‘The Purge’ Season 2 Premiere Recap: ‘This Is Not A Test’

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THE PURGE -- "This Is Not A Test" Episode 201 -- Pictured: Paola Nuñez as Esme Carmona -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Every time people hear the commencement of the purge, the words strike fear into most Americans’ hearts. Viewers have learned the previous season, as well as the films, that the rich have better odds. The government wants to take out the poor for population control. After all, the rich can keep the economy up. To see the voice behind the emergency warning cast though is important.  It is even more important she is truly thinking about the words she’s saying in the audition. These are words are the rules. They come off much as The Hunger Games in a way. May the odds be ever in everyone’s favor. Well, not everyone.  Though some could say the most famous words of the purge is also the title “This Is Not A Test” of the season two premiere.

We open up to learning about surveillance centers existing for the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA). Despite weapons that are class four or lower being legal, class five and higher weapons must be sought out. The most disturbing part of this job is knowing people are subjecting themselves to the various violence. They sit in a chair and they watch people murder one another right before their eyes. However, Esme Carmona (Paola Nuñez) is hard at work. She ensures that a man with a class five weapon will not getaway. He is tagged. This lets the system and others know where to find him if he goes through with his plans.

THE PURGE — “This Is Not A Test” Episode 201 — Pictured: (l-r) Connor Trinneer as Curtis, Paola Nuñez as Esme Carmona — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Vivien Ross (Charlotte Chweigher) asks an important question as Esme flags a someone for having a class five weapon. Why does it matter? Maybe because no one wants World War III happening! Though I’d like to think no one has that kind of manpower either for the purge. With Esme’s steady and calm nature a question sprang to mind. Has anyone at the surveillance center ever witness a loved one murdered. Despite knowing this had to occur before Esme, upon seeing Vivien’s screen, she begins to spiral.

Whether she watches her actual footage remains unseen because of her focus on her friend. Esme cares about this woman that Vivien has on the screen before her. Will she be able to get inside? From the looks of it, there is no way she will escape a purger’s wrath. She continues to try though before she is ultimately gunned down. Why they continue to shoot her after they have murdered her I have no idea. Watching the events unfold made this death even harder to watch.

Esme - The Purge - This Is Not A Tes
Esme – The Purge – This Is Not A Test – 2×01 – USA Network

Likewise, watching Esme watch the woman who supposedly saved her get gunned down was harder to stomach. The question is why. Is it nonsensical? That would drive me crazy on nights such as that. Instead though maybe that is part of what will be shown in the rest of this season. How does this affect the loved ones left behind? Esme is already taking it one step too far as she transfers the files over to a flash drive. This begs one question. Will she be working purge night next year or will she be participating?

However, instead of merely staying inside of the room at the NFFA Surveillance Unit, the show shifts. One of the other particularly interesting plot points involve this season’s husband and wife. Marcus Moore (Derek Luke) and Michelle Moore (Rochelle Aytes). Considering it is purge night their house seems rather peaceful, which is strange all on its own. However, we saw last season how quickly a scenario could change. They do not seem to be occupied with the events outside, but rather with themselves. Something tells me that won’t last for long.

THE PURGE — “This Is Not A Test” Episode 201 — Pictured: Rochelle Aytes as Michelle Moore — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Just as I suspected viewers meet back with Marcus to have the security they have in place malfunction. Or did it? Marcus finds his wife in the kitchen hiding behind the island. Where was she initially though? This scene alone has made me realize that I would become the most paranoid person in this type of setting. Much like our couple, I would attempt to find somewhere to hide. Little did they know the purger was one step ahead. While making it to their hiding place, the purger awaits outside the door thinking he shot Marcus.

To save Michelle, Marcus essentially sacrifices himself to the last hour of the purge. However, what I do not understand is how between two of them how they did not manage to kill the intruder? This makes me feel that the purger is someone close to Marcus. Far closer than he is going to suspect at first. This person had to know the layout of their home. People have not been paying attention to their scoutmaster. Regardless, something is not adding up. Now there is an added intensity of going from being safe inside one’s home to the outside world where anything can happen.

