Concert/Film/TV Reviews

The Purge S1.E8 Recap: The Masks Are Off

All good love triangles must come to an end...

Purge_Lila_firstkill

All good love triangles must come to an end. The weeks of jealously and confusion between Rick, Jenna and Lila culminated in the only way possible on Purge Night – with a chilling murder.

Lila is dead, stabbed from behind (with a ceremonial Purge knife no less) by Jenna to save Rick from being shot. Over the last two episodes, we’ve started to see Lila’s darker side as the prospect of losing Jenna became more real. The three have been caught in a perpetual cycle of trying to reconcile their ideals with a Purge universe that refuses to accept it.

 

Ultimately, Lila’s attempt to kill Rick is less of a descent into a madness and more a revelation of her true nature. We get a flashback scene showing her first Purge kill happened at the tender age of 18. Her NFAA parents treated the event like a Sweet 16 party, complete with dinner guests and elegant attire. The victim was an old man so resigned to his fate that he refused the last meal presented to him.

Pacing issues aside, what the Purge has done well this season is show the irrevocable damage that murder inflicts to one’s psyche. When Lila doesn’t get what she wants, she tries to manipulate the situation in her favor. We see this in how she plays Jenna into believing Rick is power-obsessed and dangerous. To Rick’s face, she first tries the sympathetic façade of being traumatized by her parents murder when in fact she’s probably elated to have the family fortune. When all those maneuvers fail, murder becomes the immediate solution in her mind.

Purge_Lila_angry

The fan reaction to Lila’s departure will be interesting. Her confidence, sex appeal and apparent devotion to Jenna and her unborn child made for compelling TV, especially when we were led to believe Rick was the one hiding an evil spirit within. Not having her involved in the “end-game” feels off, but if she’s truly gone we can’t act like we weren’t warned. The maid turned revolutionary, Catalina, bluntly told Rick and Jenna that Lila was no different from her NFAA family.

Joe Removes the Mask

As if finding out that Lila’s a controlling and murderous abuser weren’t enough, we also discover Joe isn’t the good-hearted vigilante we assumed. The victims he’s been saving all night from Purgers are being rounded up for an unknown purpose. Again, this is a revelation that was hinted at by the fact he’s driving alone all night listening to motivational Purge tapes. No sane person is doing that.

This begs the obvious question – what is Joe’s end-game? Outside of casually telling Miguel at Pete’s Cantina that he’s “just doing his own thing” tonight, we have no idea. We can possibly refer back to Joe’s own flashback episode where we see his life destroyed by a callous factory layoff. Maybe the majority of the captives, excluding Penelope, are white-collar professional he’s seeking revenge on? This could account for his targeted abduction of Rick and Jenna.

Purge_penny

Rescue Mission Resumes

If there’s been a recurring cliché this series, it’s Miguel having to come to his sister’s rescue. Nothing good comes from her being left alone. First, a Purger at the cantina has to be backed down after harassing Penny for her cult attire. Later, she runs off to rescue the rest of the cult members from Good Leader Tavis’s manipulations. She succeeds in riding them of Tavis (thanks to Joe showing up and killing her), but now she’s in Joe’s clutches for God knows what.

With two episodes left, we’re headed to a final showdown pitting Joe against Jane (who we briefly see bound and gagged in Joe’s truck), Rick and Jenna, Miguel and Penny, and possibly Pete the Cop. Then again… who says Joe will be alone?

Random Thoughts

  • The Matron Saints are still out there. Remember that Jane’s colleague Anya likely called them before Joe showed up at David’s penthouse. That means they can’t be far behind Jane’s trail.
  • If Rick and Jenna get out of this, I know they’re looking forward to getting better neighbors.
  • It wouldn’t be The Purge without the NFAA and the rebels. We haven’t seen both a few episodes so they’re due to somehow be involved in the climactic battle.

The Purge returns next Tuesday (October 30) at 10 p.m. ET.

 

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