Ash vs Evil Dead has consistently proven itself to be one of the most entertaining and skillful shows on television. I’ve previously covered the first the first two episodes of season two. It is in these episodes, entitled Home and The Morgue respectively, that we were introduced to the new set of circumstances at hand. Ruby (played wonderfully as always by Lucy Lawless) is having a problem with her children, who have turned on her and now they are at odds. This new situation finds her on the same time as our protagonists. The Ghost Beaters are back at it, taking down Deadites. Kelly and Pablo are badass and awesome as ever and match El Jefe’s wit at every turn. Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago are such talented actors and more and more show themselves to be an example of perfect casting. It is also in these early episodes that we were introduced to new characters such as Chet, Ash’s best friend from way back as well as Ash’s distant father Brock. We also meet Ash’s old flame Linda (Michelle Hurd) as well as her antagonistic husband and local Sheriff Thomas Emery (Stephen Lovatt) and their daughter Lacey (Pepi Sonuga).
Ash and his friends find themselves back in Ash’s hometown, where there is still quite a bit of hostility and tension. He is still blamed by a lot of locals for the deaths of his friends and sister. They don’t know the supernatural side of things and believe that that he just snapped and carved up a bunch of innocent loved ones. He has even been given the nickname of “Ashy Slashy.” In the season 3 episode Last Call we are given the treat that is Ted Raimi in a wonderful role as Chet. Raimi and Campbell have a long history together and it’s great to see them share the screen once again. I couldn’t think of a better character for Ted Raimi to pop up in the show as and their interactions are priceless. When Ash’s beloved Delta is stolen with the book in the back seat, it is at Chet’s bar that a trap is staged for the young people who took off with it. This is where Lacey gets more involved. And for a time, the Delta, Ash’s oldest and most consistent companion, temporarily becomes a villain itself.
Things don’t go quite according to plan and Kelly’s displeasure with how Ash is handling things leads her to join forces with Ruby. They aren’t at odds with Ash and Pablo but for this time they are separated. Ruby is not really an antagonist in this season and the dynamic shift is so much fun to watch. She doesn’t always get along with Ash on a personal level, but in this season they found themselves on the same side, doing battle against evil.
I was happy to see Raimi stick around as Chet as I wasn’t sure if it was a one-time thing. But his continued presence helped prove that this is a show that truly gets better and better with every step. Also, the abrupt demise of Brock by way of the Delta running him down showcases Ash vs Evil Dead’s commitment to dark humor and an “anything goes” mentality. Especially considering Brock was just about to tell Ash something important. Lee Majors does a great job in the role of the Brock and another example of fantastic casting. This also allowed the show to go a little more deep into Ash’s past and the abandonment he felt from his father after the initial massacre at the cabin. This is matched by Brock feeling abandoned by Ash for leaving town. It’s these little moments that add a nice little touch of humanity to the overall series.
The primary antagonist of this season winds up being the “Father” of Ruby’s children, a sinister being called Baal. Played by Joel Tobeck, Baal is a fascinating character juxtaposing horrifying powers and a strangely down-to-earth vibe. Trying to defeat Baal proves difficult for the gang. In the episode Confinement, the characters get stuck in the police station together and see first-hand the manipulative nature of Baal. This is where we are treated to his ability to wear human skin and take on whatever form he finds nearby.
Eventually Pablo becomes more and more at risk, finding himself becoming one and the same with the book. Even their ultimate goal may mean Pablo’s destruction leaving Pablo has the most tortured character of the season. This subplot really shows the group’s commitment to one another. Even when they are temporarily divided, they care for one another. Ash puts on a show of his “nothing touches me” personality but it comes through clear that he is unwilling to accept Pablo’s death as a possible outcome of what they are doing. Ash needs his friends and this truly comes through in this season.
Filling in as a minor antagonist is Thomas, the cop who hates Ash with a passion. The two knew each other growing up and he and Ash was not exactly buddy buddy. Throw in Linda, a former girlfriend of Ash’s who is now married to said cop and the whole situation adds some nice little drama along with the slicing and dicing. The chemistry of all the characters is as sharp as ever and I’m finding myself only more drawn into the story.
Eventually the season finds Ash in an asylum, putting reality to the test. It is here that Ash is told that he has been there for decades, ever since killing all his friends and sister at the cabin those years ago. We see Pablo as an orderly, Kelly as another patient. Ash isn’t fooled, however, and when we see the real Ghost Beaters show up outside the asylum walls, ready to break Ash out it’s a wonderful moment that brings us back to what’s really going on. I was also delighted to see Evil Puppet Ash, as throwing puppets into the mix only adds to the fun and fluidity of the overall season. The gang gets the best of Baal and Pablo uses his new powers to cast Baal away. However, it leaves him in two pieces on the floor.
This mixing up of different fun and exciting concepts continues when the characters go back in time to the 1980’s. This is when all the cabin stuff was first getting started and Ash must step back into the moments preceding the first film. It never for a second feels hokey or audience-pandering; the cabin is genuinely worked in with great result. It’s nice to see the familiar territory, although the continuing story is anything but expected. Eventually the past version of Ruby who is still working with Baal comes into the mix and present Ruby who is on the same side of the Ghost Beaters ends up dead. Eventually Ash does battle with Baal and although Baal backtracks on a previous promise to leave Ash and his friends alone, Ash gets the drop on him and slices him back to where he belong. As the cabin explodes, Past Ruby and Baal enter the depths of hell. And thanks to time travel and the will of Ash and Kelly, Pablo is once again part of the gang, alive and well.
It’s nice that at the end of the season, Ash finds himself a hero staring down the crowd of adoring fans that once wanted his head on a plate. After giving what is now one of myfavorite hero speeches of all time it is clear that Ash is moving back to Elk Grove and will protect it at every turn. However, a little glimpse of Past Ruby gives us reason to believe that there is plenty more in store for our hero and his companions. Ex-Girlfriend Linda is back on good terms with Ash. Now having loss a daughter and husband who didn’t survive the ordeal in the end, it makes sense she would stay around for whatever comes next. Linda may have ended things on bad terms with Thomas, as he turned on all of them and was used as handyman for Baal, but her daughter Lacey’s death will most likely fuel her own Deadite hatred.
There are some great blood and guts moments strewn throughout. Ash vs Evil Dead has a wonderful way of using gore and violence in such a creative and artistic way. From having to venture into a human corpse to bathroom chainsaw splatter action, the red stuff flows in the form of pure entertainment. Overall, this season is fantastic. It doesn’t lose even an ounce of the charm and thrill of season one and only ventures further into what makes it all so great. Plus, the chemistry between the characters is sharp as ever.
Ash vs Evil Dead is the kind of show where anything can happen but whatever happens, it’s always the right move. The show’s cast, crew and creators have such a firm grasp on what they are doing that it provides a level of trust in the viewer. The show shows a great respect and love for the franchise’s fans without cheaply just tossing out references to gain some quick acceptance.
Few shows stay this consistently wonderful and I have a strong feeling that not a single dip in quality will occur throughout the entirety of the series’ run. That may sound like a bold statement but there is such a find handle on everything, I’m nothing but excited for what is to come for Ash, Kelly, Pablo and the friends and foes they’ve collected along the way.
Written by PJ Griffin