TV Series Review: The Purge – Season 2 (2019)

After the success of the first season and the franchise as whole, it’s no surprise that second season of The Purge TV show hit Amazon Prime in late 2019. Lasting 10 episodes long, it once again takes us into the world where once a year, most crimes (including murder) is legal.

It’s a premise that has proven to be incredibly successful with 4 feature films released before it became a TV show. Whatever good will The Purge created with its originality back in 2013, it has since burned to the ground. Simply by rehashing the same idea over and over again, adding more and more politics to the stories and opening up so many plot holes that it’s impossible to not fall into one or two regardless of how much you try to invest in the concept.

You can read all our reviews of the movies and season 1 below:

2013 – The Purge
2014 – The Purge: Anarchy
2016 – The Purge: Election Year
2018 – The First Purge

2018 – The Purge – Season 1

While season 1 of the show wasn’t brilliant, it showed that The Purge could work as a show. Mainly by giving you characters to really get to know and care about. Although it was still wrapped up in the ‘lalalalala – we’re so artsy’ Purge style.

It was enjoyable, which coming from people who had grown to despise the franchise, says a lot. However, to say there was desire for a second season would be a lie. What more could realistically be said? What more inane violence and killing during an increasingly disconnected plot point could happen? It seemed likely that all The Purge – Season 2 would do is purge and to be honest, we’re sick and tired of it.

Craving something different (but not too different)? Well, ladies and gentlemen…

This is not a test, this is your Emergency Broadcast System. Announcing the commencement of the annual purge sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Weapons of class four and lower have been authorized for use during the purge. All other weapons are restricted. Government officials of ranking 10 have been granted immunity and shall not be harmed. Commencing at the siren, any and all crime (including murder) will be legal for 12 continuous hours. Police, fire, and Emergency Medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. When the purge concludes. Blessed be our new founding fathers and America… A nation reborn. May God be with you all.

The Purge – Season 2 is a great TV series. At times, it is near brilliant. A set of episodes that are superior to the films and first season in almost every way. All thanks to its different approach, namely having most of the show happen outside purge time. Yes, The Purge – Season 2 begins in the closing hours of a ‘purge night’ and stays that way up until it’s penultimate episode where the next ‘purge night’ begins.

By that point, several storylines and many characters have been give time to grow and experience things we just never get to see. What happens if you commit a crime after ‘purge night’ is over? Can a psychopath really keep themselves in control until the next purge? What would you do if you knew people were going to try and purge you come the next night?

All this and more is explored in season 2 and it makes for a thrilling journey with only the occasional speed bump to distract.

Similar to season 1 but with a much stronger cast, season 2 chooses a selection of characters, many of who are unrelated and follows them. We have Marcus (Derek Luke) and Michelle Moore (Rochelle Aytes), a married couple who live on a quiet street and stay well out of the way of ‘purge night’. That is until their home is attacked and an unknown man tries to kill Marcus. He is able to survive until the sirens go off but ends up discovering that the man who tried to kill him was responding to an online ‘hit’ that was taken out on him. Desperate to find out who would want him dead, Marcus sets about digging but ends up unearthing more then he could have bargained for.

Elsewhere, a group of bank robbers led by Ryan (Max Martini) get into some trouble with a group of jackals mid-heist. They just about manage to pull off the robbery but one of the team, Tommy (Jonathan Medina) is still on private property when purge night ends. Thus making him a criminal and landing him in prison where he will stay until next purge night. Whereupon he will be released to be hunted and killed.

Ryan and his group have a year to work out how they are going to save Tommy while also completing their biggest and final heist yet.

That story eventually links into the series’ most important and impactful storyline, one that surrounds Esme Carmona (Paola Nuñez). She works for the NFFA overseeing purge night from a control room and ends up discovering something that suggest the NFFA broke its own purge rules.

Will she be able to blow the whistle and what will the consequences be? If the NFFA won’t obey their own rules, why should anyone else?

The final major storyline surrounds the college kid, Ben (Joel Allen) who is forced to defend himself when attacked on purge night. A mild-mannered lad with friends and a loving girlfriend, the event haunts him and he struggles to get past it. His only peace is to purge and waiting a whole year is too much. Donning the mask of his attacker (the famous God mask from the original movie), Ben becomes the campus killer but will he be able to evade the law and keep his desires hidden from his friends and girlfriend?

These are the stories that we follow through season 2 and each one is fascinating in their own way. Not only that, each one asks and answers questions that many will have had since the very first Purge movie.

It’s a excellent group of characters played wonderfully by a excellent group of actors. Derek Luke, Max Martini, Paola Nuñez and Joel Allen are the standouts but no-one puts a foot wrong here. You’ll care about each and everyone of them. Hate some, love others and overall, feel for them as they deal with purge night in their own way.

With a lack of action though, it’s easy to see why some people may be turned off the series. After all it’s called ‘The Purge – Season 2’ and for the most part, it avoids focusing on that. Personally, it’s an inspired decision and is easily the freshest thing that has come from the franchise in a very long time.

Special mention also has to go to the ‘cold openings’ that start each episode. Each one delving a little deeper into the purge lore. Such as us seeing the cold-hearted nature of the company behind the purge masks in a pitch meeting or how the NFFA marketed the purge to young children. Really clever and tongue in cheek stuff.

It’s thrilling, violent, bloody, heart-warming, exciting and action packed when it needs to be. The finale has one of the best gun fight sequences you’ll see outside of a John Wick movie. However, that doesn’t make it infallible. Clearly forced to pad out the length, there are 1-2 episodes where not a lot happens and characters get little static for a little too long. Then there are some of the resolutions to our main stories. One or two, just not wrapping up as satisfyingly as you might hope. Not bad, but perhaps not quite where you wanted the character’s direction to go.

That there are no returning characters from season 1 is quite a surprise too. Although there is cheeky cameo by Ethan Hawke in the finale of season 2.

These aren’t major complaints though, which is such a relief when you consider we are talking about The Purge franchise here. Normally, this is a series where complaints are all you’ll have by the end. Instead, chances are you’ll be taken back by just how enjoyable this season is!




The Purge - Season 2
  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
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