Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 8 Review: Rifting Apart

Ash takes a trip to the other side to see what all the dog gone fuss is about in the highly eventful "Rifting Apart".

This Ash vs Evil Dead review contains spoilers.

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 8

What is Ash vs Evil Dead about?

Many would go for the obvious and say that the show is a tribute to Ash Williams and the manic legacy of Evil Dead. Yes, that is the foundation of this program, but that was merely just the starting point. As far as broader, bigger themes go, Ash vs Evil Dead is synonymous with the everyman and everywoman’s victory against the unrelenting and uncaring evil forces of the cosmos. It’s about giving multiple armies of darkness the middle finger several times. It’s about taking control of your destiny through sheer bravery and standing up for yourself against those who outnumber and outgun you.

Mostly, though, Ash vs Evil Dead is about not letting the haters get you down. That’s a lesson that anyone who has felt like an underdog at some point in their lives needs to hear to keep on keepin’ on, baby. And “Rifting Apart” really drives this theme home, pretty much literally, in the beloved 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale.

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Following fresh off the heels of “Twist and Shout” – an episode whose wacky high school massacre set-piece left me feeling a bit cold – “Rifting Apart” reminds us that this show has a surprising amount of heart in it, and that death is not the last stop in Evil Dead, either for its main characters, or the random victims that have met their grisly, over-the-top demises over the course of this rowdy season. That’s something that the films and even previous seasons of the show haven’t had the courtesy or – again – the heart to do. 

This is a surprisingly mature take on the laws of the Evil Dead universe, and one that I can safely say I didn’t see coming, especially after last week’s clearance sale on teen slaughter. The Rift is a dangerous zone between realms, a limbo of sorts where a shadowy figure hunts the souls of the recently departed across a shadowy version of Elk Grove to essentially drag them to hell (get it). 

Thanks to Ruby’s sinister blonde ambition, both Kelly and Brandy are stuck within the unholy confines of this green foggy void, wandering around and searching for a way out that doesn’t involve getting burnt to a crisp in Satan’s hidey hole. In the process, they run into Dalton – a character who I personally wish stuck around longer during this season – who helps them figure things out. Or, rather, buy them some time until Ash shows up. 

Spoiler alert, by the way: Ash dies. But only for this episode, at least, and just to go grab his daughter and surrogate daughter’s souls to bring them back to the world of the living. Dalton isn’t so lucky, as he is the one who gets the hell dragging this time around. God, this dude just can’t catch a break, can he? Dalton was treated little more than a plot device during his brief “tenure” on AvED, and that’s a shame. Oh well. At least Pablo wasn’t relegated to being that this time around. He actually gets to kill a Deadite this time, and it’s a memorable one. Ray Santiago told me how excited he was about this in our interview at the beginning of this season.

“We have something that we call Brujo Especial that’s coming at you this season. I think Pablo’s powers are maybe not the strongest in the physical sense that are definitely going to be helping the players of the team. And yes, we had a director this season that was fighting for Pablo to get a good, kick-ass “Kill the Deadite” scene and it happened.

I was very happy that he stuck up for me because often I found myself in that room begging them please, please let me get a Deadite kill! Everybody’s just always calling me a pussy and I can do it and I just wanna fight. And they’re like, ‘Pablo’s the heart of the group, he’s softer than everybody.’ I’m like nah, enough’s enough. We’re going into season three. Let me kill some Deadites.”

Yes, folks. Pablo (or, as Ash refers to him, “Cuervo Especial”) continues to become the new hero of the series. For the first two years. Kelly was the Scrappy Doo with most of the agency and the badassery. Pablo’s character was continuously stuck in this nebulous zone between well-meaning sidekick and gentle comic relief. Now, the tables have turned. Pablo is the one that is saving the day here, and it’s about damn time. Wait, how do you say damn in Spanish again? Ah, never mind.

It seems as though Kelly’s is stuck inside The Rift now, even though Brandy and Ash got back scot-free after running down the evil cartoon shadow thing down in the Delta. Does this mean her character is about to be written out? Please say no!

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On the whole, “Rifting Apart” is a victory for Ash vs Evil Dead and its band of misfit heroes, if not because they transcend the walls of death to reunite with each other, then because it gives the show a little bit of heart that doesn’t get too sappy. That’s quite an achievement for an off-color horror sitcom that seeks to offend you at every turn. 

The Top 5 Highlights of “Rifting Apart” are…

1. Pablo’s Deadite kill. Duh.

2. Dalton’s reappearance. Finally!

3. Ash’s hand’s reappearance. “It’s kinda weird how often that happens.”

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4. The special effects. Rift world is pretty spooky, kids.

5. That warm and fuzzy feeling. Is it wrong to have that over an episode of Ash vs Evil Dead? If so, I don’t want to be right.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5