This October, USA network is bringing back THE PURGE for an all-new season. Horror fans will no doubt be familiar with the Purge franchise chronicling the one night a year where for 12 hours all crime, including murder, is legal. Season one of the show followed different people during that one night. Now, THE PURGE is back. This time, the show is taking fans into unfamiliar territory.

The first episode of season 2, titled “This is Not a Test,” opens with a woman auditioning to be the voice of Purge night. Fans of the franchise will instantly recognize her voice as she recites the monologue that marks the commencement of the annual Purge. This scene is clearly a flashback to a time before Purge night existed and gives the audience a little behind-the-scenes look at the creation of that night.

Connor Trinneer and Paola Nuñez in THE PURGE | Photo courtesy of USA Network

From there, THE PURGE introduces us to a new set of characters we will follow throughout the season. One of those characters is Esme, played by Paola Nuñez (The Son, Sin ella). Esme works behind the scenes on Purge night monitoring cameras and looking for things that are against the rules. She is good at her job and is the most rigid about following the rules, until she sees something that hits a little too close to home. Her story lets us see the inner workings of that bloody night and how the government is able to keep tabs on those who participate. It’s an aspect of Purge night fans have never seen before in the franchise.

Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher, Glory Road) plays Marcus. Marcus and his wife are locked up safe in their home during the Purge. Yet in the last hours of the terrible night his home is infiltrated and a masked man attacks. Max Martini (13 Hours, Pacific Rim) plays Ryan. This is an interesting character because he goes out to participate in the Purge, but unlike most others he has no desire to kill. He has one goal and one goal only, to rob a bank with a small group of thieves. The fourth new character we meet is Ben, played by Joel Allen (Never Goin’ Back). Ben is a fraternity brother who leaves the safety of his frat house with a friend as Purge night comes to an end in order to fulfill a scavenger hunt. 

Derek Luke in THE PURGE | Photo courtesy of USA Network

While we don’t yet know how these plots and characters will come together, one thing we do know is that each of them is left at the end of Purge night with something that leaves them shaken in a way that won’t end with the final siren. This first episode of THE PURGE does a great job of establishing a feeling of uncertainty and of entering the unknown. It also establishes the characters, although not quite as successfully as the premiere of season 1. Since the episode does begin during Purge night, audiences will get a small taste of some of the carnage they are used to seeing from the franchise. Yet even in this single episode it is clear the focus has shifted from mindless violence to mystery and intrigue.

The decision by the show runners to have a majority of season two take place in the days after the Purge is a bold move. It leads viewers into an aspect of the franchise we aren’t familiar with. While there is a chance it will alienate the viewers who simply enjoy the mindless violence associated with Purge night, I for one am looking forward to this intriguing new adventure THE PURGE is taking viewers on. You can watch the season premiere of THE PURGE season 2 on Tuesday, October 15th at 9/8c on USA.

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