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The Purge is a ten-episode miniseries airing on USA Network. It is based on the franchise of the same name, and set within the same universe and continuity.

One night a year, all crime is legal for twelve hours. This series follows the efforts of several smaller players as they try to stay alive after getting caught outside during the Purge.

The show has been renewed for a second season, which began on October 15, 2019. The second season takes a different tack, exploring the aftermath of several characters' decisions at the end of a Purge Night and how they prepare for the next one.


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This series contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: People will be complicit in performing inhumane actions as long as it's legal and consequence-free. Pushing the theme from the original movie even further, while there are psychopaths who revel in the idea of purging, just as many of the antagonists in the series are purging for truly petty reasons and get defensive and scream "it's their right" when questioned on the Moral Myopia.
  • Affably Evil: In a world where all crime is legal for one night a year, there are a whole lot of people out there who've become adept at being friendly and sociable for most of the year knowing that they'll be able to let out their darkest impulses during the Purge. Special mention goes to Rex, a friendly and charming rancher who makes his living kidnapping people during the Purge and selling them to the Carnival of Flesh.
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  • All Crimes Are Equal: More serious crimes (called "R-level" felonies) are now punishable by death on the next Purge. This was apparently the result of a fictional Constitutional Amendment (and possibly the Purge itself too), along with restricting accuseds' rights to due process. As a result, there is greater deterrence for crimes committed outside the Purge itself (in real life, the US Supreme Court has ruled that only offenses resulting in death can be subject to capital punishment, necessitating such an amendment).
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's ultimately left unclear whether or not the farmer Ben killed genuinely shortchanged him. Although Ben's aggression has reached its peak, he doesn't have a reason to outright lie, both of them point out logical arguments (the farmer hands Ben the bill he just got, but Ben's certain that he only has 20s in his wallet and not 10s) and the shot is framed so that we can't see the bill Ben hands him.
  • Amicable Exes: Marcus is on good terms with his ex-wife Tonya, to the point that she and her new husband team up with him and Michelle on Purge Night. It helps that their marriage fell apart mainly because of differing priorities rather than serious transgressions, so there was never any true animosity between them to begin with.
  • Artistic License – Military: Miguel, a former Marine, describes himself to another person as a soldier. Depending on your definition, Marines might qualify as soldiers, but in common usage "soldiers" specifically serve in the Army. The USMC is a different branch of the military altogether. While there are any number of nicknames he might use — "Jarhead", "Devil Dog", etc. — generically referring to himself as a soldier probably wouldn't happen.
  • Assassin Outclassin': David (or his bodyguards) end up killing Bracka.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • In "Rise Up", a group of anti-NFFA gunmen storm the Stanton house and slaughter everyone they can get their hands on. Considering that most of the guests are either hardcore NFFA supporters or the kind of people willing to do business with borderline-fascists, it's hard to feel sorry for any of them.
    • In "House of Mirrors", Ben murders Andy in cold blood to stop him from telling anyone that Ben killed the farmer. Considering that Andy's a misogynistic creep who fantasizes about murdering girls for rejecting his advances, he kinda had it coming.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Jane is nearly raped by a Purger after she leaves the safety of her office, but is saved by the Matron Saints, a group of women who make it their mission to protect women on Purge night.
    • It nearly happens again two episodes later, when David has her tied up in his gallery, but Joe interrupts this time.
    • In the second-season premiere, Ben is nearly sodomized by a masked purger.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Stantons are so enamored by the Purge that they see the Manson Family as their spiritual forefathers. They're prominent financial backers of the NFFA.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: In a twist, Marcus is a licensed doctor who is forced to become a back-alley doctor temporarily in exchange for information on who put the bounty on his head.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Jane is being held at David's house, she asks Anya to call the Matron Saints. When the power is cut, it looks like Anya came through, only for Joe to show up and free everyone. As the two drive off, the Matron Saints show up, meaning Anya did call them and Joe just beat them to the punch.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Catalina helps Jenna and Rick escape from the anti-NFFA group because Jenna treated her better than the other Stanton guests ever did.
