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Analysis

Ash vs the Evil Dead Ends on TV, Not in our Imaginations

Well folks, it’s officially over. We are left with a feeling that a giant void will replace over 30 years, and witness one of the greatest and most genuine actors finally stepping down from his iconic role that we’ve come to know and love. It’s been a great run, but as the confirmations of the series’ cancellation rolled in, so too did Bruce’s announcement that he was retiring permanently from the role of Ash Williams, the role he was born to play. It’s safe to say this was an emotional time for horror and B movie fans alike as we lost one of our greatest stars, but we can always fondly remember the memories and laughs that we received from this great series over the years.

I must say though, I had my slight reservations about them wrapping up the series in two episodes, yet I remained hopeful that the series that has truly given the fans exactly what they wanted over the past three years would do exactly that. I was not disappointed. Instead, my yearning for someone to tell me that this was all a joke and I’ll be awaiting season four in just a year’s time has put me in an extreme state of denial. I’m totally kidding, but not really.

The past three years have been a blast and I’ve enjoyed every part of it. From the older generation casting of Bruce Campbell and the wonderful Lucy Lawless, to the next generation of great actors such as Dana Delorenzo, Ray Santiago, and Arielle Carver-O’Neill. Of course, we can’t forget the man with the vision either; Sam Raimi will forever hold a special place in my heart as one of film and televisions most unique talents, and I do hope that one day he can give us back the series that launched him into celebrity or at least give us something as memorable.

Recap

The episode opens post the militarization of Elk Grove as the Kandarian demon threat reaches its peak and the town is consumed by blood and violence. We are given classic quotes from the original films while a demon chasing the group yells things likes, “one by one we will take you,” and “dead by dawn!” Also, the season long tradition of Brandy getting a face full of blood continues. Pablo finally identifies the giant beast destroying the town as Kandar the Destroyer, and that it is here to test the mettle of man, or rather Ash mostly. Ash shows his moments of cowardice as citizens begin to doubt him, and panics while the group continues to run for the basement of the hardware store, so that they return Kelly’s soul to her body.

They barricade themselves in Ash’s house and discover that this demonic invasion has gone global. Ash slumps over the knowledge that he’s doomed humanity and has a severe loss of confidence leading to him nearly giving up. That is, until Brandy puts her foot down and says enough is enough. She convinces her father that he is truly the man to believe in, spurring him into action with a little senior help and a hit from the bong. Ash also tries to get Brandy out of town out of fear of losing her again. This tender moment between the two is truly the highlight of the episode.

Their current objective now is to get back to the hardware store to get Kelly back into her body. The team splits, Ash and Brandy take the sewer to hide form the dead, while Pablo takes the normal way since he believes evil can’t see him as a threat. As Pablo moves Kelly through the city, we find out he is right—the dead ignore him. He also sees a full military strike on Kandar, which is only serving to make it more powerful.

Another very tender moment is shared between Ash and Brandy when she tells him she would really like to know him better when this was all over. Ash also gives her the pendent given to him in Evil Dead 2 and states that he’s carried it ever since, he believes in will keep her safe.

Not before long they are set upon by a horde of deadites, and the two slash and blast their way out of the sewers in bloody carnage. The group reunites in the cellar as time works against them and the deadites close in. Pablo decides he’s going to walk into the rift that’s already open while Ash and Brandy mount their defense. Boomstick and dagger rip and destroy flesh and bone, and we’re treated to both father and daughter getting blood explosions in their faces. Pablo returns; he’s afraid Kelly didn’t make and says his final goodbyes as she wakes up and that two kiss for the second time!

They catch Kelly up and head back to the surface where the military is steadily losing ground against Kandar. Pablo runs to save a child hiding in the alleys as the military starts to evacuate. A demon takes over one of them, killing off most of squad, but Kelly exacts equal devastation on its face. The group gets into an evacuation truck, where they find out that the beast is going to be nuked. Pablo tries to tell them that the nuke will only make it stronger. Suddenly, Ash realizes what needs to be done.

In one of the most heart wrenching scenes in the entire series, he grabs the dagger and leaves his family to evacuation. Before leaving, he tells Kelly that world will need a strong leader: her. He tells Pablo that he is the Jefe now and to save them. Finally to Brandy, he tells her he is finally going to own up to who he is. The truck depart as she cries.

Ash finds a vacant tank and pretends he knows how to control it. After a while, he sort of gets it and begins towards Kandar. As he approaches the beast, he attaches the Kandarian dagger to a tank shell, but it fails to fire. Kandar lifts the tank as Ash gets the tank gun working and fires the dagger straight into its mouth, killing the monster who falls on the tank as it dies.

From there on we are only given flashes of a Knight of Sumeria rescuing Ash and putting him into some sort of coffin. After an unspecified amount of time, Ash awakes in a sort of bunker, a new cybernetic hand replacing his chainsaw hand. He walks out into a hallway and is met by another cyborg that says, “the savior is awake” and urges him to follow. The outside world is barren and ruined as she reveals a new Delta with attached guns and a bumper that says “Hail to the King”. She says she will explain to him on the way and that the Dark Ones are on the move. The series ends with Ash and the cyborg ready to kick some serious ass. Ash delivers his final words…groovy.

Review

This is how you properly end a series. My only real issue, and it is barely even that, was the ending. For one, it fills us with a real sense of hope that maybe one day soon another network may pick up the series from there, whether it’s a spin off or picking up exactly where it left off. Though the counter argument to this would be that it maybe impossible to do with Ash as a character considering Bruce Campbell retired from the role. Granted, what we know about the actor is that he loves his fans so who knows? Maybe he could appear as cameo, like he did in the remake of the Evil Dead film or even have a smaller role.

Either way the ending was left open like this not only to give the slightest bit of hope that it will not be the last we see of the series. Or perhaps it was left open for our own imaginations to wander. Like I said, I’m really in denial that it’s over.

Arielle Carver-O’Neill absolutely stole the spotlight in this episode. Up until midway through the season it was sometimes hard to truly care about her character, but once she learned to trust her father my love for her grew. She took the helm in this episode and reminded Ash who and what he was fighting for. We saw a love we didn’t know he had in him, and a heart we didn’t think he possessed anymore. Brandy really grew into her own these past few weeks as we saw father and daughter explore the strength of that relationship. It’s a shame we only got her for one season, but honestly it was enough to show off not only the actor’s talent, but a wonderful character who might one day take Ash’s role.

Let’s talk about that goodbye scene as well.

If you follow any of these actors on social media, you’ll know they all said their goodbyes to the series individually. That scene towards the end of the episode was all their goodbyes to us. I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t alone when I welled up with tears during the scene where Brandy began to cry as her father finally left.  This scene was so effective at playing at our love for the team, using memory and word association to drive emotion. It was really well done.

As was this entire finale. While not perfect, it left me satisfied with the fact that it was indeed an end. Not one we wanted, but one we could be happy with. I hope you all enjoyed these and the series, I know I did and I know I will miss it, a lot. Also never forget…


Images courtesy of STARZ

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Hey, everyone! Just your friendly neighborhood nerd. From NYC/NJ, 28 years old. Ask me about a Fandom and I can go on for hours. Firefly, Penny Dreadful, and A Song of Ice and Fire are my favorites, let's get nerdy.

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