2016 starts with a boom(stick), as the finale of Ash vs Evil Dead’s first season, ‘The Dark One’, finally aired. After 9 weeks of venturing with Ash and his two new companions, the sometimes trippier-than-usual trip finally comes to an end in this episode.
After revealing herself as a Dark One, one of the authors of the Necronomicon and it looks like a fight will ensue, Deadite Amanda bursts into the scene and instantly goes after Ash. A couples spat has never been so gory. And all Hiker Heather could do is watch as she’s sprayed with blood, the poor girl.
With Pablo and Ruby gone following the fight, there can only be one place for them to go. Down the cellar. Ash, ever the hero, insists on going down alone, leaving Other Gi—Heather with Kelly upstairs. A trip down the steps sends Ash on a trippier trip back into his trailer, to his high poetry night. With Ruby showing up, she offers Ash a chance to go back to Jacksonville, in exchange of him letting her, in his words, ‘Godfather’ the demons. The hero Ash is, he refused and instead attacks Ruby, only to be returned to the cellar.
Back upstairs, Kelly and Heather has problems of their own trying to get the cellar door open while being tormented by the creepy crawlies and other bad things that lurk in the cabin. All the tricks are pulled out. Eyeballs in the walls, doors, hallucination, and bucketfuls of blood, everything’s there.
Downstairs, Ash finds out what’s up with Pablo. Being an unwilling The Mask cosplayer brings the perk of being the proud father of several child demons.
[I’m sure there’s an actual title for that, but it’s a bit of a mouthful.]
By now, with Kelly locked out of the cabin and Heather trapped inside, we all know she’s going to die screaming. The only variable now is how gruesome it’ll be. And boy, did the cabin not disappoint. I’ll spare you the details and leave it for you to see. It’s bloody awesome, that’s what I can say.
And what’s child demons if Ash doesn’t fight one? This fight has got to be one of the more interesting ones in the series. Less gory Deadite fare, a little more pure moment of slapstick goodness with a little child abuse thrown in for good measure. To all of you Indonesian readers out there, these child demons are practically tuyuls.
Back outside, after a slight bout of pyromania, Kelly finally manages to break the cabin and enters, finding Ash locked in combat against Necro!Pablo. Despite Pablo’s pleas to sacrifice himself, Ash resisted, instead taking the Kandarian Dagger from Ruby and used it as leverage for him to negotiate a deal. Truce in exchange of Jacksonville for Ash and the crew, and the Godfathering of demons for Ruby.
Seems a good deal enough, no? That’s what Ash thought, much to the dismay of the rest of the crew. But Ash being Ash, he gladly took it. Too bad after the deal is done, the rest of the world thinks it was a bad deal, too.
And thus concludes the thrill ride that is Ash vs Evil Dead….for now. The overall feel of the series does feel like an oversized Evil Dead story, with all the requisite blood, gore, one-liners, and Ash Williams idiocy, which is exactly what the fans want. The performances of the core cast are all amazing, save for a few bouts of incompetence at times, but no less great and Bruce Campbell still hasn’t lost a single step.
My chief complaint is that the episodes could stand to be made a little bit longer, if giving us more episodes per season isn’t an option. A lot of shows can get a lot done in ten episodes or less, but it wouldn’t hurt to make the whole season about as long as the first and last episodes, seeing as some of them seems to end at the most awkward of times. And the CGI, while used sparingly, is quite distracting especially when paired with the quality gore effects.
Longtime fans of the franchise will enjoy the sheer number of callbacks and shout-outs to past installments (barring Army of Darkness), especially when they get to the cabin, but newcomers to the franchise might be better off starting from the movies, seeing as this is basically Evil Dead 4, only a TV series instead of a movie.
All in all, save for the lack of tree, Ash vs Evil Dead’s first season knocked it out of the park in almost all the aspects it strives to excel at, delivering an Ash Williams adventure that still retains the spirit of the franchise while introducing new characters that, despite some doubts from the outset, has grown on me as the series went on. The perfect blending of slapstick humor, one-liners cheesier than movie theater nachos, and surprisingly effective horror, Ash vs Evil Dead has cemented itself as my favorite show of 2015.
And with the second season confirmed to be underway we’ll be seeing more of Ash in hopefully the near future. Groovy.