Ash talking about the Necronomicon – “I can’t fart without tripping over that thing and I fart a lot”
I certainly didn’t hide the fact that I absolutely loved the first season of Ash vs. Evil Dead. I found it to be the perfect continuation of the story about everybody’s favourite chainsaw wielding, deadite slaying, one liner spewing badass, Ash Williams. Well, the end to that season certainly wasn’t conclusive so a second was inevitable as long as the demand was there. The show turned out to be a surprise hit and that could only mean one thing. Would this season be able to keep the momentum going when the first had set such a high standard?
While enjoying his time at Jacksonville, Ash is forced to come out of retirement after being attacked by Deadites summoned by Ruby. Ash (still in possession of the Kandarian Dagger), Pablo and Kelly return to Ash’s hometown, Elk Grove, where they meet up with his father, Brock, who criticizes him for running away from the town after the events that transpired 30 years ago. While searching around town for Ruby, Ash encounters his former love, Linda Bates, who is married to the town’s sheriff, Thomas Emery. Emery mocks Ash, and promises to take him in when he can. Pablo receives a vision, prompting the gang to head to the town’s crematorium, where Ash finds an injured Ruby, claiming that her children have betrayed her, forcing her to hide the Necronomicon. After saving her from her three demon children, Ash and Ruby form a temporary alliance.
The gang’s problems don’t stop there as Pablo begins to have premonitions due to the ritual at the end of the first season to which he became sort of fused with the book of the dead. This begins a spiral of events that leads to the summoning of a powerful body snatching demon called Baal who just so happens to be Ruby’s ex. Baal intends to bring fourth the hell on Earth that Ruby failed to do and it’s up to the gang to stop him.
That’s the best I can do in attempting to explain the plot of the show but with a show like this it certainly isn’t an easy task.
In a lot of ways, I would say that Ash vs. Evil Dead is pretty much on par with the first season in that it starts exactly where it left off. If you enjoyed the tone of the first season then there is no reason to believe that you wouldn’t enjoy this. However, I’d have to go back and watch the first season because it seemed to me that they upped the comedy this time around. This is full-blow Army of Darkness level of wackiness; I might go as far to say that it’s even more comedic than even that. I’m not expecting a serious, dark Evil Dead on par with the first movie but this can be a little over the top at times. I recall the first season having a few moments filled with dread and atmosphere even a couple of decent scares but that’s severely lacking in season 2 in my opinion.
Ash is clearly completely desensitised to absolutely everything and anything because he never once shows an ounce of emotion to the tidal wave of insanity that hits him this time around. Bruce Campbell himself has compared Ash to a war veteran with PTSD and you certainly get that impression as he constantly uses comedy as a way of shielding himself from facing reality but who can honestly blame the guy. I don’t know, I just think it would be cool if Ash would be serious for just a moment but I guess that’s just not what people want from the character. There is no doubt that it’s entertaining as hell and thankfully the comedy is at a surprisingly high level with some very funny moments throughout.
Gore hounds are in for a treat as there is simply no contest on which show was the goriest of 2016, the makeup effects team have really outdone themselves this time around.
I really enjoyed the introduction of Ash’s father with Ash returning to his hometown. It was really interesting to see how the town had changed due to the events at the cabin 30 years prior. It was nice little throwback to the first movie with Brock (Ash’s dad) not forgiving Ash for killing his daughter Cheryl which we know obviously isn’t true. Not just that but the interactions between Ash and Brock lead to some of the funniest moments in the season.
I thought it was really awesome that they managed to have Cheryl come back as a Deadite with Ellen Sandweiss reprising her role!
Everything happens at a lightning pace in this show with each episode only being around 25 minutes long it can be tough to keep up as you’re never given a moment to breathe which is a shame. I know some might disagree but I feel a few slower paced moments that focused on certain characters development would have been very welcome but that never happens. It’s just impossible to jam so much into such a short amount of time; I can only give credit to the writers for managing to write a pretty coherent story which couldn’t have been an easy task.
There are a couple of new character additions to the show which I don’t really have any complaints about. Chet played by Ted Raimi is definitely a highlight, having some really great moments with Ash. Even if I had issues with the finale, seeing him reprise his role as Henrietta from Evil Dead 2 was really cool.
If it seems like I’m slightly down on the season then that’s due to the lacklustre finale which has left something of a bitter taste in my mouth. It has recently come to light that there was a massive difference in opinion creatively between show runner Craig DiGregorio and a producer (Rob Tapert) who owns a significant stake in the show. I’ll put a link which explains the whole thing but man oh man does it show. It feels extremely rushed and a complete tonal shift from what you would expect. I will mention that there is time travel involved that isn’t handled particularly delicately and kind of tears apart the entire franchise leaving a stupid amount of plot holes and errors. I hated the ending to be honest but I’ll have to see what happens in season 3 as it could still be recovered but it’s no easy task that’s for sure.
I want season 3 to have more scares and to take it all just a little bit seriously. The stakes were set high in season 2 but it never felt like there was any chance of failure or loss. It all ends far too squeaky clean which is something that I really hope is changed drastically. You can have all the comedy with Ash doing crazy thing after crazy thing but a little bit of substance wouldn’t hurt.
Ash vs. Evil Dead (Season 2) is an absolute blast until the final two episodes which almost ruined the whole thing for me and yet even they have cool moments. It can be recovered and if it is then I might look back on it more favorably than I do now. In terms of pure entertainment alone, Ash vs. Evil Dead is my favourite TV show of 2016.
Ash vs. Evil Dead - Season 2