Ash Williams and his goofy heroism, unmatched charm and highly inappropriate comments found their way back onto our screens on February 25, 2018 as Season 3 of the cult hit Evil Dead spinoff series came back with a bang. Ash vs Evil Dead stars Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo and Lucy Lawless.
Ash vs Evil Dead is such a bizarre and infectious series, and the latter half of season two was the best we’ve seen from the show yet. It would have been next to impossible to hit back instantly in this first episode of season three with the same level of weirdness we were subject to last year, but it comes very close.
From the beginning of the first season, Starz has had faith in this project. Since the show started, the creative team, led by original Evil Dead creators Ivan and Sam Raimi, have essentially had free reign to be as bizarre and gory as they wanted. However, the exclusively practical effects just keep getting better and better, season by season and episode by episode, creating a show that is consistently fun and always scary. Unmissable television.
This first episode back sees Ash (Bruce Campbell) now running a hardware store and sex emporium after believing he, along with the help of Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), had defeated the deadite hordes and seen the last of the Necronomicon he first found 30 years ago at the end of last season. However, as we know, Lucy Lawless’ scene-stealing “mother of demons”, Ruby, was not destroyed, and after the Necronomicon is found and a passage is read, evil returns. Pablo’s markings flare up and Ruby claims the book back, performs a blood ritual, and we are left with the knowledge that she is creating yet more demons.
Ash’s now calmer life takes a bit of turn as a woman shows up claiming to be his wife and tells him that he has a daughter who is in danger now that evil has returned to Elk Grove. Ash, as you would expect, laughs off the allegations of a daughter, but is more than ready to get back to slaying deadites.
We see Ash’s “daughter”, Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) at the local high school where she and her friend are confronted by a possessed version of the school mascot and we are treated to the first all-out horror scene of the new season, as blood begins pouring out of the mascot’s eyes and mouth and in true Evil Dead fashion, it becomes way over the top as pools of blood begin surrounding the two girls.
Once Ash, Pablo and Ash’s wife Candace reach the high school, the two girls are hiding in a music room and it’s not long before we find out that Brandy’s friend has turned into a deadite and we get the episode’s main showdown.
Each episode of Ash vs Evil Dead always has one particularly impressive piece of effects work and this episode’s was a perfect way to get us all back in the mood for a gory next couple of months. After Ash bests the deadite, following a battle in which he is taunted by various musical instruments and is constantly hit in the face, he traps her under a large harp and it only takes one jump to make the strings of the harp (extremely graphically) slice through the deadite’s face.
What was perhaps the only disappointing thing about this first episode back was the death (well, decapitation by cymbal) of Candace, Ash’s wife. It would have been interesting to see how that relationship would have played out over the course of the season, but we are sure to still get a new interesting dynamic between Ash and Brandy, who I’m sure will become just as much of a badass deadite slayer as the rest of them by the season’s end.
Wait. Kelly. We’ve forgotten about Kelly, the biggest badass of the group. Not at all, although her story is aside to the main story of the episode. Kelly is working in a bar when she discovers that evil has returned again and once she joins up with the whole group at the end of the episode, it’s revealed she has met Dalton, a member of the Knights of Sumeria and seemingly a huge fan of “Ashy Slashy”.
It is the new characters that we meet in this first episode who offer the most intrigue and excitement to see how they will fit in with the rest of the main group as the season progresses. To an outsider, Ash vs Evil Dead may appear to be the same thing every episode and while it’s true to say that there are frequently similar plot points, it’s easy not to care.
This is a show that knows exactly how ridiculous it is. It knows its audience wants that ridiculousness and it embraces it. This is why Ash vs Evil Dead is such a hit and is why it generates such an intense fandom; the fact it is simply incredibly fun viewing.
“Family” was a great way to kick off season three of a show that promises consistency and always, without exception, delivers.
Ash quote of the week:
“If you’re my daughter, Hi. But if you’re a deadite, go f**k yourself!”