RECAPITATION! Ash Vs Evil Dead: Series Finale
“It’s time to test the Mettle of Man” words spoken to Ash by his deadite possessed neighbor, Vivian in the very first episode of ASH VS EVIL DEAD. Pablo echoes these words as the demon Kandar erupts from the ground. The series finale of the show appropriately takes those first uttered words from episode one as the title of the episode. It’s a lot to take in in a thirty-minute time slot. Does it live up to the hype? As a season finale? Yes. As a series finale? No. The ending itself lends way too much to a fourth amazing season. Season four would’ve been to the series as ARMY OF DARKNESS is to THE EVIL DEAD films. Completely stand out. Now I can’t complain much as the ending of EVIL DEAD 2 has a crazed cliffhanger that took years to culminate into ARMY OF DARKNESS. So In the highest of hopes the sane can be said here. But the episode is fun as hell.
With Kandar released upon Elk Grove, The sinkholes that began spreading around the world in season one now erupt with Deadite infestations taking over the world. It’s the big one. Ash, Brandy, and Pablo finally get Kelly’s soul back into her body from the other world and they run for their lives fighting through a slew of Deadites as the military battles it out with Kandar. Finally realizing what he must do, Ash sends the Ghostbeaters off with the evacuation as Ash climbs into a tank and faces Kandar with the Kandarian dagger strapped to a rocket courtesy of Ashley J. Williams!
This episode has three layers really. That final goodbye from Ash to his Ghostbeaters who also represent us, the fans. The episode itself as a whole and the cliffhanger. A lot of resurrected IP’s have been dealing with a big problem over the past several years. Rehashes and fan service. That’s all fine and fun but after years of waiting for our heroes of old to return we want to see something new. The show has always teetered where it starts super fresh and ends usually with too much fan service, mostly with season 2. Here is not the case with this season ender. It goes balls to the wall crazy and throws all kinds of insanity at the viewer. What I love most that some filmmakers have done with certain IP’s is messing with audience expectations. Say what you will about Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI, but when Luke refuses to come and aid the Resistance I loved the line, “You expect me to take on the entire First Order with a Laser Sword?” We do expect too much as fans sometimes and those expectations are pushed on Ashas he has a mental breakdown. The townspeople represent the fans in a sense as they push Ash out to fight the Godzilla like creature saying “You’re a demon fighter kill it!” to which Ash replies, “Yeah I'm a demon hunter but that thing is Bullshit man!” Ash flees to his house to down beers, “Why me? Why? I’m nobody! Guy from Elk Grove Michigan! Where the f*ck is that!? The middle of jack shit nowhere that’s where! You know what I got news for you! I didn’t ask for this! You think I want this horseshit!? Be covered in blood 24/7? Who the fuck would want that!? In that very line, it’s not only Ash talking but Bruce Campbell. I know there were plans for season four, but this episode definitely had so many goodbye feels. We expect Ash to flake out and be forced to be a hero, what we don’t expect is for him to want to act like one thanks to his love for Brandy. But moreover, it’s Bruce telling the fans he’s had enough. He’s been doing this forever and while he’s enjoyed what it’s given him it hasn’t been easy.
As a whole, the episode is everything you could want but with a far more serious tone then most fans are used to. Deadites running through the streets torturing people and laughing maniacally. Brandy and Ash fighting through a horde of Deadites as they’re cornered culminating in very bloody and gory results. A giant army fight with Kandar as Deadites posses the soldiers, which lent to one of my favorite parts where Kelly goes ballistic taking out Deadites with a machine gun amidst the chaos. This moment is on the heels of my least favorite line from Kelly but my favorite moment between Brandy and Ash. As Brandy and Ash fight off Deadites gloriously in the basement of the hardware store Pablo goes through the Rift to find Kelly’s soul, our heroes realize he can do this with a great callback line to season one on how Ash and Pablo used to watch Monday night Raw together and compare him to the wrestler Kane, a man who can walk both good and evil. Pablo emerges having brought Kelly’s spirit back with him into our world. My only complaint about that is he goes through and comes right back. We don’t really see him go Brujo Especial or anything he just brings back her soul, which I guess was because of time constraints, but could’ve been a great scene of him using his powers opposite Brandy and Ash’s fight. When Kelly reawakens she looks like a zombie as she’s been dead and she exclaims my favorite line in the episode, “I look like Keith Richards!” To which Brandy replies that she looks more like Iggy Pop. Brandy and Ash high five as Ash exclaims, “Filthy and not fine!” Another great callback to episode one! I wanted more of that bonding! I wanted more of those