Ash Vs Evil Dead 301 - Family - Spoiler Free Review
PREMIERES SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25th at 9:00 PM ET/PT
Official Synopsis: Ash has gone from zero to hero in Elk Grove! With evil defeated and humanity saved, there was only one thing left to do: open a hardware store. His peace is short lived when evil returns with a new target close to his heart.
Good: The gang is back, evil is back, the splatstick is back and Bruce is better than ever.
Bad: Not quite enough time to ease us back into the series and not enough Kelly.
So here we go! The long awaited Season Three of Ash Vs Evil Dead is just 5 days away and we'll say, just right off the bat, you gotta watch it, you just gotta! - get the Starz App here!
At the end of Season 2 - in a finale that, even on re-watch, I still find a little confusing - the assumption was that all is finally right with the world, Ash and the ghostbeaters have vanquished the deadites and Elk Grove has finally embraced its wayward son Ash.
Season 3 kicks off with Ash, the town hero, taking over his Dad's hardware store - in the typical, hilarious, self-aggrandising and goofy way that we so love and expect from Ash and Pablo has realised his dream of a fish and chips truck where he feeds the town's folk fish tacos and fixes their hard drives. Kelly meanwhile is adrift, seemingly working as some sort of bouncer in a dive bar, protecting the pretzels, defending the drunks and cursing a blue streak like a gosh darn sailor.
This "idyllic" existence is not allowed to continue of course, this is part of the Evil Dead franchise after all.
This first episode has a lot of ground to cover. It has to announce to everyone "we're back!", it has to re-launch evil, introduce Ash's daughter (Arielle Carver-O'Neill), bring the ghostbeaters back together, throw new?/old? evil Ruby back into the mix and its got to seriously kick ass, all the while putting everyone at ease that the new show runner, Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica 2004, Daredevil) has not come in and stunk the joint up with some weird new direction.
Well on that last point, it's good news, this series of AVED doesn't feel drastically different to the two seasons we've already grown to love and enjoy. The only startling difference I have noticed is that while Verheiden hasn't, sadly, fixed the problem of major plot points and character moments whizzing by in a flash with nothing more than a cursory examination, he does seem to be giving the set pieces a little more time to grow and breathe. It definitely makes the episodes feel more like a movie. The second half of this first episode - essentially an evil showdown in a high school - is absolutely wonderful and the whole action/confrontation scene builds nicely, has some genuine scares but also mixes in the laughs with the gore in a way that feels lovingly old school Evil Dead.
As a fan of well crafted dialogue and characters you can sink your teeth into (but don't become ponderous or long winded) I will always wish that there was some attempt to give characters more interesting things to say - especially when introducing new characters - but long ago I accepted that it was just the tone of this iteration of the Evil Dead franchise and chose to find the good in what we get.
The good in this first episode is plentiful. The way the episode is shot is cinematic with the New Zealand crew still absolutely killing it in the set dressing and lighting department, it's almost why you wish you got more time in each set than you do. The set pieces, as previously stated, are a delight. The Evil Dead series is never better than when Ash has to do battle with demonic powered, inanimate objects - with both comedic and gruesome consequences - and in this first episode Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Ash fight a room full of "certain objects" and it's a masterpiece - complete with some excellent work by unsung genius of Evil Dead soundtrack, composer Joseph LoDuca.
While she sadly doesn't get much screen time this first episode, Dana DeLorenzo's first scene in a dive bar, detailed above, is everything that makes her portrayal of Kelly a funny, feisty, foul mouthed and forever ass kicking joy. Ray Santiago as Pablo has his role as Ash's sidekick mastered and Bruce Campbell and him play off each other effortlessly. Their back n forth is brilliant this season opener. Ruby is back in a big bad way and it's incredible that no matter what she's asked to do, Lucy Lawless throws herself into the role with serious gusto and an impressive 'have-a-go' attitude. It adds all the more madness and menace to her portrayal of the ultimate Dark One. Not sure what to say about newcomers Arielle Carver-O'Neill and Lindsay Farris right now as their introductions are not handled with maybe the care they should've been but, like the best elements of this show, they are not a problematic addition and blend in with the mayhem as if they'd always been there.
One weird thing - what happened to Linda B?
The last thing to say about this episode is that, where Ash vs Evil Dead is concerned, Bruce Campbell has never been better in the role of Ash and I mean that in terms of pure acting chops. There will always be something just slightly more authentic feeling about his portrayal in the films - especially ED2 and AOD but in this role of the older, not necessarily more mature, TV version of Ash I feel Bruce has finally found his stride. That's not to say he wasn't good in Season One or Two, I just mean that now, as Season Three kicks into gear, it finally feels like all the development of Ash's character is paying off and Bruce is nailing every line delivery, facial movement and bit of business he has.
It's why everybody needs to download and PAY FOR the Starz App - Bruce, now that he's fully got his mojo humming as older Ash, needs to play the character for at least two more seasons and maybe even a handful of new movies. Now's the time! Don't be cheapskates! Pony up the dough and I'll see you on Feb 25th!
Join the live tweeting of Season Three and do your part to #BringBackBoomstick - to find out more head on over to our friends at 1428ElmSt.com and learn all about Phase 2...
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