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

Film Festival reboot Brie Larson dark news Britbox Musicals Travel Channel Extras National Geographic Rocketman classics screenings Polls and Games Countdown book 2018 comic Television Academy USA Fox News talk show Marvel Spike archives Amazon Studios golden globes BAFTA revenge politics Western renewed TV shows game of thrones cops canceled all-time Drama Alien Pride Month TV One LGBT festivals Heroines E3 71st Emmy Awards Comedy rt archives canceled TV shows Ellie Kemper Country Winter TV Dark Horse Comics zero dark thirty football FX on Hulu RT21 spanish language independent what to watch Superheroe science fiction Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt disaster FXX medical drama cats Turner YouTube Red Sci-Fi romantic comedy Marathons harry potter Premiere Dates fast and furious Mystery fresh anthology Pet Sematary Hulu psychological thriller Emmys CMT adventure french YA Amazon Prime PlayStation Video Games cancelled TV shows Schedule halloween children's TV Spectrum Originals teaser TV Land Paramount Network El Rey travel Comics on TV Certified Fresh Stephen King Nominations Black History Month rotten movies we love American Society of Cinematographers Walt Disney Pictures composers venice critics Disney Mary poppins toy story Peacock Podcast cinemax jamie lee curtis Chernobyl scorecard indie Summer based on movie boxing franchise cancelled television doctor who The Walking Dead indiana jones hist SundanceTV Awards Tour USA Network Baby Yoda Star Wars TCA 2017 ABC Signature Apple 2015 cancelled TV series festival streaming Oscars jurassic park The Arrangement SXSW Warner Bros. Columbia Pictures The Walt Disney Company diversity Television Critics Association finale Hallmark italian MSNBC Universal Captain marvel President TCM TLC BBC comics APB 4/20 films blaxploitation animated screen actors guild christmas movies The Purge Cartoon Network mutant unscripted LGBTQ 45 Crackle Trophy Talk stand-up comedy Ghostbusters child's play DC Universe die hard Mary Tyler Moore ratings Grammys TCA Winter 2020 Set visit spider-man dragons halloween tv latino rotten Star Trek Christmas ITV Horror crossover WGN Cosplay OWN Thanksgiving joker spanish MTV dogs Nickelodeon singing competition political drama Vudu Lionsgate Amazon foreign rom-coms aliens Tumblr Superheroes Binge Guide Martial Arts twilight Trivia FOX SDCC TV Netflix Christmas movies VH1 ESPN Freeform discovery Emmy Nominations BET Awards OneApp Esquire sequels Quiz Hallmark Christmas movies Holiday Discovery Channel psycho ghosts obituary Lucasfilm a nightmare on elm street theme song pirates of the caribbean Paramount Plus AMC casting Acorn TV Classic Film elevated horror DirecTV Sony Pictures Holidays TruTV natural history cults Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TCA Winners Photos Tarantino cartoon documentaries Academy Awards A&E south america blockbuster Infographic historical drama Hear Us Out hispanic Sundance Now Mudbound Showtime Pop Awards nbcuniversal video Red Carpet Amazon Prime Video Comedy Central social media trailers TBS Musical Animation PaleyFest CW Seed crime thriller Ovation tv talk The CW james bond DGA Toys documentary BET Rom-Com Super Bowl breaking bad 72 Emmy Awards Tomatazos movie award winner Pirates Turner Classic Movies 21st Century Fox stop motion San Diego Comic-Con Paramount dramedy biography Music Creative Arts Emmys Food Network laika chucky Fantasy TCA Awards series spinoff TV renewals Fox Searchlight Adult Swim name the review CBS All Access Rock Disney Plus criterion strong female leads 007 HBO ABC Crunchyroll Shondaland E! The Witch Reality Competition 99% anime Box Office History robots zombies batman Pixar Sneak Peek australia zombie Avengers concert slashers quibi Disney streaming service TIFF facebook hollywood game show Black Mirror Character Guide japanese GIFs TNT comedies Netflix vampires Syfy romance technology CBS Best and Worst See It Skip It boxoffice Lifetime sitcom DC streaming service MCU free movies 2020 Arrowverse thriller werewolf Epix Biopics Election WarnerMedia Mindy Kaling ABC Family golden globe awards video on demand HBO Go sports comiccon New York Comic Con worst police drama Interview NBC Watching Series GLAAD cooking IFC Films asian-american women DC Comics period drama cancelled true crime movies Mary Poppins Returns spy thriller Shudder 2019 war scary movies parents Action Teen BBC America Sundance Reality ID Sundance TV CNN Bravo adaptation miniseries 20th Century Fox Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel Studios binge Year in Review green book crime drama supernatural First Reviews dceu worst movies PBS crime Comic Book Funimation docudrama RT History versus X-Men 2017 black 2016 Disney+ Disney Plus mockumentary serial killer GoT YouTube Starz Anna Paquin satire Film First Look transformers Calendar television Pop TV YouTube Premium ViacomCBS Nat Geo Disney Channel Logo toronto dc directors deadpool nature Rocky witnail 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards HBO Max remakes Women's History Month emmy awards Tubi Family Marvel Television Kids & Family Spring TV Writers Guild of America Opinion kids The Academy sag awards space Fall TV Elton John comic books richard e. Grant IFC reviews superhero Valentine's Day A24 NYCC Song of Ice and Fire mission: impossible Apple TV+ universal monsters best Trailer BBC One cars 24 frames Endgame Cannes nfl justice league spain VOD FX sequel VICE stoner Masterpiece Apple TV Plus