  • Benevolent Boss: Jane to Allison and her coworker, leaving her horrified when Allison purges him.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Season 2 shows that the ubiquitous cameras are being monitored by NFFA personnel who are tasked with identifying violations of the Purge conditions. Assuming the violator survives the night, the cops are sent to arrest them.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The first season ends with all but Jenna, Miguel, Penelope and Pete dead, but Jenna escapes to France with her baby while Miguel and Penelope are helping people by driving a triage van. France is debating their own version of the Purge, however.
    • At the end of season two, Esme manages to broadcast proof of the NFFA’s corruption to the public, meaning that anti-Purge sentiment is at an all-time high. Between Ryan’s crew donating his share of the final heist and people like Vivian, Turner, and the Moore family joining up, the resistance is more powerful than ever. Unfortunately, Esme and Ryan both died to get that message out, and Ben has succumbed to his bloodlust completely, so there’s still a long way to go.
  • Bland-Name Product: Marcus Moore uses Ivory Road on the Dark Web, an Expy of Silk Road, to find out who attempted to kill him on Purge night.
  • Blood Sport:
    • During the Purge, Miguel is forced into the Gauntlet, a makeshift death course where he either reaches the end and wins a car or gets killed. He succeeds.
    • The Carnival of Flesh offers paying Purgers the chance to kill people in ways from all across history, like firing squads or the guillotine.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: A big focus of the series is that for the average American, morality has become almost hilariously skewed. With the Purge being a commonly accepted feature of the world, people are able to switch from psychopathic Purgers to friendly neighbors in the blink of an eye, and most people are able to talk about murder methods as casually as deciding where to go to eat - and most importantly, while killing and raping on Purge Night is accepted as moral, so much as stealing outside of Purge Night is considered reprehensible. That's without mentioning people like Lila who are clearly traumatized by their experiences and genuinely don't realize it because the NFFA is insisting that the Purge works as intended.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • In the opening minutes of episode two, Jane watches as Bracka shoots a Purger in the head.
    • This ends up being how Bracka dies.
    • And David follows in the next episode, courtesy of Jane.
    • In a flashback, Lila does this to an old man that her parents got her for her first purge.
    • Ryan's Dirty Cop old boss Andrea meets this end at the hands of the Jackals.
    • How Esme is executed by the NFFA death squad after the sirens rang.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The reason behind the hit on Marcus is revealed to be because his neighbor Clint blames Marcus for the death of his wife, who died of complications during a routine procedure Marcus performed. When Marcus moved into the neighborhood years later, he didn't even recognize Clint.
  • The Cameo: James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) shows up in the final episode of season 2, during a flashback to the set up for the first Purge. He sold the NFFA the security system being used for the broadcast booth.
  • The Chessmaster: Ryan truly shows his genius at the end of season two; after convincing his former co-workers that they're in on the heist, he actually sells them out to the Jackals while he breaks his buddy out of jail, knowing that his crew is skilled enough to then steal the money from the Jackals themselves. It works perfectly, getting rid of all of his enemies in one fell swoop.
  • Cleanup Crew: After the Purge, private housekeeping services and city workers are shown cleaning up after the Purge the same way one might cleanup after a wild party. Bodies are left on the curb for dedicated disposal units to collect, with people being advised of possible health risks when handling corpses.
  • Comedic Sociopathy:
    • When Jane finds Alison standing over the dead body of her rival for the promotion, Alison calmly asks her if she's going to tell HR about the promotion, or if Alison has to do it herself. It isn't until after her promotion is in doubt that she starts freaking out.
    • After the sirens go off announcing the end of the Purge, Joe suddenly becomes all friendly with Miguel and Penelope, trying to act like he wasn't trying to kill them a minute earlier and cheerfully tells them he'll see them again next year. Miguel shoots him in the kneecaps and shoves him into a pool to drown.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: When Ben is brought in on suspicion of Andy's death, he first tries to lie his way out before the investigators point out that they can tell he's lying. In response, rather than confess to the murder, he instead confesses to smoking weed to explain his nerves, which makes the investigators let him go. It helps that in the world of the Purge, even a minor crime like that could get him in genuine trouble, so being nervous about that actually makes sense.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Miguel and Penelope are survivors of the first Purge.
