Season Two, Episode Eight, “Before the Sirens”
Written by James Roland and Lindsey Villarreal
Directed by Patrick Lussier
[All images courtesy Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network]
Now, we continue the NFFA sanctioned All-American Carnage with The Purge Season Two, Episode Eight, “Before the Sirens”!
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Plot Threads of the Dammed
*Marcus (Derek Luke) & Michelle (Rochelle Aytes), & Tonya (Devyn A. Tyler) & Andre (Damien D. Smith) make sure Darren is safe, then prepare for the Purge Night Homeowner’s Association Home Invasion.
*The Ryan Grant (Max Martini) Robbery/Revenge Against the NFFA Crew set their Purge Night Heist in motion – with a few twists.
*Episode director Patrick Lussier has quite a resume in the horror genre, most notably with the My Bloody Valentine remake and The Poughkeepsie Tapes (both 2009). He’s also set to work with Purge guest star Dermot Mulroney in a horror thriller called Trick.
*The episode begins “twelve hours until the Annual Purge”.
*A trio of giggly teenage girls – Mia (Lacy Ann Hartselle), Lily (Raquel Ascension), and Scarlett (Alexa Ketchum) – play dress-up while listening to “This Baby Don’t Cry” by K. Flay (Thanks for making it easy to look up a song, Show!).
*Along with the pink tulle skirts, rhinestone-encrusted stiletto boots, bracelets, neck collars, belts and headbands festooned with lethally sharp spikes, this Girls Purge Night Out arsenal includes a barbed-wire bat, serrated-edge knives, and a chrome triple-headed flail (which may not have existed).
*If Mia’s Dad (Jason Bayle) looks familiar, that because you may have seen him as Tree’s Dad in the Happy Death Day movies, both of which were filmed in New Orleans.
*The frat bros watch the girl’s “Purge Confession” on TikTok, with “Purge!” replacing the traditional “Say Cheese”. The TikTok app has run into a fair amount of controversy lately, due it’s perceived ties to the Chinese government, and the potential to be used to monitor citizens.
The Great Purge Caper with the Ryan Grant Robbery Crew
*Ryan (Max Martini) and Esme (Paola Nuñez) both know Esme’s planning something, and both know she’s not going to tell Ryan what it is.
*The crew honors Tommy (Jonathan Medina) with their time-honored pre-heist ritual, a combination of corporate trust-building exercise, an athlete’s pregame ritual and the knife game between Bishop & Hudson in Aliens (1986, Dir. James Cameron).
*Over at NFFA Snoop Central, Curtis (Connor Trinneer) tells Vivian (Charlotte Schweiger), “This year’s tracking to be the largest Purge we’ve seen.”
*Esme calls Vivian on their burner phone system. She needs Vivian to trigger a false tag on Esme, just far enough away from the airstrip, and just soon enough before the Purge starts to draw away NFFA security block access to the planes (and the money on the planes).
*3 Hours to Annual Purge
*Vivian passes an NFFA (military ?) recruitment poster on her way to meet Esme and Ryan.
*Esme sure likes saying Ryan is a “good person”; she told Vivian exactly what she told Ryan.
*According to Esme, Ryan knows she is working with “The Foundation” hackers, but Esme has not told her lover what the “endgame” is; Ryan would try to stop her if he knew.
*There’s more eye imagery in the graffiti in the alley. In the main image above, the eye is crossed out. I didn’t see that on the eye Vivian passes on her way out of the alley.
*Is “Stay Safe” the new “I Love You” in the Purge Universe?
*I wish we’d seen a little more of Vivian’s decision to betray the NFFA. She knows the consequences, that Curtis is watching her. Did anything else, besides her admiration for Esme and an innate sense of right and wrong, prompt her choice?
*30 Minutes to Annual Purge
*Ryan glances at his trusty “Minutes to Annual Purge” app on his smartwatch, sets off the jamming device early, and (improbably) dispatches one of Ziv’s goons (Jason Dowies) via open passenger-side door collision with a truck – without losing control of his car.
*Ryan arranged for the Jackals, driving “Eastin Security” trucks we saw in Episode Two, “Everything Is Fine“, to drive up to the now useless planes, take out Ziv and her entire security team, and take the money.
*For Ryan, Sarah (Chelle Ramos), and Doug (Jaren Mitchell), getting a cut of the heist money is important, but not nearly as important as breaking Tommy out of NFFA custody before he’s murdered on Purge Night.
*At the episode’s end, Ryan, Sarah, and Doug follow a blue Purge Prisoner Bus in their souped-up Humvee. Tommy sees them waiting on the other side of the road, and takes a window seat. Did Ryan fill him in on the plan somewhere in that copy of Monte Cristo?
*Esme drives a motorcycle past a digital billboard offering a $500,000.00 reward for the apprehension of “Esmerelda Carmona, Domestic Terrorist, Dead or Alive”. Citizens are asked to call the New Orleans NFFA Behavioral Crimes Unit at 555-0199 with any information.
Marcus, Michelle & Darren – Tough Love & the Power of Family
*I haven’t seen anything on possible symbolism of the necklace we’ve seen Darren (Denzel Whitaker) wearing throughout the season. But would we see it in practically every scene Darren’s in if it didn’t have some significance?
