Ash Vs Evil Dead 201 - Home - SPOILER FREE Review
PREMIERES SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2nd at 8:00pm ET/PT
Official Synopsis: The party in Jacksonville is over when Ash, Pablo, and Kelly are summoned by Ruby back to Ash's hometown to form an unlikely alliance. Ash's dad Brock, and the local pub rats give a chilly welcome to the man who's come to save them from evil.
Good: The performances, the sets, the lighting, the action, the gore, the one liners and it crams a hell of a lot into 35mins.
Bad: Few too many call backs/homages, an underwhelming introduction of Lee Majors and Some of the writing forgets Ash wasn't always a loud mouth braggart.
If you have followed this website and our podcast for the last five years, listened to our latest show on Ash vs Evil Dead season one or read my article on my history with the Evil Dead franchise then you'll know, I am an Evil Dead fan. It's not always been a 100% smooth ride but no path is without its bumps and after the last Ash Vs Evil Dead season, we're on a high, bumpless path again.
So please know I won't spoil your enjoyment of the upcoming season of Ash vs Evil Dead and I present these reviews merely to whet the appetite and to spur on fan discussion.
This first episode starts with the same anarchic, gooey and glorious vibe that the last season had in bucket loads, with the gore (and various other bodily fluids) spraying, both barrels blasting, the chainsaw revving and the one liners flying. If you aren't breathless, applauding, whooping and laughing by the time the title card comes up on screen, then you may just be a deadite yourself.
The episode is sort of split into three and in the second section we get to explore a little bit of Elk Grove, Michigan, meet Brock Williams (Ash's father) played by the amazing Lee Majors, establish a couple of new characters and catch up with where Pablo and Kelly find themselves, still being dragged a long on this bizarre, never ending, hellish road-trip of Ash and Ruby's making.
The applause here needs to go to the set builders, set dressers, director of photography and the production dept. that make Elk Grove, MI look both authentically small town America but also pleasingly spooky, misty, aged, shrowded in shadow and like the last stop on a highway to horrors. I can't say how much I love the look and feel of this show. It's like the best 80s horror movie style while also feeling urgent and contemporary.
The last section of the show is an excellent climax of comedy, character, chaos and carving up deadites.
Bruce Campbell, after his incredible performance in the last few episodes of season one, has found his inner Ash again and fans are going to love everything he is doing here. There are so many easter eggs, call backs, classic lines and similar scenarios that you're going to have to watch this first episode several times to count them all. This is both a blessing and a curse and I hope they tread just a little lighter with the references in future episodes. However, it's definitely taking its cue from the last 3 episodes of season one and giving us everything we love about the old Evil Dead with plenty of the new.
It's quite remarkable that with everything going on with Ash in this episode and the few new characters we meet, that Kelly, Pablo and Ruby even get a look in but, don't worry, they do! Especially Ray Santiago as Pablo, who has enough going on in this first episode to warrant his story being the A plot! As it is, Ash Vs Evil Dead is such a jam packed show that Pablo's trials and tribulations are just the B plot! No one is normal and nothing is sacred when the Evil Dead have reared their ugly, pus filled heads!
As if Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly hadn't proved herself physically enough in the first season, she is right back and up to her neck in it at the end of this first episode. Proving herself to be every bit Ash/Bruce's equal when it comes to unpleasant filming scenarios and kick ass action.
To sum up this episode overall I would say that it's a great, exciting plunge back into the world of Ash vs Evil Dead. It does a strong, quick job of getting us up to speed and then off to the races. It dials everything we saw in the first season up to eleven (and that's just in the first 5 mins!) The sets look gorgeous, the lighting is perfect and the direction is spot on.
There is some CGI, which I know has been a problem for some fans, but it's not intrusive and there's also, as always, some pleasing and amazing practical effects.
It's maybe one step too goofy in places for some and, as a purist Evil Dead fan, painting Ash as a womanising, idiot, bully during, essentially, the period before Evil Dead 1 doesn't quite play into the nerdy character that he used to be before his war with the Dead started but I suppose it was the only way the writers felt this present incarnation of Ash would fit in the hostile, cold shoulder, environment of Ash's home town.
It's a good opening episode though and definitely leaves you hungry for more.