The shadow of the Purge lasts all year long, even when it’s still months away. In this episode, Ryan and Esme hack the NFFA’s database for crucial information; Marcus learns the true reason a neighbor put a bounty on his head; and Ben attempts to manage the situation with his girlfriend Kelen, who has discovered his identity as the Campus Killer.
Ryan and Esme team up
Esme attempts a highly risky technical maneuver in which she risks revealing her location to the NFFA. She narrowly avoids detection, and succeeds in obtaining the full names, addresses, and background information of the Jackals, the thieves who robbed Ryan’s crew last Purge, and whom Ryan now wants to track down.
During a detour to retrieve Ryan’s mother, who has Alzheimer’s and wandered away from her nursing home, Esme nearly gets cornered by the police and flees, separating from Ryan. She notices a used car listing on a telephone pole with the name Drew Adams; she calls the listed number and Vivian, her old partner at NFFA, picks up. Vivian wants to help. Esme returns to Ryan’s compound, and Ryan insists that she leave for her own safety. Esme refuses, and admits that she was the one who tagged Tommy. Ryan is furious, but Esme is adamant: “I have to set things right.”
Marcus confronts a neighbor who holds a massive grudge against him
Marcus and Michelle go to the house of the neighbor they suspect put a hit on Marcus. In the backyard they found a group of neighbors, including Sam Tucker and April. A man named Clint, the apparent ringleader, introduces himself. “You killed my wife,” Clint tells Marcus. Five years ago, Clint’s wife died in Marcus’s care, as he attempted to shock her heart during a medical emergency. Clint adds that she was a “pillar of the community,” and that Marcus never checked on him when he moved to the neighborhood.
Clint offers to cut Marcus and Michelle a deal: leave town by midnight, and he’ll consider taking down the hit. If not, he vows to Purge Marcus himself. Marcus and Michelle leave with Darren, but are stopped by law enforcement at the Mississippi border; Darren is on the NFFA’s no-travel list. They turn around and head home. “We should never run,” Marcus says. “Why should we leave everything we’ve worked for over some psycho?”
Ben attempts to prevent Kelen from revealing his identity as the Campus Killer
Kelen is desperate to get away from Ben’s family’s home before he wakes, but no car service is available to pick her up. Ben rises and notices someone went through his suitcase. He heads downstairs and insists on giving a quietly frantic Kelen a ride back to campus. During the ride, he admits to killing the farmer; he pulls out a kitchen knife and gives it Kelen, so she “can feel completely safe.” Kelen scribbles a note pleading for help on a paper towel in a gas station bathroom, only for Ben to discover it. They carry on, and though Kellen tries to keep the mood light, Ben’s mood has darkened. They pull off the road, and Ben asks Kelen to cut him. She stabs his leg, flees, and is promptly run over by a truck. She barely survives, until Ben kneels over her bloody, broken form and chokes her to death in the middle of the road.
Fast-forward: two days until Purge
The Purge is nearly here. Ben walks past a store display window advertising GOD masks just like his own. Ryan and Esme are now sleeping together, lovers and co-conspirators. Marcus and Michelle have assembled a small arsenal of weapons: guns, baseball bats, fire axes, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles. They’re ready to fight.