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Series / Pure

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"God makes the rules. Only God. Remember that."
Pure is a 2017 CBC television drama created by Michael Amo. After cancellation by CBC, it was picked up by WGN, with a second season airing in 2019.

Noah Funk is a Mennonite who has just been chosen as Pastor of the Mennonite colony outside the town of Antioch, Ontario. However, an attempt to save a boy who knows too much and betray those who would harm the child backfires, and the head of the notorious "Menno Mob", Eli Voss, gives him An Offer He Can't Refuse: join the Mob or his family dies. Seeking to reach a compromise between his beliefs with the lives of his family, Noah accepts the offer, while secretly conspiring to destroy the Mob from the inside. Meanwhile, police detective Bronco Novak is also investigating the Mob for the murders at the beginning of the series, and is shocked to learn that his old high-school rival, Noah, has apparently turned to organized crime.


This series has examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Noah, until Eli forces him to kill him in the season one finale, leading to a Heroic BSoD.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: It's clear that Novak is not the best policeman who ever lived. In the first episode alone, he's seen getting his ID and badge stolen after spending the night with a prostitute, accidentally tampering with evidence during a crime scene, stealing a knife he found while busting Gerry Epp's house and taking it home with him, and even smart-mouthing Da Chief (who reveals to the audience that's he's already on probation watch). That being said, he does make the connection between the Mennonites and the burned car, and also finds the stash of cocaine in the wreckage.
  • The Big Guy: Joey Epps.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The dialog in the show is a mixture of English and Low German, which is mostly spoken in church with the occasional phrase thrown in during casual conversation.
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  • Canadian Brevity: The first season is only six episodes long.
  • The Cartel: The Menno Mob has connections with the Mexican trug trade, as well as a go-between in El Paso, Texas.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The prostitute who steals Novak's ID and badge in "Ordination" reappears in "The Singing" and turns out to be a former Mennonite, who reluctantly helps Novak with translating Noah's phone call.
  • The Chessmaster: Anna Funk's master manipulation of Joey Epp. She's also the one who fixes the problem of Chainsaw.
  • Contrived Coincidence: A crucial scene from "The Singing" has Novak placing his surveillance equipment on Noah's buggy, Noah buying the burner phones for the Mob, and Tina and Ben having their date in the town happening at exactly the same time and place. While it could be argued that, since Antioch is a small town, the odds that all of these characters would be together at the same time is decent, it still stretches credibility; to make matters worse, much of the show's plot wouldn't make any sense if this hadn't happened.
  • Creepy Child: Ezekiel, who doesn't say much other than a cryptic comment about the dead bodies hidden in the Funk's barn that he's not supposed to know about.
  • Cultural Stereotypes: The pilot, "Ordination", has a few scenes establishing the differences between Canadian Mennonites and your stereotypical Amish (for instance, the Mennonites will use cars if they're painted completely black and, while electricity is at a bare minimum, houses have modern but homely interiors).
  • Da Chief: Police Chief Kingsley. Bonus points for being a Sassy Black Woman.
  • Dirty Cop: Chief Kingsey.
  • Downer Ending: Season one's ending is pretty sad.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Justified by the small-town setting. Noah and Bronco were old high-school rivals and Bronco had a brief crush on Anna; and in the present day, Bronco's son Ben befriends Noah's daughter Tina.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Abel (the drug addict) and Noah (the newly elected preacher) Funk, at least when the series begins. Noah's children Tina and Issac could also apply.
  • Forced to Watch: Noah watches Eli Voss shoot Abel.
  • Frame-Up: Anna is framed by Hector Estrada to make it look like she's the boss of the drug operation. Thankfully, it's uncovered by Abel who turns over the evidence for the police.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: In "Ordination", Noah knows that Gerry Epp is involved with the Menno Mob, but plants drugs under his couch anyway then tips off Novak about the "discovery". While the police don't suspect a thing, the Mob catches on right away and react accordingly.
  • Heroic BSoD: Noah has one after killing Eli Voss.
  • I Have Your Wife: The cartel leader coerces Anna into running operations for him in Canada, holding Isaak prisoner to insure she'll obey.
  • Ironic Name: The biblical Noah received a Mission from God to keep his family (and animals) safe while God cleansed the world of evil with a massive, unsubtle flood. Noah Funk is discreetly cleansing evil himself in God's name, because said evil is putting his own family in danger.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: How Novak gets Jerry Epp to confess that Noah has replaced him as the Mennonites' main drug supplier.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Strangely averted. Rural Mennonites are known for having big families, but the two families seen here (Noah Funk's and Gerry Epps') have only two kids a piece, and there aren't many/ any small children or babies shown in the church scenes. Noah also makes it sound like Abel is his only sibling in the story he tells Eli Voss. Played straight with Eli, who had ten children (but all of them died when his wagon was hit by a truck).
  • Mistaken for Gay: Noah and Abel are repeatedly taken for a gay couple by the ex-Mennonites they meet, who assume this is the reason they've left the colony, despite the latter saying they're really brothers.
  • Nay-Theist: Eli Voss expresses hatred of God, and contempt for the Mennonites' teachings. This appears to be a result of his family being killed after a truck hit their buggy. As a result, he lost faith and became a criminal.
  • Nice Guy: Seemingly Issac Funk's only character trait.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: After he gets Gerry Epps arrested, Eli Voss gives one to Noah: become the boss for the Canadian Mennonites, or else. The second season has Anna receive one too, but from Voss's partner in the cartel he ran the cocaine for. We earlier see one Mexican police officer refusing a similar offer, and dying for it.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Eli Voss lost his ten children in an accident. This seemingly led to him losing faith in the Mennonite religion and becoming a criminal.
  • Playing Gertrude: Anna Funk is played by Alex Paxton-Beesley, who's only nine years older than Dylan Everett and Jessica Clement, who play her children.
  • Poirot Speak: Mennonite characters (even those who've left the community like Loretta Dunkel) will use Low German slang even when speaking in English. The most obvious example is the frequent use of jo and ne for yes and no (as opposed to the modern German ja and nein).
  • The Quiet One: Ezekiel rarely speaks. Understandable, considering he watched his whole family get killed, and also doesn't speak much English.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Anne is given one by the Mexican drug lord. She either works as his manager of the Canadian Mennonite drug trade, or he kills both her children. However, even if she agrees, he will keep one of them as a hostage. This leads to another such choice, as he'll let her choose. She chooses her son.
    • Estrada later forces Isaac into one when he tries to save a Mennonite who's crossed the cartel. He'll be spared if Isaac cuts off his fingers, but shot otherwise. Isaac reluctantly does it.
  • Sibling Murder: Joey Epps kills his brother Gerry.
  • Symbolic Baptism: The ending of season one has Issac's actual baptism juxtaposed with Noah standing outside in the rain, leaving his faith.
  • Truth in Television: While the story is entirely fictional, the show was inspired by very real Mennonite organized crime syndicates which existed as recently as the 1990s.
  • Wham Line: This line of Noah's from "The Singing" - not just because of what he's saying, but because it's part of one of his sermons; he is essentially confessing to working for the Menno Mob in front of the entire congregation and begging others to join him.
    Noah: If a loved one wants to work for Eli Voss, come to me. If you need help to quit working for Eli Voss, come to me. And together, we will say "Get thee hence, Satan!"
  • What a Drag: How Eli delivers his warning to Noah at the end of "Ordination" - though instead of a horse and rope, he uses a 4x4 and a metal chain.invoked

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