The Purge - This Is Not A Test
Ben – The Purge – This Is Not A Test – 2×01 – USA Network

Michelle and Marcus are not the only new characters viewers are introduced to. Ryan Grant (Max Martini) appears to have his crew ready and willing to take home some money. His heist team consists of Sara Williams (Chelle Ramos), Tommy Ortiz (Jonathan Medina), and Doug Vargas (Jaren Mitchell). As the team sets everything into motion, we get word to standby as two purgers walk by the lookout. However, the one female is angry with the man she’s with considering she does not hesitate to kill him. Needless to say, they are not going to be a problem and interrupting the heist.

My biggest issue with this plot comes down to one question. Why would they wait until two hours until the purge was over to rob somewhere so guarded? Talk about nervewracking. Regardless though they make it into the safe and the amount of cash is insane to feast one’s eyes upon. Based on their conversation, the heist is an annual tradition. Yet Tommy cannot manage to stay in his apartment for some reason or another. It raises the question of how much money does someone need? Have they had their score taken in the past? Hopefully, we attain an answer next week.

THE PURGE — “This Is Not A Test” Episode 201 — Pictured: (l-r) Max Martini as Ryan Grant, Chelle Ramos as Sara — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

With one crew on purge night, there are of course other crews. As Ryan and his crew attempt to flee, some jackals appear to steal from the robbers. Some might call this karma, on purge night I say find another bank. Let everyone enjoy the wealth jackals. However, despite getting out alive and leaving well enough alone, Tommy goes back inside for more money. However, according to Ryan, it sounds like he will not be leaving with him and the rest of the team. Has Tommy committed a felony? According to Esme, yes. Technicality or not, this could be a decision to come back to haunt Esme later on in the season.

Similarly, another character is introduced. This time two fraternity boys by the name of Turner and Ben (Joel Allen). The boys are of course going somewhere called suicide bridge. They need a photo. They hide from some rather intimidating female purgers walking by their house. After waiting for them to leave they decide to go to the bridge against Ben’s better judgment. While I imagine people willingly went to the bridge to purposely hang themselves, I have to wonder how many of them were brought there to kill. Then to hear one of your friends say that one of the girls hanging looks like his friend’s girlfriend. That’s a lot to take in for everyone. No one can blame from wanting to flee the scene and get as far away from the bridge as possible.

Ben - The Purge - This Is Not A Test
Ben – The Purge – This Is Not A Test – 2×01 – USA Network

Instead of making it back to fraternity Ben is literally pulled into a garage and is trapped inside with a younger woman that another purger murders. Desperately trying to get away, Ben does not see a way out and his friend Turner as he completely flees from the scene. Left alone, scared, and on the verge of a breakdown, Ben obeys the so-called Demon Purger (Max Calder). The mistake of the purger? Letting go of his weapon as he continues to psychologically torture Ben into thinking he might rape him. As he gets the upper hand though he continually stabs the purger over and over again. Ben murders the purger without a second thought and leaves the garage as soon as the siren stops wailing.

Finally, at the end of the purge, we see the pieces being placed for the characters we have met this season so far. Marcus somehow makes it back to Michelle alive. Marcus, of course, wants to go back outside because he wants to know who almost purged him. No one can blame him wanting to know. Instead of finding out whoever was going to purge him he finds a huge bloodstain and a cell phone. The purger photos reveal that someone was truly plotting to target and kill Marcus. Someone was following him. Much like Marcus, the remaining characters have 364 days to come to their conclusion about the annual purge.

Marcus & Michelle - The Purge - This Is Not A Test
Marcus & Michelle – The Purge – This Is Not A Test – 2×01 – USA Network

What do you think will happen on The Purge season two? Do you think Marcus will find his attacker? Does Esme plan on using her job for revenge? Does Ben have a blood lust now? Will Tommy take down the rest of his heist group somehow? We will find out answers to these questions and many more over the next nine weeks.

Join The Purge every Tuesday night on the USA Network at 9 pm EST. Let us know what your thoughts are below about the season two premiere last night.

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