Season 1 of Ash vs Evil Dead was everything an Evil Dead franchise fan could ask for. Each episode stayed lovingly true to the blood-soaked mayhem and twisted humor of the original trilogy, but also delved deeper into the personal demons of beloved antihero Ashley “Ash” Williams (Bruce Campbell). In the middle of the deadite battle in the first season finale, Ash was given the chance to escape his troubled life of where everyone he became close to dies. Against the wishes of his sidekicks Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), Ash took Ruby Knowby’s deal to move to his dream vacation destination of Jacksonville, Florida, however it came at the expense of Ruby saying she’ll control the demons unleashed from the Necronomicon, which since we he have a second season of this show, will not go swimmingly.
The season 2 premiere, titled “Home,” kicks off with Ruby having lost complete control of the evil forces summoned from the book. Meanwhile, Ash is having the time of his life in Jacksonville, partying hard with with young locals and boasting his skill of exploding beer kegs by cutting into them with his trusty chainsaw. Ash’s paradise is soon lost by the arrival of a mother and daughter duo of Deadites, which leads to quite possibly the bloodiest carnage in the show’s run so far. Limbs fly, heads are chopped, and blood sprays out like geysers, but it’s all done in the trademark cheeky tone the franchise has perfected since its inception.
Before the mayhem ensued, we learn that Pablo isn’t mentally well after his possession from the book in the first season finale. He’s begun to have visions of Ruby and other demons that distort his perception of reality. Typically known for his boyish personality and loyalty to Ash, it’s intriguing to see how the character’s supposed PTSD could factor into the forthcoming battles the trio will encounter with the Deadites. Kelly on the other hand is feisty as ever in her determination to fight the dead, and continues to show her comical trend of “overkilling” demons.
Knowing that Ruby is the cause of the Deadites crashing his vacation, Ash assumes that she’s hiding out in his hometown, Elk Grove, Michigan. He travels with Pablo and Kelly cross country, and upon arrival is welcomed with disdain from the locals. Which derives from the events of the first two Evil Dead movies where he was the lone survivor of the cabin massacre, thus they assume he murdered all of them. Furthermore, Ash bumps into his coarse father (Lee Majors), whom he clearly has animosity towards. Given that his dad is slated as a recurring character for this season, the fractured relationship between father and son should provide some finely tuned character drama that most likely won’t bog down the show’s classic gore scenes.
In most movies and TV shows, it becomes tiresome where a character doesn’t go through any significant change in their personality. Bruce Campbell’s Ash is one of the rare exceptions where a character doesn’t need nor deserve a 180 in how they should act. Yes, Ash is selfish, crass, and fairly dimwitted, but Campbell has a signature charm unlike most actors that makes the character so lovable. Plus, nobody can kill the Dead in such gory and hilarious fashion. Most of all, it bodes well for season 2 promising a deeper study of the character for how he’s perceived by the folks in his home town.
Last year Sam Raimi and Co. made a bold move to bring Evil Dead to the small screen, especially it being more than twenty years since the release of Army of Darkness. Season one of Ash vs Evil Dead proved that the crew hasn’t lost an ounce in their affection for gore-for-gags horror comedy, and the premiere of season 2 proves that won’t change. The bloodthirsty violence and silly one-liners are fan service at both their finest and simplest, which ultimately hints that season 2 will be even bigger and groovier than before.