The Purge Returns With New Faces and New Fears in Season 2

The new season of the horror series explores a central theme of “Violence begets violence,” says executive producer Krystal Houghton Ziv.

by | October 15, 2019 | Comments

This is not a test. This is The Purge announcing the commencement of season 2 on USA Network.

After four films and one television season, franchise fans and moviegoers overall are generally familiar with the fictional concept of the Purge: an annual government-sanctioned 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. Thus far, the franchise has primarily focused on the night of the Purge during which crime reigns free and morals face the ultimate test.

Since the franchise began, fans have been drawn to the idea of the Purge for the challenging internal debate it sparks: How far would you go to protect yourself and your loved ones? Would you take advantage of the violent “holiday” and unleash your inner beast? Is there someone in your life that you would Purge? Would you really go through with it?

Yet many fans have other burning questions about the psychological impact of the Purge and the other 364 days that follow. Can those engaging in the violence snap out of it once the time window closes? What happens when the clock strikes 7:01 a.m. and this debauchery is once again criminal and legally punishable? How do you go back to your normal day-to-day after witnessing such unspeakable acts? These questions form the premise of The Purge’s second season, which explores the fallout of Purge night through four unique but interconnected characters in the ensuing months before the next Purge.

“Violence begets violence is our main theme of the season,” executive producer Krystal Houghton Ziv revealed when Rotten Tomatoes visited The Purge’s set in New Orleans. Ziv explained how the team used findings from studies on the effects that violence, video games, and social media have on the human psyche as a jumping-off point for this season’s new slate of characters. “How would the Purge change people’s brains? What kind of monsters would regular people turn into?”

Although the Purge is a fictional concept set in an alternate America that has been overrun by a totalitarian government, these questions will likely still hit home for viewers in 2019, as mass shootings appear in the news seemingly on a weekly basis. While the Purge franchise can be seen as a cautionary tale of sorts, it nevertheless depicts the very things of which it warns. Once again, the entertainment industry finds itself in a moral gray area when it comes to the depiction and commercialization of violence. Earlier this year, for instance, Universal Pictures dropped their latest film The Hunt, about rich people hunting humans, due to backlash over its controversial premise. The film also comes from Blumhouse Productions, the same studio that produced The Purge films. Like Universal Pictures (and Rotten Tomatoes), USA Network is also a division of NBCUniversal.

So how does The Purge approach the politics of violence in season 2?

(Photo by USA Network)

One of the season’s new characters, Esme Carmona (Paola Núñez), is a top employee at an NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) surveillance center who has dedicated her life to spotting crimes and tracking lawbreakers.

“It’s almost impossible not to relate it to your reality and your society, and how we deal with violence or intolerance. The reason that people Purge is because they don’t have any tolerance,” Núñez said when asked about The Purge’s messaging in season 2. “Does violence create more violence? Definitely.”

(Photo by USA Network)

Joel Allen, another new face, plays clean-cut frat boy Ben, whose traumatic experience on Purge night awakens his own inner demons. Allen claims Ben is “a victim of circumstance” whose struggle with newfound bloodlust most clearly aligns with the season’s “violence begets violence” central message.

“The audience hopefully will say, ‘That could be me. Is that beast inside of me? Could that be awakened?’ That’s why it’s so terrifying, because it feels so feasible,” Allen said.

(Photo by USA Network)

Horror fans can look forward to the visual feast offered by new season’s enhanced special effects and richer cinematography.

“What I love about horror is what I like about rock and roll: It looks like fun! It’s like drama on steroids,” said new cast member Derek Luke, who plays Marcus Moore, a remarried, well-to-do professional whose seemingly picture-perfect life begins to splinter when an assassin breaks into his house on Purge night.

(Photo by USA Network)

“We definitely push the boundaries in season 2,” said Max Martini who plays Ryan Grant, a Robin Hood–type bank robber on Purge night who needs to pay for his mother’s assisted living program. “True to The Purge franchise, it’s very scary, there’s a lot of action, and a ton of tense psychological moments.”

