It’s no secret that I was a big fan of the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead. It was easily one of the best movie to TV adaptations I’ve ever seen. It’s not an easy genre to adapt for TV and there was a lot of expectations they had to meet for the beloved franchise. But, all in all I think they met, and even surpassed in many areas, those expectations and brought new and worthwhile additions to the lore. The real test however, would be in Season 2, and whether or not they could continue to expand the franchise in meaningful ways while still delivering on all the promises of an Ash led Evil Dead. I was definitely excited to find out whether they could avoid that sophomore slump.
…it’s pretty much become a running joke at this point at how often and how easily everything goes to shit.
Season 1 ended with a loose wrapping up of events, but you knew things weren’t going to last that way very long for Ash and the gang. In fact, it’s pretty much become a running joke at this point at how often and how easily everything goes to shit. They don’t waste anytime in Season 2 in thrusting them right back into the thick of things, battling deadites, and trying to fix everything Ash messed up. Except this time around they find themselves having to team up with * slight spoilers * Ruby and having to go back to his hometown, Elk Grove. It’s essentially a blast from the past for Ash as he reconnects with old friends and family and he’s both literally and figuratively haunted by his past. The story isn’t all that original but it serves as the vehicle to learn more about Ash’s past and the people in it.
Once again, the banter and the dialogue between the characters is what drew me in episode after episode. It’s still full of all the crude humor, foul language, and political incorrectness I’ve come to expect from Evil Dead.
Once again, the banter and the dialogue between the characters is what drew me in episode after episode. It’s still full of all the crude humor, foul language, and political incorrectness I’ve come to expect from Ash vs Evil Dead. I also expect copious amounts of (slapstick) gore which they’ve once again delivered by the truckload. They knew they needed to up the ante and they did that without a doubt. There’s some seriously gross moments in here; like Ash getting his head literally shoved into a corpse’s ass or being force fed rotten milk from a 400 pound old, lactating deadite. The special effects are some of the best you’ll see on a TV show and you can really tell they had a lot of fun creating all this carnage.
…outside of the core group, I have to say that the characters in Season 2 were far weaker than in Season 1. Nobody from Elk Grove had a lasting impression on me or brought really anything to Ash or the show, outside of a bit of nostalgia.
All of that is great and all, but what really makes Ash vs Evil Dead such a fun watch is Mr. Bruce Campbell, who shows once again why he was born to play Ash Williams and why the character is so beloved by so many. Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) both return as his two sidekicks and they’re every bit as good as they were in the first season, and they continue to be my two favorite additions to franchise. Ruby (Lucy Lawless) returns as well, as a great friend/foe to Ash and the others. But outside of the core group, I have to say that the characters in Season 2 were far weaker than in Season 1. Nobody from Elk Grove had a lasting impression on me or really brought anything new to Ash or the show, outside of a bit of nostalgia. That included his dad, who was really only good for a few laughs (although he did manage to out-Ash, Ash). So when a lot of them do predictably meet their ends, I could care less and it feels like neither could the show. The worst culprit had to be the “big bad demon” of this season, who I never once felt like was a legitimate threat to any of them and was actually pretty boring and generic. Luckily however, I think the core of Ash, Pablo, and Kelly are strong enough to carry Ash vs Evil Dead for at least a few more seasons.
* SPOILERS *
The first season had one particulary shocking death when they killed off Amanda. You could tell that she might be killed off, but it was still a shocker because of how prominent she was in the season and how full of an arc she had gone through. They tried to go for a shocker again by killing off Pablo (my favorite character), but ultimately it fell flat. Yes it was hilarious to see them lug his body around in a trash bag, but you could see this one coming a mile away. And you knew he was going to be brought back somehow, someway, and alas they did just that two episodes later. Undercutting an already failed attempt at generating shock.
They kind of did this twice in fact. They killed off Ruby, not once but twice (current and past Ruby respectively), just to have the past version pop up not even 10 minutes later, effectively retconning her back into the villain role. Lazy storytelling if you ask me.
Speaking of Ruby, what did she do to change the deal between Ash and Baal? On screen it didn’t look like she did anything but when Baal is killed he asks her what did she do. Well shit I want to know to. What did she do? Did I miss something?
What was the secret his dad wanted to tell him? Will we ever learn it?
The ending was horrible. Not the entire finale (I mean, chainsaw duel come on now that’s awesome), but the ending itself. We went from just defeating Ruby and Baal in the 80’s in one scene, then in the next we’re right back in the present and the town’s honoring Ash for saving them. Huh?? I feel like I missed something and everything just felt off (reshoots maybe?).
Ash gets his hand back because their actions somehow changed the future(?), only to have it hilariously cut off again less than 5 minutes later.
Sooo they changed things in one moment, but when they return to the present everybody that died is still dead and looks like everything that went down, still went down? I don’t know man, things started to get real shaky towards the end.
Have you seen Season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead? What did you think about it? Did they fall victim to the sophomore slump? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a rating for the show.
Season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead was full of all the crude humor and slapstick gore I loved so much about the first season. But outside of the core of Ash, Pablo, and Kelly there wasn't anybody really memorable that added much to the proceedings. In particular, the extremely weak main villain. But all in all, outside of a perplexing ending, it was another fun (albeit flawed) ride that couldn't quite reach the heights of Season 1.