USA’s The Purge
Season 2, Episode 8: “Before the Sirens”
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Written by James Roland & Lindsey Villarreal
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hail Mary” – click here
A couple young ladies are getting geared up in preparation for the next Purge Night. Dad is surprised to find his daughter dressed in leather and wielding a couple maces on a chain. Great cold opens this seasons! Gives us a glimpse into many different facets of the Purge and the culture that’s emerged around it.
There are only 12 hours left until the Purge.
Ryan, Esme, and the gang are gearing up for their big day. He’s focused on the job, but he can’t keep his mind off Esme’s safety. They’re going to leave “this country forever” after this is all over. The gang of thieves do their usual ritual, dropping a knife between each other’s fingers in a game of trust. Esme does it this time for Ryan, and she does the same for her, too.
Elsewhere, the God mask has been selling hot this year and people are out in droves wearing it. At the NFFA Surveillance Centre, Vivian continues to pretend for her boss that she’s doing her job, keeping an eye out for Esme. In their sketchy neighbourhood, Marcus and Darren are having a frank chat about their relationship. Dad apologises for not being there to help his son more while dealing with his own Purge bullshit. He promises to look after Darren, no matter what happens on Purge Night.
At the frat house, Turner’s trying to make sure the place is barricaded and properly ready for the coming violence ahead. Everyone’s concerned about. Mostly they’re worried about being stuck inside with him all night. After he lost Kelen it’s all been downhill clearly. He’s upstairs shaving his head, getting revved up to release the beast. (Soundtrack: “Self-Immolate” by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.) He’s got a crossbow to take out into the streets with him, too. Turner really tries to convince him to stay in during Purge Night. Doubtful it’ll work. He goes snooping around later in Ben’s things, finding a disturbing sketchbook full if weird drawings, including one of Andy’s dead, bloody body in the elevator.
Out on the road, Marcus figures the best way to keep his son safe is put him in the hospital during the Purge. So he breaks Darren’s arm with a wrench. Bit of a chaotic plan, though it’s a desperate father doing everything he can, even last resort stuff, to keep his son safe. His ex-wife approves, in spite of the violence. At the hideout, Ryan shows his former boss the big plan for their heist, filling everyone in on how things will go. Will Andrea’s involvement jeopardise Esme? Can’t trust her.
3 hours left until Purge Night.
Esme gets in contact with Vivian, calling her to meet at the hideout. She needs “another favour.” She has Vivian working from the inside, as much as she can, and now she wants her friend to put out a “false hit” and ping her location where it’s needed as a distraction. And there’s more to Esme’s plan, something she hasn’t fully divulged to Ryan.
At home, Marcus and Michelle decide to “clear the air” in case it’s their final meal, should Purge Night prove to be lethal for him. They do some lighthearted joking about moms and teeth. There are more pressing truths, though, and Michelle wants to confront the ways they’ve “hurt each other.” She wants to re-devote herself to him, and he feels the same, each hoping to treat each other better after all they’ve been through over the past year.
Turner confronts Ben about his drawings, in front of the other brothers. He doesn’t want his friend to go out and Purge. Ben gets aggressive with him, nearly breaking the guy’s arm, and he all but admits to murdering Andy. This begins a violent confrontation. Turner gets his hands on the crossbow and tries to force Ben out the door. He can’t bring himself to hurt Ben, but he gets the guy to leave at least.
Gonna be a long night.
And only one hour remains. They probably should’ve checked to see if Ben actually boarded up his window properly like he said he’d do. Because now, the maniac is still inside the frat house, and it’s becoming a slasher-like situation for these dummies, as Ben starts to hunt them one by one.
Esme says goodbye to Ryan and the crew, heading off on her own mission. At their place, Marcus and Michelle are putting on their bulletproof vests making sure their weapons are fully loaded. At their door they find Tonya and Andre, who’ve come to help. “Families gotta stick together,” Tonya tells them. One thing Father Gore’s always loved about The Purge as a franchise is that it has slowly become one that focused heavily on POC stories, especially in The First Purge. In this season with Marcus we’ve seen a great story of black solidarity, further stressed by Tonya and Andre showing up here.
At the frat house, Turner wakes up tied with one of his frat boy buddies. Ben has more frat dudes at the end of his crossbow, forcing them to drink and play beer pong. The Purge’s siren is a minute away from going off. The Moores are ready for the night to start, as are the NFFA, honing their surveillance eyes everywhere to find their important fugitive. Marcus quickly finds the neighbourhood on his doorstep, ready to take action themselves. He, Michelle, Tanya, and Andre get ready for an onslaught.
Andrea’s worried about whatever Ryan’s doing, when he starts pulling an audible on the heist. He sets off the jammer early, and he manages to take out the guy watching over him without crashing the vehicle he’s driving. Turns out, Ryan was looking into the Jackals to use them as a double cross against his corrupt former boss. Slick move.
One frat boy tries attacking Ben and they fight. Turner grabs a knife and gets himself free, but their other buddy gets his throat cut. This sets Ben off chasing his pal, wearing that bloody, terrifying God mask. Turner almost makes it out of the window upstairs. He isn’t fast enough. Ben climbs on top of him, holding a knife to his throat. He has something else in mind other than a blade.
Ryan meets up with the crew later. They run into a bunch of skateboarders on the street ready to Purge. Easy fix when it’s a bunch of baseball bats and machetes versus assault rifles, though. Next step of the crew’s mission? Get Tommy out of lockup. He’s being transported by bus to where he’ll be executed, affording his friends a proper opportunity.
Really great episode! This season has been firing on all cylinders.
What’s going to happen from here?
“Hail Mary” is next.