Ben’s Jekyll & Hyde-like mask of sanity finally slipped to the point of no return on The Purge’s latest chapter, stealing away those he loves most.
This recap contains spoilers for The Purge Season 2 Episode 7 (“Should I Stay or Should I Go”).
Problems don’t go away just because you ignore them, and pretend they don’t exist… They just get bigger, until mild symptoms turn into irreversible damage. Tonight’s The Purge showed Ben’s wickedness has manifested itself past the reach of just the ‘God’ mask. They are one and the same now. Yet, Ben longs for someone who will understand him for what he has become. Twice now, Ben has spoken truth and openly confessed to his off-Purge crimes… Yet, he finds himself rejected over and over again by those he cares about the most. Most recently his girlfriend Kelen Stewart [Danika Yarosh] and now deceased Purging pal back at the dorm.
Thus, Ben continues to attempt to coverup tracks of a trail with no end. The evidence is piling up every day, festering like garbage in heat. However, Ben manages to evade his fate repedititley through an unseen force, one seemingly belonging to the NFFA. The New Founding Fathers covering up their own ‘glitches’ in the system so-to-speak from causing mass disruption and questioning. Though previously, Ben has owned no consequences for his unsanctioned Purging, this time… It’s stolen the person he loved the most. Forever.
Ben’s spiral into madness begins
It all started when Ben [Joel Allen] woke up without Kelen by his side, something was off, she always woke up after him. His luggage was suspicious, it appeared to not be the way he left it. Ben then realized Kelen had found the secret compartment he had left the ‘God’ mask in. She knew he was behind all the Purging going on back at their campus. It was all over. He rushed downstairs trying to maintain his composure, discovering Kelen was looking to Uber home without his knowledge. Ben offered to take her back himself, and Kelen found herself at the mercy of good manners.
During the car ride, Ben told Kelen he knew she saw the mask. Ben admitted to spiraling out of control after the farmer incident, how it felt good. He tried to get Kelen to see it his way but something seemed disingenuous about her reaction. Though Ben’s confession, only arrived because he thought Kelen chose not to tell police because she cared about him still.
Ben offered his knife to her, so she would feel protected and safe. The pair stopped for gas, and Kelen slipped the knife back in Ben’s luggage. Kelen went to the bathroom to write a handwritten note that she was being kidnapped, as Ben had taken her phone just prior to make a call home. Kelen then tried to act like nothing had happened back in the car, speaking of the future, vacations and puppies. Ben however, was unresponsive before he diverted from the route, stopped the car and slammed the bathroom note on the car dashboard.
Ben again asked she take his knife, this time asking Kelen cut him on the wrist or arm, to show her she doesn’t need to be scared. Instead after hesitating, Kelen stabbed Ben’s thigh and ran off. Ben, chased her on one leg crying, pleading for her to come back. Instead Kelen was brutally hit by a pickup truck on the highway as she escaped. Ben rushed to the scene and cried real tears before deciding to finish the job. Another impromptu Purge to cover his tracks…
Esme Carmona is Public Enemy #1
Esme’s NFFA boss Curtis has put out the order on her and the whole city knows it. Ryan Grant gave her a blonde wig to wear tonight to mask her identity from authorities as presumably, The Purge whistleblower. Everything was going to plan at first before Ryan’s mother who suffers from alzheimers left her facility and began wandering around a park aimlessly. Ryan decided on the spot to divert from their mission and go pick up his mother, however, he would have to give the local cops his real Driver’s License.
Esme would make herself scarce as the officers assisted the retired vet Grant back to his car along with his mother. She would later reunite with Grant back at his place, avoiding a close call… But not before discovering a car for sale poster with a phone number meant for her on it.
Vivian Ross a friend to Esme? Or playing her for a mark?
Vivian left a hint Esme picked up on, and seems to be on her side… Asking Esme who she can trust on the phone, placing doubt on Curtis’ leadership. However, maybe Vivian is just playing Esme for a mark and leading her on to a trap. Time will tell If Vivian Ross [Charlotte Schweiger] is friend or foe.
Ryan Grant lets Esme stay even after learning truth
Ryan Grant [Max Martini] was disgusted with Esme [Paola Nuñez] when he learned she was the one behind his best friend Tommy Ortiz [Jonathan Medina] being pinched during the robbery. Grant made it clear, he doesn’t care where she goes but she can’t stay here. However, Grant soon had a change of heart after Esme spoke of destroying the system she was a part of. How there’s just another cog in her place, pinching the next Tommy and placing him under arrest. Grant told her to wait, and soon afterwards was kissing her unexpectedly.
There’s more than one bounty on Marcus Moore
Marcus’ past mistakes on the job have been revealed as the cause of his bounty. The leader behind the bounty lost his wife in the ER due to Marcus’ making a fatally wrong judgement. There is no reasoning with this kind of suffering, particularly because Marcus did not even recognize the man when he moved into the neighborhood. Marcus Moore [Derek Luke] didn’t even bother showing his face and sent someone else to the proverbial wolves after the woman passed. Who’s said to have been a pillar of community. However, Marcus was given an option. Leave forever at 12 a.m. sharp and the bounty is off.
Marcus and Michelle Moore [Rochelle Aytes] obliged until they discovered Marcus’ son Darren Moore [Denzel Whitaker] couldn’t cross state lines. They went back and Marcus decided running was never the answer. They would just have to keep running. There would also be another Purge-hungry neighbor somewhere out there.
Ben spots a familiar mask in The Merrymaker store window
While Ben strolled through town, introspective and soul searching after the loss of girlfriend Kelen Stewart… There was a different kind of introspection going on, one featuring financial bottom lines. Despite selling a replica of Ben’s Purge mask being recognized as bad taste during an office meeting, the predicated number of sales was gangbusters. As such, the mask went into production immediately.
Ben would spot the lookalike limited edition replica of his ‘God’ mask in The Merrymaker Purge supply store window. On sale now! A smile would come to Ben’s face. The likelihood of getting caught for Purging off hours just went down drastically, if not almost entirely. Not to mention, Ben is being recognized in a way his confessions did not yield him…
Catch more of The Natural Aristocrat’s coverage of USA Network’s The Purge in The Purge category page.
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 bountyTHE 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 AuctionTHE 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 HuntTHE 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 maskTHE 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 rescuedTHE 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 aliveTHE 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!
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.
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).
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’
Catch more of The Natural Aristocrat’s coverage of USA Network’s The Purge in The Purge category page.