This Ash vs Evil Dead review contains spoilers.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 9
After spending two episodes embodying what Evil Dead isn’t, it was time to get back to the basics. And that’s what “Home Again” is all about if you can’t already tell that from the reading the title with your own two eyes. We take a trip back in time, via an evil Necronomicon powered time portal that Ash forces Ruby to open up by reading the incantations written on Pablo’s cold dead skin, to the year 1982. Ash wants to stop himself from ever picking up that god forsaken Book of the Dead and start reading random words out of it. And so do we, because a.) we want this plan to resurrect Pablo so he can keep his spot on the main cast and b.) we really want the series to go back to familiar territory seeing as it’s gotten a wee bit ridiculous lately.
This is not a jab at Season 2 in the least, which I find to be a mostly satisfying exercise in Film-to-TV formatting trial-and-error – mostly because it’s more hyper serialized than it used to be. No, this is more a criticism of the past three episodes than anything else, which I will lovingly refer as the mid-season slump. Most other supernatural/horror TV shows have them (do you really want me to cite Buffy and Angel again?) so why shouldn’t Ash vs Evil Dead?
This episode is everything we love and miss about Ash and the Evil Dead that he fights. The cabin itself is a site for sore eyes, even if it is still in the middle of the woods of New Zealand and not somewhere in Tennessee. Although we ended last season with an extended visit back to the beginning, this episode feels more like a well-thought out love letter to the show’s roots. And most importantly, we get treated to Ash, alone in the cabin again, just like we like him. Isn’t that kind of sad, though? That despite the contributions to the ED universe that this series is making and how many new faces it works overtime to endear to us, the show works the best when it’s focusing solely on Ash being on his own and acting like a goofy cartoon cat back where it all started?
Hey, speaking of which: can we find a way to keep him centered at the cabin or something? Like, maybe it becomes the gang’s secret headquarters? I would dig that. But then Ash vs Evil Dead would lose its go-to palette cleanser, a “break glass in case of emergency” type device that keeps it balanced when it goes off the rails. Which is what makes “Home Again” such a breath of fresh yet familiar air. Let’s take a moment to applaud the writers Jennifer Ames & Steven Turner for giving us a taste of the past while advancing the show’s future.
What impressed me the most about what they’ve done here is develop Ash vs Evil Dead’s patchwork mythos while acknowledging that the series finds such logical conceits boring if not contemptible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Evil Dead is about the moment-to-moment experience, the suspense, the surprise, the unexpected reaction, the sophomoric humor. It’s not about talking or rationalizing or justifying anything, nor should it be. When the series has tried this before, it came across as tonally inappropriate and clunky. But here, in “Home Again”, we have a nice balance struck between expository dialogue and the usual action/humor combo…and the show feels a lot better for it.
Okay, enough about all that story mechanics bullshit. Can I just say how fucking badass it was to see Ruby and Kelly go up against the crazy rape tree? That was a pleasant surprise. And the effects! Wow. This was another example of why think these two characters need to go completely rogue and have their own web spinoff or comic book mini-series or something. Who else would die to see that? Okay, I’m not talking literally. So put that pick axe down. I said put it down!
Also, it was rewarding to witness Ash finally meet the Knowbys – specifically Henrietta. I was wondering if they were going to use Ted Raimi again as her Deadite form and of course they would. That is not an opportunity they’d want to pass up.
It’s hard not to come across as a rabid fanboy and laud “Home Again” with buckets upon buckets of ooey gooey praise. It “gets” the charm of Evil Dead. It understands the appeal of the first two films, tonally and aesthetically. It pulls Ash back out of his midlife crisis (if you can call it that) and puts him back in the saddle with nothing but his chainsaw for company. Okay, and maybe that one girl that Professor Knowby brought up to do terrible things to. And Henrietta. And Professor Knowby himself.
Well, either way, this is perhaps the best episode from entire series now. I know I said that about “Last Call” and “The Dark One”, but I’m dead serious this time around. Really. Pun so friggin’ intended.
Oh yeah…is Pablo going to be revived or what?