Episode four of the Purge series is aptly titled “Release the Beast.” Purge Night is fully underway and the main characters are being forced to face their decisions – the good, the bad and the horrific.
The first is Jane, who we find tearfully rebuking the murder of her colleague Mark at the hands of the corporate-ladder ambitious Allison.
“Everyone has a family!” Jane yells when Alison wonders aloud if Mark has any family.
But Alison is able to quickly silence Jane by revealing the details of the Purge Night assassin (Bracka) Jane hired (target still unknown). While Alison now sees themselves as kindred spirits, Jane is mortified and shamed enough to flee the safety of the office on a new mission to prevent the contract killing.
She’s quickly accosted by a would-be rapist and gets saved by The Matron Saints, a collection of armed women who spend Purge Night specifically protecting women from assault, rape and murder. When we hypothesize about how life would be if The Purge was real, we never consider of the dire implications for women.
The Saints detail for Jane the gory stats. Three women are killed for every man on Purge Night. Tens of thousands are sexually assaulted. And when you consider how most sexual assaults in real life go unpunished, you begin to wonder how far off from the Purge we really are.
What’s appealing about the Saints is they’re not written like typical armed soldiers prone to witty one-liners and gallows humor. They are everyday women ranging from housewives to corporate professionals who are simply fed up with society not protecting and exploiting women. Expect for them to have a profound impact on Jane’s psyche and mold her into a competent fighter, or at the very least a defender, over the next few episodes.
Jenna and Rick’s backstory was fleshed out via several flashback scenes. We discover the threesome with Lila was to “spice up” their slumping relationship. But what was supposed to be a kinky spark quickly devolved into betrayal when Jenna began sleeping with Lila behind Rick’s back.
This love triangle is coming to a head quicker than expected. Lila has already laid the seeds by telling Jenna they can raise the baby together. Their emotional connection is much stronger than the business-like relationship she holds with Rick. Lila senses this and we see her get bold and refuse to back down when Rick confronts her. Also notable in that scene is Jenna siding with Lila when the argument gets contentious.
For the first time, I’m getting a “star-crossed lovers” vibe from Lila and Jenna. The latter’s idealism just isn’t fit for this world and you could easily see Lila making the ultimate sacrifice to protect Jenna.
The big set piece for this episode was the much-hyped “Carnival of Flesh.” This macabre amusement park is where folks come to buy murder instead of rollercoasters and cotton candy. Blowing a man’s brains out costs a mere $45.
This is where we find Penelope, who’s been sold off by the gang of masked nuns. Maybe we can call this “Purge Slavery?” It’s as horrific as it sounds. But it finally succeeds in waking up Penelope from her cult indoctrination. She sees an old man suffering from Alzheimer’s get brutalized. Death as nothing more than cheap commerce. It took witnessing this for Penelope to understand there’s nothing noble or divine about The Purge.
We can assume this awakening will make her receptive to her brother Miguel, who’s getting closer and closer to rescuing her. Helping him get to the carnival is Rex, a morally ambiguous bounty hunter who lauds the joys of independence and “being your own boss” while trafficking victims to said carnival.
“Living your dream doesn’t come cheap,” he tells a shocked Miguel.
Rex made it clear he’s only helping Miguel get to the carnival and won’t participate in the escape plan. But on Purge Night, you need men like Rex who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Miguel will need to figure how to earn Rex’s favor because one man taking down that carnival seems unlikely.
Questions as we head into episode five “Rise Up”:
- Who is the Henry that “claimed” Penelope at the auction? She didn’t exactly appear happy to see him, whoever he is.
- The masked man who’s been closing the episodes showed his first raw emotion of the series, crying when he found two dead bodies in a store.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this!” he wails.
Did he lose family members or a chance at revenge?
The Purge airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.