USA’s The Purge
Episode 8: “Giving Time Is Here”
Directed by Michael Nankin
Written by Thomas Kelly
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Lovely Dark and Deep” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “I Will Participate” – click here
Miguel (Gabriel Chavarria) and his sister Penelope (Jessica Garza) head back to Pete the Cop’s (Dominic Fumusa) place for shelter to try and survive the remainder of Purge Night. Pete isn’t totally surprised to see the Marine back, glad to find him alive.
At the Betancourt house, Rick (Colin Woodell), Jenna (Hannah Emily Anderson), and Lila (Lili Simmons) are riding out an awkward rest of the evening together. Rick’s trying to play nice with Lila, even if it’s not easy. Jenna’s having trouble with how the Purge has infiltrated her life and home, from kissing ass to Albert (Reed Diamond) so they might use millions of New Founding Fathers of America money to build affordable housing, to having to kill their neighbour.
We’re also privy to some of Lila’s backstory. She was seemingly getting married and having “cold feet.” The family were pressuring her. Both Albert and Ellie (Andrea Frankle) weren’t concerned with her happiness, they were only concerned with what she could do for them in the social stratosphere.
Penelope’s getting an entirely new perspective on life. Pete talks about his brother, whose head got sliced “clean off” for no reason on Purge Night. Penelope tells him about being “O.M.F.” – an Original Martyr Family – and how a counsellor said her parents’ sacrifice was meant to help others, only making it easier later when Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif) took her into the cult and brainwashed her further, to a worse extent. For his part, Pete doesn’t necessarily believe in the Purge, he’s just doing what he has to do. He realises the supposed lower crime rate, even if it’s true, doesn’t matter, given the sacrifices regular people make on that night every year.
Lila expresses a desire to give Rick and Jenna the deal her father promised. He’s not sure they should be part of that bourgeois life. They’re interrupted by Jenna, explaining to Lila she “can‘t live in chaos.” Jenna wants to end things. This doesn’t sit well with Ms. Stanton, who accuses Rick of being a manipulator when she’s doing as much manipulating herself. Not long later, wifey finds hubby’s jacket with one of the ceremonial daggers stuffed inside.
At Pete’s Cantina, Joe (Lee Tergesen) is kicking back for a coffee. Simultaneously, a guy’s accosting Penelope about her being one of those “cult kids.” Pete steps in to quiet things, offering her a change of clothes so nobody gives her shit anymore. He doesn’t like the cult. Penelope tells him how things went bad and why she found solace in Tavis for a time. The cop reveals the N.F.F.A are “funding her” and the cult, they approve of the members themselves— all one big vicious circle. That’s why Tavis is “off limits” on Purge Night. The blue bus ride is “cheaper than socialised medicine.” Another way for America to Purge its own citizens. This only makes Penelope want to find her friends in the cult and get them away from Tavis.
At the house, Rick hears a noise. He goes downstairs to check things out. The neighbour’s wife wants to know where her husband is, and Lila plainly says he’s dead. Meanwhile, the woman gets taken out by someone looking to Purge, beating her to death right on the doorstep outside. There’s something not quite right about Ms. Stanton. She now starts offering to buy Rick off so she can have Jenna to herself. He refuses to be bought.
What we saw previously in Lila’s past was not a wedding. It was her initiation into the bourgeois, the N.F.F.A. She’s always been one of them. This was when she began a “lifetime of glorious participation” in the Purge. She was presented with an older man, whom she was meant to kill. She was given a choice of knife or gun. She chose the gun, then shot the man to death. And she loved it!
“Choose your path”
Joe tells Miguel this night’s become “personal.” The Marine’s looking to keep his sister safe the rest of the night. They talk further about tomorrow and what comes after Purge Night. Father Gore’s curious: where’s Jane (Amanda Warren)? In the bathroom, the guy who accosted Penelope earlier is putting together a 3D-printed gun and he’s looking to use it on the owner of the club. Miguel takes the guy down. While this is going on, Penelope makes a call looking for Tavis— a call Joe keeps his eye on. The girl slips out without her brother or the cop noticing, and she’s in the streets again. Hopefully our masked protector Joe will follow.
Lila attacks Rick, beating him with a cricket bat. She tells Jenna her husband attacked her. Lila claims she was responsible for their baby. She’s delusional, believing her and Jenna belong together. Before Lila can shoot Rick, she gets stabbed in the side by her former lover, who’s still holding the blade her husband pocketed at the party. Fitting end: a Stanton is put to death on Purge Night with a ceremonial blade, like a figurative strike back against the upper class.
Penelope finds the blue bus in the street, calling Tavis out in front of the cult. She tells her friends about the funding from the N.F.F.A, and the Good Leader doesn’t deny anything, spinning it with all her right-wing might. Thankfully, Joe is close by, and he’s able to get Penelope out of there. Except there’s something suspicious about Joe all of a sudden. Where’s he taking the Marine’s sister? Where has he taken Jane? The Purge Night protector we assumed Joe to be might not be the truth.
In their home, Rick and Jenna hear the security system disable out of nowhere. Their gate rises. Outside is Joe’s vehicle. In the back are Penelope, Jane, and several other people. WHO THE FUCK IS JOE? He’s got the Betancourts now, too. Holy shit. This changes everything.
What a blast! This episode really threw a wrench into things, in the best kind of way. Never once did Father Gore believe Joe’s intentions were bad. We’ll see what happens in “I Will Participate” next time. Is Joe rounding people up for the Carnival of Flesh? Seems doubtful. Must be something else.