The splatterific Ash vs Evil Dead has returned with a second season, with Ash back in the saddle joined by his two cohorts Pablo and Kelly. So how does season 2 of the show fare?
Ash, now enjoying retirement in Jacksonville, is soaking up the weather, alcohol, and women like there is no tomorrow. With Pablo and Kelly by his side he is enjoying every minute of a blissful existence only Ash could revel in. However without warning Deadites return to plague Ash and his Jacksonville paradise, leading him to return home to Elk Grove and attempt to put on end to the demonic blight that is ruining his good time. The modern day Elk Grove is not what he expects, worn down, desolate, and full of bad memories. Back home he must confront his estranged father (played by the six million dollar man Lee Majors no less), and the demonic children of foe turned ally Ruby.
Simply put the second season of Ash vs Evil Dead is bigger, better, and bloodier than the first season of the show. It’s a wickedly wild ride through the grotesque pages of the Necronomicon as once again Ash must come to terms with the fact he is the most unlikeliest of heroes, save the day, and not screw up…too much. Though the first season of the show had good intentions, it was haphazard and relied a bit to much on shoddy CGI. There were a couple of good episodes, and there were really bad ones. However in this latest season, nearly every episode is packed full with body parts, demons, or reminiscing.
Though Ash will always be the star attraction of the show, both Pablo and Ruby are given story arcs that rumble on through the season. Pablo, following his horrific experience at the end of the last season when the Necronomicon attached itself to his face, begins to experience visions. The visions act as premonitions for the group as they fumble their way around Elk Grove, however Pablo still has a link to the book that is more physical than he would like. As for Ruby, despite ending season 1 as the enemy, she returns in season 2 requiring the help of Ash and the gang. Having unleashed her demonic children into the world they have now turned on her, likely at the bidding of their father the demon known as Baal. Ruby’s evil kids are after the Necronomicon and they can only be defeated with the chosen ones help.
More Lucy Lawless is never going to be a problem, and her indirect instigation of potentially ending the world helps spur the season along nicely. Her demonic kids are pretty evil looking too. What is more of a relief is that Pablo is not half as annoying as he was in the first season of the show, slightly more mature and a lot less whiny and it even makes his story arc enjoyable to watch. Kelly is somewhat relegated to an auxiliary character who occasionally quips and shoots her way through scenes, but if it means more time for Ash then it isn’t an issue. One of the best elements of this season, a near full return to gruesome practical effects that just about splatter across every surface imaginable. It’s a part of the fabric of what makes the Evil Dead franchise so special, so to see its thoroughly creative use in full gory flow is an absolute treat.
Speaking of which, Ash’s backstory is surprisingly developed more than I would have expected. It’s more than they needed to do, but quite frankly everything they did worked. On arrival in Elk Grove it’s clear the relationship with his father is frosty, despite the phrase “like father, like son” never being more apt. We learn of the towns reaction to Ash’s return from his fateful stay in the cabin all those years ago. Instead of a heroes welcome he received the cold shoulder, the townsfolk even dubbed him “Ashy Slashy” on account of them believing he was solely responsible for all the death in the cabin, not to mention he now has a chainsaw hand.
The highlights of the show include episode 2 “The Morgue” which sees Ash try to retrieve the Necronimicon from inside a corpse at the local mortuary, with disgusting consequences. Episode 3 “Last Call” involves a party, a possessed Delta, and one of the bloodiest bathroom scenes you’ll see in a while. Episode 7 “Delusion” treats us to the amazing Ashy Slashy hand puppet and a mental battle of attrition between Ash and Baal as the latter tries to break the others will. And finally episode 9 “Home Again” and episode 10 “Second Coming” provide a giddy double header cocktail of hark backs to Evil Dead II. A return to the cabin where it all began, a dash of time travelling, and a healthy squeeze of cellar shenanigans with the Knowby’s.
In summary, Ash vs Evil Dead season 2 does a damn fine job of paying respects to its predecessors whilst also delivering on something new. If you’re a fan of the franchise, or the previous season, then you’re in for one of most enjoyably gory full throttle trips into the world of Evil Dead.