hyena was also brilliantly done; Andrew has a solid background in action horror and makes the most of that skill in these scenes, not forgetting that The Purge is both an action franchise and a suspense/horror franchise simultaneously.
It’s a solid conclusion that wraps everything up in a satisfactory fashion, without it being some sort of impressive victory for the forces of good against the evil NFFA. The world is mostly still the same, mostly, but a few more people are galvanized to do something to stop the horror of the yearly Purge that used to just sit on the sidelines. Ben’s still out there getting ready, but now Marcus, Michelle, and Vivian have joined the cause, along with folks like Ryan’s team, who might not be there on the front lines but provide the most important support of all to the cause: financial.
The Purge season 2 was something of a risk. After all, it got away from the thing everyone likes to see and dug deeper into the greater NFFA universe. Another season one would have been fine with me, but what was given to the viewing audience was something a little bit deeper, proving that the Purge Universe still has legs, and still has angles yet to explore in a third season. And if ratings weren’t high enough to support a third go-around, two seasons of good television is nothing to sneeze at. The Purge offers pretty cheap thrills, and it’s not as smart as it thinks it is, but it’s certainly been fun to watch.