By The Nerdling
Half-way through and Purge Night just got turned on its ear for many of our characters.
Spoilers commence in 3…2…1…
“Rise Up” is all about revenge. Penelope’s crazed ex-boyfriend wanting to punisher her for leaving. An anti-NFFA raid on the Stanton mansion. The Matron Saints dealing out their brand of justice to an abuser.
These acts of retribution might be lawful, but they are far from righteous. The show showcases these acts as neither good nor brave, but it doesn’t exactly condemn them either. Placing all of these moments in the same episode as if asking “how is what Henry doing to Penelope any different from what the Saints are doing to an abuser, or any different than the raiders slaughtering the NFFA without prejudice?”
Henry, came to the Carnival of Flesh (CoF from here on out, that is a lot to type) to burn a woman at the stake in effigy of the lost holiday he and Penelope were to take thru all of the National Parks. But his wildest dreams came true when Penny came up on the auction block.
In flashback, we learn Henry was an abuser. He hooked Penny on drugs and hit her. As revenge, Miguel beats Henry within an inch of his life leading the druggie to lose an eye. Penny leaves with Miguel to keep him out of jail. After rehab, she left Henry again join the cult (interesting side note, Tavis was a counselor at rehab).
Tied to the stake, Penny finds a strength I didn’t think she had. “All you can do is kill me.” She takes comfort in her pain nearly being over and tells Henry his hatred and grief will not be gone once she is dead. It was a pretty powerful scene to watch. The passive Penelope find her strength in a situation, stating “I’m not the victim.”
Just outside of the CoF, Miguel subdues Rex in a choke hold and frees the people in his truck. The CoF Trader pass of Rex’s gains Miguel entrance into the carnival. Miguel runs into an army buddy participating in the “Fall of Saigon” tent and is shocked to see him there. “We are soldiers,” Miguel lectures, “we don’t hurt civilians.”
Miguel used to be the boy quick to fight. An angry kid lashing out. It’s murky if Miguel joined the Marines as punishment or atonement, but his time in uniform gave him purpose. The violent Miguel is gone, only using his strength to survive, even when the man he freed from Rex tried to hold him up at gun point. Seeing a buddy participate in The Purge has shaken his belief system in the power of the uniform.
Miguel hears his sister’s arguing with Henry and almost gets there in time to save her. But wouldn’t you know it, Rex is a fairly known man at the CoF. When one of the guards recognizes Rex in the martyr pen, security tracks down Miguel before he has a chance to save Penelope. Henry is willing to pay whatever the cost to be able to purge him too.
Marge, one of the Matrons, reveals Purge Night is the second most popular conception night after New Year’s Eve. Two of Marge’s children were conceived on Purge Night. She doesn’t say if the sex happening is the purge-night-excitement kind or if it is all the rape going on (maybe both), but it is a disturbing stat nonetheless. They arrive at an apartment where a man is beating his wife. He is outraged, the Purge is “the law” he says. “It’s the absence of law,” Madelyn corrects him. The wife, who has been burned and beaten, is escorted to the RV while her husband has “Pig” branded on his forehead so other women can know what he is.
Jane is appalled at the branding. She knows this act will not stop him from abusing women and thinks there could be a legal solution. “Laws change and evolve on the whims of men,” Madelyn counters. She’s got Jane there, but Jane’s still not wrong. Like all other acts of revenge, this one will lead to men retaliating against the Matrons next year, and so on and so forth. History is littered with victims of eye for an eye.
Jane leaves, taking the man’s car. Madalyn catches up to her in the parking lot and hands her their card, just in case. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Madalyn, she is a fascinating character. Someone who operates in the moral grey. What the Matrons are doing is not a good thing, but Madelyn’s reasoning behind it is hard to argue with. She doesn’t relish dispensing punishment like her cohorts.
Catalina warns Jenna to grab Rick and head to the cellar. Jenna goes to Lila’s room instead where Rick finds her after pocketing a custom dagger I’m determined he was going to use to purge Lila. The two hear gunshots and realize the mansion is being overrun. They make it into the cellar where Catalina lets them go free. Jenna begs for Lila to be spared, but Catalina promises “no Stanton is safe tonight.”
Things finally heat up at the Stanton mansion! I assumed there would be an uprising with the staff (lead by Catalina, no less), but I didn’t expect it to happen this soon. I feel like the series missed out on a chance to create tension by teasing the anti-NFFA gang as they gear up to storm the fortress. I guess they wanted it to be a surprise. The thru the window shot of the raiders running up was a great reveal.
Joe happens upon a group of purgers kicking a man to death and steps out of his armored vehicle to challenge them. It is worth noting Joe’s motivations seem purer than the Matron’s. He protects who he can and only kills when necessary (from what we have seen so far). He is not dealing out punishments, just help.
Till Next Week!
The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.