The Purge Season 1:Five burning questions begging for answers after a jam-packed episode 1

The premise of 'The Purge' is pretty simple - it's an altered America, where for a chaotic period of 12 hours, criminals and miscreants have absolute freedom to pursue their sins.


                            The Purge Season 1:Five burning questions begging for answers after a jam-packed episode 1

A lack of logic and anarchy reigned supreme in the slow-burning first episode of 'The Purge' that premiered this Tuesday on the USA Network.

At its simplest best, 'What is America', the premiere episode, can be described as an expansion of the hit horror franchise that fans of this genre have grown to love since the very first movie in 2013, which, over time has been followed up with at least three more installments. Although the crux of the narrative remains similar, it would, however, be undermining the potential of the 10-episode series to pass it off as a mere extension of the franchise, meticulously designed by James DeMonaco in the past five years. 

Regardless of the relevance, the premise of 'The Purge' is pretty simple - it's an altered America, where for a chaotic period of 12 hours, criminals and miscreants have absolute freedom to pursue their sins. Whether it is vandalism on the streets or even murder, there's no law and no justice - except for a certain section of Government officials, who in the TV iteration are offered an immunity on this so-called Purge night. 

What follows next is almost in the vein of the movies, with both the purge-loving elitist and the less fortunate ones gearing up for a night of disorder and mayhem -- albeit with one difference. While in the films it takes a maximum of 15 minutes before the bodies start dropping, the USA Network series approaches the event slightly differently, putting the varied characters and their related affairs on a slow simmer until everything boils over -- leaving us with these burning questions from episode 1:

Lili Simmons stars as Lila in 'The Purge' (USA Network)
Lili Simmons stars as Lila in 'The Purge' (USA Network)

1. Who is Lila?

In horror-inducing storylines, usually, marriages are far from a heavenly affair - and Jenna (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Rick's (Colin Woodell) story is no different. The holes in their relationship are apparent from the very moment the couple share plans to spend their first purge night outside the safety of their four walls. And as the night passes, their picture-perfect marriage is eventually put through the scanner, revealing quite a few flaws - one of whom is called Lila (the daughter of the wealthy elitist responsible for the luxurious Purge party.)

Sown in between present-day occurring, flashback scenes soon reveal that there is more to the trio - Jenna, Rick, and Lila - than their NFFA gathering. They share a past, intimate and presumably troublesome, the implication of which will hopefully be unfurled not later than the upcoming second episode. 

What's Jane agenda as she hires a Purge assassin? (USA Network)
What's Jane agenda as she hires a Purge assassin? (USA Network)

2. There's a Purge hitwoman - but who has she been hired for?

On one hand, for most Americans (of course in this dystopian world) there is bedlam brewing and on the other hand, there are members of the shadow economy, for whom the Purge night is like just another surge night. Despite their skewed moral compass, though, it's fascinating the way 'The Purge' deals with the assassin's narrative, who is hired by Jane (Amanda Warren) on this heck of a night and who won't even receive her payment until its time, the doomed hour when killing in legal.

 

While it's evident that the Warren-played successful financial broker is ready to go the extra mile to remove all hindrance, hopefully, it won't take long before the bloodthirst ensues.

The Purge premiered with a jam-packed episode this Tuesday (USA Network)
The Purge premiered with a jam-packed episode this Tuesday (USA Network)

3. After witnessing a visibly terrified Arthur, will the Purge worshipping cult have a change of heart?

One of the most terrifying character arcs in 'The Purge' is that of Penelope (Jessica Garza) - of whom we don't don't much, except for the fact that her brother Miguel (Gabriel Chavarria) is a Marine and on her lookout. As happens with any orderless society, there is a population of believers and non-believers (in this case Purge-approving upper class and the suffering Proletariats). Asides these two, though, there is another sect ready to offer themselves up to be purged upon without any rhyme or reason. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately as the story unfolds), mixed up amongst these Purge worshippers is Penelope, whose mission is clearly not aligned with the rest of her cult members. One stroke of the axe from the Purge participants and a visibly terrified Arthur, and we see what can be called the early signs of a change of heart. But the question is, will this misguided group be able to wrap up their idiosyncrasies before its too late?

All is not well for Rick and Jenna who are attending their first Purge party (USA Network)
All is not well for Rick and Jenna who are attending their first Purge party (USA Network)

4.  What's the agenda of the NFFA?

In the name of American patriotism and societal cleansing, viewers are introduced to a closed, new far-right, mostly white political group called the New Founding Fathers of America. While initially, their mission is not explicitly stated, but as and when the hour of the Purge night approaches, their agenda becomes more and more clear. It's a two-staged policy - first ensuring the absolute lawlessness which makes something as atrocious as the Purge possible and second a lockdown to saveguard their vested interest. 

Given the manner in which the premiere episode unfurled, it's just a matter of time before the stately manor, where the elitist among the elites is shackled up, turns into a freak show. Indeed, the set-up is fictional but the NFFA's functioning, harping on the order of chaos and dissatisfaction, unfailingly offers a bleak vision. After all, there is little that separates the American vision of 'The Purge' from the reality.

It's a night of utter chaos at The Purge and Penelope is not safe (USA Network)
It's a night of utter chaos at The Purge and Penelope is not safe (USA Network)

5. Was there a reference in Penelope's letter to 'The First Purge' movie?

As fans would remember, Gerard McMurray-directed 'The First Purge' was a prequel of sorts, telling the story of the first experimental purge in Staten Island. In a near future scenario, the rule of law was lifted in the selected place, in order to find out if a night of killing and crime could actually make the citizens composed for the remaining 364 days. 

Now, so far the TV series has shown no sign of being connected to the movie franchise. However, a particular reference in Penelope's letter - where she mentions about her parents and "the anniversary of their giving" - makes us wonder if indeed this was a clever allusion to the Staten Island test run?