The Purge Season 2 Episode 1 Review: This Is Not a Test

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Yes, we got subjected to another round of kill or be killed on Purge night, but the promise of The Purge Season 2 Episode 1 is that with another 364 days to go before the commencement of the next Purge, we're in unfamiliar territory.

It's territory I wished had gotten explored during The Purge Season 1, but it's understandable that the series creators wanted to capitalize on the standard franchise fare.

Through four Purge-related movies and a full season of television, we've never strayed beyond that point.

Hangin' at Headquarters - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

Why it matters is that the world that created The Purge is essential to understanding the annual event.

Why was it created? Just how bad had things become in the fictional reality that in an effort to live calmly for 364 days a year, almost all bets are off for 12 hours of the 365th day of the year?

Deep in Purge Thoughts - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

With the introduction of Esme and the NFFA Purge Headquarters in New Orleans, we're getting the opportunity to understand the world now.

While there was some indication that rules governed the Purge, there was very little by way of explanation into what that meant.

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Purge Night isn't a free-for-all without oversight and a large network of command centers ensures that those who want to play are playing by the rules.

Esme: Without NFFA this is what our world could look like every day.
Operator: You really think so?
Esme: I've seen what people do when they think no one's watching.

Although it wasn't necessary, Esme even pointed out a specific gun and some night vision glasses that are banned annually outside the Purge but perfectly legal within that 12-hour window.

Seek and Destroy - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

Esme also noted which weapons that are so catastrophic they're banned even from active Purge duty.

To release aggression, the order appears to be that you have to be as hands-on in your criminal activity as possible. It's not fair to unload a bomb, but you can raze innocent (and stupid) bystanders by way of machine-gun fire.

Getting blood on your hands during Purge Night is essential to the Purge experience. If you can do it without repercussions or possible regret, then you could be triggered more easily with more pent-up behavior.

Hey, I'm spitballing here, but you get the gist. The Purge is a release valve for 364 days of good behavior. If it were too easy to kill or maim or rob, then those other 364 days wouldn't be as serene as we've been led to believe the Purge has made them.

Robbery in Progress - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

The good news is that we will finally get to see what transpires after the sirens take their final bow.

Checking in with Esme and her comrades proved that not only is she like a one-woman Purge master and that they have cameras all over the stinkin' place, but those cameras can and will be played against the sound of that siren.

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If you're one toe over the line into criminal activity when the siren stops, you're in hot water. The hot water goes so high as to suggest that if you've committed a first-class felony and get caught after the whistle blows, you'll wish you died on Purge Night.

Listen up. After the final sirens, crimes can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Let's get to it, people.

Purge Manager

That's why it was important to see Tommy the idiot who wasn't satisfied with four-foot square blocks of saran-wrapped cash. Not only did he want to waste time raiding safety deposit boxes, when they finally got away with their cash, he boldly strode back into the building to get another bag while the siren was still blowing.

Friend or Foe? - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

Let's be honest. If his compadres severed their connection to him at the end of the night, we can probably guess he's going to be someone we see murdered by the stupidity of their actions.

There wouldn't be an introduction of themes like capital punishment as a result of Purging over the line if we weren't going to see it carried out. What will be interesting to note is whether they even get the benefit of due process.

In this world, it's entirely unexpected, and if they do offer due process, it will be shocking. 

Armed robbery. Call upstairs and initiate liquidation protocol.


It's always the people who, when given a foot, have to go the full mile. Bad apples who cannot survive on stacks of cash for one year shouldn't be considered for another Purge anyway.

Girls on a Purge - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

Of equal interest in this world is how Purge night affects others, such as Delta. Did anyone catch the name of the poor bastard who got dragged out on Purge Night for a treasure hunt photo op?

No matter. We're sure to be discovering it. Delta, as I'll call him now, wanted no part of Purge Night. But to be cool, he went with his fraternity brother into the harshest night of the year.

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After getting subjected to a crap joke about his girlfriend hanging on the suicide bridge, he was further engaged by a woman screaming for help. He was a good guy.

That probably cannot be said anymore. Delta went all Delta Force on his attempted rapist, and with a blade pulled out of a dead woman's abdomen went about turning the rapist into mush under his hands.

Motorcycle Purgers - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

Triggering behavior was a topic of discussion in conjunction with 9-1-1 Season 3 Episode 4 when Maddie got a little too involved with a woman who was getting emotionally abused by her husband.

You never know what will trigger different behaviors until the first pull of that trigger. Delta was triggered to the far end of the violence spectrum when he got accosted, and whether that will awaken an animal instinct in him begging for more is a valid concern.

No matter how his experiences on Purge Night ultimately unfold, Delta has been irrevocably altered. There is no going back to the gentler soul he was before his experience, and for another 364 days, he has to live with it.

I assume that he was well out of danger before the final blow of the siren. Every story can't have the same trajectory, so focusing on how the attack and his subsequent Purging of his attacker affects him seems like the best route.

Defending Her Life - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

Similarly, Michelle and Marcus did what they could to remain Purge-free on that fateful night. But someone infiltrated their security system, and instead of just hearing the melee outside, they became a part of it.

There must be hundreds of systems like theirs around their respective blocks, so I hope issues like used to happen with automatic garage door openers aren't still plaguing the grid.

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Once upon a time, a random stranger from another neighborhood could have had the same setup, which allowed an unattached opener to launch a garage door. So much for security.

With something as monumental as Purge Night, hacking and garage-door type gizmos have to have been eradicated or at least tightened to the degree of the bank security.

Else no one would be safe. If it takes hours to manipulate a system, then at least the homeowners have some chance of protecting themselves. 

What makes Marcus' case different is that he knows he was targeted. Someone had time to watch his moves, so it wasn't a coincidence they had what they needed to get inside of his house.

He's going to have to dig deep into his most trusted friends and family because it sure seems like someone gave him up. That was made even more apparent when the intruder made a beeline to the closet housing Michelle.

Could it be his ex-wife? How would anyone know to go to that closet first thing inside the door? Is Michelle the actual target but Marcus got tracked to find a way inside?

Either way, it will be a fun 364 days for Marcus and Michelle knowing next Purge Night, they will be under attack.

She Needs a Purge Assist - The Purge Season 2 Episode 1

And let's circle around to Esme, the kind-hearted, wise NFFA Purge Command employee.

She let her personal feelings about a woman getting attacked in the street drive her to do something criminal. She not only used the service for personal reasons but stole footage from the night.

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The camera was working normally when, after the siren sounded, she pulled the USB drive from the computer neighboring hers and stuffed it into her pocket. 

There is a level of NFFA members who are impune. It seems doubtful she's reached that level, but with her expertise, she may have on her side some people who can help her if she gets into trouble.

And everything she did spelled trouble with a capital T.

What aspect of the world outside Purge Night interests you?

Did any of the characters strike a chord?

Let me know if you'll be following along with us this season. 

And if you missed the first season, you can watch The Purge online to get your fill of Purge Night madness and mayhem!


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This Is Not a Test Review

Editor Rating: 3.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (14 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The Purge Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

So, what's this gonna be? Like a movie or somethin'?


Esme: Without NFFA this is what our world could look like every day.
Operator: You really think so?
Esme: I've seen what people do when they think no one's watching.