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

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