Family: Review for Ash vs Evil Dead 301 by A. Zombie
Yo, pal. Before you go on, just know there’s episode spoilers ahead.
Finding a space for himself in the world took many, many years. At last, Ash Williams has just about everything he wants: a business to call his own, a house, loyal friends, and fame. Best of all, Evil’s off his back and sulking in its own realm. All that’s missing is a family to greet him at the end of a long day managing Ashy Slashy’s Hardware Store and Emporium. For now, though, Ash relishes in good wishes from the folks of Elk Grove on the evening of his grand opening.
The most magical part of this show is that anyone who saw Ash’s utterly ridiculous commercials, complete with adult “toys” and vulgar jokes, then thought, “Hey, let’s go party with that guy tonight!” Fame really does get a person far in life, it seems. Good for him?
The good life put Ash and Pablo at ease. Kelly doesn’t look so relaxed. Matter of fact, she’s the first to react to the initial signs that something isn’t right. The Ghost Beaters spent their time off from Saving The World duty chasing vastly different interests. Kelly, it seems, is interested in stopping yet another apocalypse. Not sure that’s how I’d spend my time off from thumping drunks at a bar, but okay. To each their own. At least she’s not hunkered in a fallout shelter training to fight by herself. Dalton is there by her side, waiting for a chance to meet El Jefe. What’s his interest in the retired deadite slayer? As the leader of The Knights of Sumeria, Dalton needs Ash’s help to defeat The Dark Ones.
First, they’ve got to defeat the growing problems caused by a known threat hiding right in their back yard.
Patience is a virtue well rewarded. Ruby’s played the waiting game long enough. On the same night as Ash’s grand opening, she tracks down the Necronomicon in the hands of a young woman and the television antiques appraiser she has giving it a once-over on live TV. Violence ensues. Of course. With her prize in hand, Ruby holes up in a motel and performs a ritual in which she ingests blood mixed with Ash’s image in the Necronomicon. When mommy and daddy love each other very much, a stork drops a hellchild in mommy’s cabbage patch. Ash is going to be so surprised.
Not as surprised as he is to be reminded that he’s got a wife, and said wife hid a whole child from him for all these years. Candace Barr has her reasons for keeping Brandy in the dark about her chainsaw-wielding father. Unfortunately that’s the very reason he has to come back into their lives. Evil targets Brandy while she’s cleaning up some creative graffiti at the high school. Her friend Rachel winds up a deadite, using the music room against Ash and Pablo as they attempt to save Brandy. In the end, it takes Candace’s sacrifice and Ash’s creativity with found weaponry to put Rachel to rest. Kelly and Dalton take care of the possessed mascot who nearly cuts the family drama portion of the show short the same instant Ash attempts to be a father at last.
Thankfully this time around Ash isn’t above taking help to wipe out whatever Ruby’s unleashed. The Ghost Beaters reunite, with the new guy on board as well. Brandy is along for the ride, if Ash can even remember to call her by the right name. Time will tell if Pablo’s returned skin art spells certain doom for the team, or if it’ll give them an advantage.
Brandy’s written to mimic her father, only refined slightly and thinking with something more than teenage hormones. There’s bound to be countless sarcastic fights in the episodes ahead. Can you imagine Ash trying to bond while they’re all crammed in the same car? What happens when he tries to console her about her mother’s murder? Tact, thy name is not Ash Williams. It’s not like they can stop to get a break from each other, either. There’s a bounty on Brandy’s head. If they stay put too long, whoever’s around is at risk.
Speaking of heads, I’ve got to say the harp gag is one of my new favorites. Unfortunately the sequence beforehand is somewhat lackluster and has pretty much the same routine as every other “Ash fights an inanimate object” fight. Not every gag’s a winner, not even the tried-and-true ones from the past. Let’s hope they get past using this sequence as a crutch and give us more unique special effects shots as the season unfolds.
Ashy Slashy: Review for Ash vs Evil Dead 208 by A. Zombie
Episode 207 was the fantasy. A world Baal controlled almost completely, save flickers from the real world clueing Ash in from time to time while his gourd cracked from demonic mind games. This week, we peek behind the Wizard’s curtain to see how he pulled it off. How, exactly, did Baal make the delusion grounded enough to convince the poster boy for Stubborn Jerkface he’d imagined the last thirty years? There’s a little truth in every lie. A stand-in was brought in to act as Kelly and the facility’s security squad provided any necessary corpses. The icing on the cake? Linda is really there to sell the delusion story.
