RECAPITATION! Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 4

Our hapless heroes left us last week with Ash taking out his old man Brock with his trusty chainsaw arm, with Brandy in the primo-splash zone getting a face full of Old Man Williams guts. She leaves, with Ash picking up the pieces of his dearly departed dad who, natch, appears to him as a spirit to take him on a journey to the past, A Christmas Carol-style (Complete with Christmas Time Is Here being played softly in the background of Brock Williams Hardware Store, snow dusting the windows outside). We discover that The Knights of Sumaria have been tracking down Ash for decades now since he tackled with the Deadites, but in typical Williams Family fashion after the Knights finally make contact with Brock, the man trips down the cellar stairs, breaking his neck, and dying. What is a Williams to do? Well, none other than board up the door and skip town while the dead man lies strewn across the dirt floor, pages of the Necronomicon scattered. 

And you wonder why evil keeps following Ash around?

The B-plot of the episode involves a now Necronomicon possessed Pablo chasing down Kelly who is trying to get back to Ash, but bumps into Brandy instead. Brandy, as the idea of the character, is great. It’s bringing a much needed pathos to the old hero story that Ash is on, especially after three movies and two seasons of pure blissful anarchy. What bothers me the most about the character in its current state is that they are not focusing on her. As much as I love Kelly and Pablo, I feel that they are getting in the way of this Brandy storyline progressing. But again, that’s no fault of the actors. The blame for that lies solely on AVED being a half hour show. By adding even 20m to the run-time they could allow both of these stories to have room to truly breath, rather than the break neck speed being the punchline at the end of every episode. But, this is an economics issue. I doubt we would have gotten a season 3 if the show had been costing STARZ as much as an hour long show does. So with that, I zip my lips because I’m still glad we have something fun.

For the diehard Evil Dead fan that may be hard up against the overt comedy of Ash Vs Evil Dead will find much to take away with this episode, filled to the brim with more allusions to the past films than we are typically seeing. After Pablo takes a bite out of Kelly’s leg it of course goes bad, but rather than getting a mind of its own it grows Pablo’s handsome ‘stache and the gash gnarls into a maw as Kelly screams. The entire scene plays out as one cast away idea from one of the most famous sequences in Army of Darkness as Ash faces the consequences of coming into contact with the Necronomicon again, this time a blinking eyeball transforming on his shoulder. 

We finally get to see Evil Baby Ash in his full screaming glory. His mouth opens into a longer than natural gape, which if I can take a moment, is having a moment again. I feel like through horror film history this cartoonish uncanny valley imagery of a regular open mouth, just stretched out ever so much to appear just off. The earliest memory I have of seeing this is back in the barely remembered Legion where future Merman Doug Jones played a demonic Ice Cream Man. In 2016 it came roaring back with terrifying vengeance in Ouija: Origin of Evil, and despite some dodgy CGI, still elicited a chilling effect. This, of course, has been perfected most recently with with Paco Plaza’s Veronica, an effect so subtle that my eye couldn’t tell if it had been digitally altered or if homegirl Sandra Escacena can just unhinge her jaw as a parlor trick. Here, because it is AVED, we are clearly lacking any subtlety, but it’s more than made up in the fact that of course we were going to get a Evil Baby Ash in this show. Only in AVED would this work and be kind of exciting to see. The show may have lost the technical rights to Army of Darkness, but it is making up in spades by spinning us a backstory that not only is a direct continuation of Evil Dead 2, but actually enhances Army because as fans, legality be damned, everything is canon.
 

ReviewJacob Trussell