This Stan Against Evil review contains spoilers.
Stan Against Evil Season 2 Episode 3
“I’m not gonna kill you, but the pony? The pony needs blood!”
Stan Against Evil is a series that is set on a Hellmouth of sorts, which means that any sort of supernatural dangers can stop by to visit. Witches are the typical threat that Willard’s Mill faces, but the show opens itself up to other popular areas of horror like succubi, pagan rituals, and Ouija boards. The series feels like it’s at its best when it lets itself expand its boundaries and get especially playful with horror lore. “Curse of the Werepony” is a prime example of this and after the plot heavy shenanigans of last week’s two-part premiere, it’s nice to see the Stan Against Evil crew comfortably settle into some random monster of the week mayhem.
Evie Barrett gets to once more experience the burdens of everyday life now that she’s been rightfully restored to the timeline. Her problems at home begin to seep into her work when her cavalier ex-husband, Kenny (played with gleeful misanthropy by David Koechner), buys their daughter a pony and saddles Evie with all of the responsibility. Kenny’s presence in Willard’s Mill might amount to a lot of grief for Evie but, unsurprisingly, Stan gets along swimmingly with the guy as if they’re old friends. The only thing that gives their friendship a run for its money is Denise’s bond with Daffodil the pony.
At this point in the series it’s become routine for Stan Against Evil to flash back to one of the more sordid chapters from Willard’s Mill’s past. This particular story has its origins all the way back in 1887 and happens to involve that prized pony that’s currently in the Barrett band’s possession. When a string of murders starts to happen in the community, the adorable anima gets some suspicious doubt cast on him.
Plot aside, “Curse of the Werepony” is simply an especially funny, well-written script that comes courtesy of Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy. They fill this transformation tale with surreal gags like Ikea-made pony posts, crumbling teeth, and lines like “put your hooves in the air.” The episode boasts a strong script, but the real joy of this installment is when this pony crudely operates tools and show off his murderous nature.
Whoever’s decision it was to go and creepify a pony couldn’t have picked a better animal. A pony just connects on a weird level that other animals don’t. There’s a particularly effective scene set amongst laundry on clotheslines where the pony’s exaggerated shadow intimidates its victim before it strikes. A number of inventive takes on the typical murderer staples are played with here and every one of them becomes infinitely funnier when the aggressor is a rabid pony. The transformation sequences where the chaotic pony Daffodil turns back into a human are obviously not at Rick Baker levels, but they’re still pretty damn impressive.
There are plenty of existing comedic takes on the werewolf trope, often where smaller animals step in as a surrogate for the wolf. These parodies usually just highlight a murderous bunny, cow, or whatever, but “Curse of the Werepony” actually explores the twisted mechanics behind turning into a pony and is sure to showcase the hideous human-pony hybrid along the way. The show certainly rises to the occasion with this material and in the future they shouldn’t be afraid to venture into more body horror.
Stan and Kenny’s time in the bar actually leads to Evie’s ex-husband revealing that he still deeply misses his ex-wife. In fact, the only reason that Kenny’s in town is to try to win Evie back (and shirk pony duties). Stan’s friendship with Kenny has nothing to do with him trying to make life more difficult for Evie. Rather, Stan’s just happy to have more men in the neighborhood and someone to come along when he buys cargo shorts.
Stan takes a bit of a backseat this episode with this much more of an adventure where Evie leads the charge. This dynamic works well enough, although it still feels like Stan could have a little more to do in this one than watch movies, eat kettle corn, and listen to bro talk. Diane even has more to do than Stan does in this one, which is saying something. Part of Stan’s lethargic nature has to do with the fact that he isn’t sheriff and so of course he wants to make Evie really work to get any help from out of him. If she needs his help, of course he’ll milk the opportunity for all its worth. Fortunately, Evie doesn’t need to fall back on Stan very often here, so he can just be crotchety to his bitter heart’s content
All in all, the parallels of the whole werepony angle become a nice metaphor for the two sides of Kenny and how he tries to redeem himself in Evie’s eyes. Of course, it’s a parallel that works a lot better in theory as really only one side of Kenny is present. Evie speaks of the sparse good qualities within Kenny, but a lot of this softer side remains to be seen. Evie still jumps to Kenny’s rescue when the time comes, even if it’s just so her daughter still has a father at the end of the day. “Curse of the Werepony” amounts to a good example of the silly, low impact stories that this show can turn out that feel like adventures that you won’t find on any other shows. This sort of plot is far too absurd for The X-Files or even Supernatural, so Stan Against Evil is smart to play into its weird strengths. I guarantee you that there are no other shows on television where you get to see a murderous pony’s head get blown off with a shotgun.
“Curse of the Werepony” also goes out with a great finisher that gives this crazy material an extra boost that make this one of the more memorable entries. It’s easy to see why this installment was chosen by IFC as a special sneak preview back on Friday the 13th. This might not be Stan Against Evil’s best episode, but it’s a strong reminder of the unique comedy that the show can consistently turn out.