moments of Ash and Brandy getting closer as a family throughout the series that I feel like we didn't get enough of. Ironically this moment is immediately followed by my least favorite line which makes me remember why I was so hesitant to accept Brandy as Ash’s daughter anyway. Kelly says, “I’m sorry Ash. I thought I could be like you. I was wrong.” Honestly, that line pissed me off because Kelly is almost exactly like Ash more than anyone! As I’ve complained before she was set up to be Ash’s daughter before Tapert pulled the plug on that idea and this felt like a slap in the face to that idea! Now it does pay off in Ash’s goodbye when he tells Kelly the world will need a good leader, but it still made me a little irate. As for the goodbyes they definitely got me teary-eyed. Rick Jacobson framed up the emotions on everyone’s faces perfectly and the acting from our Ghostbeaters portraying those real genuine feelings are superb. The Kelly line got me and when Ash tells Pablo that he’s the Jeffe now. The look on Pablo’s Face, Ray Santiago is sheer f*cking brilliance. Brandy’s goodbye is set up beautifully. Ash had held on to Linda’s necklace for years apparently as a good luck charm and gave it to Brandy out of love. That’s a HUGE deal. Linda is the only person Ash has truly ever loved and that death changed him forever. When Brandy looks at him teary-eyed there’s a perfect shot of the necklace around her neck as Ash realizes what he has to do. The moment that stunted his growth as an adult forever when Linda died would be the new moment that made him a man. We expected Ash to as usually miraculously f*ck up into winning. Here he changed expectation and embraced his destiny head-on. In that moment we are the Ghostbeaters saying goodbye to our hero as he gives us our new roles. We have to carry on the legacy of the Chosen one. It’s a perfect goodbye to the character with the big finale had that actually been the finale.
The ending. This is the biggest dare I say cock tease ever. If you are a hardcore Raimi fan and an EVIL DEAD fan you’ve followed every iteration and idea to come out of Raimi’s mouth over the years. You’ve read every amazing comic book to come out over the years. You KNOW the original ending to ARMY OF DARKNESS where Ash drank too many drops of the potion and is flung into the apocalypse. That Ivan and Sam Raimi had penned some of EVIL DEAD 4 as two Ash’s on two different timelines had to meet to save the world, one in the timeline we know and one in the apocalypse timeline. Not to mention Dynamite’s recent Army of Darkness Furious Road in which Ash and a bunch of monsters have to fight against the deadite apocalypse Mad Max style. I have craved this for years. From Ash's bleary POV we see a Knight of Sumeria grab him and put him in a box as the world around him crumbles. Ash reawakens in some kind of stasis pod and a cyborg Knight of Sumeria awakens him to his hand being remade cybernetically Luke Skywalker style and we learn the world has ended! He gets in a bad ass suped up Mad Max version of the Delta that looked exactly like the version in the Furious Road comic as well as Ash himself wearing the same clothes he wore in the Furious Road comic with the phrase “Hail to the king” painted on the front. Hate to be vulgar but like bad sex, I came my pants and then cried. How the hell is that the series finale!? We have no idea what happened to the Ghostbeaters and the apocalypse happened. Nothing is resolved! We were on the precipice of what we’ve been wanting for years! That movie that had the same insane outlandish look and tone of ARMY OF DARKNESS! All I can say is this. I know there were outlines for season four. I know as fans we have to sometimes let what we love go and die with dignity. I know STARZ canceled the show. But there really is SO much left unsaid. Bruce himself has said he’s officially hanging up the chainsaw, but Bruce had said many things like that before and as the ending shows there is no longer a chainsaw. Clever ruse from Bruce? Who knows? We still don’t know what’s become of our beloved Ghostbeaters, we still have Mia and the promise of Fede Alvarez’s EVIL DEAD franchise, but what I hope and dream for is the idea that the Raimis have toyed with forever finally comes to fruition. I’m fine without a TV series, but I pray we get Sam, Ivan, and Bruce together for one last ride in the Delta on the big screen to conclude everything.
As far as finales go I’ve definitely seen way worse. The three ideas of the episode juxtapose each other so much it bothers me a bit, but if it has to go this isn't a bad way to do it. I just wish they had possible dragged this ending out for a few more episodes to expand upon some of the aforementioned ideas I mentioned before or possible give each Ghostbeater their final epic conclusion culminating in Ash’s ultimate sacrifice. No matter what happens next with this be it in comic form, movie form or the death that Bruce wants for groovy Ash I think we can all sit back with the comfort that we have these three seasons that brought back that joy we all had when we first sat down to Raimi’s universe and as Ash/Bruce said to us his Ghostbeaters we are the Jeffe’s now. We all will always Hail to the King.