TV Review: The Purge: Hail Mary (S2, E09)

If you’re a fan of pro wrestling, then you might’ve seen the Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse, a take on educational puppet shows. “Hail Mary” opens with a similar concept, a perverse education on how adults get to “release” one night a year. We learn that young Ben was a fan, bashing his toy robots against each other. I mean, didn’t everyone do this with their Barbie dolls?

Adult Ben (Joel Allen) wants to forge a bond with his captive, Turner (Matt Shively). He demands Turner kill another housemate or die. Ben leans over Turner’s shoulder, guides his hands as a long blade penetrates the unfortunate housemate. Hey, it’s like that scene from Ghost, with the pottery sculpting!

Outlaw Esme (Paola Nunez) is the Number 1 priority. Joke’s on them—she’s got a cool motorcycle and leather gear. She visits Skye (Tyner Rushing) at an underground network who helps the fugitive to manufacture fake “live” footage of herself to distract the Founding Father creeps. So far, so good.

Good Guy Marcus (Derek Luke) prepares for invasion. The neighborhood invaders show signs of “Purge jitters,” but successfully rip Marcus’s shutters off, then employ firebombs to smoke ‘em out. Clint (Dave Maldonado) deals with these jitters using the barrel of a gun and forces Sam (Jay Ali) to the door. Let’s just call him Firing Line Sam. True to his namesake, he’s pinned under a metal sliding door, then pulled inside.

9 hours left. Marcus doesn’t want to “be like them,” whatever that means. He doctors Sam then opens his door to Clint, pistols erect between both men. He offers to trade Sam for Clint himself. He laughs until the neighbors turn on the old guy, which seems a bit unrealistic, considering how much they invested in Clint’s revenge.

In the night, Ryan (Max Martini) follows a prisoner transport where Tommy (Jonathan Medina) gets to be Purged by millionaires who plan to hunt him down like he’s JCVD. Beforehand, there’s a gun-choose pre-game which Ryan and pals bought into. Coat check your weapons. Ryan’s not aware that the rich dude he robbed a few episodes ago sits at a table, observing. Consider your cover blown, Ryan.

The night lights up with flares, and the hunt is on. Everyone’s on foot, including Tommy and the other prisoners. Soon enough, Ryan and the heist crew are under fire. They take out the vengeful man’s companion, leaving him scrambling. They free Tommy but then Ryan takes a hit and the screen blurs.

7 hours left. Esme and Skye brave the streets, but this quickly goes awry. A roadblock flips Esme’s van. Skye’s not moving, so Esme makes a run for it, sans cool helmet. This allows a sole Purger to recognize the bounty and begin chase.

Back in the neighborhood, Marcus pleads with Clint. “This violence isn’t going to solve anything,” he says. “Purging is supposed to make you feel better,” Clint says, on the verge of tears. There’s a nice moment of tension as no one speaks. Then Clint stabs Michelle (Rochelle Aytes) in the upper torso.

Meanwhile, Ben’s happy to have a Purge partner as he massages Turner’s shoulders then runs to find a mask for him. Turner ain’t down and escapes to the outside.

As the hours dwindle, Esme and Turner try to survive. Marcus gives his lady medical attention. Children dream of their first Purge.

This episode held my attention—it’s Purge Night, so I’d be disappointed if it didn’t. The build-up definitely suffered with too much time to fill. Shave off 2-3 episodes and this season could’ve been stronger. Ben eventually meets a mob of his own creation: numerous men dressed as the Campus Killer. Angry Rich Guy buries Ryan up to his neck (surprise! Making the big guy a little vulnerable actually made him compelling for a moment. It’s the Superman problem). Ryan tries to explain that the hit was “just bad luck.” “So my brother died for nothing?” the man responds.

“Nothing” is at the heart of the Purge concept, and this season’s proved the cycle to be endless—even Marcus couldn’t stop it, as hard as he tried. He unwittingly picks up Ben on the way to the hospital for treatment. In the end, all the characters suffer, and there’s more to come. Happy Purge Night!