Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 8 Review: Ashy Slashy

Ash vs Evil Dead regains its momentum after losing its mind in season 2 episode 8, "Ashy Slashy."

This Ash vs Evil Dead review contains spoilers.

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 8

If there’s going to be any episode of Ash vs Evil Dead that I will ever feel conflicted about, it will most likely be “Ashy Slashy.” I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch it, especially since last week’s installment was more evidence that the writers are stretching out a simplistic storyline. And who can blame them? It’s hard to think up new and entertaining stories that involve such a huge horror icon as Ash Williams, a character who used to be good only in concentrated doses.

Now that we get him in our homes on a consistent basis a few weeks out of the year, what does he mean to us anymore besides a big buffoon that creates more messes than he solves? This is exactly what the second season is trying to figure out. Spending the whole year in one central location (Elk Grove) rather than being on a perpetual cross-country road trip has definitely helped the show find itself, but even after sitting through this episode, I can tell it has a ways to go before it actually does.

I’m not inferring that “Ashy Slashy” is a bad episode, or even a subpar one. No, it’s a monumental piece of the season two “puzzle.” As a matter of fact, it is one that has an huge impact on the series thus far. And it has some of the best non-Ash dialogue I think we’ve ever gotten, further proof that the supporting cast continues to become sharper and sharper the more screen time they’re allowed and the more agency they’re given. Also, despite my misgivings about his introduction last week, watching Puppet Ash have a fateful and fuzzy showdown with Kelly was a godsend. (I can imagine clips of it will garner many views and shares on YouTube in the future.)

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In fact, I’m just going to come out and say it. Kelly is the best part of “Ashy Slashy”, if not the show by this point, hands down. If the entire run time consisted of wandering around darkened subterranean halls and sassing Deadites before popping their heads off, I’d be cool with that. Throughout this whole season, Kelly has become the real hero and has been given the most self-awareness out of any of the main characters. Don’t you find that interesting? Somebody has to be the audience surrogate, I guess. Might as well be the strongest of the bunch.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Even if this week’s episode has a lot going on for it, it’s still a mess. I’ve mentioned before that this show is more-than-comfortable with convenient cartoon logic, but holy cameltoe! “Ashy Slashy” takes the cake and eats it too. Are we really supposed to believe that Ash was putting on an act that whole time, pretending to be evil and murderous and wearing – what is that, camo? – just to get Baal’s goat? (Again, that’s a twist Angel would pull.) And god, speaking of that guy, can we please get a better big bad than him? Please? We hardly even met the dude and he’s already wearing disguises and setting up elaborate traps for our leading man while laughing evilly in a corner. How passive aggressive is that?

And even if this big bait-and-switch on Baal did succeed, we’re left with a shocking development: Pablo being sliced in half by the demon in the banishing process. If you are a true fan of Ash vs Evil Dead (which includes those of you who are more than passively interested in it) then this is going to make sad. It’s making me sad. I don’t want to think about Pablo not being part of the show anymore. I doubt that’s going to happen, I bet he’ll be resurrected or come back as ghost or a demon or an angel or – something. He just has to. Right? He’s Pablo.

You can’t lose Pablo completely. Even if Kelly overshadows him by a margin because she has snappier lines and looks better holding an assault rifle does not mean that we want to see Pablo go anywhere! Ruby, find, we can take or leave her. She’s Lucy Lawless, so she’ll be fine. She’ll go guest star on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or some other primetime drama that I’m not nearly as invested in. I can live with that. But I can’t live without Pablo not being on Ash vs Evil Dead. And I doubt the rest of the cast can…

Okay. So maybe I’m stunned. I didn’t expect that coming. But it makes sense…it’s been foreshadowed all friggin’ season. With the visions he had of his own death. Yeah, those were kind of blatant, weren’t they? Hmm. And what about Ash losing his dad and the Delta and Chet and Cheryl again? Those might have been a sign. It makes sense, but I still highly doubt that Pablo is out of the show forever if he is dead. Especially since he’s bonded with the Necronomicon.Say, I wonder if we’re going to get a cameo from the spirit of his uncle Brujo. Maybe he’ll help the gang resurrect him.

But maybe resurrecting him also means resurrecting Baal…

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Okay, I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Let’s just see what happens next time before I start over-speculating and dream up something cooler than what will actually happen again.   

Any way you slice it (too soon?), “Ashy Slashy” is a mostly solid episode that is entertaining and diligent to continuing its story arcs even if the eponymous character is incapacitated for a large part of its duration. It took care of a few messy threads in a disorganized and highly contrived manner, but what else can I expect from the show at this point? Like I mentioned up above, it’s still in the process of finding itself. I’ll contine to be patient and see where this is all going.  

Follow Stephen on Instagram @onlywriterever and stay tuned for more Ash vs Evil Dead goodness…or badness, whichever you prefer.


3.5 out of 5