“The Forgotten” was a fine episode of The Purge with a great villain performance from William Baldwin, but it span its wheels too much to be truly effective.
It took six weeks, but we finally have a name for the metal-masked Purge Night avenger whose white knighting has acted as a coda for each episode of The Purge. He’s Joe, a laid-off factory worker played by Lee Tergesen. In flashbacks throughout “The Forgotten”, we see him transition from a hard-working, well-liked foreman to a pissed-off couch potato, and finally to a masked-up do-gooder who has been seduced by the leering tones of pro-Purge motivational speakers. He also seemingly has a magic app that lets him know when someone nearby is in trouble, which is how, by the end of the episode, he is on his way to rescue Jane (Amanda Warren) from the macabre dungeon of her lecherous boss, David Ryker (William Baldwin).
Baldwin’s detestably sleazy performance in “The Forgotten” was a highlight of the episode, and in a show so fond of on-the-nose political commentary his living art gallery basically being everyday chauvinism dialled up to maximum seems fitting in the post-#MeToo landscape. The fact that the women can only be groped over their clothes and are allowed to live afterwards provided they suffer without complaint quite clearly strikes him as incredibly fair, which is darkly funny but also a grimly believable commentary on privilege and entitlement.
If you’re wondering whether Jane will be rescued by the assassin (AzMarie Livingston) she hired to bump off her boss in the first place, well, no such luck. She’s dead already, having presumably been thwarted by Ryker’s beefy security. (He’s quite clearly the kind of guy who would take the credit for that.) He smugly tsk-tsks Jane about this, reminding her that she should never send a woman to do a man’s job – it’s a perfectly-modulated caricature performance, and the only reason I don’t want this guy to be killed off next week is that he’s such a great antagonist.
It is a shame that among the forgotten things of the title were most of the show’s other on-going subplots, which were resigned to spinning their wheels this week as attention was focused on Joe and Jane. Miguel (Gabriel Chavarria) rescued Penelope (Jessica Garza) from the Carnival of Flesh by killing her jilted Cyclopean ex-lover, Henry (Dylan Arnold), though nothing much was accomplished from this besides a dramatic escape. (Miguel is increasingly on-hand to fulfil each episode’s carnage quota.) It’s also still impossible to tell exactly what The Purge wants to do with Penelope; here she winces and looks dismayed as Miguel strangles Henry to death, but when she’s released she falls upon his corpse and starts whacking it in tearful fury. She’s a weird one.
And then there’s Rick (Colin Woodell) and Jenna (Hannah Emily Anderson), who, after having escaped the revolution at the Stanton party, are debating what to have for breakfast. Okay, I’ll concede, they do chat about some other things too, such as the likelihood of Rick joining the NFFA and whether or not Jenna loves Lila (Lili Simmons). She claims not to, obviously, but that doesn’t stop her repeatedly calling to see if she’s okay. And she received mixed messages in response. At one point an eerie voice just says she’s dead and hangs up. But then “The Forgotten” ends with Lila braying on the door in a panic. I guess you can’t trust anyone on Purge Night, even those generally reliable gorgeous wife-stealing rich women. Who knew?