Something was missing this past Halloween. The fact that Ash Vs Evil Dead didn’t premiere with its third season on STARZ in October sort of threw me off. After bailing on The Walking Dead as it meanders through the wasteland of zombies for my horror and gore fix, Ash Vs Evil Dead replaced it as my go to series for the season. Two different shows, but one delivers in gratuitous blood and gore along with laughs and an Iconic character of the genre.
Picking up right after season 2, Ash Vs Evil Dead finds Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) returning to his hometown of Elk Grove, far removed from his “Ashy Slashy” moniker and received after the events of the original “Evil Dead” films. He takes over his dad’s hardware store and rebrands it as a hybrid hardware/sex toy shop with Pablo (Ray Santiago) in tow running a fish and chips cart right outside the store.
In the background of the stores opening, an antique road show like TV program is broadcasted that reveals someone has found the Necronomicon, thought to be destroyed in the last season. As the appraiser reads a passage from the book of the dead, causing evil to return and Ruby (Lucy Lawless) to emerge from hiding to recapture the book. Evil has returned and it up to Ash to stop it. This time, with a new wrinkle.
Brandi (Arielle Carver-O’Neil) joins the cast as Ash’s estranged teenage daughter from a quickie marriage. Adding a potential burden for Ash during the season. The Deadites return and terrorize Brandi and a friend of hers through the same high school Ash attended. This draws Ash, Pablo, and Brandi’s mom to rescue her daughter.
We get the familiar fights with inanimate objects, this time with musical instruments from the school’s band room. The final fight sees Ash taking on the school’s longtime mascot Cougie (a teenager suited up in a cougar uniform) that becomes possessed. The tide turns to Cougie’s favor, but Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) comes in right on time along with series newcomer Dalton (Lindsay Ferris), a disciple of an ancient order that fights evil named the Knights of Sumeria. We don’t get any information about this group, but I’m interested how they will factor in the rest of the series.
It wouldn’t be Ash Vs Evil Dead without the insane amounts of gore or gross out moments. My favorite aspect of the show is the use of practical effects in the creative ways people meet their demise in the series. The first episode has no signs of rust in that department. One scene shows Ruby consuming her own blood with the ink used in the Necronomicon. In a way it is a subtle scene, but the way Lawless sells her anguish and pain make it more gruesome.
While I did appreciate the first episode jumping right into the laughs and action, I couldn’t help but feel as if the series takes familiar steps within itself. Sharp writing and great effects can take you far, but the story needs to progress more. This was a pitfall for why I stopped watching the aforementioned AMC series. I know the bane of Ash’s existence has been the book and Ruby, but I feel eventually the series will become stale. I hope we get something new out of Ash Vs Evil Dead, with 9 more episodes to go