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THE PURGE -- "House of Mirrors" Episode 205 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chelle Ramos as Sara Williams, Max Martini as Ryan Grant -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network) THE PURGE -- "House of Mirrors" Episode 205 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chelle Ramos as Sara Williams, Max Martini as Ryan Grant -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

The Purge

The Purge Season 2 Episode 5 Review: House of Mirrors is Action-packed

Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network

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The Purge’s latest episode “House of Mirrors” opened strong off the bat tonight and kept the crescendo of madness-filled rage amplified from start to finish. Ben’s dorm scene, surreal in modern times.

This review contains spoilers for USA Network’s The Purge Season 2 Episode 5.

The Purge delievered in spades tonight, not letting the foot of the gas for a single minute of running time. An entertaining heist gone wrong leading to a good old fashioned Western standoff combined with a barrage of revelations and insanity. From ‘Esme’ Esméralda locking her father out to consciously perish during one Purge night… To Ben viciously stabbing his new pal on impulse after revealing he was behind the murder of a certain farmer on the news. The cinematography work of Ben rushing back into a University dorm after his psychotic actions really left you with a strange, unexplainable feeling.

The whole moment when Ben discovered his Purging friend was not exactly down with ‘Purging’ in other times was monumentally tense and well done. Ben went into pure fight or flight mode instantly and chose both. The only person he thought understood the new him, became a liability instantly.

I interviewed actress Paola Nuñez recently and she mentioned Esme’s sister having a lot to do with Esme joining the NFFA. Tonight it was revealed what Nuñez meant but it also cast Esme as something else entirely. She’s not just a pure hearted individual looking out for her sister. Despite saving her sister from her father’s drinking… The way Esme locked the door on him on Purge night as he pleaded with her to let him in was pure savagery. She listened as a gang murdered her father, and tears or not, did nothing to rescue him. No longer can Esme be looked at as some kind of sheep in wolf’s (NFFA) clothing.

The Purge Starts off with a big time opening scene

THE PURGE -- "House of Mirrors" Episode 205 -- Pictured: Purge Tourists -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

THE PURGE — “House of Mirrors” Episode 205 — Pictured: Purge Tourists — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

The Purge opened strong tonight and with a fresh concept, Purge tourism. An as of yet, unexplored intriguing part of the franchise. Purge Pamphlets were given out presumably in a Brazil travel office by the Portuguese spoken. One sister seemed more keen on the idea than the other, playing the reluctant ‘I don’t want to Purge sister.’ Then suddenly, when the Purge-happy sister left the room briefly, the other sister inquired about refunds for a return ticket that wouldn’t be used… If you get the drift!

Credit to the show for going the extra mile on the Ivory Road concept… One that actually did exist in real life once upon a time for those unaware. It’s utilization by Marcus with The Purge’s open market has been exceptionally fascinating.

Ominous missteps

THE PURGE -- "House of Mirrors" Episode 205 -- Pictured: Max Martini as Ryan Grant -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

THE PURGE — “House of Mirrors” Episode 205 — Pictured: Max Martini as Ryan Grant — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Hints of failure for Ryan’s heist first became apparent when Tommy’s insider was living up to his bad reputation. Bringing a weapon with approval, temporarily distracting Ryan and Sara. The insider would later meet his brutal end, after getting too greedy.

Tense Questioning

THE PURGE -- "House of Mirrors" Episode 205 -- Pictured: Jaren Mitchell as Doug Vargas -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

THE PURGE — “House of Mirrors” Episode 205 — Pictured: Jaren Mitchell as Doug Vargas — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Doug Vargas being questioned for keeping his car running felt notably tense. Viewers honestly didn’t know if he was about to be beat up by security or worse… Or let go, scot free. It could have gone either way.

