The Purge Season 2 Episode 7: Should I Stay Or Should I Go-Recap and Review
Everyone is taking a stand, for better or worse, in an episode that brings the annual Purge ever closer.
Another captivating look at the darkside of Capitalism. This time the costuming and paraphernalia industry. In a throwaway comment made at a board meeting, an interesting tidbit regarding tort law is revealed. No law is enforced on this day. Even negligence lawsuits or class action cases are preempted by the holiday. It should have been an obvious sidebar to the concept that all crime is allowed, but somehow the logistics of what that means was lost in the violence of the other Purge installments. I’ll continue to beat the drum for this kind story-telling that isn’t afraid to point fingers at anyone and everyone for the mess of the NFFA world. When pride sentiment is exploited alongside mass casualty clearly there is little that is sacrosanct.
The truth comes out this week. All plot points head to the corruption of the NFFA (which we already knew) but also the power of grief, apathy, and self-interest. Corporations profit, the government profits, our own anger profits off the Purge. Bad taste sells. People are inherently low brow and monstrous. Shock jocks like Bobby Sheridan make a great living off our fear and ignorance. When tragedy hits we need to blame someone. If something bad happens, kill the uber driver that drove you to your date. If you don’t get the job it must because the salesmen who sold you your suit didn’t know what they were doing. They should be hunted down and purged. It’s our God-given right after all. The campus killer is trending, why not use that free press to sell some masks. It’s illogical even if its a disgusting inconvenient truth.
Esme is smart and stocked with high-level skills. Those skills have allowed her access to the files on Professor Adams test subjects. Hopefully, with that information they can make public just how flawed the Purge philosophy is. Ryan makes a good partner with resources of his own. The agency is focused on Esme, but she does still have a friend inside.
Ryan and Esme’s situation becomes precarious when his mother goes missing from her memory care facility. When she was found two fellow police officers help Ryan get her to his truck where Esme is waiting. Barely escaping she must make her way back to Ryan’s hideout alone. Her friend and fellow agent Olivia wants to trust her but she doesn’t know who to believe. Time is running out to pick a side.
The Ryan/Esme teamup has been the least exciting thus far despite the fact that Ryan and Co. saw the most action in the first episode. Esme tells Ryan she needs to stay to make amends for all she has done including her part in Tommy’s imprisonment. Understandably this enrages Ryan. He doesn’t care about her need to set things right. That is the problem with apologies. Those you are apologizing to don’t have to accept. The need to atone for past wrongs is a personal burden that others don’t have to help with. Newly on the side of right, Esme is learning this lesson the hard way.
Moving forward, Tommy’s plight in prison must be shown to drive the tension between the two and provide stakes beyond mundane purging. At this point, killing has become such a part of the show we have become desensitized to it. It says something about the power of the statement Blumhouse is making that Tommy’s possible execution registers more than the murder of countless, faceless individuals.
Kellen is horrified by the God mask she found in Ben’s suitcase. Ben showed Kellen the mask behind the man and confuses her hesitation with acceptance. He is in so deep he is incapable of understanding what he is doing is wrong. Kellen plays a dangerous but necessary game. Ben sees through her ruse and rightfully accuses her of being scared. I hate to break it to a guy, but of course, she is scared, you are a killer dude.
When he suggests she learns what it feels like, she brutally stabs him in the leg. She runs from Ben and is hit by a car. In the most shocking and gruesome scene of the season, Ben strangles his blood-soaked and dying girlfriend. He has become nothing but a self-possessed monster. Joel Allen has done a masterful job shifting from simmering menace to confused young man. His arch has been the most profound both because of storyline and range of acting. We have watched the terrifying rise of a serial killer. In other actor’s hands, it would not read as honest or as mesmerizing.
Marcus has had to come to terms with his new reality. His neighbors want him dead. His worldview is diametrically opposed to his neighbor’s. Finally, it is revealed what terrible thing he did to make himself so hated. His neighbor Clint, with barely controlled anger, explains Marcus was the doctor to treat his wife when she came into the ER with heart trouble. She died when a routine procedure went poorly. Marcus did not come out to tell Clint personally, nor did he recognize Clint when he moved into his neighborhood years later. Heavy emotions become enough to devolve into your baser self. Marcus is being blamed for not being friendly, not being perfect, and choosing to be anti-social. If being aloof is enough to get yourself killed, more than half of America would be dead.
Another extreme example of what happens when difficult jobs with sometimes impossible circumstances, come with an actual price tag. In this reality, teachers could be killed for not challenging their intelligent but ill-behaved angels. Doctors would die for not saving their patients, firemen have hits placed on them for not putting out fires fast enough, and postmen could be marked because packages didn’t get to Grandma on time. In our litigious society that is allergic to culpability is it really all that far a stretch to assume this is where the rabbit hole would leads
When Marcus’ son Darren runs to his dad for help and the most subtle commentary hits home that racism is not eliminated by the NFFA. A stop at the state line becomes tense, not because Marcus is worried about being stopped, but because he is concerned about appearing as if he is dangerous and might get shot. The irony of course being, Darren is on the no travel list and can’t run. As the family returns home it becomes obvious there is nowhere safe anymore.
Marcus has realized what his family was trying to tell him all those years ago. You can’t run forever. Sometimes you have to take a stand. Ben’s vision is realized as he becomes a Purge icon in much the same way that Joaquin Phoenix became The Joker. As each of our characters prepare for the upcoming Purge the brilliant Monster (Under My Bed) by Call Me Karizma plays in a powerful montage that builds toward a bloody battle for all involved.
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