Ash Vs Evil Dead 303 - Father's Day AKA Apparently Dead - (relatively) SPOILER FREE Review
AIRDATE SUNDAY, MARCH 11th at 9:00 PM ET/PT
Official Synopsis: Ruby reveals herself to Ash as she tries to strengthen her bond with Brandy to defeat The Prophesized One. Meanwhile, Pablo and Dalton continue to spar, unsure of one another.
Good: Another strong episode with a good balance of humour, splatstick, set pieces and conversation. Awesome production values and shooting style. Bruce Campbell.
Bad: The scenes with Kelly, Pablo and Dalton seemed a little under written, not really thought out and slowed the episode down.
So I am a bit late writing this episode review and so I will be less concerned about spoilers as the episode has already aired. I will still try and keep them to a minimum however, as I know not everyone watches it the night it airs and that leads me to a point I'd much rather talk about: Evil Dead fans.
Episode 3 was excellent and I'll definitely get to talking about it but first I wanted to say - if you are a fan of the Evil Dead franchise, you aren't watching the show legally on Starz, Virgin Media (in the UK) or on Stan in Australia but you think you have some legitimate reason to:
- Illegally download it
- Bitch about the show
- Ask about Evil Dead 4
- Some other bull shit thing
Then, quite honestly, fuck you. Seriously. Fuck you.
Here's the deal - Ratings for Season Three determine the future of the show AND the future of the franchise. Sadly, the ratings are taking a worrying nose dive. If you think that by trashing, ignoring or not properly supporting the TV series - the series they made for the fans, after decades of being repeatedly (and as far as I was concerned, bafflingly) asked about an Evil Dead 4 - that you will somehow, one day, get that movie, then you're a big idiot. A massive moron. A complete twat.
Bruce Campbell, who can be his own worst enemy when it comes to stoking the flames of annoying fans' mad hopes and desires, said recently in an interview that “If they take us off the air, we can think about another movie. And if they don’t, we can just keep plugging away.” Then, because this is the internet, everyone from IMDB to Cinemablend to the click bait, spoiler heavy, junky hacks over at Bloody-Disgusting.com trotted out Evil Dead 4 movie articles with misleading titles designed to get people expecting another movie.
It was a quote, not even a long one, not even a conclusive or detailed one and not even a verified one. We have no idea of intonation or intention of the quote.
If you think that, in the present climate, a failed TV Show - that was only made as a TV Show because they couldn't get a movie made because the last film in the franchise "flopped" and an Evil Dead movie made for millions by Sam Raimi would never recoup its budget in the cinema - will somehow lead to a fourth movie being made then you are, as I said earlier, a massive moron who knows nothing about business.
Failed TV Shows do not become movies. End of.
And before nerds the world over start quoting Firefly and Serenity as an example I can explain using crayons and some scratch paper why that is the exception to the rule and NOT the rule.
So this is it. As I have written many times before, while everything on Ash Vs Evil Dead might not be what you want and might not always feel like the Evil Dead you grew up with, it is what we have, it's what we get and we either embrace that, support it and PAY for it or watch it die.
And if it dies, it'll be YOUR fault. Not Starz, not the cast, not the writers, not the marketing company but YOU the fan, it'll be YOUR fault... and fuck you.
The only person I really feel sorry for if the show dies is the cast and not because they won't find other work, they're all excellent and, unbeknownst to us, they probably already have found other work, but because they'll spend the rest of their lives fending questions about another series or another movie from annoying, irritating, childish, entitled and naive fans who should've ponied up the coin in the first place.
So why did I start my review of Episode 3 "Father's Day" with that expletive filled assault on the fans? Well because Episode 3 of Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 is, much like Episode 2, fucking wonderful. So much happens that you won't believe the episode is only 30 minutes long.
The episode opens at the funeral for Candy Barr where Bruce does hilarious and gory battle with her repossessed corpse because the numb-nuts at the mortuary have re-attached her head. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Evil Dead lore knows that the Necronomicon calls for bodily dismemberment to dispel the demons, I don't think we've ever had it that the re-attaching of a body part has caused the possession to again, take hold. It's very cool, a nice idea and leads to a hilarious sequence that is played note-perfect by Campbell.