Heist’s failure leads to making a deal with the devil

THE PURGE -- "House of Mirrors" Episode 205 -- Pictured: Chelle Ramos as Sara Williams -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

THE PURGE — “House of Mirrors” Episode 205 — Pictured: Chelle Ramos as Sara Williams — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

One of the best parts of tonight’s episode was Ryan trying to sneak a peek at who had just entered the house… Only for the door to creek and alert the armed residents of their existence. It’s not too often TV Shows still pay attention to audio work in such a detailed, precise manner and it was great to see her. Ryan’s pained face at the audible noise said it all.

It was then Ryan Grant realized the whole plan had gone down the drain. He called his last ace… A former crooked police chief/boss he once quit on based over principle. Breaking a deal for a cut of his planned grand larceny. However, now Ryan’s back to informing his old boss of every move he takes. Trapped in freedom.

The Purge Season 2 Episode 5 Review:
8.1 Score

Be sure to check out a recap of last week’s Purge episode and catch up on the series!

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The Purge

The Purge 209 recap: Ben Gardner asks Turner to Purge, Esme hunted

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THE PURGE -- "Hail Mary" Episode 209 -- Pictured: Paola Nunez as Esme Carmona -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)
Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network

All Ben Gardner ever wanted is someone to join him rather than judge his Purging tendencies, Esme Carmona is hunted for the NFFA’s lucrative bounty on her head, and Tommy Ortiz’ freedom brigade arrives… But not without mishap.

This recap contains spoilers for The Purge Season 2 Episode 9 (“Hail Mary”).

Tonight’s The Purge began with a captivating intro of a young Ben played by Carson Minniear watching an NFFA targeted children’s show, titled Ms. Lorelei’s Corner. Viewers were unaware it was Ben watching the series at first… It simply appeared to be a youngster mesmerized by the female host Ms. Lorelei [Mary K. DeVault], who was promoting The Purge to impressionable eyes on-screen. “The Purge allows grownups to deal with their bad feelings to do whatever they want!”

A blonde girl named Zoe asked the host “Can they kill people?” which brought a beaming, smiling Ms. Lorelei to say “Yeesssssss!” The youngster watching the series on TV would soon start bashing one toy with the other, savagely… Before his mother would walk in and say “Ben, it’s time for lunch honey! What are you watching?” Young Ben would then be juxtaposed/transform to current Ben before The Purge’s memorable theme song/intro played.

Thus, it was revealed that Ben always had violent tendencies inside of him, even back in his youth. The Purge allowed those feelings to surface, when they might have remained dormant otherwise. Quite a fascinating chicken or egg scenario when it comes down if people are born to Purge or become Purgers.

Ben forces Turner to make a choice, Purge or be Purged

In a stunner of a scene, Ben forced Turner to Purge his first victim tonight by taping what appeared to be a machete to Turner’s hands and pushing down on his arms to finish it. Ben had promised to personally Purge Turner if he refused to take out their frat house buddy who was strapped to the dinning table. Turner cried as their friend died while Ben Gardner looked to be going through some kind of orgasmic-like trance.

Ben was thrilled, proud of Turner for ‘popping his Purge cherry’ and wanted him to join on his hunt. Turner hesitantly played along, asking for a mask. Ben grinned from ear to ear as he found a dark mask before realizing Turner had deceived him and ran off. Gardner would chase Turner before a confrontation with a gang all donning replicas of his own God Mask.

He attempted to appeal to the gang, saying he was one of them, showing the mask but to no avail. Ben managed to take out a would-be Purger behind him, much to a sigh of relief honestly to fans of the show. As Ben Gardner [Joel Allen] has been a standout character all season long, you just don’t want his story to end.

Just like deceased former pal Andy Tran and girlfriend Kelen Stewart, Ben desperately longs to be accepted rather than shunned for his recreational Purging. But he is rejected over and over again. Whether it be Turner [Matt Shively] or the group wearing his mask.

Clint take ‘revenge’ after accepting a peace offering

Clint would arrive with the neighborhood ‘watch’ to personally Purge Marcus Moore by his own hand. A neighborhood that would soon turn on him when they realized they might suffer losses themselves for Clint. A momentary hostage Sam Tucker [Jay Ali] was freed in a trade for an unarmed Clint to the Moore household. Marcus [Derek Luke] however had no intention of Purging Clint but rather come to a peaceful resolution.