*Darren tells Marcus (Derek Luke) that, because the NFFA made him wear a wire to “betray” Esme, maybe he deserves to be Purged.
*Marcus’s response illuminates his continuing political awakening. He tells Darren, “It was the system that betrayed us,” a system that expects citizens to obey laws except for 12 hours a year. Who does that serve? “Not you, not me, that’s for damn sure.”
*Darren thinks Marcus is taking him to spend Purge Night with his mother Tonya (Devyn A. Tyler) and Andre (Damien D. Smith).
*Instead, Marcus breaks Darren’s arm with a GIGANTIC wrench. Hospitals are off-limits during Purge, even to the NFFA; but only a “real injury” would get Darren admitted.
*Surprise! Tonya is in on “Operation Maim Darren for His Own Good” plan; she invites Marcus and Michelle to spend Purge Night at her house.
*A Prytania Security Solutions (“Your Solution for Purge Security”) van is parked on the street outside Tonya’s home. There is a Prytania Street in New Orleans that is home to a historic theater – but no security company I could find.
*Was “Sushi Bonanza” the “nasty” restaurant Michelle (Rochelle Aytes) and Marcus went to for their first date. Tonight, they enjoy high-end sushi, saki, and some clearing the air over their (possible) “last meal”.
*Michelle and Marcus still have a lot to learn and appreciate about each other, if they survive. Marcus remarks on Michelle’s new sense of humor; she replies, “I’ve always been funny.”
*This exchange set off a warning light for me. Many times, a series character (or couple) who resolve their family/mommy or daddy/relationship issues have a higher risk of dying before the last episode. Watch a couple seasons of LOST to see this theory in action.
*Just as the Purge announcement blares from the television, Tonya and Andre join Marcus and Michelle, because “family has to stick together”. Tonya wishes she’d reached out sooner. NFFA may be a dystopian hellhole, but Marcus, Tonya, Michelle, and Andre are a great extended/blended family.
*As the sirens fade, the bounty on Marcus vanishes from Ivory Road, just as the neighbors led by Clint (David Maldonado) arrive to finish the job themselves.
Ben: The Purge Is Coming from Inside the Fraternity House!
*Over at “Chateau Awesome”, Turner’s (Matt Shively) fraternity brothers are more interested in drinking than Purge preparation. They’re also very nervous about spending Purge Night with Ben.
*Scott (Peyton Wich), among others, warns Turner that Ben’s been acting “weirder than weird” lately. Turner channels Captian Oblivious, excusing Ben’s increasingly odd behavior as the effect of seeing so much off-Purge death.
*Turner accidentally on purpose snoops in Ben’s room and find finds Ben’s Notebook of Death. Among the drawings of skulls, knives, and bleeding animals heads there’s an image of Andy Tran (Lawrence Kao) bleeding out in the dorm elevator.
*Did Ben see that image later on TV? Was it described to him by someone? Since we know Ben was on another floor when Andy’s body was found, how could Ben see it firsthand? Maybe he snuck downstairs and peered through the CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS tape.
*Turner’s attempt at an intervention goes spectacularly off course and ends with Ben (supposedly) locked out of the house and Turner in possession of the crossbow.
*Weird. Turner calls 911 and gets an automated message: “Police and Emergency services are suspended in anticipation of the annual Purge”. When is the cutoff time?
*Ben’s souped-up crossbow features the word “dagger” etched on the side, possibly indicating it’s a “Mission MXB Dagger” model from Mission Crossbows. According to this review, it’s good for “Small Game, Deer, Elk Hunting, Moose, Bear Hunting, Target Shooting”, and in the Purge Universe, People.
*Now locked in the house, frat brother Scott is the first to follow the Horror Movie Protocol, including “Let’s Spit Up and Die” and “Picked Off One by One” as this storyline transforms into the Purge version of Black Christmas meets And Then There Were None.
*Scott finds the second-floor windows unsecured, then, in true Slasher movie tradition, find Ben Right Behind Him.
*Turner looks for Scott, gets chocked unconscious by Ben, then awakens to find himself and Scott downstairs. They’re bound and gagged on the couch, watching frat brothers Zane (Camron Jones) and Jacob (Spencer Rayshon Stevenson) playing a deadly game of Beer Pong.
*Ben shoots Jacob in the chest (right through the yellow Dixie/Solo cup!), and slits Zane’s throat in front of Scott and Turner.
*This triggers Turner’s “Apologize and Run” instinct. He blurts “Sorry” to Scott, repeating his apology when he abandoned Ben. Ben easily catches his fleeing prey.
*Instead of killing Turner, Ben smiles and says, “I have a better idea”. I don’t think this idea is better for Turner’s odds of surviving Purge Night.
The Purge Season Two, Episode Nine, “Hail Mary” airs Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 9/8c on USA.
Official USA network images, articles, and other Purge related goodies can be found here.
My deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist, and Seasons 1 & 2 of Channel Zero reside at SciFi4Me; Fang and Saucer is home to my deep dives into Season One of The Purge TV, and Channel Zero Seasons 3 & 4.