After the pilot of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’, Sam Raimi had to step away and leave the show in the hands of other TV directors who’d need to imitate his signature style. For those viewers worried that this would necessarily result in a drop-off in quality, I’m relieved to report that the second episode is still a hell of a lot of fun.
‘Bait’ picks up right where the pilot left off. Having chainsawed up the evil old lady who attacked him in his trailer, Ash explains what Deadites are to his new sidekicks, Pablo and Kelly. When Kelly, who’d received a phone call from her dad saying that her dead mother had returned home, asks for Ash’s help, he’s uninterested in her problems. He says that his priority is to get the ‘Necronomicon’ book translated in order to find a spell that will stop the Deadites. Kelly takes off on a motorcycle to return home, and Ash just shrugs it off. However, when Pablo tells him that Kelly took the book with her, Ash has no choice but to follow.
On the way, Ash and Pablo are attacked by their former boss Mr. Roper, who’s now a Deadite. He was hiding in the back seat of Ash’s car and, being lunkheads, neither Ash nor Pablo thought to check. This results in the both of them getting drenched in a huge bloody mess.
As they arrive at the house, Ash and Pablo kick in the door ready for Deadite-battling action. What they find instead is that everyone appears to be fine. Kelly explains that her mom Suzy (Mimi Rogers) didn’t die in a car crash after all. She had amnesia and only recently got her memory back. Kelly is ecstatic to see her again. Ash is skeptical and just wants his book back. Suzy says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but invites the two blood-soaked strangers to stay for dinner.
While they’re cleaning up, Pablo confesses that he had the book the whole time. Kelly never took it. At dinner, Ash tries to trick Suzy into tripping up and revealing that she’s a Deadite. Kelly grows increasingly pissed at him. Finally, Ash just outright punches Suzy in the face. Well, that does it. Sure enough, Ash was right. Suzy goes full Deadite and kills her husband, Kelly’s dad. She fights with Ash for a minute then flees the room.
Kelly finds her mom in another room. The woman appears human again and is crying. She says that she blacked out and doesn’t know what’s happening. Ash doesn’t buy it. He attacks her and causes her to turn Deadite again. They struggle, and Pablo stabs Suzy in the head with a kitchen knife. That doesn’t quite do the trick, so Ash has to decapitate her in a geyser of blood.
Kelly has now lost both her parents. Ash buries them in the backyard and fashions grave markers in the shape of crucifixes, to which Kelly informs him that her parents were Jewish.
There’s a lot of really hilarious character interaction and banter in this episode. Although the camerawork may not be quite as acrobatic as Sam Raimi brought to the pilot, the episode makes up for that with copious over-the-top gore.
My only disappointment is that the episode feels really short at 30 minutes, even more so than the pilot. It’s over almost as soon as it begins. A storyline where State Police officer Amanda follows clues that lead her to the occult bookstore before Ash can get there is badly truncated. Sadly, we also don’t get to see Lucy Lawless at all this week.
Regardless, I had tons of fun watching this. If anything, the short running time may even allow me a chance to watch it a second time this week, which is something I almost never do with TV shows.