    • David Ryker and the Betancourt's security system was bought from the Sandins. Just like in that film, it doesn't stop someone determined to get in.
    • Dr. Updale's book is brought up by Andy. There are rumors that she killed herself after the first Purge, while Andy insists she died Purging. Fitting with the theme of the season, both are wrong.
    • When the neighbors attempt to break into Marcus's house on Purge night, they use a truck to rip off the outer door then Molotov cocktails in an attempt to smoke the occupants out. Both of these were either performed or suggested as ways to beat the security system in the first film.
  • Cool Car: For surviving the Gauntlet, Miguel wins a pristine 1971 Chevelle SS. He barters it to Pete in exchange for information on the Givers bus.
  • Dark Messiah: Ben begins gaining a strong Purge following as "the campus killer", with his God mask being mass-produced for people to wear on Purge Night. Naturally, it goes to his head and gives him a God Complex.
  • Deadly Euphemism: The cult to which Penelope belongs talks about "Giving", making it sound as though they go around trying to help people during the Purge. In reality, what they do is offer themselves up to be killed by Purgers, in the mistaken belief that their deaths will satisfy the Purgers' need for violence and they'll go into "the Invisible".
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: To protect his son from NFFA death squads that would try to purge him, Marcus breaks his son's arm hours before the Purge so he'll have an injury serious enough to warrant being treated at the hospital, which is off-limits during the Purge.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: "Hail Mary" opens with a scene from a children's show where the host cheerfully tells kids that if their mommies and daddies decide to kill them during the Purge, well, that's their right as Americans.
  • Dirty Coward: Ben's friend Turner ends up leaving his pal to die when he's caught in a Purger trap, forcing Ben to kill him to escape with his life. On the next Purge Night, he tries to flee from Ben's captivity, but doesn't make it out of the building in time and is tied up again. By the finale, he's grown out of this and is now a member of the anti-Purge resistance.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In the third episode, a Purger is seen killing a taxi driver and blowing up his cab just because the guy asked for a tip.
    • In the seventh, Jenna and Rick's neighbor breaks into their home to kill them for such slights as cutting down his tree and parking in his spot. Lila stabs him in the back of the neck before he gets the chance.
    • Joe kidnaps people who wronged him in the past, starting with his high school bully. In particular, he targets Jane simply because she ditched him after a bad first impression during a date and Penelope for not thanking him for holding a door open.
    • In the second season, Ben stabs a man to death for (apparently) shortchanging him. This is really more about violent tendencies coming out due to his traumatic experience on the Purge, though.
  • Dirty Cop: Ryan's bank-robbing crew were all former cops, but quit in disgust when they learned their chief and several other officers were running protection for a cartel drug lord on Purge night.
  • Distant Finale: The final scene is set a year later just before the start of the next Purge. Jenna has moved to France to avoid the Purge, while Miguel and Penelope are now running a triage van to help its victims.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A Purge event for rich patrons in season 2 is sponsored by the Daughters of the NFFA, who take their name from the Daughters of the Confederacy, an American neo-Confederate organization.
  • Due to the Dead: Remembrance Day, which comes three months after the Purge, has the government deliver remembrance boxes to those who lost loved ones, containing among other things an urn and a yellow flower to wear on Remembrance Day. The whole thing serves to reinforce the idea that those that died gave their lives to make the country a better place. It echoes both the name of a holiday and its practices which Anglophone countries (the UK, Canada etc.) use to honor their soldiers who died in World War One, which drives it home further.
