[WARNING – This review/recap contains SPOILERS!]
Remember how I said in my review of the first episode of The Purge: The Series that the show apparently takes place after the third film, Election Year, and how the vote to end The Purge apparently failed? I was wrong. A factoid given in this episode just before the first commercial break (six minutes into the episode, by the way) reveals that the show is set ten years after The First Purge and shortly after the events of the first two Purge films. It would have been nice if this had been established earlier in the series run, but whatever.
“The Urge To Purge” opens with Miguel. Desperate Miguel. A man so desperate to find his sister Penelope that he hands over his ultimate Purge Survival tank to a man called The Cop for information on where his sister is located. However, what Miguel is not aware of is that Penelope has been chosen by the cult leaders to be the next sacrifice to The Purgers, who are dressed as if they were homicidal Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. On top of this, Miguel gets mixed up with a couple of freelance European documentary makers who are trying to expose The Purge for what it really is.
While this goes on, we learn that Miguel and Penelope’s parents were part of the group that was paid to participate in the first Purge by staying in the apartment complex that was Ground Zero for the experiment at the heart of The First Purge. For those who did not see The First Purge, this backstory may seem confusing.
A quick explanation: In the movie The First Purge, residents of Staten Island were paid to stay indoors during the event. A select group was offered more money if they decided to take part in The Purge while having their activity recorded through high-tech camera-laced contact lenses. Over the course of the movie, we learn that both groups were set-up as the targets for mercenaries and hate groups organized by the NFFA in a desperate attempt to make The Purge get government funding. While this does help to further connect the series and the recent prequel film to the franchise, this backstory still comes off as an unnecessary plot device.
Meanwhile, Rick and Jenna, the couple who attended an NFFA party in order to try and raise money for an anti-NFFA charity that builds low income housing find themselves increasingly in over their heads. We learn that Jenna is pregnant – a revelation that makes her former lover Lila react with apparent disgust and heartbreak. They then meet with a highly ranked NFFA member named Joe (just Joe) to negotiate a deal – one that will give Joe one-third of their company and a seat on the Board of Directors. Joe agrees but wants to seal the deal by purging one of his former co-workers right then and there. When Rick and Jenna explain they don’t participate in The Purge, Joe apologizes and then kills the man anyway. This causes Jenna to reconsider the deal for some crazy reason.
We get another brief glimpse of the metal masked man from Episode Two, but his story is still vague. Is he here to purge or to save? Hopefully that question will be answered soon.
Finally, we return to Jane -the company woman who is negotiating a deal with another company in Japan on Purge Night, who also hired a hit on her slimebag boss. The deal goes through, and she begins to have second thoughts on ordering the hit. Before she can cancel it, however something truly surprising happens and I wish the show had more plot twists like this because it was a genuine shock. I also wish we had gotten to see something we hear discussed on the news which is not shown in the episode- a group of Purgers breaking into a zoo and releasing all the animals.
All in all, “The Urge To Purge” is a stronger episode than the second one, but not as strong as the first. Still, I will continue this journey through next week, at least. If nothing else, I still want to see where the stories end up at the end of Purge Night.