Putting the Ash in Slash-Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 ‘Ashy Slashy’ Review

 

Welcome to the madhouse that is AvED’s episode 8. After Ash’s slow spiral into madness in last week’s psychological horror of an episode, ‘Ashy Slashy’ returns to usual form, though with a darker bent.

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As we find the Ghostbeaters preparing to assault the mental hospital where Ash is being brainwashed, the body count starts to mount as Sheriff Emery and Lacey meet their gruesome, heartbreaking ends.

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Watch out, he’s a biter

The highlight of this episode is again Bruce Campbell, going almost full-on slasher villain as a brainwashed Ash. With way less quips and more ominous appearances, it’s almost enough to put even Jason Voorhees on notice.

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Heeeeeere’s Ashy!

Puppet Ash also makes another hilarious appearance, this time tangling with Kelly in a Woman vs Puppet battle for the ages. The banter between Pablo and Ruby in this episode is also something of note. For the record, I’d visit Pablito’s Fish and Chips.

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The Jefe has never been so scary

The ending has to be one of the worst cases of emotional whiplash in the show so far. After Ash manages to play EVERYONE for fools, the gang manages to finish off Baal…let’s just say Pablito’s Fish and Chips won’t be a reality anymore.

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It’s an eye-opener

This season has been all about exploring the sides of Ash we never see before, and this is no exception. We finally get to see Ash being smart, after the sporadic flashes of brilliance all throughout his appearances. With two more episodes, I hope AvED can get even better.

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Madhouse-Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 ‘Delusion’ Review

Once again, AvED shows why it’s one of the best shows currently airing on television, period. The growth of the series from pure guts n’ gags to a show with a well-developed cast, amazing character dynamics, and riveting storylines while keeping the franchise’s signature feel intact is really something to behold. This latest episode is one of its most ambitious yet.

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This might come as a shock for some of you

After the predicament Ash found himself in last week, he wakes up as a patient in a mental hospital. A doctor who looks suspiciously like Baal explains that he’d been commited there after the cabin incident thirty years ago and that the whole of Evil Dead was something his imagination cooked up to deal with the murders.

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Finger counting taken to its extreme

The episode that ensued is quite possibly the darkest Evil Dead has gone in its whole lifetime, eschewing most of its tried-and-true formula of slapstick, gore, and one-liners for a more psychological horror, following Ash’s journey in this weird insane asylum that Baal’s put him in. Or did he?

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He’s like Ash. Only with a hand up his ass

This outing seems to give quite the spotlight to Bruce Campbell and Dana DeLorenzo, giving Ash and ‘Kelly’ more room to flex their dramatic chops to amazing results. Newcomers to Campbell’s body of work may be surprised at the range he displays here, with Ash going from full-on ‘Ash’ all the way down to resigned, broken down Ash, which came as quite a surprise to me. Puppet Ash also came out as the breakout character of the episode, being annoying enough to make you want to kick him across the room but charmingly funny enough to make you want to keep him.

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Apparently they finally set him strait

While insane asylum episodes are hardly new territory, AvED’s take does it well and throws in just enough twists to keep you guessing about things in the insane asylum, if not necessarily the nature of Ash’s supposed delusions itself. That said, AvED travels outside its comfort zone in this episode and finds its mark well.

Home Invasion-Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 ‘Trapped Inside’ Review

We’re past the halfway point of AvED’s sophomore season and things don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Following right up from last week’s brouhaha in the police station, our heroes hole up back at Casa Williams to deal with Pablo’s new…development. Elsewhere, desperate after the quick divorce last week, Sheriff Emery starts getting devil whispers from Baal himself, urging him to take action against Ash and his crew.

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Shouldn’t have had that Necronomicon for dinner

For a thirty-minute episode, this episode manages to juggle three plotlines like a circus clown without it ever feeling like they were shoved in without care. At the front of the house, Linda and Kelly are holding the fort against the angry mob roused by Emery, plus a little help from our friendly demon Baal.

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Upstairs, Ruby and Pablo are doing their best to find the spell that can banish Baal back from where he came from…on Pablo’s body. And they have to do this before Pablo gets turned into a walking Necronomicon. No pressure, right?

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She’s baaaaack!

A little further down the hall, Ash faces a blast from the past. Cheryl, his dearly departed sister is brought back as a Deadite and the requisite action set piece of the episode is as much emotional as it is intense.

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Heartwrenching. Literally AND figuratively

This episode, in one word, is a rollercoaster. An intense ride from top to bottom, with lots of laughs, scares, pure d’aww moments, and maybe a few tears along the way. Of particular highlights were Kelly psyching Pablo up with the laugh-out-loud callback to the vagina line several episodes back and of course, Ash’s whole ordeal with Cheryl. Emotionally, this might be one of the strongest sequences throughout the series and Cheryl convinces us once again why she’s one of the most dangerous Deadites in the franchise.

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This season’s Primitive Screwheads moment?

All this combined, plus the references to the classic movies is more than enough to convince me that this is the strongest episode of the season so far, and a powerful proof that Evil Dead isn’t just blood, guts, and slapstick. While it’s true that those are its major selling points, it’s only through character development sneakily put in throughout the show’s run that makes us care for the cast this much in times of trouble. If this is the direction Evil Dead is taking going forward, then I’m in for the ride.