  • Enemy Mine: When an attempt to plant an EMP device ahead of their heist goes sideways, which results in the owners of the home locking Ryan's crew inside, Ryan calls his former chief so the police will escort them out under the pretense of arresting them. This also means he has to cut her into the heist for the favor.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Albert and Eleanor Stanton are classist members of the NFFA who Purge for sport, but they very clearly love each other as well as their daughter Lila. If Lila's story is accurate, Albert even gave his life in order to save hers, distracting the anti-NFFA forces to ensure her escape.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • While official hospitals are off-limits by law during the Purge, it's noted that one of the "unwritten" Purge laws is that Purgers also leave triage vans alone.
    • Ross is willing to murder Rick and Jenna for the insanely petty reason of his neighbors parking in front of his house, but when he learns that Jenna is pregnant, he actually points his gun away from her and only fights back when she attacks first.
    • Even when he's already killed people outside of the Purge, Ben can't bring himself to kill Turner when he sees him mourning his dead brother. It's one of the many things he grows out of when he begins killing everyone in sight for no reason later on.
    • Andy is a loud and proud Purger who fantasizes about killing people for ridiculously petty reasons, but even he's disturbed when Ben reveals that he killed someone outside of Purge Night and it's highly implied that he intended to go to the authorities about it.
    • Marcus' neighbors were all prepared to kill him for his role in the death of their beloved neighbor Maisy, but they back down in exchange for Marcus settling things personally with her husband Clint so long as Marcus releases the one he took hostage. When Clint decides to stab Michelle instead, his neighbors are disgusted and decide to purge him.
  • Everybody Did It: After much trouble, Marcus finally finds the guy who put the bounty on him and gets him to pull it. It's then revealed the guy only put up $10k of the total $75k, and Marcus realizes that everyone on his block wants him dead.
  • Evil Is Petty: Joe kidnaps several people who he perceived as wronging him in life to be purged. That includes Penelope who didn't thank him for holding the door open for her, and Jane who passed him on a bad date.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Joe, who is later revealed to be a violently unstable Purger, ends up taking out Good Leader Tavis himself, as well as letting Jane kill David Ryker.
  • Eye Scream: Penelope stabs Joe in the eye during her escape. He has to remove the implement by hand afterward.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: To compensate for all crime being legal during the Purge, courts are extra-tough on even the smallest crimes the other 364 days of the year, to the point that death sentences are handed out like speeding tickets.
  • Forced to Watch: Henry threatens to gouge out one of Miguel's eyes as payback for Miguel blinding him in one eye in the past, then let him watch as he burns Penelope to death.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Both seasons follow multiple situations simultaneously.
    • The first season follows Rick and Jenna trying to gain funding for their company, Jane trying to save her boss, Miguel tracking down his sister, and Joe going around town rescuing people. It's not even until episode eight that we learn what connects the group together - Joe is targeting all of them for various reasons.
    • The second season then follow Marcus tracking down who tried to kill him, Esme investigating the death of a friend, Ryan planning the next Purge's bank heist, and Ben coping with his increasing bloodlust. By the finale, Ryan and Esme's stories have merged into exposing the NFFA for corruption, while Marcus and Ben end up coming to blows when the latter slaughters doctors at his triage center.
  • Foreshadowing: Joe not being as stand-up as the early episodes depict him is foreshadowed by the fact that he listens to the very pro-Purge self-help guru each time he appears.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • While Joe has had a rough time of it and some of his victims genuinely did screw him over for their own benefit, just as many of them committed minor offenses at best or even made up ones at worst - the most transparent of which is not thanking him for holding open a door. Even worse, while he was screwed over, it's shown that unlike many of his co-workers, he did manage to bounce back with a new career, meaning that even against the people who did wrong him, he comes off more as an entitled Psychopathic Manchild than a victim.
    • Originally, Ben's rage problems seem like they were released due to his traumatic experience on Purge Night, but a later Cold Open reveals that he's been this angry from a very young age; as a child, after learning that Purge Night allows people to work out their aggression, he began smashing his toy in rage, showing that he was always going to pop one way or the other.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Ben begins season two as an average college student who doesn't want to go outside on Purge Night. By the next Purge Night, he's completely devolved into a psychopathic killer who kills off of Purge Night and even targets doctors just because they save people's lives.
