For several episodes, we’ve witnessed the New Founding Fathers of America (NFAA) terrorize the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. In episode five, aptly titled “Rise Up,” we finally get to see how ruthless the resistance came be.
After failing to heed a cryptic warning from the maid Catalina, Rick and Jenna found themselves fleeing for their lives from an anti-NFAA ambush. The revolutionaries spared no one at the party – if you were dressed in your Sunday best, you got a bullet from your troubles. Luckily for our couple, they managed to get to the basement where Catalina allowed them to escape on the strength of Jenna being pregnant.
Questions remain on the fate of Lila, who was conspicuously absent when the shooting started. A surprise attack on this level couldn’t have been coordinated by Catalina alone. There had to be a turncoat on a higher level. Lila fits the description based on her documented disgust with her family, but would she really let this attack go forward with warning Jenna? Or did she indeed warn Jenna, but through the message delivered by Catalina?
Now that Rick and Jenna have been forced into the streets, it’s just a matter of time before they run into some combination of Jane, Penelope and Miguel.
Speaking of the latter two, this episode did a solid job of further exploring their complicated relationship. It turns out Miguel’s enlistment wasn’t voluntary – it was the only way to avoid a lengthy sentence for maiming Penny’s abusive boyfriend Henry.
Like most abuse victims, Penelope wasn’t grateful for Miguel’s intervention. She felt abandoned by the only family she had left. On Miguel’s end, he carries the deep guilt of knowing his sister succumbed to a cult in his absence. Could things have been different if Miguel chose another method besides violence to protect his sister?
That complicated question is the overarching theme of this episode. We see the “good guys” like the Matron Saints be every bit as brutal as their enemies. They go as far as branding the word “PIG” on the foreheads of any man they catch abusing a woman on Purge Night. Miguel gouges out Henry’s eye for hurting his sister. And let’s not forget the NFAA party bloodbath (many of them defenseless and pleading for mercy).
And yet, has this violence for the sake of good changed anything? Penelope thinks not.
“The Purge solves nothing and makes everything worse,” she tells Henry.
“I’m tired of being scared,” she adds defiantly.
Her anger momentarily stops Henry’s murderous rage, but his sadistic streak returns when Miguel stumbles into the tent. It’s not the Penny-Miguel reunion we’d hope for.
Back in the streets, Jane has left the Matron Saints. She couldn’t stomach their brutal tactics even after hearing the story of Marge, who had to bore two children from rapes on separate Purge Nights. But the separation was on good terms, and she was given an emergency number to contact the Saints should she get back into trouble.
This will obviously be a factor in the later episodes, but it was still nice to get a winking confirmation from The Purge twitter page.
It wouldn’t be a concluding scene if we didn’t get some shots of our favorite loner, Joe the Masked Man/Vigilante, looking to save Purge victims. He mercilessly puts down a few Purgers he finds terrorizing civilians. Although his travel route appears random, my money is one him running into Jane before any other main character.
We’re now past the halfway point of this limited series so expect the action and storylines to ramp up.
Episode six airs Tuesday October 9 at 10 p.m. ET.