In this day of television shows, the writers make it very hard to get really attached to a non-central character. Whether it’s killing them off or just not having them on the screen as much as their fans would like, beloved secondary characters not used to their full potential can be a real let down. Now in this case, Ash vs the Evil Dead let on pretty early that no one is safe from this. In the first season, though she was a real pain at first, most of us learned to actually love Amanda. So, of course, the deadites made short work of her. The same happened in the second season with Chet, Ash’s long time friend from Elk Grove (and Sam Raimi’s brother!). Either way it looks like the series is following a tradition of killing off the more interesting and fun side character, which begs the question, why was the death in this episode so impacting and significant?
As we move through the the third season, we do get a bit of weird feeling about the entire tone of the show. I’ve spoken to several people about this and, while the views on the series are positive, there was one shared and slightly negative question, why is there so much slapstick comedy? Some fans would argue that this is Sam Raimi we are talking about, as well as a series following films that were campy by nature. On the other hand some extremists in the horror community can be pretty whiny about the line between horror and campyness, especially where a reboot of a classic is concerned. I pose this more as a question to the readers: is the series relying too much on physical comedy to the point that this really doesn’t feel like the Evil Dead anymore? Or are you of a mind that Raimi is offering up exactly what his fans wanted in this regard?
The episode begins with the funeral procession for Brandy’s mother. A classy Ash gives her some flowers from those already in the church (smooth move, Ash). Brandy works on giving him the benefit of the doubt regarding his trying to be a father, but she thinks he doesn’t need to and tells him that her guidance councilor is offering to let her stay with her (aka Ruby). Though Ash may not be the best father, she’s willing to give him a second chance.
Ash learns that they restored Candice’s body and reattached her head, which of course makes Ash really concerned that she may rise. As we all thought, he was right. The following fight is like the one at the cryo bank only involving fewer bodily fluids and occurring in more of a confined space—a coffin. Still, it retains the same hilarious and vulgar inappropriateness. After some struggle, Ash manages to remove Candice’s head from her body again, also making a huge mess in the process and accidentally locking himself in the coffin just in time for the funeral.
Everyone is, of course, appalled at the sight of him coming out of the coffin while Brandy is giving a very heartfelt speech in eulogy. After this ordeal, Brandy realizes she can’t continue and walks out as Ruby finally reveals herself to Ash in her guise as Ms. Prevett. He tries to tell Brandy who she is, but of course she can’t believe it and tells Ash she never wants to see him again. The rest of the gang shows up after Ruby leaves, and Ash catches Dalton up regarding who she is, while Pablo has yet another hallucination of the naked lady sent by his brujo. The vision gives him the location of the Kandarian dagger, which is back at the cabin or whats left of it. Ash sends the trio to find it while he tries to win Brandy back from Ruby’s influence. Considering the dagger will be the only thing that will destroy her, they need to work quickly.
Once the team gets back to the cabin, Dalton continues to mistrust Pablo as they begin to dig up the remains of the cabin. Back in Elk Grove, Ruby continues her influence over Brandy, but once back in the house Brandy is going to experience a new horror. Ruby uses a spell to bring Brock, Ash’s dead father, back to life to try and create even more distrust between the two. It should be common knowledge to Brandy that he’s dead, but somehow it isn’t, grief maybe? She proceeds to have a good time with her Grandfather despite him being, you know, dead and all. Once Ash returns to see this, Brandy shouts angrily at him that he’s trying destroy her new relationship. At least we’re treated to Ash’s terrible store commercial.
Back at the cabin, the group finally finds the dagger when they’re set upon by the Kandarian force in the woods. Dalton seems to be its first target and it sends him flying through the air and impaling him onto a very large branch. Dalton tells Kelly that Pablo set them up for this. He then asks for the dagger, using guilt to try and destroy her trust for Pablo before revealing himself to be possessed by the demon. Then Pablo comes out of the shadows, driving a truck straight into Dalton before he can attack Kelly. Both disappear afterwards.
In Elk Grove Ash, gets into another fight with his undead father, using a can of beans to knock Ruby out. Ash makes short work of his father but not before drenching Brandy in buckets of blood. It seems she’s had the last straw and leaves the house, quite possibly for good.
While not a completely stellar episode in contrast to the first two, this one was still enjoyable to watch and offered up some implications to look out for in later episodes. One was Dalton’s death. Dalton has mistrusted Pablo ever since he saw the Sumerian tattoos on his chest, and Pablo has been overly jealous of whatever relationship Dalton had with Kelly. It was pretty clear the two were never going to be happy around one another, so Dalton’s death really does something to Kelly that I hope is explored in the next episode.
Dalton had scattered scatters the seeds of doubt in Kelly’s mind in the previous episode by telling her that one day Pablo would turn on them and they would have to make a choice between dying and killing him. When the demon takes over in this episode, it continues to press on that doubt by blaming Pablo for setting them up, saying that he brought them to the woods on purpose. Of course, the fact that he reveals to be possessed by a demon should set Kelly straight, but the fact that they both disappear after the fight surely makes things a lot more complicated.
Speaking of looking for the dagger as well, who is this naked woman that keeps appearing to Pablo? I’m really on the fence about her allegiance. It seems Dalton’s words also affect the way Pablo is thinking, or rather, why. This mysterious woman could in fact be a messenger from his uncle to help overcome the evil inside him. Yet, it could also be the Kandarian demon or even Ruby playing his mind with words that are coming from his uncle. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see.
In terms of Ash and his daughter, there hasn’t been much to hold them together. This is more a symptom of not enough screen time showcasing their relationship and its movement towards the better or worse. In this episode I do think we were given the most we could in a span of thirty minutes, but I would really like to see more. Especially more concerning Ruby’s master plan and whether or not Brandy will move over to her side or be convinced that Ash is telling the truth.