The Purge airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on USA.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

binge cooking Animation Rock Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Walking Dead Awards Tour singing competition Disney+ Disney Plus Awards RT History 45 CBS Hear Us Out Walt Disney Pictures reviews justice league finale Acorn TV Academy Awards The CW History HBO book Premiere Dates Hallmark Interview Tumblr Comic Book Spring TV TCA 2017 Action Creative Arts Emmys game of thrones strong female leads facebook AMC mutant FXX SDCC Universal San Diego Comic-Con DC streaming service Warner Bros. spinoff Reality Competition Tarantino adaptation quibi FX Valentine's Day Biopics Marvel USA Amazon Prime Video National Geographic cats biography crime thriller NBC Marvel Studios Brie Larson Rocketman 2017 E3 serial killer WarnerMedia Star Wars Baby Yoda BET DC Comics Crunchyroll movie latino Thanksgiving Nominations Food Network Superheroe natural history Grammys Arrowverse Masterpiece crime DirecTV Epix Holiday IFC crime drama Trivia reboot Stephen King TruTV spy thriller Avengers technology Super Bowl Calendar GoT Pop disaster Star Trek social media vampires 2016 unscripted nature Mary Poppins Returns Character Guide 24 frames TCA Winter 2020 PBS TCM Podcast Apple Lifetime Pixar Mary Tyler Moore Netflix Christmas movies anthology Teen Dark Horse Comics Esquire dogs Red Carpet dc comics romantic comedy Polls and Games Winners christmas movies GLAAD spider-man Rom-Com witnail Mudbound Paramount Network DC Universe sag awards animated Trophy Talk Britbox Certified Fresh teaser Country Horror Mindy Kaling Sci-Fi asian-american concert ratings cancelled TV shows cults chucky Tomatazos Bravo Paramount Kids & Family Cartoon Network hispanic E! joker miniseries casting Fall TV 2015 talk show Comics on TV USA Network theme song criterion YA New York Comic Con Comedy revenge romance kids 2020 Funimation streaming Disney Nickelodeon FX on Hulu period drama slashers toy story supernatural Shudder cinemax Hulu Cannes MSNBC Fantasy Cosplay Pride Month ghosts renewed TV shows TCA Amazon Studios political drama Song of Ice and Fire festivals YouTube Red hist cars elevated horror television Freeform Vudu The Arrangement anime A24 Rocky Peacock ITV blockbuster best Chernobyl ABC DGA Sundance Now werewolf cancelled richard e. Grant The Witch children's TV RT21 name the review Crackle CBS All Access BBC America science fiction mockumentary directors Year in Review The Purge doctor who Comedy Central movies Netflix American Society of Cinematographers TBS composers A&E spain Pet Sematary Turner Classic Movies screenings Film Festival Spike Christmas franchise TV Land 20th Century Fox canceled what to watch Reality scary movies See It Skip It Adult Swim Writers Guild of America Columbia Pictures Disney streaming service sports tv talk Schedule Video Games Marathons green book cartoon Syfy space cancelled television First Reviews Apple TV Plus parents stand-up comedy OneApp SXSW CMT Sneak Peek Elton John blaxploitation Apple TV+ a nightmare on elm street HBO Max versus south america First Look TV die hard Women's History Month Black Mirror Amazon Prime Television Academy game show CW Seed zero dark thirty breaking bad Western police drama Countdown Disney Channel Binge Guide Oscars Disney Plus Best and Worst transformers award winner Mary poppins Sundance VICE WGN comiccon 2018 golden globes LGBTQ batman President Infographic zombies Mystery 71st Emmy Awards robots Sony Pictures dragons Summer jamie lee curtis Pop TV war child's play discovery Film VH1 mission: impossible Martial Arts Sundance TV Discovery Channel Musical YouTube X-Men Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt NYCC Photos Quiz comic GIFs crossover Holidays ESPN MCU rotten movies we love universal monsters TNT spanish language adventure Lucasfilm cancelled TV series Superheroes Pirates Black History Month Starz FOX 4/20 foreign video Tubi thriller Watching Series LGBT harry potter sitcom Hallmark Christmas movies ABC Family Anna Paquin Box Office Ellie Kemper Heroines Lionsgate Toys Amazon Spectrum Originals Fox News TIFF Family Extras YouTube Premium 007 Shondaland dark halloween El Rey Music Ovation free movies boxoffice Marvel Television psycho TV renewals Travel Channel dceu Turner politics Trailer Ghostbusters canceled TV shows TLC sequel Emmys travel IFC Films dramedy true crime Musicals Lifetime Christmas movies Classic Film Logo BBC 2019 based on movie aliens OWN indie cops CNN Winter TV psychological thriller APB series Emmy Nominations SundanceTV Set visit MTV Captain marvel independent historical drama comedies diversity Election Nat Geo zombie 21st Century Fox stoner Showtime documentary medical drama screen actors guild Opinion Endgame PaleyFest docudrama Drama