  • Genre Shift: Season 1 sticks to the standard Purge formula. Season 2 turns it on its head by showing us what happens after the Purge, when you can't just solve all your problems with violence.
  • Get Out!: Clint tells Marcus he'll consider lifting the bounty on him if he gets it out town. Whether or not he was telling the truth though, Marcus can't leave town due to his son being on a restricted travel list.
  • A God Am I: By the end of season 2, Ben's completely degenerated into a lunatic with a God complex, taking personal offense to doctors saving people's lives as trying to "play God" and declaring that he is God.
  • Good Samaritan:
    • Joe drives around on Purge night rescuing people. Then subverted when it's revealed he kidnaps those he rescues and forces them to participate in a twisted trial.
    • The Matron saints who protect abused women during the purge.
    • Pete the ex-cop provides a refugee in his bar on purge night and is willing to go out anencephaly help people in need.
  • Government Conspiracy: Season 2 suggests that the government is trying to hide the fact that the Purge is causing physiological changes in the brains of people that make them more violent, as they hunt down and kill a neurologist who had made this discovery. This is best demonstrated with Ben, who snaps and kills someone after the Purge for (supposedly) short-changing him, and was clearly looking for any excuse to do it. It's later shown that the government is covering up cases of off-Purge killings, ruling them as suicides or accidental deaths, as this would run counter to the narrative that the Purge helps curb violent impulses the rest of the year. Emma is also targeted by the NFFA when her investigation into the subject crosses their radar, getting her labeled a public enemy.
  • He Knows Too Much: The fate awaiting poor Kellen and not so poor Andy when they find out Ben is killing before Purge Night.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • After being rescued by Jenna and Rick, Lila tells them that her father gave his life to distract the anti-NFFA resistance members so she could escape.
    • Ryan and Esme give their lives during the Purge to broadcast proof of the NFFA's duplicity.
  • Implausible Deniability: The NFFA's attempts to cover up Ben's murders are ridiculously easy to see through; Sydney points out that they're trying to say a suicidal person stabbed himself five times and a man who died from heat stroke somehow buried himself.
  • Intrepid Reporter:
    • In season one Miguel briefly gets a ride from a pair of European reporters documenting the purge in an effort to ensure its never adopted in Europe.
    • Sydney Riviera, One-time season 2 character is a reporter airing (correct) arguments that the Purge just inspires more violence, getting her threatened by an opposing pundit.
  • Jail Break: It turns out they're perfectly legal on Purge Night, which is exploited to break Tommy out of jail (or rather out of the hunt for prisoners by high paying Purge clients) at the end of season 2.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: When Ben murders a man for supposedly shortchanging him, it was in the heat of the moment and he is worried he'll be caught. When the man's body is found and his death is covered up as heat stroke, Ben realizes he can get away with murder whenever he wants and quickly becomes more brazen in his attempts, murdering an anti-Purge activist and then Andy after Andy reacts badly to him admitting to an off-Purge murder. By the end of the season, he is killing doctors at a trauma center because he doesn't like the fact that they're saving Purge victims.
  • Just Giving Orders: Jane initially tries to rationalize that hiring someone to kill her boss isn't the same as personally killing him herself, but soon changes her mind after watching one of her subordinates murder a co-worker.
  • Just in Time: In the second season's pilot, a bank robbery goes awry when robbers are ambushed by the Jackals, a gang of crooks who target other crooks. A standoff ensues when the robbers hide in the bulletproof teller's booth, managing to just barely escape by hiding a flashbang in one of the loot bags. One robber goes back for the loot as the siren begins. One of his feet is still (just) inside the building as the final siren ends, meaning that he's committed a major crime. His fellow robbers abandon him because they aren't willing to take him at his word that he made it in time. He's soon caught by the police and sentenced to death for a major felony.
  • Kangaroo Court: The mock court Joe runs. He claims if people confess to their "crimes" against him they'll be spared. In the only example we see of that happening though, he kills the prisoner anyway, on the basis that he wasn't sincere.