After Ash's antics at the funeral, Ruby, disguised as Mrs. Prevett the school counsellor, makes her play for Brandy. Ash tries to explain who Ruby is but Brandy just wants out of the craziness.
This brings up lots of questions:
- Brandy says she's known Mrs. Prevett for two years - has evil Ruby been in Elk Grove the whole time then?
- When evil Ruby found out Brandy was Ash's daughter (in episode 2) she seemed pleased and surprised - so she didn't know previously?
- When did Ruby find out she needed to destroy Ash's offspring?
- How did Ruby know Ash even had offspring if she didn't know who it was?
- and if Ruby didn't know Ash had offspring, why spend 2 years playing guidance counsellor at Elk grove high school?
I can't help feeling that these questions would be less if they had gone with the original ending of Season 2 but I guess with the redo of the "Ash is a father story" they are doing this Season, these kinds of questions either don't matter or will be answered by the end of the Season.
After Pablo again sees a 'Naked lady' prophecy at the chapel - in a sequence that is hilariously written and deftly played by a wonderful Ray Santiago - the Ghost Beaters and Dalton head off on a road trip back to the cabin location to retrieve the Kandarian dagger.
When Brandy heads home to pack and say goodbye to Ash, Ruby heads to the graveyard and resurrects Ash's Dad, Brock, played, again, by the incomparable Lee Majors. This leads to one of the greatest and interestingly shot sequences in the series as a whole. To the strains of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' version of Crimson and Clover, Brock returns home and takes a shower, washing off the mud and decay of the grave to become the evil, undead Brock.
It's a fantastically shot and very spooky set piece that is the sort of thing we'll miss out on if people don't support this show NOW. It's like nothing I've ever seen in horror movies or on TV and even when the story telling lacks something or the plot has more holes than a swiss cheese colander, it's sequences like this that make the existence of the show a necessity.
We then cut back to the woods where the Ghost Beaters have unearthed the Kandarian dagger and evil comes a callin'. Dalton takes the brunt of it and the force impales him on a tree branch. He tries to convince Kelly that it was all really Pablo but she ain't bitin'. Dalton, now possessed, chases Kelly but Pablo spectacularly saves the day...
The woods and Ghost Beater scenes in this episode are not really adding anything to the plot currently and feel a lot like filler. They also feel like they're not advancing beloved characters like Pablo and Kelly any further. Killing off?? or at least turning Dalton evil this early seems like a waste and makes him a little pointless.
With this Season being all about family and a power play between Ash and Ruby over Brandy, I can't help but feel like Pablo and Kelly, especially, are a little sidelined and the writers have sacrificed that nice dynamic between Ash and them from the first two Seasons in favour of a daughter storyline which could've included Kelly and, by extension, Pablo. Instead they've brought in Brandy who, also, even by episode three's end, doesn't have much of a character emerging.
Back at the house Brock and Brandy are "bonding" when Ash returns home and confronts Brock in an epic and hilarious fight scene. It's the sort of thing that Ash Vs Evil Dead can do in its sleep at this point but its a welcome burst of energy after a few of the slower scenes.
Here are a couple of sneak peeks at that scene:
It's a genuine thrill to see a sequence that involves the full Williams clan (if only ghost Cheryl had shown up!) and to see a show like this examine, through splatstick madness, the difficult father/son, father/daughter dynamic. The Evil Dead franchise has never been one for metaphor or familial relationship exploration and it's enjoyable to see them try something new. I don't know about you but I genuinely want to see Ash and Brandy happy for a while, whatever that looks like in this world. He may not be the best father but he's the best father she's got.
While never completely hitting the highs and smooth running of episode two, episode three which Starz told me is called "Father's Day" but which everywhere else is calling "Apparently Dead" - I prefer "Father's Day" - packs a ton of stuff into its running time, a lot of it wild, innovative and interesting and more than justifies the cost of subscribing to Starz.
In terms of any of the nagging questions or comments about lack of character development, I am willing to let the Season run its course and wait to see what they reveal, what they tidy up and where the characters go. As we know with this crazy show, every 30 minutes each week can make a big difference.
If you're interested, here's a little look at next week's Episode Four "Unfinished Business":
I'll say it one more time for the cheap seats - Everybody needs to download and PAY FOR the Starz App - Now's the time! Don't be cheapskates! Pony up the dough!
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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