This Is Not a Test – | Review Score – 4/5
Everything Is Fine – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Blindspots – | Review Score – 3/5
Grief Box – | Review Score – 4/5
House of Mirrors – | Review Score – 4/5
Happy Holidays – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Should I Stay or Should I Go – | Review Score – 3/5
Before the Sirens – | Review Score – 3/5
Hail Mary – | Review Score – 3.5/5
7:01am – | Review Score – 3.5/5
When I watched The Purge last year I wasn’t a fan of the serialized format. Trying to keep up the same manic momentum throughout 10 episodes while showcasing the Purge night across the whole season really didn’t work. If anything, it actually made the whole affair feel a little mundane. When this show was renewed for a second season, I was sceptical that the show could pull off a compelling season, especially with a changed focus to the post-Purge effects on America.
Wiping down the blood-soaked mask of Season 1, The Purge returns for a surprisingly compelling and well written season, one that interweaves four different characters together and keeps things interesting throughout the 10 episodes. Between the after-Purge mysteries and drama are two separate Purges, one at the start of the season and one at the end. The opening episode in particular does a great job introducing our quartet of players, with each playing a very specific role in the Purge. All of this converges to one final, action-packed finish at the end, with our characters in a very different place whence they started.
The characters themselves are a little cliched in terms of arcs but they work well within the context of the show. Ben begins as a victim and grows into much more of a menacing threat as the season progresses, Esme rebels against her former employers after finding out some shady secrets, Marcus and Michelle learn the truth about who wants to kill them and Ryan grows from selfish to selfless. They’re very basic character journeys but in the context of The Purge series, they work surprisingly well to balance out these characters and add some depth to proceedings.
Stylistically, The Purge utilizes some clever tricks throughout the show and this is consistently maintained right the way through to the thrilling finale. On-screen expository text informs how long it’s been since the last Purge or when the next one is arriving; before each episode there’s a short scene that adds some background to the Purge and seeing how ingrained this holiday is in American culture makes it feel that much more believable. These small touches combine to keep you watching, where things close off nicely whilst leaving enough open for a possible third season.
Whether The Purge will be renewed for a third season or not remains to be seen but given the sown seeds of rebellion that lurk in the shadows for this one going forward, The Purge could shape up to be one of the bigger surprises on the small screen in the future. For now though, The Purge finally makes good on its premise and delivers a thrilling 10 episodes of mystery and drama. It may not be the best show out there, but it is a massive step-up from the first season and for that alone, makes it worth a watch.
Verdict - 7/10