It appeared Clint forgave Marcus… Until he stabbed Michelle Moore when her back was turned! Clint believed by taking Michelle’s life, they would be even. Blood for blood. The love of his life was lost so should Marcus. Marcus would plead with the neighborhood to allow him and his wife Michelle [Rochelle Aytes] to go to a hospital. They obliged, accepting that Marcus had freed Sam and didn’t Purge Clint despite it being his right.

During the rush over, they would accidentally hit a sprinting Ben Gardner! Marcus and his friend would pick him up, not knowing the fate that will likely befall them once Ben is healthy once again.

Esme Carmona hunted for NFFA’s massive bounty

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: (l-r) Tyner Rushing as Skye, Paola Nunez as Esme Carmona — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

$500,000 is the price the NFFA laid on Esme Carmona’s head, #1 on their watchlist. Everything seemed to be going Esme’s way early on, hackers feeding false feeds of Esme showing her face on camera… Much to the suspicion of her boss but they still took the bait. It appeared like Esme was in the clear, until her car was hit during Purge chaos and rolled over. The shooter, a Friday the 13th looking Jason / Halloween Michael Myers-like hybrid spotted her. Recognizing the bounty on his phone. He would pursue Esme and for the first time, it looked like all might be lost for the former NFFA surveillance employee.

Esme barely edged out her pursuer, locking the door mechanically while shutting off the NFFA’s feed for 60 seconds to evade detection. Literally, barely making it out of the situation alive. The pursuer grew bored of being unable to open the door and appeared to leave the premises..

Tommy Ortiz: ‘We have to stay together to survive’

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: (l-r) Damien D. Smith as Andre, Billy Blair as Prisoner #3, Jonathan Medina as Tommy Ortiz, Kyler Porche as Young Prisoner — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Tommy Ortiz believed his best friend Ryan Grant and crew would not let him down. He promised his fellow prisoners if they stick together they can survive whatever is coming… But if they separate it’s over. The prisoners surprisingly had faith in Tommy and remained as one.

Ryan Grant buys in to Purge Hunt Auction

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: (l-r) Shelley Calene-Black as Joanne Garner, Max Martini as Ryan Grant — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Ryan Grant bought his crew entry into the Daughters of the NFFA special hunt. The group was fully confident freeing Tommy Ortiz would be a cinch as long as they laid low and didn’t attract attention to themselves. They had the firepower on their side in leaps and bounds…

Modern weapons traded for ancestral ones as part of Hunt

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: NFFA Members — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Then the news came, the Daughters of the NFFA dictated that this ceremonial hunt would use classic weaponry like their ancestors. All would still be okay in theory, as long as they freed Tommy before anyone grew the wiser that they were on the prisoners’ side.

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: Chelle Ramos as Sara Williams — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

No anonymity in Purging without a mask

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: NFFA Members — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

However, one slighted Purger had met them before. Silas Barker [J.D. Evermore]… The man whose house they’d attempt to thieve. He would take shots at Ryan and the group. Ryan fired back, hitting Silas’ brother down dead. There was no going back for Silas now. He would get vengeance in any way possible.

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: (l-r) Max Martini as Ryan Grant, Chelle Ramos as Sara Williams– (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Tommy Ortiz and prisoners rescued

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: (l-r) Pictured: (l-r) Damien D. Smith as Andre, Billy Blair as Prisoner #3, Jonathan Medina as Tommy Ortiz, Kyler Porche as Young Prisoner — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Ryan [Max Martini] would manage to free Tommy Ortiz [Jonathan Medina] and the other prisoners as they dispersed but was shot with a dart by Silas Barker. He passed out…

Ryan Grant buried alive

THE PURGE — “Hail Mary” Episode 209 — Pictured: Max Martini as Ryan Grant — (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)

Only for Silas to bury Ryan alive in a horrifying scene where he told him to “Eat Dirt” before piling pounds and pounds of dirt right on his face. Tommy Ortiz would manage to save the day, realizing what happened in haste after shooting Silas dead. Ryan Grant was not breathing and for a second it appeared he really had passed on but a couple of hits on his chest from Tommy brought him back to life. Tommy joked he was the one doing the rescuing after all…

Check out The Natural Aristocrat’s Interview with Joel Allen on Ben Gardner, including Ben’s connection to ‘The God Mask’ and the intense scenes in season 2 of The Purge!

