I fell behind in my ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ viewing and had not planned to write up recaps of the show again until the finale. However, the latest episode is so much fun I have to acknowledge it.
First, let’s do some quick catching up.
Episode 2.08, ‘Ashy Slashy’
I wasn’t overly impressed with Episode 7 this season, in which Ash gets locked up in a mental asylum and the villain Baal convinces him that everything we’d ever seen on the show was a delusion. The thing that perhaps annoyed me the most about it was that the show’s writers thought they could get away with dragging this cliché out for another whole episode.
Long story short: Ruby, Kelly and Pablo break into the asylum to rescue Ash, but the brainwashed Ash stalks them through the building instead, convinced that they’re delusions and he needs to symbolically kill them to cure himself. Linda, Sheriff Tommy, and their daughter Lacey are also present. Lacey gets turned into a Deadite and murders her father, forcing Kelly to blow her head off. The highlight of the episode comes when Kelly is attacked by and has to fight the possessed Ashy Slashy puppet.
Eventually, Ash corners everyone in a room and Dr. Peacock (really Baal in disguise) encourages him to finish them off. However, it turns out that Ash isn’t as dense or as gullible as he let on. This was all a ruse and a trap to lure Baal into the same room with Pablo, who casts a spell from the ‘Necronomicon’ that kills Baal, his body exploding in a geyser of blood.
Before Ash can throw a victory celebration, Pablo falls to the floor dead. His body is severed completely in half at the waist.
That seems pretty bad.
Episode 2.09, ‘Home Again’
‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ has taken us back to the cabin in the woods from the original ‘The Evil Dead’ movie before, so that’s nothing new in itself. This time, however, the show actually takes us back to ‘The Evil Dead’ itself. Or maybe it’s ‘Evil Dead II’. The timeline on those gets a little blurry.
Drunk and despondent over Pablo’s death, Ash has a vision of Pablo’s corpse talking to him and telling him that he can go back in time to fix things. That sounds like a great idea to Ash, who of course traveled through time before and knows it’s possible. He believes that if he can go back and stop himself from ever opening the ‘Necronomicon’ in the first place, the Deadites will never come to Earth and Pablo won’t die. Surprisingly, Ruby is on board with this plan. It’s not the worst idea Ash has ever had.
Ash loads himself, Ruby, Kelly and Pablo’s corpse into the Delta. Ruby casts a spell, and Ash drives through a time tunnel, arriving in 1982. He heads straight for the cabin, leaving Pablo’s body in the trunk of the car with a note in case he wakes up alive and doesn’t know where he is.
Unfortunately, something still isn’t right. An evil force is already present in the woods. It chases the three of them around, separating Ash from Ruby and Kelly. Ash runs into the cabin, while Ruby and Kelly get lost and can’t find it.
Ash steps on a nail and develops an evil infection, which leads to him puking a little ghoulie creature out of his mouth. The slapstick here is very goofy in the style of ‘Evil Dead II’, but pretty funny.
Ash hears a voice calling for help from the basement. He arms himself and heads down to check it out, and finds old lady Henrietta, the wife of Professor Knowby, chained to a wall. She says that her husband is possessed by evil and trapped her there. Ash is not inclined to trust her, but soon Professor Knowby arrives at the cabin with a young student named Tanya. Ash hides when Knowby lures the girl into the basement, presumably to kill her.
After deliberating for a minute, Ash releases Henrietta and confronts Knowby. Of course, Henrietta is really the possessed one. Knowby chained her in the basement hoping that he could transfer the demon out of her into poor young Tanya. Henrietta goes full Deadite (now played by Ted Raimi under heavy makeup, reprising his ‘Evil Dead II’ performance) and attacks Ash. He tries to kill her but his chainsaw gets stuck in her body.
Meanwhile, while searching for the cabin, Kelly and Ruby are grabbed by a “Rape Tree,” which they escape by stabbing its eye.
Professor Knowby flees from his wife and locks Ash in the basement with her. The episode ends on a cliffhanger with Henrietta telling Ash that, “I’m gonna hurt you real, real bad.”
The second asylum episode is a little stronger than the first one, but I’m still not thrilled that the show wasted so much time on such a clichéd storyline.
The following episode, on the other hand, is a blast. Ending the season (we still have one more episode left to wrap this up) by returning to the events of the first two ‘Evil Dead’ movies is an ingenious idea, and the episode does a really good job of balancing its gore and slapstick. I hope that the season finale is as good.
Good review, Josh, but Ted Raimi didn’t play Henrietta until after she transformed. If he did play her in her original state, that would have been some incredible make-up work.
Thanks. Correction made.