The relaunch of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” has been a ride, one which has delivered an interesting expansion of the “Evil Dead” franchise. The show delights in bringing back classic Deadite scares. The humor is absurdist in its best moments, and the series continues to be pop entertainment. The show has been the obvious extension of where the films would eventually go, if not a little winding in its storytelling. With Evil seemingly defeated at the end of Season 2, Ash is settling into “normal life” in Elk Grove. Of course Evil rears its ugly head once more, resulting in a groovy new ride for Ash and his friends.
The series picks up with Ash (Bruce Campbell) taking over the hardware business from his deceased father. Ash is a hero in Elk Grove, especially now that people understand that the Evil exists. Pablo (Ray Santiago) has stuck it out with Ash and is now running his “Fish and Chips” food/electronics shop at Ash’s hardware store. Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) has left the group and is now embracing her role as a badass fighter. She’s made contact with the Knights of Sumeria and adds Dalton (Lindsay Farris) to the crew. Worrisome for all is that Ruby (Lucy Lawless) is still out there, and sure enough, her plans bring someone into Ash’s life he never expected: his daughter Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill).
With new dynamics in the “Ash vs. Evil Dead” universe, the actors are able to showcase different sides of their personalities. Once again, the show is led by Campbell, who simply dominates the screen as Ash. It’s undeniably his starring vehicle and he owns the show because of it. His comedic chops carry the show, and his devotion to playing the character makes it an enjoyable romp. Santiago does an excellent job again as Pablo, making him the most relatable character on the show. It’s clear that DeLorenzo was ready to embrace being a killer character, and the show gives her the ability to stretch her wings as the season progresses.
The show truly shines in its gore and violence. It’s tough to do comedic horror well. Yet the franchise that essentially birthed the form has some of its funniest sight gags yet. The violence is intense, and the Deadites are creepy as ever. There’s blood, death, and evil mascots running amuck in Elk Grove. The high school setting is a perfect start, but don’t assume they’re PG-ing it up. If anything the blood and guts seem even more catered to the show this time around, leaving us some truly gross and creative kills. Even the filming of a commercial for Ash’s business is the perfect parody of the local TV ad. It’s wonderful to have this kind of stylized absurdist horror back on TV.
Overall, the season of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is another solid step in extending the Evil Dead universe. While some bits may not pay off as well others, the series is still an excellent horror-comedy hybrid. The series goes to some interesting and far-off places, making it must watch for any Evil Dead fan. As we dive deeper into the mythos of the world, it’s obvious that “Ash vs. Evil Dead” will be a cult favorite like the films its based on for years to come.