  • Karma Houdini: In Season 2, Ben escapes any punishment for his killings, both before and during the Purge. His off-Purge killings are either covered up by the NFFA or go unsolved, and those he admits it to either can't prove it or are killed by him. Even when Marcus dumps him outside on Purge night to let the Purgers handle him, he survives and the season ends with him fully embracing his blood lust, making it clear he will continue to kill both during and after the Purge. While there is a chance he'll be exposed by Marcus for his actions inside an off-limits hospital, or by his escaped victim Turner who can point fingers at him as the campus killer, the governments lack of interest in pursuing those cases still might spare Ben his undeserved comeuppance.
  • Kick the Dog: Even while Kelen is already choking on her own blood following a car accident, Ben still chokes her to death just to make sure she can't give up his secret.
  • Kill the Poor: Good Leader Tavis is a sham who lures in those the NFFA considers undesirable so she can manipulate them to willingly let themselves be killed during the Purge.
  • Klingon Promotion: Allison kills her rival for the VP position so Jane will have to promote her. Ironically Jane was already going to promote Allison and the rival seemed ok with that.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The Purge has made Pete cynical, but he readily jumps into action to help Miguel rescue Penelope.
  • Loophole Abuse: Though people can't commit crimes the other 364 days of the year without being punished, it's perfectly legal to plan such crimes as long as no laws are broken doing so. Ryan sets up his score for next Purge night by casing the banks and how they move their money so he'll know exactly where to strike next year, and though it's plenty suspicious and gets him tagged by NFFA surveillance, it's all perfectly legal and they can't bust him for any of it.
  • Mark of Shame: The Matron Saints brand "PIG" on the foreheads of any domestic abusers they catch, so women know never to associate with that person.
  • Mexican Standoff: The season 2 premiere has some bank robbers and a gang trying to rob them stalemated in a bank. The robbers are barricaded in a bulletproof teller box with a gang member as a hostage, while the gang has greater numbers. Both sides have less than an hour before the Purge ends, at which point anyone still in the bank will be guilty of trespassing at the very least. The gang leader breaks the stalemate by threatening to kill the robbers' getaway driver, betting that they care more about their man than he does about his. The robbers, in turn, hide a flashbang in one of the money bags and escape in the confusion when it goes off.
  • Missed Him by That Much: As he's trying to catch the Givers bus, Miguel stops the creepy nuns and asks for directions, unaware that they have Penelope. Once he finds the bus, Miguel is told what happened by Tavis.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Marcus has to interact with his ex wife and her new husband Andre (an old friend) while trying to find out who wants him dead. In the end, both show up to help him.
  • Motive Rant:
    • As she makes her arrangements with Bracka, Jane launches into a whole speech about why her boss has to die. Bracka puts up with it for a minute or two, then finally cuts Jane off, telling her that she really doesn't need to know why.
    • Once Joe reveals who he really is, he launches into a steady steam of motive rants, complaining about everything from his non-existent love life to clients who screw him out of money to people who don't thank him for holding the door for them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Jane confronts Allison about killing to get the promotion, Allison points out that she knows about Jane putting a hit on David. Realizing she's little better than Allison, Jane tries to call it off and heads out to stop it herself when she can reach neither Bracka or David. After learning what David's really like, she changes her mind and kills him herself.
  • Naturalized Name: Esme's full name is Esmeralda Carmona. It's likely she shortened her first name to fit in better in New Orleans.
  • Neck Snap: Henry meets his end when Miguel snaps his neck.
  • Never My Fault: In his rant to Kelen, Ben blames the farmer he murdered for the man's own death, saying that the farmer grabbing him flew him into a rage while glossing over the fact that he was already clearly unstable and instigated the conflict over $10.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Penelope threatens to kill one of her fellow captives in Joe's cage, knowing he's so psychotically obsessed with revenge that he'll do anything to stop it. When he gets too close, the other victim reveals she was playing along and rushes him, allowing Penelope to stab him in the eye.
