RECAPITATION! Ash Vs. Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 8
This season as I’ve said before has had a lot of ups and downs. Thankfully this season’s ups have been so good they’ve outweighed the downs, but I felt like this episode might have been the least interesting episode in the series. A lot of it has to do with the lack of originality and the fact that it just goes too comic book for me. The stakes seem lessened and the comedy is not there really at all. A lot of this seemed phoned in and there was one scene that honestly just pissed me off.
At the end of episode seven, we saw Brandy killed by the Kandarian dagger at the hands of Ruby. Her soul is sent to another reality all alone in the darkness. The Elk Grove police force has come to take away the bodies of the slaughtered teenagers from the dance and find Ash as he ponders what to do now that he’s lost his daughter. In a cool little nod to EVIL DEAD II, he’s reminded of Professor Knowby’s ghost that was stuck in between worlds and has an idea to go through the rift to get Brandy. So Ash kills himself with the Kandarian dagger to go to save Brandy and Kelly who are being aided by Dalton running from an Evil force in the rift world.
The Rift world in between is like a weird purgatory where your soul goes before it is literally dragged to hell by an evil force of demonic hands. That’s a cool concept. What’s not cool is it looks exactly like the upside down in STRANGER THINGS. Ironically the show which caused season 3 to not be aired during Halloween. The concept is cool but the look is completely unoriginal and the hands dragging you to hell look just like when Allison Lohman is taken in DRAG ME TO HELL. There’s also a shadowy figure hunting everyone stuck there. It all just feels like I’ve seen it before. What I love about the original movies and most of the other episodes is the constant originality and ability to create something new and crazy for Ash to face. Here not so much. I dig the idea of being able to free someone’s soul from purgatory and stopping it from going to hell but the resurrection aspect feels way too comic book and kind of craps on the original movies a bit. “They died? Doesn’t matter we’ll just go get their soul and put it back in the body with a knife wound in it and they’ll be fine!” The stakes just seem taken away. I would feel more emotionally about the aspect of freeing the soul but not saving the life. It just seems like a missed opportunity for a good story point.
There are two scenes in the Rift that stand out. One is cool and one just made me groan. Dalton goes out to distract the shadow so Brandy, Ash, and Kelly can escape in the Delta. Right before he and Kelly share a passionate kiss. So yeah, after Kelly literally died pissed off about Ruby killing “her Pablo” and finally passionately kissing Pablo, she’s making out with Dalton, who I’ve honestly not cared about at all this season. That was dumb. Thankfully there’s a cool moment where Ash is trying to get the Delta working and the hands drag the Delta with our Ghostbeaters in it to hell. The Delta bursts out of the ground to MC5’s Kick out the Jams and it made me smile but that was one of the only two moments in the episode I giggled at other than when Pablo stuck that deadite Prom girl’s Head in the shaker and it blew up.
There are just so many missed opportunities in this episode. The Prom Girl is the only deadite in the whole episode and Pablo fights her, causing him to not be able to open the rift quickly for Ash and crew to come back through. There’s an entire morgue of slaughtered Prom goers that could’ve turned into deadites and assaulted the hardware store, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 style, for Pablo to fight off while Ash does his thing in the Rift. Instead, we had more or less another deadite fight that once again seemed all too familiar in design. A real bummer considering the awesome creature we were treated too only two episodes ago. There were also two easy setups that seemed to go nowhere in the episode that could’ve been cool. Ash passes through the sperm bank in the Rift world for really no reason, which I felt could’ve been another great gross-out scene of maybe his undead seed in that world attacking him? I get that this was probably supposed to be a more “serious episode” but I felt nothing emotionally for the predicaments and there was little to no comedy so I don’t think something goofy like that happening would’ve been bad. Another is the souls of the kids killed at Prom watch Dalton sacrifice himself trying to save Ash and crew, but nothing comes of that. They get close-ups and everything but they don’t do jack. I thought maybe they get the courage to join in and help fight, which would’ve been a great dramatic beat but they’re just there. Screen time wasted. Dalton’s own death isn’t really given much as we hear him screaming and see Kelly reacting, but Kelly and he never really shared much other than that random kiss and the jokes Ash made about them maybe sleeping together.
It just felt so dull and lacking. The performances felt phoned in and what was supposed to be drama felt forced and unearned. There’s drama that some would consider unearned in the movies with character deaths but they’re at least followed with some gags or blood. Nothing here it’s just bland. So many moments that as I said could’ve made this episode raise the stakes but it just felt like it was there and unnecessary. It really made me miss Craig DiGregorio as showrunner and I feel like Rob Tapert needs to be reigned in by an opposing voice because there feels like no straight vision for some of the story choices. There are two episodes left that look promising but this was disappointing as one of the last episodes. As a huge fan, I want so desperately to love it but even I stop to think maybe we just need to stop the show and let Raimi come back with a film or two instead.