The Purge series exists in a world in which a fascist political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, has risen to power and sanctioned an Annual Purge to "cleanse the soul" of the nation. All crime is made legal for 12 hours, allowing people to kill, burn, pillage, and do whatever they desire without consequence. We have seen the chaos play out in The Purge (2013), The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), and now, The First Purge, which depicts the origins of this anarchic ritual. As expected, this James DeMonaco-created series contains some unsavory characters with truly abysmal, often nonsensical agendas.
But some of these characters are worse than others, and the Purge films do everything in their power to make sure you know who you should be rooting for.
A recurring theme throughout the four films involves government-hired contractors working to make Purge nights as violent as possible. As the homeless, impoverished, and otherwise marginalized in need of government assistance are targeted by that very government, other senseless violence runs rampant. These contractors clutch semi-automatic weapons and regularly don Confederate flags and swastikas — the Purge series is, at its core, wholly political. There are clear heroes and villains, clear lines of morality, and the series is very clear on whose deaths you should be happy about.
The obvious answer about whose deaths you should be rooting for are the film series' "villains" — the group of elitist young people led by the unhinged Heath Ledger knockoff and the jealous neighbors in The Purge; the faction of The Most Dangerous Game-obsessed people in Anarchy who pay millions for stylized hunting grounds and helpless victims; the mostly faceless NFFA officials who sacrifice "martyrs" in the safety of a church in Election Year — but we're talking specifics here.
Some deaths in the Purge series are given special treatment. Some people, rather than being faceless entities, are given names and specific reasons you should dislike them. These are those people.
This list takes into account how long these people have been living in a Purging world; while The Purge takes place only a few years into the Annual Purge, Election Year marks the Purge's 25th anniversary, in 2040. Living in a world like this for a couple decades is bound to normalize the violence in your mind — the people get worse over time, which makes sense. While it could be argued that, 25 years in, American citizens have been practically brainwashed, that doesn't make killing other people okay. It just doesn't.
Here are the people who deserved to die in the Purge series, ranked.
Henry the boyfriend (Tony Oller), The Purge (2013)
This dude. This idiot. Yeah, he was an 18-year-old kid who probably had hazy memory of a pre-Purge world and was, therefore, most likely brainwashed by his society's expectations of violence in 2022. But what an idiot.
If you're having trouble remembering all the way back to 2013, a reminder that this is the kid who was dating a girl against her family's wishes and, rather than have a calm conversation about why he wanted to date her, he shot at her father (Ethan Hawke). His death was his own fault, as the dad shot back in defense and most likely would never have killed him otherwise. Then again, this is the world of the Purge, so people are capable of some nasty, unexpected things. The boyfriend was clearly one of them and the world is better off without him.
The Purge: Election Year Trailer 2 (Universal Pictures) [HD]
Anyone who participated in 'murder tourism,' The Purge: Election Year (2016)
The people in Election Year who took a vacation and spent actual money to fly to the United States and participate in the annual Purge are not good people. Plain and simple. What the heck are they doing?
I'm not sure if any of them died, but I imagine a lot of them did. They deserved it.
Kimmy (Brittany Mirabile), The Purge: Election Year (2016)
Kimmy, who thought she was entitled to steal something from the corner store in Election Year and then threatened Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson) when he stopped her, was not a good person. The reason she's not a little higher up on this list, though, is that she's clearly never lived in a world without the Purge. After 25 years, there are kids who grew up in a United States ruled by an obsession with the Purge, and that probably warps you just a little bit.
After killing her parents, she comes to take care of Joe and his shop. She doesn't make it.
Diego (Noel Gugliemi), The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
From the moment Diego stood too close to Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) and perved on her when she arrived home, you had to know he'd be trouble. When Diego breaks into Eva and her daughter Cali's apartment and threatens to rape them, that's when Anarchy really gets ugly. Diego is killed by Big Daddy's personal Purge collectors and absolutely, 100 percent deserved it. While the bad guys who killed Diego also deserved their deaths, Diego, the aspiring rapist, was definitely the worst of them.
The Purge: Election Year - A Man of God and Gun Scene
The priest who kills Joe Dixon, The Purge: Election Year (2016)
The guy who kills Joe Dixon and gives the NFFA religious justification for their crimes against humanity is a very, very bad person. Any religious figure who happily stabs someone in a church... probably should not be a religious leader? Granted, this religious leader had been living with the Purge for 25 years, so there are few uncorrupted people anymore, it seems. The fact that he killed Joe, the corner shop owner and one of our heroes who put himself in front of Senator Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) to save her, is just the icing on top. Death was very much deserved.
The white supremacist, The Purge: Election Year (2016)
The private contractor or military man or whatever who goes up against Frank Grillo's Leo Barnes and spends the entirety of Election Year doing the NFFA's dirty work for a hefty pay day is not a nice dude. To top it off, he's covered in white supremacist tattoos and has sewn Confederate flags onto his gear. He's violent, hateful, and willing to chase down our heroes for cash. Good riddance.
Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor), The Purge: Election Year (2016)
This radical Christian minister acted as a spiritual leader for the NFFA and is one of the primary bad guys in Election Year. He riles the NFFA members up before encouraging them to purge their souls of impurities by killing other people. That doesn't really sound like any decent religious leader I've ever met, but, hey, it takes all kinds in the Purge series. Thank goodness him and his ilk are gone.
Caleb Warrens (Raymond J. Barry), The Purge: Election Year (2016)
The main antagonist of the Purge series. Warrens was the original leader of the NFFA, a real monster who swears up and down the boardrooms in Election Year and personally sets the mercenaries on Senator Roan in order to stop her from having a chance to win the 2040 Presidential election.
Anyone who yells that violently that often isn't someone I want to be around. And aside from crafting and leading a political movement to kill minorities and the underprivileged so that only the highest percentage of earners and the socially advanced were left, he was also just not a nice dude. Goodbye, Mr. Warrens.
'The Architect' Dr. Updale (Marisa Tomei), The First Purge (2018)
If anyone deserved it, it was the person who came up with the entire Purge "experiment." While Dr. Updale's intentions seemed to be... as pure as creating something this monstrous can be, science should never be used for evil. Using her sociological and behavioral research, Dr. Updale joined up with the NFFA and provided them with legitimacy. Using her research as an excuse for its racism and general abhorrence for anyone deemed a scourge on society, the government sanctioned the first experimental Purge on Staten Island.
When people turned out to be better and less violent than Dr. Updale had expected, she was upset but willing to accept defeat. Giving her research and legitimacy to the New Founding Fathers, though, turned out to be lethal. When she tried to put a stop to the party's interference with the "purity" of the experiment, they ousted her and fed her to the metaphorical wolves. Truth is, she should have never concocted the whole thing in the first place. Her death is her own fault.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.