This Ash vs Evil Dead review contains spoilers.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 4
If the previous episode was a riveting horror indie throwback to Christine, this was its forgettable follow-up sequel that gave away too much in the exposition. This is not to say the episode wasn’t satisfying or that it isn’t an essential piece of season 2’s puzzle, it was just “…and here’s what happens next, folks!” As twisting, messy, and high-quality as last week’s episode was, that’s inevitable.
Following up on an episode that gave our characters idle time to process the events of the past year is a tall order for this show. “Last Call” threw me off because it actually spent time doing this, and it was a pleasant surprise. But what really made it an instant classic was its ying-yang balance between the lighthearted (and dirty minded) fun and the grisly, blood soaked horror sequences in which the Necronomicon powered demonic Delta ran down the meddling kids that stole it. It ended on a tragic note that “DUI” refused to take seriously whatsoever. This feels off to me, as I think even in the originaly trilogy Ash would take the sudden death of his father thanks to a possessed version of his beloved car more personally than that. But what the fuck do I know?
Now I don’t want to assume too much about what the writing team has in store for Brock’s character. He could be summoned up whenever they want. (Maybe he factors into Baal’s future plan.) Or he could play the occasional spirit guide to Ash as he did during his showdown with his beloved car in this episode. It’s all up in the air.
I notice that Ash keeps losing things that were important to him. Even if he didn’t get along with his father, and even if they had years of estrangement built on cockblocking wars and the death of sister/daughter Cheryl in the original film, you can sense that Ash still had a soft spot for the Six Million Dollar Man. And now he’s lost the Delta – for the time being, anyway – and the Necronomicon to boot. But both of the latter were by his own hand, at least. (Sort of.)
Ash vs Evil Dead is now confident enough in its supporting characters to split them up and have it remain interesting. Ash, Pablo and Kelly are all given their own storylines in this episode, much like an irreverent, satanic Adult Swim parody of Doctor Who. I think the comparisons between that show and Ash are going to be inevitable at this point, if they haven’t already been from the start. (Ash is the Doctor. Pablo and Kelly are the companions. Ruby…well, I should say River Song but I’d rather make a Romana reference.)
While watching “DUI”, I realized – hey, I like them all doing their own thing for once. More alone time means more space for character development (and plotline juggling) than was allowed before. We got to see Pablo take over the plot about the evil Delta, the Sheriff’s daughter, and the Necronomicon. Again, we’re told that his connection to it is something much deeper now than anyone is able to fathom at this point in time. But what does this actually mean in terms of his character? Could the series pull a stunt in which he turns out to be the final villain when the season finale comes around? Eh, probably not with this Baal character threatening to strike at any moment. I’d like to write more about that dude, but there’s not much to go on yet and I already speculate way too much when I write these reviews anyway.
Yet we did get more information about this mysterious figure from Ruby this time around, at least. She tells Kelly that he’s irresistible and thrall-tastic, like a vampire of some sort. This is before the two storm the crematorium and take down her evil black-blooded babies, channeling their best Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter. I found their sequences together were more engaging than Pablo’s sidequest, mostly because Ruby holds the key to all the mysteries of the show’s universe at this point and Kelly is the only other lucid main cast member who will ask all the important questions that are on the audience’s mind. Apparently Ruby and Kelly kill off the remainder of her demonic toddlers by the end of the episode, although I’m still confused as to how many of them there were. (Last year’s finale seemed to suggest they were going to keep popping up everywhere, right? Or was that just me?)
Obviously the best moments of the episode belong to Ash and his wingman Chet as they track down the Delta in a effectively shot car chase sequence. It gets tricky, though, because leave the cameras on Bruce and Ted long enough and they’re going to steal the show no matter what. What else do you expect from two of Evil Dead’s core progenitors? They “get” what the appeal of shemping is. They understand comedic timing. Watching the two jokesters play off of each other raises the comedic stakes even higher than it was when Lee Majors walked on screen.
Now that Ash and Pablo have “gotten rid” of the Necronomicon in a portal to hell that was summoned after the Scrappy Doo read an incantation puked up straight out of the evil book’s mouth, I bet things will only get more complicated. This was probably the gesture that will bring Baal to the forefront and take this season up another peg or two. We’re ready for it. Keep it comin’, baby. Yeah. That’s it.