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‘The Purge’ Series Premiere Recap ‘What is America?’

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The Purge is an oddly fascinating, but absolutely terrifying concept. Crime is legal for twelve hours. When the original film came out in 2013, I knew immediately I wanted to see that on in theaters. Outside of the last sequel, The First Purge (2018), I feel that the sequels are better than the original, which is rarely said about most film franchises. During the credits of The First Purge, fans received a sneak peek of a ten episode event of The Purge.

Last night The Purge introduced viewers to Miguel (Garbriel Chavarria), his sister Penelope (Jessica Garza), a married couple Jenna (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Rick (Colin Woodell), and Jane (Amanda Warren). We learn about these characters as the countdown to purge night begins at ninety-seven minutes prior to commencement. With fifteen minutes increments, increments that are abandoned, more information is revealed about the characters we hope survive the night.

Instead, a thirty minute countdown would have lent itself better to this series as well as a thirteen episode run. A hour a piece for each hour of the purge. A thirty minute countdown cutting back and forth within the characters lives to give more of a detailed account so we each have a definitive character we want to survive the night.

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The episode opens on a group showering to prepare for the evening’s purge. A group that contains Penelope and we learn about more in depth later within the episode. The focus is split between Penelope and Miguel. We hear in Penelope’s words as a letter written to Miguel urging him not to be angry with her for taking a different path than his own. Miguel went into the marines and from what I can deduct Penelope went down a path involving drugs so she could escape from the loss of their parents.

Miguel’s goal for the evening is to find his sister before its too late. He initially goes the Kantrow rehab clinic, his sister’s last known whereabouts, only to learn that she checked out months ago. The woman who is helping get the facility up to par for lock down arranges it so that Miguel can see the person who signed his sister out. Upon seeing the name Henry, Miguel becomes enraged and his goal is to go find Henry who he believes has his sister.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to both Rick and Jenna. They are getting ready for the annual party held at the Stanton residence that honors  the purge. Neither have participated in any purge events before that evening, but find themselves unable to pass up the opportunities the party presents for themselves and their business ventures. We also attain a glimpse into their personal lives, which comes more into focus later on. And even after learning that the purge about to take place has the highest number of weapons sold, they decide that the party is the safest place for them that evening.

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During this time we also learn about Jane, who is visiting her mother in the hospital, the safest place to be on purge night as hospitals are a safe zone for anyone inside. I have a feeling this promise will be broken in future episodes.  Jane insists that she will be working and therefore safe.  And we later learn that Jane’s safety is golden if she chooses to stay on the floor her team and she is working on that evening. The thirty-eighth floor. The security team assures that they will protect her and she proceeds to go through the scan process along with a fellow co-worker so they can get to work for the evening.

Penelope along with an entire group of young men and woman continue to prepare for their purpose in the purge. The cult reveals that these children, while of age according to the group, are lead to the slaughter that evening to take on others sins.  This is their purpose and what will best help society.  After repeating sacred words, the group boards a bus together and head off into the city.  Meanwhile Miguel is still desperately searching for his sister and proceeds to find Henry’s location to confront him, only to learn that he is not only not there, but neither is his sister.  Thankfully, a young woman, whom he saves, and helps set him on the right path.

As Rick and Jenna arrive at the Stanton home, they soon realize their hosts are nowhere in sight.  As Jenna continues to venture throughout the house, audiences begin to wonder what the night’s festivities hold for those attending. I have also concluded that Jenna must be pregnant, but I’m not sure even she knows this yet as much as it is a dream of hers.  Of course she does order a seltzer and gets sick that evening so maybe another reason she finds herself participating in an event she does not believe in.

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Inside Jane’s firm, we are introduced to an entire work force as well as the managing partner Don Ryker (William Baldwin). I have absolutely no trust in Ryker’s words and look forward to seeing his character develop into someone I feel will turn villainious on the show, possibly alongside Jane.  After all, she receives a notification that a person is at the building and leaves her secured floor to go speak with that person.  Jane appears eager to get back to the thirty-eighth floor, but the person whom she has business to tend to with reminds her that nothing can take place until the purge begins.  This makes us wonder exactly what Jane is paying for that evening and why.

Upon finding the building Penelope left from earlier, Miguel learns more about the cult that his sister has ultimately joined.  They inform him that Penelope will be sacrificing herself for the greater good but they are not old enough to participate in the activities yet.  Determined to find his sister still Miguel sets out to continue hunting for Penelope to save her as the bus moves forward toward their first location. Penelope finds herself at peace as she comforts a fellow member and is looking forward to seeing her parents once more after the night’s events take place.

As the clock officially counts down the last remaining minutes we are introduced to the Stantons as well as the party’s theme.  Serial killers.  Each member is given a mask and asked once more if they wish to leave the property because once the lock down occurs no one will be able to get out for the next twelve hours.  While a debate between Rick and Jenna, the couple ultimately decides to stay.  Almost immediate regret upon their faces when they see the masks however.  As Mr. Stanton talks of the good the purge has done, viewers see those outside getting ready to partake in the nights festivities as well.  We are left on the image though of a young man, Arthur, stepping off the bus and chopped to pieces to begin the annual purge.

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Many questions need answers, ultimately. If you are a fan of the franchise, I think it will be worth sticking around to find out. The characters are intriguing enough to warrant those answers. I would love to see at least one surviving character from the previous purges in this version. Who knows though, with nine more episodes yet to air maybe I will get my wish and their wisdom can protect these new characters to survive the purge.

Did you watch the pilot? Which characters do you see surviving The Purge? Which character(s) do you want to know more about? Let us know what you think!

The Purge airs on Tuesdays at 10pm on USA Network.

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