It’s always treading some pretty fragile ground when you decide to revive a beloved series such as the Evil Dead after more than a two decades. When I heard that Starz was running their own reboot, Ash vs the Evil Dead, and not even a reboot but a proper sequel to Evil Dead 2 (unfortunately Starz was unable to acquire the rights to Army of Darkness) that was 30 years in the making and featured both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell? Sign me the hell up!
The result was everything I expected and more. It’s as campy and hilarious as possible. It gives us a side of Ash that we both equally love and hate all with Sam Raimi’s signature gratuitous gore factor that made the original films so terrifying—for those who saw it as it was released in theaters anyway.
Not only has the show been a giant prize for long-time fans of the series, but all the new characters in the small cast in the series are extremely lovable. Ray Santiago and Dana Delorenzo absolutely kill it as Pablo and Kelly. While their unrequited relationship isn’t always put front and center, the two have a charisma with one another that is hard to match. Their evolution both together and apart is one of the finer elements of the series. Lucy Lawless is always a joy to watch. Her portrayal of Ruby, the woman who apparently wrote the Necronomicon, is flawless as her morality jumps back and forth depending on the situation. Of course, the man himself, Ash is all the things you can hate about a man but he does it with such charisma, such finesse, that it brings Bruce Campbell up with the cult legend heroes like Kurt Russell.
The third seasons premiere of Ash vs the Evil Dead was arguably the best in the series to date. We see Ruby return as a villain when her past self from season two comes back to the future with Ash after killing her elder counterpart. We also get some new cast members and a host of content to be excited for. This is shaping up to be a great season as shown with the first episode and I hope that you’ll enjoy reading these reviews as much as I love writing them because honestly, everyone should be watching and loving this series. My only complaint is to Starz: why can’t you just give us the hour timeslot?
The episode opens with a really bad commercial that Ash has made for the grand opening of his new hardware and sex toy shop in Elk Grove after being declared a hero in the last season. Seriously it’s so bad—slashing prices and what not. I laughed pretty hard.
It seems our team has split up for now, Pablo of course is still with El Jefe running a fish and chips stand outside the store. Kelly on the other hand is working at a bar either as a bartender or bouncer. It’s not really clear which but you can be sure she’d excel at both. Trouble begins when a woman brings the Necronomicon to an auction for appraisal. Kelly see’s this on TV and makes a call to an unknown person. Of course, while Ash is too busy making sexual innuendos about his store’s tools, the appraiser reads the famous section of the book that summons the deadites back to earth. The event becomes a massacre as Elk Grove is once again host to demons as Ruby finally reclaims the book. Also, the text begins to appear on Pablo’s body again.
Cut to two teenagers in high school as they clean graffiti penises off of lockers as the famous deadite force comes calling. A possessed mascot begins to torment them as it messes with the lights and floods the floor with blood, and Brandy and her friend to slip and slide as they run from Cougie the Cougar. At the grand opening, a leather clad biker watches Ash as he’s approached by Candice, who he of course doesn’t remember. She reveals to him that not only does he have a daughter, Brandy, but she’s now in trouble. Pablo helps convince Ash by showing him the text appearing on his body. The group makes their way to the school followed by the unknown biker.
On the way, Ash finally remembers Candice Barr, and we’re given a weird sex montage of the two as they were fake married. She tells her daughter that her father was a crackhead deadbeat. Ruby, on the other hand, uses the book to perform some crazy ritual in which she wipes her blood all over Ash’s portrait and then eats it. I’m not really sure what the purpose is, but it gets her pregnant somehow.
Once the group gets to the school, Ash revels in memories and finds his old emergency stash of weed. Brandy and her friend are hiding in the music room when Ash and co. find the teens and reveal her parentage. Turns out Rachel is possessed by a deadite and a hilarious fight involving various musical instruments ensues. I mean, who wouldn’t love to beat Ash up with drum sticks? Candice unfortunately meets her end when a cymbal cuts her head off. The deadite Rachel meets her end not long after, when Ash forces a harp on her face, slicing it into symmetric pieces.
Ash, surprisingly, reaches out emotionally to console his new daughter, but this is cut short when Cougie pulls him through the window. The mascot is changed to having an actual monster mouth and claws now, and it tosses Ash around the hallways. Kelly and the Biker save the day by blowing up an explosive canister in it’s mouth. Turns out Biker boys name is Dalton, and he’s with an order called the Knights of Sumeria, but that’s all that is really mentioned about it. Ash brings him up to speed on his daughter, whose name he can’t ever remember, poor girl.
There was really a lot to love about this episode. For one it establishes the crisis pretty early on, even if it is a recycled villain. Yet Ruby brings something new to the fold with whatever ritual she was doing. We have really no idea what is going to happen next. The reading from the book of course summons our normal deadites, which are always a threat, but it definitely seems like they’re going to try and change it up this season.
Speaking of changes, we do have two new major cast members this season. While we really don’t see a lot of Dalton, we learn about something called the Knights of Sumeria. Apparently they do battle with the ancient evil summoned by the Necronomicon, but that’s really about as far as it goes. Hopefully soon we’ll learn more about them and about how Dalton and Kelly came together, what their relationship is like, and oh please Kelly don’t hurt Pablo. Remember he’s your vagina! I’m sorry, but that’s still my favorite joke from the second season.
The other newcomer is Brandy, Ash’s alleged daughter. Other than a penchant for smoking herb and liberal use of swearing, there’s not really much that connects them yet. While the loss of her mother definitely puts her high on the sympathy scale, along with Ash being her father, there’s a lot she can offer with her character. Will she relate more with Kelly and Pablo? Will we see more similarities between her and Ash? What is her role in all of this? We’ll just have to wait and see.