TV Shows

The Purge Season One

After a series of movies about the so called Purge, where all law is suspended for 12 hours and everything is legal including murder, comes a television show about the said events. I was hoping for a real in-depth exploration as to what such an event would mean, and the impact it would have on the lives of people after such an event took place. Unfortunately, season one is merely yet another torture porn scenario where the politics are glazed over in favor of showcasing brutal violence. There is quite a bit of societal comparison to current events and political climate, and some allegory to be had, but not nearly as much as there should have been.

Season one focuses on an interconnected story of several individuals that culminates in an explosive finale with all parties involved, but the steady rise to get there is not worth the journey of all involved. Only one of the stories was truly interesting, while the rest merely served as allegory on current events. We have a couple, Jenna and Rick, that make a deal with the devil, a founding father/billionaire to invest in their company so that they can help change the world. We have a finance manager, Jane, and her struggles to make it in the world as a professional, black, business woman. We have Joe, an iron worker who feels misplaced and angered at the treatment of his kind in the world, and his solution to it all when Purge night comes. And finally, the best and most captivating story, a brother, Miguel, trying to save his sister, Penelope, from a cult and the entire night of the Purge.

The main story, and that which you root for most, is that of the brother trying to save the sister. It also brings the most emotional impact. The couple serves to narrate how billionaires run the world and their funding is what keeps events such as the Purge going. Similarly to real world events, and how politicians are kept funded by similar entities. Jane speaks volumes as to how all professional women have to bide their tongues and wag their tails, so to speak, while being passed on for promotion and ridiculed by small time jokes about their “ass”. To put it more eloquently, they have to bide their tongues while being the brunt of sexism and gender jokes, bide their tongues while men make small racist jokes, and have to apologize when they don’t feel interested in a man as if it’s somehow their fault and not the man who should simply learn to move on. Joe is the antagonist of the story and the reason why everyone connects in the end. He is angered at being replaced by foreign workers, and by machines. He is angry for being played by legal loopholes that screw over the common man while ensuring those above continue to line their pockets.

Besides these characters, we have minor characters that help develop such a world. Such as Pete the cop, who runs a bar during Purge night to help ensure there’s a safe haven for all. We have the Matron Saints, a collective of trained women that go around saving and protecting other women found in dangerous situations. We have the Stanton family, the aforementioned people that are the deal with the devil, and their socialite lifestyle. We have Lila Stanton who provides an intimate experience with the couple and helped rekindle their marriage. We have Rex the collector, so called because he collects people on Purge night to be given over to a sadistic carnival that allows for bidding of humans to be massacred. And we have Henry, the ex-boyfriend of Penelope and hardcore drug user that provided the reasoning as to why Penelope joined a cult – run by a social worker by the name of Tavis.

It was well acted by all, and I particularly enjoyed Lee Tergesen as Joe. He had quite the charisma as to what basically amounted to as an incel. The camerawork was well done and helped capture an uneasy attitude with crooked angles and rotating the picture to appear upside down. Overall, I recommend it if you’re a fan of the Purge series. And if you’re not, and torture porn/brutal violence is not your thing, give it a pass. You’re not missing anything.

TV Shows

The Boys Season 2 (Updated for rest of season)

It is safe to conclude that this television show is the best superhero outing we’ll ever get. After an explosive, dynamic, political first season that established all the players in the game, this second season focuses on the repercussions of those actions, while adding a new superhero to the show: Stormfront. If you are at all familiar with such a name, then you’ll know what to expect. For those that are not in the know, simply look up on Wikipedia the stormfront website. Given that, the naming of the hero is a little on the nose. She is different than her comic counterpart, a male nazi, but still creator Eric Kripke manages to convert the hero to modern times. What we got was an insidious character who knows how to manipulate social media to achieve her own goals. She fills in the gaping hole of insecurity for Homelander. She is everything he fears and as such, he hates her with a fiery passion that is transcribed well on screen due to spectacular acting by Antony Starr.

As Homelander, Antony Starr breathes life into the character in a way that can’t be seen when read in comic form. His rendition of the character is totally believable and absolutely terrifying. A man-child with all the powers of a God. Every character around him feels like they’re walking on egg shells, being careful not to set him off. Homelander, given the name, and his actions, is America personified. Especially when he supplied terrorists around the world with the special compound that makes people super powered in order to be able to rage war and get into defense contracting.

Starlight and Hughie are interesting this season around, because she grows in a way I didn’t expect. She becomes bolder and braver, while Hughie, counter to his comic counterpart, is turned into a wimp. Always whining, and complaining and derailing operations due to his deteriorating mental state. His character has been resigned to be Butcher’s canary – his moral compass to know when he’s gone too far. In that regard, I understand the decision to make Hughie as he is. As for Jack Quaid’s acting, it’s great because you just want someone to slap or punch some sense into him. After working with the Boys and knowing how far reaching and powerful Vought is, you’d think he’d get wise to how things work. But that is not the case. I hope with the next five episodes, he grows up.

Karl Urban as Butcher is always fun to watch. His charisma just oozes off the screen and he just captures your attention in the scenes he’s in. His character has some soul searching to do and to free his wife from captivity. It’ll be interesting to see how his character grows given that what he thought happened was all a lie.

The rest of the cast are just as great in their roles, with The Female getting special attention this time around. We get to experience a little bit about her life before the Boys, and we get a glimpse into the possibilities that she might find herself in. Mother’s Milk provides the moral support and always has Hughie’s back despite some problems between them. Frenchie is as Frenchie does, not much has been added to his character that we already didn’t know from the first season. The Deep’s role gets slightly expanded as he attempts to change his life around, and has a nice featuring voice cameo by Patton Oswald. A-Train is back around to provide an antagonistic foil to Starlight, and we see a little bit more about Queen Maeve that begins to humanize her.

In short, I can’t wait to see where the Boys season two will take us. This darkly cynical look at superheroes is intriguing and thought provocative. I’ll be staying tuned in.

Wow! What an amazing season 2 conclusion. Much was answered and at the same time, much is yet to be revealed. A lot of references and callbacks to the comics, which was quite enjoyable (Love-Sausage anyone?). And they did a lot of switching character roles around between the tv show and the comics. In the comics, Mallory is pretty much useless outside of setting the boys up and then disappearing to his cottage by the sea. Raynor ends up doing much of the legwork instead. Here, in the TV show, they made Mallory do much more work and had Raynor killed off. There is also a lot of sub-context at work in the show with a lot of allegories and metaphors to real life situations in the United States. For example, what to do if a supervillain shows up at your school harkens to the notions of what to do if a school shooting occurs. The talk of supervillains is reminiscent of terrorist talks in the US and fearmongering regarding that.

The show brought back a cut scene from season one that Amazon thought was too risky yet clearly they decided otherwise because it is now shown. The depiction of the Church of the Collective is an obvious dig at Scientology. And yeah, just great television all around. Purely enjoyable, great action, and a satisfying depiction of events. Can’t wait for the next season, hopefully the show doesn’t go on too long and risk getting stale.

Hughie actually experienced real growth, and changed into not being a wimp and finally turned into a man capable of standing on his own two feet. Butcher became not as diabolical as his comic counterpart and appeared as being a real human being capable of nurturing, and showing emotions. Mother’s Milk remained relatively unchanged, and Kimiko and Frenchie’s relationship grew to new levels of trust. Starlight was herself and stayed true to her principles and in the end, found new meaning in a higher power. Where they go from here, time will tell.