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Entertainment News

Ethan Hawke to reprise James Sandin on The Purge Season 2 Finale

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Ethan Hawke as James Sandin in USA Network's The Purge Season 2 Finale "7:01 AM" - Photo Credit: USA Network
Photo Credit: USA Network

The Purge’s original film lead Ethan Hawke will return on USA Network’s Season 2 Finale episode “7:01 AM” to reprise his character James Sandin.

Guess who’s back? Major, breaking news for fans of The Purge that have been following the James DeMonaco created universe since its inception. Ethan Hawke is returning for next week’s Purge Season 2 Finale to reprise his role as James Sandin!

USA Network has confirmed to The Natural Aristocrat that James Sandin will be prominently featured in the Season 2 Finale’s cold open. Which will flash back “one week before the first national Purge and the first time his high-tech security system is tested.” Fans are going to party like it’s 2013 again when the security system salesman we first became acquainted with is finally back on the scene.

Is only a one-shot intro potentially in store for James Sandin then? Similar to the iconic voice of The Purge radio show, Bobby Sheridan [Dermot Mulroney], getting an on-screen guest spot recently… Will Sandin interact with series breakout Ben Gardner [Joel Allen] in some fashion?

Season 1’s finale managed to tie up all loose ends with a pretty red bow as all roads led to Joe [Lee Tergesen]. Is there more to the James Sandin connection than meets the eye? Either way, it’s incredible news to have The Purge return to its roots and pull an absolute top notch actor back into the fold.

USA Network’s The Purge Executive Producers/Writers James Roland and Krystal Houghton Ziv have mentioned being thrilled to receive the okay from DeMonaco to use ‘The God Mask’ on the series… And now the franchise original James Sandin is back! Never say never in the entertainment industry. Certainly a good bet that cold open will be a highly memorable for every Purge fan, new and old.

The Purge Season 2 Finale titled “7:01 AM” airs on Tuesday, December 17 at 9 pm ET / 8 pm Central on USA Network as “Purge night rages on and Esme, Ryan, Marcus and Ben fight for their lives and their loved ones.”

Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with Joel Allen on Ben Gardner’s connection to ‘The God Mask’, the intense scenes on The Purge’s Season 2 and much more!

Want to watch tonight’s latest The Purge episode online? No problem! Here’s how to stream The Purge Season 2 Episode 9 “Hail Mary” tonight at 9 pm ET / 8 pm Central.

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Interviews

Joel Allen talks The Purge’s Ben Gardner, Intense Scenes (Interview)

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THE PURGE -- "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" Episode 207 -- Pictured: Joel Allen as Ben -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)
Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani / USA Network

Joel Allen discussed Ben Gardner’s connection to The Purge’s memorable God Mask, its symbolism, and Season 2’s intense scenes at NYCC 2019.

There is no question late into season 2 of The Purge, that Ben Gardner and The God Mask have merged into one. No longer Jekyll and Hyde, Ben Gardner is still wearing the mask even when he isn’t. During a one-on-one exclusive interview back at New York Comic Con 2019, just a shade under two weeks prior to The Purge Season 2 Premiere… Joel Allen discussed what The God Mask meant to him as both a character and as an actor, the amped up intensity of Ben’s scenes, and what’s it like shooting them on-set.

Watch the full interview with Joel Allen above or read the transcript below:

Nir Regev: What does The God Mask mean to you as both an actor and as a character?

Joel Allen: I mean you can just dive right into that symbolism and just lean into that hard. The God Complex that comes with it. So, for the character it means a ton and for me as an actor, it’s like a gift from the writers.