Thomas drags his wife and daughter further into his mess for the last time. He’s the sole reason Linda is at the asylum. Lacey is held as a bargaining chip over her parents’ heads, either they cooperate with the plan or she pays. That’s the problem with demonic deals, you can’t trust the sulfur-reeking bastards further than you can throw them. Lacey goes the way of the dodo, returning as a deadite to stalk the gang while they search for Ash on this doomed rescue mission. Pretty sure all the good deadite one-liners for the season are in Lacey’s dialog, especially during the final father/daughter moment. Turns out Thomas does have a spine. Unfortunately, Lacey left it on the floor for Linda to stumble across. There’s a few magical moments with the young deadite before Kelly blows off her head.
That’s two messy secondary characters settled. Is the writers’ bloodlust slaked?
Not. At. All.
Plot twist! Ash’s plan actually works for once. What plan? The one he laid out before Ruby gave Pablo’s Necro-backside a kick to find the anti-Baal incantation. Yeah, like anyone actually thought he was serious when he said it’d be as simple as hiding a pet tracker on a demon. Sure, Ash went along with the tracker, but hey, it works. They have the book and the demon in the same spot. It’s not that simple, though. The danger to Pablo is real. Ruby is Captain Charming while they search the asylum, failing to reassure Pablo about his odds at every turn. On the other hand, Kelly is so optimistic, I thought she’d kiss Pablo at one point—except then we’d know how this would all end.
Pablo gives it his all, gets beat around a bit, too. But he sends Baal off in a spectacular splat, damn the odds. Or not. Baal’s final mind game comes in the form of leaving the Ghostbeaters wondering how to move on without their little buddy Pablo. Unless there’s immense magical interference, Pablo can’t come back from being bisected at the belly button. A shame. He really is my favorite on the show. Always on the bright side. There to lend a hand, especially since Ash only has one real hand. Dependable and kind, Pablo is—was—the perfect buffer for Ash’s abrasiveness.
Where do they go after killing off a main character and the bad guy? I’m not psychic, but I’m going to assume there’s some pretty hefty repercussions to a half-formed, deceased Necronomicon laying on an asylum floor. Plus, Ruby isn’t a saint. This is her chance to reclaim what her children and Baal took from her. Crap will hit the fan again soon enough.
Delusion Review for Ash vs Evil Dead 207 by A. Zombie
Campbell’s performance in the episode is pretty stellar, especially in the moments Ash honestly cannot tell which way is up and who is who. He didn’t fall back on the manic crazy we usually see when Campbell’s character’s snap. There’s genuine concern coming from Ash, particularly when it comes to maintaining the safety of the Ghostbeaters while in the grips of Baal’s hallucinations. He’s vulnerable. When Linda comes in to visit, he acts unclean or unworthy of her care, recoiling from her touch. It’s refreshing to see so much depth from the character when the season started with nothing but hedonism.
Then there’s the Ashy Slashy puppet show. The promos were cringe-worthy, practically promising half an hour of Campbell arguing with his hand while alternating with innuendos aplenty. Camp is what the franchise eats for breakfast, but an entire puppet episode for a horror show is too much. Luckily, someone realized that and cut the Ashy Slashy puppet’s bits into two sections. What could’ve been overwhelming is quite palatable, if you’re okay with a foul-mouthed puppet talking about sexual functions. My main beef with the entire gag is the moments when it’s obvious Campbell isn’t operating the puppet. Either that or Campbell has forearms nearly four feet long. While I’m all for giving puppeteers a job, the way they choreographed movement to disguise it only made it that much more obvious.
In the delusion, Ruby is Nurse Ratchet and wants nothing to do with Ash, as Baal would have it in reality. Her scenes are few, usually just a short exchange to drive home how much the demon lord doesn’t want Ash near “his woman.” Pablo gets some revenge, given the job of overbearing orderly in the asylum. He routinely attacks and zaps Ash with a cattle prod—all the abuse is aimed toward driving the wedge deeper between the men so Ash will fulfill Baal’s true purpose for him. The show-stealer is Kelly’s whackjob alter-ego. She’s entrancing the moment she speaks, and more so when peeking through her filthy hair. Honestly, if actors want a quick lesson in acting crazy across a wide range, just pay attention to what Dana DeLorenzo does in her first scene for the episode.
Eventually, the mind games work. Ash believes he’s killed his friends, sister, and rotted for thirty years in an asylum. He tells Dr. Peacock he’s ready to face his delusions. The good doctor has only one solution: Destroy the Necronomicon. Uhh, isn’t Pablo the book now? Ut oh.
Then again, it could all be a ploy because Ash saw something outside the window and he knows the only way to get out is to make Baal believe he’s giving in. Guess we’ll see. The team is outside the asylum, and Ash has vowed to kill the book.