The Purge title image

The end is nigh! Our cold open reveals a broadcast room for NFFA employees to communicate with the outside world during the big night. I suppose that’s going to come into play, isn’t it?

But on to the revolution. Esme (Paola Nunez) breaks into NFFA HQ to obtain the footage of Professor Adams’s murder. She transfers the video to the broadcast room (oh, that was fast) and asks Vivian (Charlotte Schweiger) to sneak her into the room. They dart past a few co-workers without being noticed (weird?), except for one lady, who rings up a superior. Within moments, he stops them on the stairwell, but Esme talks her way past him.

Only the truce doesn’t last. He fires at Vivian, wounding her, and Esme puts him down. Vivian tells Esme to go. “Tell everyone,” she says.

2 hours of the Purge left, and Michelle (Rochelle Aytes) is under the knife, as Marcus (Derek Luke) works to save her life. In another ward, Ben (Joel Allen) comes to, having been “saved” by Marcus. Surprise! He’s bloodthirsty again.

Out on the streets, Ryan (Max Martini) and Tommy (Jonathan Medina) make short work of the Jackals transporting the stolen loot, while also dealing with random Purgers along the way. Ryan places a bit of C4 on the underside of the armored truck, and then boom. With the money truck secured, hi-fives are in order, bro.

Thirty-five minutes left of the Purge. Michelle’s stabilized, but the Campus Killer’s on new hunting grounds (the hospital, obviously). One Doc is already missing, and Marcus follows a blood trail to a pile of bodies. Ben works fast!

With the heist a success, Ryan goes to check on Esme, which means fighting past NFFA security. Much shooting and fisticuffs occur, but I can’t say I was invested. There’s some nice action, but it doesn’t add up to much more than loud gunfire.

Back at the hospital, Ben accuses Marcus of “robbing” Purgers by playing “god,” which is Ben’s role. The killer goes for Marcus, but it doesn’t go well. He’s put to sleep via injection, and dumped out on the streets—let the Purge take care of him, Marcus offers.

As Ryan brawls, Esme joins the fray, shooting a guard dead. She’s worried about Ryan stopping her, and he does do the unexpected, locking himself outside of the radio booth, to keep away more resistance. Esme goes live, declaring the Purge “doesn’t work,” that it fuels violence. The Professor had evidence, thus her assassination. She airs the video of the NFFA killers raiding Adams’s house as Ryan fends off dozens of guards. Until he doesn’t.

“Demand the truth,” Esme says. She’s still on air when they shoot her dead, too. Oh, and the sirens had already rang. Murder is murder, right NFFA?

The jaw-drop of this episode is the surprise appearance by veteran Purge actor, Ethan Hawke, who briefly appears to offer tech support for the broadcast room. I have to wonder if that’s where the budget went, and why the camerawork was so boring (I kid, I kid)?

This season ends with a “RESIST” banner, Esme’s image embroidered on it. In death, she’s a symbol for the survivors of Purge Night, who join up to take down the NFFA. But Ben’s out there, sharpening his blade as are many like him.

So what now—war? If so, then The Purge will probably continue to take itself too seriously. I prefer my satire to have a mix of tones, and I’ve already mentioned a disconnect between the cold opens and the actual show, so this is worrying. This season was tough to get through, and not because it was disturbing. In parts, it was dull and rarely pushed the narrative forward. The heist story wasn’t anything fresh — and I’m all for basic tropes when they’re effectively done, mind you, but I never felt any tension for the big gig or its participants. Even the rival gang turned out to be no challenge. Ben’s evolution was at least a dark path to follow, but the anti-climax of it makes me wonder if that was a failure as well.

Still, we survived another Purge, and just in time for Christmas. Thank you for reading. Now go exercise your right to open presents. I hope no one asked for a “god” mask.