During the The Purge Season 2 premiere, when the original owner of The God Mask gets on top of Ben… Was that supposed to be an attempted sexual assault? He did say ‘he wasn’t really going to do anything’ once Ben got the upper-hand with the knife. Yet, it definitely felt like more than just intimidation was happening there.

I mean, my fear in that moment was pretty genuine because it was very vague in the script. And it wasn’t till we showed up on the day to shoot it, that it was apparent, that oh… This is a sexual assault situation! So yeah, it was pretty intense for me and scary. But that’s what’s going on, yeah. Which is something that I haven’t really dove into much, in this series at all, or the franchise. So, it’s kind of a unique moment.

Is that the first time you’ve done something like that in your acting career? Having to be vulnerable to that kind of level?

Yeah, and I’m a big guy as you can see. So, it was difficult to find… But I have been on the other side of that as an actor in some projects. So, it was nice to be on the other side. Not that I would want that to happen ever to me but you know to get that flip of perspective for sure.

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

When somebody survives an attempted Purge… Do you feel there’s some kind of attraction to the Purger’s power that on display?

With my character definitely, you get a sense of that. It’s teased that perhaps there is a complete shift in behavior and personality. But I don’t know through Marcus’ character if there is that… Right? So, you get to see two different trajectories for different purposes but obviously within the first episode you see that, you know, it wasn’t just an attempt that it led to…

How much did Ben hate his friend Turner after he left him there after the suicide bridge scene?

Oh it was terrible! I mean, I pretty much hate him throughout the show because of that. As you can imagine… Being devastated like that. Swell guy, great actor [Matt Shively], really nice person… But yeah, you’ve really got to hate him! You have to… It’s the job! (laughs)

That stabbing scene in the premiere… That was brutal! Did you shoot that all in one take?

No, no. That’s very difficult because you know this is my first big franchise, big TV thing. So the machinery of it is not necessarily conducive to acting. But you have to really kind of stay in it because there’s like you know, you’d stab a few times and then spray me with blood. Then stab a few times, then spray again, and just like take after take after take.

You’re doing different angles and I had to be shirtless throughout the day, being doused in the blood. But then cleaned up to have less blood for when you reshoot the scene.

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

What is it like having to stay in that mode?

Miserable! Oh, It’s awful! But you learn a lot. But I’m not missing those days when I had my body covered in this cold blood. And it was really dirty, this shed we were in. So, not the most enjoyable thing to do.

The first season cast didn’t make it to The Purge Season 2. Would you like to be in a potential The Purge Season 3? Not in the sense that your character Ben lives or dies this season. Ben Gardner could always still make a cameo in a flashback, even should something happen to him this season. More, do you think they’re going to keep resetting the The Purge’s cast every season?

Right, I won’t tell you what happens to my character but… If it were possible to bring me back, yeah, I had the time of my life shooting this show! Everybody in the cast and crew is awesome and we tell a really compelling story. So if they were able to tell another compelling story in another season, yeah I’d be back! For sure!

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

I’m just curious, do you wear glasses on this season ever?

No, I don’t wear glasses on the show. I wear my contacts on the series.

A lot of actors say if they have some kind of makeup for an injury on their face and they look in the mirror it effects the way they act. Do you feel whether you have glasses on or not when you’re performing, that it affects your portrayal at all?

Yeah, yeah of course! Everything has to be really specific, physically, at least if you want to believe the world you’re living in. So, definitely yeah! I try to take into consideration all the things, the posture, and the way they talk, and hold themselves. The physical things you take on.

You’re like The Purge Clark Kent, you take off the glasses and go Purging!

Yeah, exactly! (laughs) You recognize me? (takes off glasses, looks straight into the camera).

Thanks Joel!

Thank you!

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

Missed last week’s episode of The Purge? Catch up with The Purge Recap of ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’

Be sure to watch my interviews with The Purge’s Paola Nuñez, Rochelle Aytes, James Roland and Krystal Houghton Ziv!

Catch more of The Natural Aristocrat’s coverage of USA Network’s The Purge in The Purge category page.

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