Ash Vs Evil Dead 202 - The Morgue - SPOILER FREE Review
PREMIERES SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9th at 8:00pm ET/PT
Official Synopsis: Pablo's grasp on reality is tested when Ruby reveals the Necronomicon has gifted him with premonitions. Meanwhile, in the morgue, Ash and Kelly discover Brock's date might not be the warm body he's banking on.
Good: Everything that was great about episode one remains - the sets, the lighting, the score, the performances, the practical effects etc.
Bad: The writing in this episode is the biggest problem. The one liners and back 'n' forth aren't great, the fundamental changing of Ash's background and history is problematic and there's one particular scene that you definitely have never seen before and I am not really sure belongs in the Evil Dead franchise.
Episode two starts right where episode one finished, another thing that makes Season Two already feel like an epic movie chopped into 10 parts. It is an episode, however, that I think is going to divide people.
All the plus points of episode one are still, obviously, intact. You get the scares, the funnies, the gore, the atmospheric lighting, the great looking sets and the cast who are all stepping up to meet the breakneck speed and lunacy of it all. It's one of the first episodes, though, where I felt the writing doesn't quite fit with the characters or the series as well as it has in previous episodes.
The first episode felt perfectly right on the edge of all the stuff we love about the show without falling over it. Episode two, in parts, plunges, gleefully, right over the edge and, in other parts, it just doesn't feel as satisfying or as sharp and, I feel, lacks that essential Evil Dead vibe. There's plenty about all of Ash Vs Evil Dead that I have had to accept isn't the Evil Dead that I grew up with and love dearly. Most of the time I am able to put that thought to one side and embrace the new but I found that very hard during this episode.
If I said Re-Animator and Evil Dead 2 (for example), you probably love both of those films (I do too) but you'd also probably recognise that, although they both feature plenty of weird, wonderful, crazy shit, there's a fundamental difference in tone between the two. Right?
Well episode two sort of enters Re-Animator territory, runs right through that territory and pokes its rancid head out to see if there's something even more gross on the other side!
It also depends what kind of a fan you are. Are you someone who believes that no horror comedy can go too far and the crazier it gets the better or are you someone who's been with the franchise since Evil Dead 1 and thinks that there's an integrity to the franchise and a line it shouldn't cross? Maybe you're neither and I should stop pigeon holing people!
Now, what I am talking about isn't a horror line so much as it is a gross out comedy line. The film series features plenty of ridiculous, horrifying things (the infamous tree rape of Cheryl for one) but its comedy has always come from the situation, the rollercoaster ride and Ash's poor, unwitting protagonist being just the right side of silly, scared, capable at dispatching deadites but always fairly human and relatable. The film series, for example, has never had a bunch of infantile sex jokes and has never included squirm inducing toilet humour.
I don't want to come across as a total negative nancy because I am sort of torn myself. One half of me says yes! haha! wow! and one half of me says no! stop!! you're ruining it!!! it depends what time of day you get me.
I won't go on, for fear of spoiling the scene or colouring anyone's judgement but what I will say is that Bruce Campbell, for an actor who used to worry about things like "showing the penis" in Bubba Ho-Tep and making sure that his silly, weird roles had something human and interesting about them, seemingly doesn't worry about that sort of stuff anymore.
Some of the highlights of this episode though are the practical effects, some very effective scares, Dana DeLorenzo's performance and sass as Kelly and Pablo's on-going B plot which, so far, gives this series its most nerve wracking moments and character development. Ray Santiago, in terms of physically demanding roles, is certainly earning his stripes more than any other TV actor working today.
Episode two hasn't completely soured me to the series, I have to remember that there were fans of Evil Dead 1 that hated Evil Dead 2's leap in tone and then people who loved those movies who hated Army of Darkness's big tone shift too. Ash Vs Evil Dead makes another big leap in tone and that makes sense. I just honestly hope that they move forward and give us some serious moments, some weird moments, some really scary moments and some different tones.
While Bruce Campbell is right, the 30 minute episode set up does allow them to keep the fast pace up, it's already beginning to feel like that pace will be difficult to maintain and keep entertaining without any depth or without any relatable humanity. I love Warner Brothers cartoons as much as the next person approaching 40 but still feeling 14 but ever watch more than 3 in a row? it can get exhausting...
Bring on episode three!
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