  • Noodle Incident: "Blue Friday". Pete doesn't give many details on just what happened, so all we know is that he stopped some cops from engaging in vigilante murder and it gave him such a strong reputation that he's considered off-limits to Purgers.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Jane and Joe are face to face, Jane insists that he's choosing to Purge rather than grow up and move on. Joe points out that less than two hours prior, she Purged her boss David right in front of him rather than "move on".
  • Nun Too Holy: After being removed from the bus, Penelope is set upon by a bunch of creeps in nun habits accented by strips of white lights. They deliver her to the Carnival of Flesh.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Joe saves several people from purgers because he has personal grudges against each of them and wants to kill them himself.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: An anti-Purge group storms a manor where NFFA members and donors are gathered on Purge night and slaughters the lot of them.
  • Police Brutality: When someone is arrested after Purge night, the police mercilessly beat him while reading him his rights.
  • Police State: We usually see the universe of the Purge through the lens of its brutal, lawless titular event. Season 2 shows that everyone is constantly monitored and committing crime of any kind will have the police sent after you in minutes the other 364 days of the year (or for violating the rules of the Purge — this also explains how they even enforce those, as otherwise it would be logistically impossible). Depending on the violation, suspects can also potentially be stripped of their rights as citizens, showing that the government prevents crime on off-Purge days through draconian punishments (it's later revealed capital punishment is used liberally for all major felonies).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • David Ryker, Jane's boss, is extremely sexist. On Purge night, he hosts a party where the guests can molest women through their clothing, specifically because he isn't allowed to do it the rest of the year. If the women go along with it, they get to live.
    • Joe is later shown to be one. He insinuates Jane, who is black, only get her job because of the business she worked for wanting to fill diversity quotas, and implies that Penelope isn't a real American because she's Latina, asking what country her family is from.
  • Private Investigator: Isabel Shaw, who Marcus hires to figure out who put a bounty on him(although she spends a while in a false lead).
  • Professional Killer:
    • In the first episode, Jane hires Bracka to purge her asshole boss in revenge for him passing her over for promotion.
    • Marcus is attacked by one at the beginning of season 2.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • In season one, Rick is unnaturally paranoid whenever Lila is around, always assuming the worst of her and accusing her of changing her story over a minor pronoun difference. It's hard to blame him when it turns out that she's genuinely unstable and tries to murder him to take his place in Jenna's life.
    • In the season two premiere, Ryan and his crew separate themselves from Tommy when he gets out of the bank just a microsecond too late; although they trust that he was outside in time, with the NFFA's eyes in the sky, they can't take the risk. Esme later reveals that Tommy's foot was just inside the bank when the last siren ended, and thanks to the crew's paranoia, only Tommy ends up taking the heat for it.
  • Property Line: A variant occurs in season 2 when Tommy is arrested for a bank robbery because his heel was still inside the bank when the clock ran down.
  • Redemption Rejection: Ben is given chance after chance to work out his aggression in mundane manners and back out of the dark path he's walking down, but every time, he decides that killing people is the better option. By episode seven, he kills the only person he claims to love just to protect himself, at which point he stops holding back and goes all-in on Purging.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: When one of the cult members gets cold feet and tries to get out of sacrificing herself, Tavis has her forced out because she's been selected by God to be killed. In fact, she's paid by the NFFA to kill them, so it's her job to make sure they die.
  • Retcon: In season one, it's implied that the Purge legally ends as soon as the morning sirens start, as Joe immediately backs away from his targets the moment the sirens begin even though he wants them dead. Season two goes the other way and says that the Purge officially ends when the final siren finishes, as Tommy is only tagged as a criminal when he's still inside the bank after the sirens are already over. Although it is possible that the rules were slightly changed between the purges.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: Catalina more or less invokes this when asked why she's part of an anti-Purge group (with the implication she was the one who let them in to slaughter a large number of NFFA members and donors at the manor she was working).
    Catalina: Sometimes, revolution is the only way to make the world a better place.
