Television

The Purge

The Purge Season 2 Episode 3: Blindspots: Recap and Review

Much needed context was given to each of our story lines this week as everyone’s blindspots are revealed.

The thief with a heart of gold is a common character trope. When done well, even if you know you are being manipulated by their presence, you gladly follow them wherever they ask the story to go. Ryan Grant is just such a character. Last week his softer side started to gel with the realization that his life of crime was for a higher purpose, his mother’s ongoing medical care. This week his team’s genesis came into focus in a smart bit if writing by Thomas Kelly, James DeMonaco, Krystal Houghton Ziv, and Mick Betancourt that allowed both the entire team to grow in personality, but also show one more way capitalism is affected by The Purge. If there is a buck to be made, someone will find a way to do it. When you add death to the mix, that entrepreneurial spirit just becomes stronger.

In a flash back eight years ago, Ryan and his team of hero cops were a tight knit group and were only motivated by the protection of others and upholding the law. They were good guys all the way, in a sea of what we will later find out is very murky waters. After going after a drug kingpin on Purge night his team was ambushed and almost killed by his police captain. She was not immune to the wants of income and power a relationship with a crime boss can provide and from her tight-lipped speech to Ryan the next day neither was half the force. It is join them in protecting the criminals or become unemployed, permanently. Of course, being a cop with a conscience, he chose to quit along with his whole team in a show of solidarity. That one scene allowed the entire team to become sympathetic, including Tommy, who had appeared to be a liability prior to this. Now that he has shown his true colors, the consequences for his misplaced step as the siren stopped are more important.

Esme and Ryan came face to face in a satisfying encounter that showed just how smart and observant Ryan is. Esme may be clever and a whiz with surveillance equipment, but she is no competition for Ryan’s street smarts. This is a relationship that will be interesting to watch moving forward. Both of them have law enforcement backgrounds and both are on the same side, even if they don’t know it yet. With Esme’s investigation into Professor’s Adams’ death three of the four storylines are melding. Marcus’ son, a student of Adams’ is reluctant to help Esme now, however, that is likely to change as his father continues to be hunted. Whoever wants Marcus dead is not content to wait until purge night to act again raising the stakes. The immediacy this creates pokes major holes in the Purge psychology, and creates urgency which this show needed moving forward.

That was the problem with showing the year in between the Purge. Although it develops opportunities for world building, eventually the lack of tension would become a major problem. There is only so long we can wring our hands over Tommy and his execution clock months away. If someone is actively trying to kill Marcus now, outside of the rules of purging, that changes things. There is a sense of urgency in both the current timeline, as well as that of the next Purge Night. That tension will allow the plot to develop to its inevitable conclusion.

Courtesy of Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network

In Marcus’ desperation for answers he has lost sight of what matters most. He has hired a private detective, which I can imagine is only one of many thriving specialists who have found success within this violent world. Along with the bloodletting, there is also unbelievable trauma. Unadulterated violence is not healthy. Dr. Adams’ was trying to prove that, Marcus’ wife knows it first hand. She needs to connect with Marcus and has sought out a support group when he is too preoccupied to give her the emotional support she needs. Marcus reaction to someone trying to kill him is reasonable, so is hers. Even if he came by the information in a slightly shady way, it is good he understands where her head is and responded with love. Her continued stability will be needed.

Ben is the most changed by Purge Night. He is the living embodiment of Professor Adams’ research. Previously, he appeared to be a kind, mild mannered young man. Now, he is troubled by vicious visions of what he had to do. His need for escalating brutality is plaguing his everyday life. His girlfriend has noticed it, and even though she thinks she understands what he is going through, she has no idea. The man she loved has been forever changed and there is no going back. Joel Allen(Ben) is doing a fantastic job giving glimpses of the sweet boy he once was and the hardened maniac he is becoming. It is only a matter of time before he is caught for murdering the strawberry farmer in a fit of rage.

Another business that has sprung up from the NFFA’s free market is animal slaughter houses. Think a rage room where instead of junk you swing sledge hammers, axes, and barb-wired wrapped bats at innocent animals. Ben is unable to hurt the animals, but has no problem killing a farmer over a simple misunderstanding later in the episode. It was an unsettling realization that Ben wasn’t the only one who felt less icky about violence against humans. The farm slaughter scene made me very uncomfortable, but the farmers death barely registered. Maybe, we aren’t that far removed from this world and that should terrify everyone. That is the genius of the franchise as a whole. It is all too recognizable. Next week everyone tries to come to terms with the new reality and confront their “grief boxes”.

Stray Observations:

  • Tommy’s trial was a joke. His legal aid was ill informed, under prepared, over worked, and mismatched. Basically, that hasn’t changed at all from our status quo.
  • I continue to be fascinated by the idea that the death penalty has been outlawed but running wild killing people once a year is open season. Hypocrisy at its best.
  • Has the world of the NFFA become so overrun with stupid and complacent people that no one notices crime is still a major problem. Why would you still need police forces if crime has been eliminated or at least greatly reduced by purging.
  • Turns out strawberries really do help with erectile dysfunction(ED). They along with other fruits like blueberries and apples contain flavonoids which increase blood flow making erections stronger. Who knew?

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