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‘The Purge’ Season Finale Recap: ‘A Nation Reborn’

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Congratulations everyone! We have made it through purge night! Not that anyone doubted our survival. Sadly my prediction from last week about Jane fell through and she did not make journey with us. Unfortunately other characters that did not make it through purge night as well, which I will address shortly.

The countdown to end purge night reminded us a mere forty-eight minutes until the end of this year’s purge came to an end. The beginning of the episode foreshadows Joe’s downfall within the episode and one that I could not have been happier to ultimately see. We are allowed an inside look at Joe setting up the theater for his evening of revenge. The strange part is that we hear a horn honking as he’s inside gearing up for purge night. While no one came to his side in the end, I still cannot help but ponder one question. Was someone helping Joe? Will we learn more about this person next season or was this just some random person who came by at the wrong time?

While Joe is dead set on making people pay, Jenna brings up the dilemma that purge night pushes onto Americans. Jenna ask him how it’s fair that everyone there besides Joe dies, but he lives? This mere question undermines Joe’s need for revenge. Though considering some of his reasons are beyond petty I feel his motives were already questionable. I can understand his response as well. Purge night evens the playing field for others. There isn’t anyone better than anyone else. The only problem is by perpetuating a cycle of violence, the purge truly helps no one. The evening taught us abolishment of the system is the only right answer.

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Simultaneously Pete makes Miguel realize that they have to take out Rex and his group so they do not follow them to the school. They are elements that they can deal with because they already know the threat. They do not however know the threats that await them at the school. Despite not taking out the entire army of people surrounding Rex, the two men manage to take out various people helping hunt down Miguel for Rex’s revenge. I cannot help by this point that the night has shifted from purge night and the Carnival of Flesh into the Carnival of Revenge. The only problem is that Rex finds Pete’s weapon of choice and that leads them down a trail to find the two men.

As they continue forward on their journey, we learn more about Joe’s vendetta against Rick. The two men seemingly have much in common so one would think they would get along famously. At first they did.  However, Joe insists that Rick screwed him over when it came to their contract ultimately. The contract provided enough wiggle room so that he didn’t have to pay him the remainder of the money he owed him, which put his company under.  He warns Rick of this in a heated argument between the two men.  He also insinuates that Rick does not care about the blue collar people now that he’s part of the white collar society. I think Rick’s character says a lot about the stigma that comes with making something from nothing and others shaming them afterward for doing so.  He can clearly no longer relate because now he is in a different societal class.

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Thankfully during Jenna and Rick’s trail, Penelope manages to find the part of the cage where Joe did not finish screwing down one of the bolts. That car horn really ends up messing up his end-game inevitably. I cannot help but think that Rick might have been telling the truth though when he said that Joe did shoddy work to install the purge systems. Despite admitting to him finding a loophole because they live in a world where everyone screws over everyone else to get ahead. This very scene becomes the most heartbreaking of the season. My heart strings tugged upon seeing Rick tell Jenna he is sorry he managed to get them in this mess in the first place. Seeing him tell Jenna that he loves her becomes absolutely heartbreaking.

To make matters worse, though I was positive nothing could get worse at this point, Joe forces Jenna in the worst ultimatum scenario ever. He gives her the choice that Rick faced earlier in the evening with Stanton.  Can she kill someone? Not just anyone either.  Can she kill her husband? If she is willing to purge her husband then she and their daughter can live. If not Joe claims he will kill all three of them instead. It’s clearly the most gruesome dilemmas that I have ever witnessed in these films. To kill her baby’s father is a place I do not think most women in a loving relationship would want to be. Then with one pull of the trigger they realize that the gun was never loaded in the first place. The ultimate mind-game.

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Soon thereafter Penelope takes Paige, the last person in the cage with her, hostage to gain Joe’s attention. If she uses this night as her cleansing then that ruins Joe’s game-plan and he cannot have that. Regardless he ruins his game-plan the moment he enters the cage with the two remaining women. We learn rather quick that much like Miguel, Penelope believes in stabbing people in the eye. With the bolt in Joe’s eye, I cannot imagine that Joe will be able to see out of that eye again once the night is over, which some could say that he got what he deserved.

Simultaneously Pete realizes the predicament that Miguel and he are in and attempts to negotiate with Rex. Thankfully, he took some precautions beforehand because Rex only sees dollar bills in his eyes to care what Pete has to say. He should have listened though because by crossing that line Rex and most of his group end up dying via the explosion Pete rigged. Audiences realize that not everyone died based on movement within the debris from the explosion. Somehow though Pete and Miguel manage to get inside of the school, however so does the surviving member of Rex’s team.

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The shootout is quick and two causalities result. While Pete and Rick are both hit, Pete’s injury is sustainable whereas Rick’s is not. Through some touching words we watch the character fade from our lives. From everything he has survived throughout the season to die in such a random way is even more tragic. Stupid Carnival of Flesh cronies! I did not expect to be so invested in Rick’s character by the end of the season. I’m shocked by the anger I feel over the death of his character. Maybe it is because in the end so many characters toyed with them and they managed to come through just for it to end in that manner. It furthers the sentiment that the purge is senseless.

As Paige and Penelope attempt to leave the building, Paige turns down a hallway rigged with one of Joe’s devices and is blown to bits. Despite the shock and remorse Penelope has in that moment, she knows she needs to get out of the school somehow.  Joe confronts Penelope and decides to put her on trail even after she finally says thank you for holding the door open for him. I somewhat cannot blame him for saying the sentiment is too late, but want to remind him of the notion not to sweat the small stuff.

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Penelope tries to explain the purge will never help because they will continue to need to purge. The urge will never go away and nothing will ever come of the continuation of violence. As Miguel enters the area with Joe and Penelope, soon thereafter the siren sounds to end the purge. Joe hands over the gun to them insisting that he’s a law abiding citizen but that’s okay. He will get them next year. After all, the purge goes on and on and what someone doesn’t accomplish that evening they can accomplish next year. Miguel then chooses to shoot Joe twice, once in the leg before pushing him back into the abandoned school’s pool to ensure his death and Pete insists that he heard the gunshots before the sirens sounded as Jenna and Penelope agree.

Oddly enough the season does not end there this year. Instead viewers witness a time jump at the end of the episode that takes us to next year’s purge with Pete, Miguel, Penelope drinking in his bar. We also see that Jenna has moved to France with her and Rick’s daughter. The season ends with the possibility that other countries might adopt a purge night of their own, inevitably leaving no place safe from the acts of this dreadful night. While we know that Miguel and Penelope have made it their mission to save lives that evening, this still makes me wonder how they will start the next season.

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What does all this mean for our characters that survived?  Will other countries adopt a system that supposedly keeps crime rates low? Will next season pick up right were we left off on the season finale? Sadly I do not have the answer to these questions.  I am however looking forward to season two.  Until then make sure you remember your rights on purge night.  Actually, you should probably volunteer at a hospital that evening and just be safe.  Then again just work for Pete at this bar because expiration date or not he will keep us safe.

Let us know if your favorite character made it through purge night successfully in the comments below!