  • Sanity Slippage: Clint in season 2 tries to invoke Villain Has a Point when it comes to light that he was the one who put the hit on Marcus. Clint rationalizes that it was because Marcus botched a surgery on his wife and didn't face him to apologize. After his first attempt at a hit failed, as Marcus manages to kill his would-be killer in self-defense, Clint clearly begins to lose his marbles in the following years' purge, trying to strong arm his neighbors and threatening to kill anyone in the crossfire to get to Marcus.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After the sirens go off announcing the end of the Purge, Joe suddenly becomes all friendly with Miguel and Penelope, trying to act like he wasn't trying to kill them a minute earlier and cheerfully tells them he'll see them again next year. Miguel shoots him in the kneecaps and shoves him into a pool to drown, with Pete just saying that it sounded like Miguel did it during the Purge, before the sirens rang. As season 2 shows, were it not for the fact that they were in an abandoned school at the time, he'd probably have been arrested.
  • Sidekick: Pete arguably fills this role, being Miguel's main ally as he tries to find his sister. He's arguably a Hypercompetent Sidekick given his own combat skills and useful connections throughout the community.
  • The Social Darwinist: Albert Stanton is a firm believer in the idea that the Purge will weed out the unfit.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Rick and Jenna's baby turned out to be this for her.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: We get to see the immediate aftermath of the Purge, and it's as bad as you'd imagine. The city has to mobilize scores of cleanup crews to deal with all the death, while the emergency services like hospitals are overwhelmed by those who were wounded but survived the night.
  • Taking the Bullet: Vivian does this for Esme when their boss tries to kill Esme. Lucky for her, he only shoots once before Esme kills him and doesn't hit anything vital, so she survives the night.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Good Leader Tavis likes to shower her followers with "my darlings" and kisses as she sends them out to be slaughtered by Purgers.
  • Time Skip: Season 2 jumps ahead bit by bit as we follow the characters' lives between Purges, eventually leading up to the next one.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: "Before the Sirens" opens with a scene with a bunch of teenage girls dressing up in provocative outfits and choosing weapons to go purging. When one of the girls' dads butts in, she growls at him threateningly.
  • Truce Zone: During the Purge, Pete's Cantina serves as a neutral territory for those who know the right password. All weapons have to be checked at the door.
  • True Companions: Ryan and his crew, with the others promising to look after his family if anything happens to him and the group working to save Tommy from jail.
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Season 2 shows a Purge-themed VR arcade game. It has pretty realistic graphics and interactions, the goal evidently being to Purge as many people as possible until the siren signals the end of the Purge. A father thinks nothing of having his kid play it, demonstrating how blasé people can be about the Purge, since it can be so easily commercialized in this fashion.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • When Miguel knocks out Rex and releases the mother/son duo that Rex was delivering to the Carnival of Flesh, telling them to find shelter, the son grabs Rex's gun and demands the truck instead. Miguel easily disarms him and admonishes him for turning on someone that just helped him on Purge Night. The son's desperation is justified, however, as Miguel is essentially dumping them in the middle of nowhere with very little means to survive other than advice to hunker down. Miguel gives slightly better advice after the disarming, advising the pair to find a triage van, who will shelter them until the night ends.
    • In the season two finale, Ben is saved by a group of doctors in a triage center after he was hit by a truck. As soon as he wakes up, he slaughters every doctor in sight, including the ones who saved him, to prevent them from saving people's lives.
    Marcus: You were in the truck. We brought you here.
    Ben: Guess you shouldn't have done that.
  • Vigilante Man: Joe rescues people from others, killing Purgers in the process. It turns out he then puts them on trial for various petty "offenses" against him though.
  • Vigilante Militia: There's a group of women called the Matron Saints who work to protect women from rape and other violence from Purgers.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: A sympathetic example with Esmeralda (and eventually her coworker Vivian), security monitors who becomes disillusioned with their employers.
  • Yandere: When Jenna tries to cut things off with Lila, she snaps and tries to murder Rick to preserve their relationship. Jenna kills Lila before she can follow through.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: This is Jane's reaction to Joe putting her on trial for their bad date. The absurdity of it on top of everything else she's dealt with causes her to stop caring completely and call him out on it, even though he's the one with the gun.

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