USA’s The Purge
Episode 10: “A Nation Reborn”
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Written by Nick Snyder & Jeremy Robbins
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “I Will Participate” – click here
We see Joe (Lee Tergesen) as he was making the abandoned school into his own personal Purge courtroom and playground, preparing to release the beast upon those he believed wronged him. He rigged the place with explosives, shotguns booby-trapped to the doors, and built the cage in which he’d keep his prey. Although we see he accidentally left one screw not quite tightened.
There’s barely an hour left to Purge Night. Rick (Colin Woodell), Jenna (Hannah Anderson), Paige (Kelly Murtagh), and Penelope (Jessica Garza) are the last remaining captives to face the court. Next up are the Betancourts, so Rick and Jenna take their place in front of Judge Joe.
In the street, Pete (Dominic Fumusa) and Miguel (Gabriel Chavarria) are facing Rex and his collector buddies, now without their car. The cop suggests they “go on offence,” or else they risk taking more bad dudes to the school with them. This gives the two Marines a chance to use the skills they learned from the U.S. government’s military to stay alive during a night made possible by the policies of that same government. Brutal ironies abound in The Purge franchise.
We see Joe’s past with Rick, when they met together at a bar. They talked about Saticoy a little. They met about “Purge security“— Rick was putting in a Sandin system for the new, hopeful development the Betancourts were planning, likely part of the deal with Stanton. Nothing was final, but the two men were looking forward to a potential business relationship. Obviously this went sour somewhere along the line. Joe believes he got fucked over. Rick says he was being extorted after paying Joe for “sub–par” work that didn’t pass inspection. Joe makes it out as a working class v. petite bourgeoisie struggle. The married couple are pitted against one another once Jenna starts believing maybe her husband didn’t do the right thing, either.
Pete and Miguel get to the school. Problem is they’re followed by Rex and the others, meaning a bit of a shootout before the Marines can bother trying to unrig the traps on the building. After the guns smoke, the cop says he has a “stupid idea,” so long as his buddy can get one of those bombs of a door. Meanwhile, Penelope’s in the cage finding that loose screw, casually trying to loosen it further while keeping an eye on her captor.
What will happen to the Betancourts? Seems Jenna feels they deserve what they get because of trying to get in bed with the devil for capital gain. Rick then admits he “cut costs” and used a loophole to screw Joe over when they needed an influx of cash. He sees it as a part of the process— a capitalist circle of life in the modern urban world. He apologises to his wife, as Joe prepares to execute them. Except the judge turns the tables, offering to let Jenna and her unborn child live if she’ll Purge her husband. Rick urges his wife to do it and save herself. When she finally brings herself to pull the trigger there’s no round in the chamber. Joe won’t kill her, though. He’s got bigger issues, anyway. Penelope is loose, and she uses Paige as a fake hostage, which will leave her kidnapper without one of his vengeance kills.
Outside, Pete draws Rex and his pals into a trap. He lures them close, to where Miguel’s setup one of the explosives on a tripwire. BOOM, BABY! The dudes aren’t dead, they’re just down for a few. Inside, Joe’s distracted long enough for Penelope to stab him in the eye, then the captives escape as he fires off blind shots at them.
“Hey, next year? Should probably just get on a cruise and go to Tahiti.”
The Purge has less than 15 minutes left. Pete and Miguel get inside the school, and Joe’s walking around with one eye, stalking Penelope and his other prey. Rick and Jenna run into the two Marines, letting the brother know his sister’s alive, so the group decide to go on together. But one of the collectors fires on them from the dark, putting a bullet in Pete’s leg, and a couple in Rick, one in the gut and another in the shoulder. It isn’t long before Jenna watches her husband die in front of her.
Paige gets blown near to bits, leaving Penelope on her own in the school’s halls with her brother and Joe both searching for her. The one-eyed psychopath finds her first, determined to finish their trial. Penelope and Joe have an antagonistic chat about America “circling the drain”— basically because he’s a racist piece of shit. This guy epitomises all the most extreme people in America, who actually exist right now, they’re just not able to Purge. He shows the “My America” attitude of angry white men who think people of colour are the problem, a shining example of the right-wing’s worst. There’s nothing wrong with being a Conservative. When your conservatism becomes hatred, misogyny, and racism, it’s time to rethink your ideology.
Before Joe can kill Penelope, he’s shot by Miguel. That doesn’t put an end to him. He comes back fighting, kicking the shit out of the two siblings. They’re interrupted by the end of the Purge, as the air horns sing, signalling a return to (semi-)justice. Joe becomes a law abiding citizen again, immediately following the law. He’ll be back next year. That is, unless Miguel murders him. He shoots Joe, pushing him into the pool. Might not actually be dead— this is a horror-based show after all, and if we don’t see a character die, it means there’s always a chance of resurrection.
“There’s always next year”
Skip to an hour before the next Purge. The New Founding Fathers are preparing for “revolutionary Purge Night terrorism” combating their policy. In France, Jenna and her new baby are vacationing far from American soil. At Pete’s Cantina, the cop gets a visit from Penelope and Miguel, who have a plan for their evening. The brother-sister duo are heading out as medics for people on Purge Night, trying to give back on a night that took so much from them on that first night years ago, when their parents were murdered as an Original Marty Family.
This was only meant as a 10-episode limited series. Father Gore would LOVE to see a Season 2 after all this, because this was much better than expected. There are story lines that could continue, as well as more backstory about characters + the Purge itself that’d be able to come out in another 10-episode run. This was a wild ride, and the writing turned out compelling, real life commentary that’s perfectly at home in the year 2018 throughout America.
And guess what? The series is renewed already!