Season Premier: Ash Vs Evil Dead
This summary contains spoilers for Season 2 of Ash Vs Evil Dead. If you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to watch it first then come back later.
Everyone’s favorite B movie actor, Bruce Campbell, is back yet again with another blood soaked installment in the on-going horror-comedy series, Evil Dead. Ash Vs Evil Dead returned to STARZ last night to fill the gaping deadite shaped hole in my heart left by the departure of Bruce and company after Season 1. The show opens with Lucy Lawless’s Ruby coming to the realization that despite fighting alongside of some of the greatest warriors in history she needs our bumbling “hero” to deal with the angry now grown demon children that Pablo vomited up last season. We cut to Ash (Campbell,) Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) working in a two bit Joe’s Crab Shack knockoff in Jacksonville when Ruby’s “message” arrives in the form of a few deadites. In typical Evil Dead fashion we are then treated to a few minutes of slapstick violence, physics defying stunts, and just so much Karo syrup and food coloring. Seriously, I can’t imagine the shower that would follow after a day of shooting this show.
Our gang determines that in order to put a stop to Ruby they must travel back to Ash’s home town of Elk Grove, Michigan. All the while, Pablo has strange visions he keeps to himself. Ash goes inside his family home where he almost get’s his head blown off by his own father, played by none other than Lee Majors. The elder Williams (Majors) takes notice of Ash’s “Utility Hand” giving way to the almost mandatory Six Million Dollar Man (of which Majors was the star) “better, stronger, faster” reference. Family tension, casual racism, and a bit of creepy flirting is exchanged before Ash’s father throws the trio out of his home. It becomes clear that the townsfolk do not hold Ash in high regard (shocking, I know) as they believe he went nuts and murdered his friends all those years ago.
After being chased out of a local watering hole by taunts of “Ashie Slashie” (A mocking nickname referencing his alleged friend killing ways) Ash and Kelly find Pablo in the midst of a vision of Ruby in front a a building. Ash identifies it as the town crematorium and they head straight there where Pablo reveals he has been having these visions since Ruby put the skin of the Necronomicon on his face last season.
The trio storm the building and split up, each facing their own trials and tribulations. Some bravado, tons of fake blood and a Die Hard reference later, Ash stumbles across Ruby looking a bit worse for the wear. Ruby explains that she has lost control of her children and begs him for help when one of the demons grabs her and scurries off. Reluctantly Ash attempts to save Ruby from her demonic brood. The four enter an uneasy truce to slay the creepy kids, retrieve the Necronomicon, and save the world.
The starter to Season 2 of Ash Vs Evil Dead is exactly what it should be. Ash is unable to enjoy any modicum of normalcy before being forced to do the only thing he is even reasonably good at, slaying the hordes of hell. There is plenty of gore, guts, humor, and violence to earn the name Evil Dead. It isn’t often that a spin-off television show based on a beloved movie series gets it right, but Ash Vs Evil Dead has rightfully earned its place in the canon.
The Evil Dead movie series has largely been about Ash and Ash alone, but hopefully our two sidekick’s stories get explored more in depth this season. The lovely but surly Dana and skittish Pablo have not had very much time to shine so far. I was initially reluctant to see Ash palling around with generic tagalongs, but the characters have proven themselves interesting enough to warrant their inclusion. Let’s hope that with Season 2 they are given enough development to make the audience care about them as much as they do Ash.
Ash Vs Evil Dead airs on Starz Sundays at 8/7c but you can see last night’s episode for free on STARZ’s website right now!