One of my favourite things about doing this job is being proven wrong time and again. I was ready to write off The Purge after its first season and couldn’t possibly see how a series set after the events of the annual Purge event would work. After the ensuing chaos last episode, The Purge continues to prove me wrong and deliver impressive drama as our characters deal with the consequences of what happened the previous night. With four interesting stories slowly developing and plenty of questions hanging over this one, this second season is, so far at least, a massive improvement over the first.
After Purge night, we begin with a clean-up crew arriving and nonchalantly fixing up a house, carting body bags outside. As hostilities grow in the street, Ryan walks down an alleyway past a gang of people; the bag of money slung over his shoulder. We’re beginning this second episode during the morning after the annual Purge and Marcus continues to worry about the man pursuing him. As he heads out to work, Esme also returns to the office frazzled and distracted. It turns out last night’s Purge was the largest in history and nowhere else is this more apparent than in the hospital which is full to bursting with cases. This happens to be where Marcus works too.
Ben returns home and tells his girlfriend he got jumped as Turner watches him with a concerned look. After all, he left Ben alone with the enraged psychopath last episode and he hasn’t forgotten. While he has a shower and wipes the blood from his body, Ryan heads home too and reveals to his Mum about Tommy’s foolish decision. It turns out she has dementia and barely recognizes her son.
Meanwhile, Marcus finds the man with a scarred hand in the hospital and decides to take him in as a patient. Unfortunately, he passes away but not before he offers up a few fractured words as he dies. News of this gets out to the other nurses too who ask Marcus about this and the planned hit on him. He shrugs it off, telling them he’s okay and still able to work.
Ryan and the others catch up with Tommy but unfortunately the police get there first and beat him down and arrest him. It’s hard to watch but enough for the group to remain in the clear from the police. A day later, our quartet of characters struggle to adjust back to normal life. Esme pursues the killers, heading into the apartment building and following the noises to try and suss out exactly what happened. However, partway through looking two men arrive and startle her, prompting her to make a quick getaway.
Ben tries to shake his murderous intents through playing The Purge game but it seems to have an adverse effect. Instead, he heads to the exact place he killed the man, with a blood-soaked puddle lying dormant on the floor, and snatches up the Purge mask, still spattered in blood. Marcus struggles piecing together why he was targeted while Esme learns there’s more to her story than originally meets the eye. As the episode closes out, we’re left with plenty of psychological issues for our characters to grapple with.
I said during my last episode recap that I hoped The Purge would double down and explore the psyche of these characters and this week that’s absolutely the case. The different characters are interesting and their back-stories slowly revealed in a realistic manner too. Each of these people have a reason to pursue the truth and although Ben continues to be the wild-card here, the other three characters are just as interesting.
The world-building is fascinating too and seeing the world attempting to return to normality is really well constructed here. Whether it be the sweeping aerial shots of the smoldering city or the bodies lining the streets, the aftermath of The Purge is, so far, almost as interesting as the night and concept itself. I hope this can continue through to the end of the series as The Purge is, so far, doing a fine job expanding the universe and doing so in a compelling and well-written manner.