‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Begins to Show its Faults (TV REVIEW)

[rating=6.00] “The Killer of Killers”

As we inch onwards towards the finale, it’s getting harder and harder to not notice the cracks in the Ash vs. Evil Dead façade. I discussed last week the underlying formula that seems to drive every episode, and they’ve remained steadfast in their adherence to the formula this week as well. Indeed, I don’t think we’re going to see any remarkable deviation in the remaining four episodes, but I wonder if that’s even to be expected.

Indeed, even when the original movies are at their best, they can never rightly be considered “good”; not, at any rate, using the traditional definition of “good” as we use in critical analysis. While I could never deny that Sam Raimi’s approach has a technicality to it that’s innovative and creative, narratively speaking, the story of Ash has always been more fun than it is “good”.

By now, I hope it’s not worth noting that I say this as a fan of the series (which I say in full acknowledgement of the fact that Army of Darkness lost some of the original two’s luster), and I mean it no disrespect. Far from it, I’d argue that watching the original Evil Dead trilogy “for the story” would be miss the point entirely. The story is an excuse to get to the next deadite attack, a nothing more. It’s in these attacks and the battles that ensure that the genius of Evil Dead can be fully seen and appreciated.

And while largely this has worked for Ash vs. Evil Dead, and indeed, the series has kept much of what we love about the original series intact, watching episodes play out as near beat for beat repeats week in and week out is starting to get a bit tiresome.

One bit of wisdom we gleaned this week, however, seems to further support the idea that Ruby isn’t who she says she is or, at the very least, doesn’t want what she says she wants. Ruby and Amanda arrive at Brujo’s house just after Ash, Kelly, and Pablo have made their getaway. While searching the compound, they are confronted by the still burning corpse of Brujo, who has turned full deadite. He then expresses recognition of Ruby, and tells her they’ll never let her get the book while also suggesting she has betrayed them. Ruby is pulled into the fire and disappears. Amanda, seeing Ash and his camper in the distance, steals Ruby’s car and follows in the distance.

As to our heroes, they’ve stopped for a bite to eat in a rundown diner. So, once again, as with every episode we’re found in a new location and we just know that the deadites will be coming soon. This is punctuated by the fact that throughout the episode we’re treated to the classic Evil Dead evil-in-woods shot. As Kelly and Pablo—who’ve grown a bit awkward in their friendship since Kelligos’s attempts at seduction—wait in the camper (where they further discuss any feelings they might have for each other) Ash realizes he can’t pay for the meal and, in attempt to get out of the bill offers to have sex with the waitress, opining that, sure, with his prowess, that payment is worth “at least double” the $22 he owes.

Clueless to her rebuff, Ash goes to the bathroom to wait for his tryst, only to be met by Amanda, who’s finally gotten Ash in her clutches and won’t let him go this time. She subdues him and as they’re leaving, she’s joined by her superiors, who are anxious to solve the murders at the farmhouse, the trailer park, Kelly’s house, and now Brujo’s. Ash tells them he’s the only one that knows how to fight, and no sooner than they ask “fight what” is their answer given.

And as ever, we spend a solid 5 minutes with Ash just completely wrecking shop with a little help from his friends. It’s all very Evil Dead. However, there is a solid moment when Kelly fights a deadite possessed waitress in the kitchen involving a meat slicer—honestly, there needs to be more horror that takes place in restaurant kitchens as literally everything within grabbing distance can be used to maim and torture, but that’s another subject.

So now Amanda sees the error of her ways and joins up with Ash and company. The newly formed quartet head off once more into the sunset, this time towards an old militia compound that Ash found out about from one of the patrons of the restaurant—apparently an old friend of his, because why the fuck not? So that’s where we’ll be next week, where there’ll be more deadite devastation and more of Ash being an goddamn idiot while getting the job done.

That’s how it’s always been for Evil Dead, of course, so it’s no wonder why they’re doing it here in the series. And while I have a somewhat derisive tone here, I won’t deny that the series isn’t without its charms. For all its formulaic predictability, it’s still, at its core, fun and hilarious. Which is entirely the point of the franchise. While it might be easy to scoff and roll my eyes, it’s a lot harder to dismiss it entirely. That’s a good thing, I suppose, but I wonder just how long the series can continue to just coast. We’re gonna need a wow moment, and we’re gonna need it soon. Hopefully, as we get nearer to the finale, the pace will begin to pick up.

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One Response

  1. Your article about the show is quite pertinent. Making a serie about the Evil Dead legendary trilogy was a risky bet. Still, i think Bruce Campbell is very good and i am having a really good time watching it. The Gore scenes are well made and the humor of the original film is here. Let’s see with the next chapters. Cheers

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