The First Purge ^ Ending Explained

Directed by Gerard McMurray, a frequent collaborator of director Ryan Coogler ( Black Panther ), The First Purge is the fourth installment in the franchise started in 2013 by Jason Blum and James DeMonaco, about the Purge Night, an annual event that takes place in a dystopian United States led by a group of politicians called The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA).

So, If you just watched the movie and a lot of questions are flying in your head about what really happened that night in Staten Island, who were in the middle of the crossfire, and how this film connects to the other three of the franchise, don’t worry, because we will try to answer all those question and more in this post. Let’s go for it!

the first purge

1 ^ Is there a ‘The First Purge’ post-credit scene?

If you fly off the theater like a transcontinental rocket when a movie ends, slow down a bit, because there is a post-credits scene at the end of this movie. What happens in this scene? What does it mean? Keep reading and you will find the answer.

2 ^ What year does ‘The First Purge’ take place? What’s the chronological order of the four movies of the franchise?

The chronological order of the The Purge movies is as it follows.

The First Purge takes place in March 2015 . Curious, huh? It does not take place in the future, but in an alternative past. The New Founding Fathers get the presidential power in the November 2014 election, and immediately pass the law to implement the Purge Night nationwide, but they need a local experiment first. This experiment is carried out just 4 months after the possession of President Bracken, in Staten Island, New York.

The Purge – The first film of the series, takes place in 2022 , 8 years after the ascending of the NFFA to national power. The story takes place in the city of Los Angeles.

The Purge: Anarchy also takes place in Los Angeles a year after the events of  the first film, that is, it takes place in 2023.

The Purge: Election Year – This is a bit misleading. Charlene Roan takes the presidency 18 years after the Purge Night in which she lost her parents. Taking into account that the first national purge earliest possible year is 2016, this movie might take place around 2034. But it turns out that 2034 is NOT an election year in the United States, so this film would have to take place in the next election year – 2036Exactly 20 years after the first night of national purification. The story takes place in the Capital City of the United States, Washington DC.

3 ^ Who are the New Founding Fathers of America?

It is a group of radical politicians, who took the presidential seat in the 2014 election on a platform of rejection to increasing rates of crime, unemployment and poverty. Fun fact, it is never mentioned in any of the four films that the NFFA are republicans. Matter of fact, in this fourth film it is mentioned that the NFFA was established out of an association between one wing of the Republican Party and another wing of the Democratic Party.

In essence, the purpose of the NFFA is to eliminate what they consider the historical burdens of unwanted and / or planned immigration to the United States and their offspring. In other words, they are a genocidal group whose objective is low-income people.

4 ^ What is the Purge Night? Who invented it? What is its purpose?

In this film, it is a local experiment in Staten Island, New York, created by the renowned psychologist May Updale (Marisa Tomei) whose purpose in theory is to reduce the level of anger in the population by providing them with a night where they can commit any crime, without any criminal repercussion.

However, the NFFA saw the experiment as a golden opportunity to exterminate in the long term what they call «the burden», since evidently in that night the rich will find a way to shelter themselves, while the poor are exposed to all kind of dangers.

5 ^ What were the results of the first Purge Night in Staten Island?

Dr. Updale hoped that the night of the purge would start with robbery and looting and that she would progress early, in a bloodbath, where people would dedicate themselves to expiate their anger, under the idea that the lower strata had feelings of frustration that would serve eventually fuel extreme violence.

However, before midnight, the results expected by Updale did not occur.The population was dedicated to meeting in communities like churches, some even in the middle of parties. Of course there were minor looting, but most of the owners defended their business with weapons. Indeed, it was proved that the theory of Updale was wrong, and that the expiation of anger with violence was not efficient.

6 ^ How did the NFFA intervene in the experiment to guarantee its success?

Seeing that the experiment was a failure, Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh) the chief of staff of President Bracken, ordered to fill Staten Island with mercenaries, whose instruction was to eliminate anyone who was in their way. As a consequence, the morning after the experiment, the authorities could confirm that the people were full of anger and that The Purge Night is necessary to build a peaceful society.

The only obstacle to achieve this was Dr. Updale, so Sabian simply got her killed.

7 ^ What factions were present in Staten Island the Purge Night?

In addition to the common people who sheltered in churches, shelters and in their own homes, Staten Island was full of armed factions. In the first place were the men of Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), the king of the local drug business. In second place were Dmitri’s rivals for the drug business, led by Capital A (Christian Robinson). There was a group of white motorized supremacists, who identified with the white flag with a red cross. Another group of white supremacists was made up of guys in white and red hoods. And finally there were the mercenaries sent by Sabian.

