Ash Williams may have saved the world from evil, but evil has a way of not staying dead for long. ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ is back for more chainsaw-wielding mayhem. Does the series have enough gas for another season?
In the very confusing Season 2 finale, Ash and friends went back in time to 1982 and sent the ‘Necronomicon’ book back to Hell. Somehow, this resulted in Ash being hailed as a hero in the town of Elk Grove 30+ years later. The show’s time travel logic was pretty shaky (OK, non-existent), but the point was that Ash won and everybody loved him, which is a major turn of fortune for him. However, the season ended with villainess Ruby (Lucy Lawless) lurking in the background.
Season 3 opens with Ash being treated like a local rock star. He has parlayed his celebrity into reopening his father’s hardware store. Ash being Ash, he decided to rebrand it as a “hardware and sex toy emporium.” The grand opening is the biggest event in town, and a huge crowd gathers to celebrate. Pablo works out front at a taco cart. Kelly, meanwhile, has gone her own way and is working as a bouncer in a dive bar.
Without explanation, the ‘Necronomicon’ turns up on Earth again, in the possession of a yokel who brings it to an ‘Antiques Roadshow’-style TV program to be appraised. The host makes the mistake of reading a passage from the book, which of course unleashes evil all over again. Kelly sees this on TV and knows that bad shit is going down. Pablo finds more spells written all over his body. Ruby kills the TV host and steals the book.
A pair of girls at the local high school are attacked by a Deadite wearing the school’s mascot costume, “Cougie” the cougar. One named Brandy calls her mom, Candace, who immediately heads for Ash. Although he has no memory of her, Candace claims to be Ash’s ex-wife and informs him that Brandy is his daughter. He’s skeptical, but reluctantly agrees to strap on his chainsaw and head to the high school to check things out. As the group leave, Ash is followed by a handsome stalker.
Ruby stabs her own hand and bleeds onto the ‘Necronomicon’, then casts and spell and eats some of the letters off the page. This results in a new “baby” writhing in her belly.
Ash, Pablo and Candace arrive at the school and quickly find Brandy. Ash thinks that she’s a Deadite, but her friend Rachel is actually possessed. She attacks them in a music room, causing musical instruments to play themselves and fly around hurting them. Brandy watches in horror as her best friend decapitates her mom with a cymbal. Ash eventually gets the better of the Deadite and slices her to pieces with a harp.
Ash is then attacked by Cougie, but Kelly and the handsome guy arrive together and blow the mascot away. Kelly introduces her friend as Dalton, a member of the Knights of Sumeria. He’s a big-time Ash Williams fanboy.
Now saddled with a shell-shocked daughter he just met, Ash is nonetheless excited to get the team together to fight evil again. Pablo declares: “Ghost Beaters are back!”
‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ is a very fun show, but also very uneven. The season premiere is a solid episode with some good laughs and entertaining gore, but the goofy parts in the music room feel forced. In general, the episode doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen plenty of times before on this series. The plot is a blatant reset with a flimsy, barely-explained excuse to send more Deadites to attack Ash yet again.
I still enjoy it, but I fear that this show may have already stretched its premise as far as it needs to go. What more can Ash and the gang do that they haven’t already done?