There were some independents, like the two ladies with the dolls full of gunpowder, Skeletor, and the masked men who attacked Nya and Isaiah.

8 ^ What happened to the people in Staten Island?

The men of Capital A were killed by Dmitri’s men after they tried to kill him using two prostitutes. Dmitri’s men were killed by Sabian using military drones. The vast majority of the people on the island were killed by the mercenaries on foot, including the supremacist groups, the independents and the common people. There were survivors, of course, but these were scarce, since Sabian proclaimed the experiment as a success at the end.

9 ^ Why did the people of Staten Island decided to stay there?

The money. The average citizen was promised $ 5,000 to stay in Staten Island for one night. Luisa (Lauren Velez) decided to stay on the island, to make use of the money, but it is quite questionable that she decided to spend the night with her daughter, instead of sending her somewhere else, perhaps with relatives.

10 ^ Why did some have bright eyes?

In addition to the $ 5,000 pledged, the agency in charge of the experiment offered people additional benefits if they participated, that is, if they went out and discharged their anger. In the package for those who accepted the additional benefits were a pair of contact lenses, which glowed in the dark, and blue flowers representing the experiment.

11 ^ What is the name of the blue flowers and why are they used as a symbol of The Purge?

The blue flowers that are seen, not only in this film, but in others of the franchise are mertensias. More precisely, marine mertensias, a floral plant that grows naturally in Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Sweden. Although it is cultivated for purposes of ornamentation in an industrial way in other parts of the world, such as the United States.

Like the rest of blue flowers, the mertensias are a symbol of tranquility. Its relationship with The Purge is that at the end of each Purge Night, it is assumed that there is a rebirth in each individual and community, where they finally reach that tranquility that has always been so elusive before.

12 ^ What happened between Nya and Dmitri?

Nya was for a long time the permanent romantic partner of Dmitri, a local drug dealer from Staten Island, from whom she learned combat techniques, such as the use of firearms, hand-to-hand combat and the use of bladed weapons.

However, perhaps because of the death of her parents, Nya decided to stop using the easy path offered by Dmitri and fight every penny with her effort and sweat, although that raised the dilemma of living in precarious conditions with his brother Isaiah. After Dmitri refused to stop living as the narco king of the island, Nya broke up with him.

13 ^ What is the meaning of The First Purge ending? What’s the meaning of the post-credit scene?

The post-credits scene is quite eloquent about the meaning of the end of the film. There we see how President Bracken’s Chief of Staff declares that the purposes of the experiment were fulfilled, since people purged up and now Staten Island was ready for a new beginning.

And although it is the perfect speech to engage the country with the idea of an annual national Purge Night, the speech is not necessarily a lie. After that night, with the help of the mercenaries, the two groups of drug dealers on the island disappeared, as did all the violent, unstable and over-greedy people who decided to participate in the purge, including Skeletor.

There is no reason to believe that the supremacist groups that were purging outside survived the mercenaries, so on that side there are also gains. In the reconstruction of Staten Island, without those elements, and with all the good-hearted people who survived, it is very possible that a rebirth would take place, which of course the NFFA will surely use as an excuse to launch the experiment on a national level.

14 ^ What is the message behind The First Purge?

The message of the film can be as simple as «do not let extremist politicians take power.» But that is definitely not the message that circulates throughout the 97 minutes of the film.

It is disturbing how the director tries to turn Dmitri into the hero of the film, when he is actually a murderer. It could be said that Dmitri reformed and redeemed himself in the end, saving as many people as he could with his group, when from the beginning he could just leave and hide. But we are talking about a man who has spent years of his life poisoning his neighbors with drugs, using a network of vendors and thugs at his disposal, and really his change is not integral, but selfish when he tried to help only when he realized that Nya was in danger.

In the same order of ideas, making Skeletor almost like another hero at the end, is a confirmation that the real message of the film is BECOME A CRIMINAL, THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO SURVIVE THE SYSTEM. And that premise is confirmed even with the character of Dolores, who beyond using weapons to survive, seems to enjoy killing. It was a bad idea to relegate Nya to the background in favor of Dmitri, because the film was more interesting, though perhaps less scandalous, with her bearing the weight of the story.

It is a real pity that the film has opted for such a negative premise that invites so little to reflection, when it could have become a feature film capable of questioning racial issues from a non-revenge perspective. Hopefully with this film, the cycle of this franchise is permanently closed. After all, they were just mediocre movies.

Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Ending Explained, here on El Sabanero X.

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