Well, they managed to do the impossible with this one. Yes, I’m talking about Bruce Campbell, who well into his 50’s, does a fantastic job in Ash vs. Evil Dead season one. I am aware that Bruce Campbell’s chin could have its own show, but I’m going to focus on the man himself. I believe he’ll turn 60 next year, but at the time of production on the first season of this series he was 57 or 56.
Enough of me rambling on about how to give a proper introduction and let’s get on with a review of Ash vs Evil Dead season one.
If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who Ash is, you’re in luck because that’s the whole introduction to this show. 30 years ago Ash and his friends went to a cabin where they found this ancient book. The Necronomicon ex mortis aka the Book of the Dead. Bound in human flesh and inked in blood, it contains passages that link the earthly realm to the underworld. Some pretty grim stuff. Being the cool and adventurous kids they were, they read a passage from the book leading them to be possessed by demons. Ash was the only survivor and with that, I guess everyone had their suspicions about him. He also managed to hold onto the book so no one else could read from it ever again.
Back to those of you who might have been living under a rock, if you don’t know who he that’s because for the past 30 years Ash has been laying low in a trailer and occasionally going into town. When he was younger, the evil managed to get into his hand so he cut it off and now uses a wooden hand. The intro to the first episode is just him getting ready to go out for a night of drinking. ‘Space Trucking’ by Deep Purple is playing as he puts on a corset so he looks young and athletic. Dancing in his trailer while drinking a juice box, so grown up and mature. He jumps into the only car he ever loved, the same Oldsmobile he had in the first film and drives off to a local bar, singing along to Deep Purple in his car.
In the bar, he makes up a story about saving an 8 year old kid and losing his hand in the process. He’s telling his story to a woman at the bar, hoping to pick her up. Moments later, they’re having sex in the women’s bathroom and he makes a pun about his wooden hand. They’re carrying on as she turns into a demon halfway through sex. He backs away as her face goes from demon to normal. He’s freaked out as he gets back into it, looking around possibly for other demons.
When he gets back to his trailer, he goes to check on the Necronomicon he has hidden in a metal box. He sees a bag in one of the pages, used like a bookmark. They’re just green herbs, I’m going with green herbs. As the stuff falls, there’s a flashback of him trying to impress a girl who is deeply into French poetry. He looks over to the Necronomicon “well, it ain’t French but” he starts reading from the book, even gets his date to join in.
At the time of the flashback, we switch to two police officers investigating a house after they heard about a disturbance. Amanda, the young African American officer and her partner, John are looking around this house.They find the girl from Ash’s date cowering under a sheet, they pull off the sheet and ask her to put her hands up and turn around. She goes demon or as Ash calls them Deadite, Amanda is hurt, but is quick with the firepower and John ends the Deadite with a shot to the head. The Deadite still manages to throw John on the antlers on the wall, killing him. With half her face missing, the Deadite still goes towards Amanda, but John has also turned. Amanda finds herself having to open fire on both of the Deadites.
Ash is working at a place called the Value Stop, an electronics store, with a friend he’s made called Pablo. His boss is a mean guy named Mr. Roper. Pablo shows Ash a new recruit named Kelly. Being Ash, he walks over and hits on her in a really cheesy way. She deals with him by showing some impressive self-defense skills. Later Ash is in the stockroom and fights a Deadite that’s taken over a little doll, Pablo saves him with a shovel and asks Ash about it. Ash gives the introduction I tried to give you at the start of this article, but he makes it look cool.
Later on, Pablo and Kelly run away from the oncoming storm, but they decide to go see Ash. Kelly doesn’t think Ash can help but given his experience, he really helps out and makes it look cool. It helps that all of this is accompanied by a great song from the 70’s. He even has one of those reluctant hero moments where he notes “thought I could hide, what a joke” and finally takes responsibility for what he’s done. He even has the blue shirt with a shotgun, cheesy one liners and his beloved chainsaw that attaches to his right hand in place of the wooden hand
The second episode has Pablo trying to drive as Ash is battling Deadite Mr Roper and there’s a lot of blood. Pablo and Ash smash into Kelly’s house because she took off hearing that her mom was back after being declared dead. Pablo tells Ash that Kelly took the book, later on Pablo tells Ash in the trailer that he had the book all along, but Ash kind of understands that he was only trying to help Kelly. They have dinner as Ash sees Kelly’s mom for the Deadite she is. Ash punches her in the face as everyone yells at Ash for doing so. This leads to a hilarious face-off with Deadite Mimi Rogers and Ash, which is a delight to watch. Her dad doesn’t fare well as he goes through a fork. It was reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Bat-Nolan movies where the Joker does a magic trick with a pencil.
Meanwhile, Amanda is on the trail of what happened to her partner. She goes to the trailer park where Ash was and speaks to his neighbours, she hears about how Ash brought a woman to his trailer and she had a wrist tattoo. Same wrist tattoo that was on the girl where Amanda went through that ordeal with her partner.
Back with Ash, after he deals with the Deadites, all the blood manages to soak Pablo and Kelly who are also in the room. The next day, Kelly buries them, but wants to join Ash and Pablo to fight the evil Deadites. Ash has made crosses for their graves and gives her a speech, she answers with “you know they were Jewish right?” leaving Ash to feel awkward about making the crosses on their graves. Ash takes Pablo and Kelly with him to fight the Deadites.
The third episode begins with a woman played by legendary actress, Lucy Lawless, famous for playing Xena the Warrior Princess. She digs up the grave of Kelly’s dad and interrogates him about the whereabouts of Ash. She has this mystical dagger that burns when in contact with a Deadite and she uses it on him. Ash takes his new crew to a place called “Books from Beyond.” Ash believes that it’s a good idea to bring another Deadite out from the book to deal with the other Deadites because that always ends well.
He goes inside by himself as Pablo and Kelly are watching from the car. They see Amanda go inside with a gun so they go in. Pablo hits her over the head with an ancient bone he found in the bookshop just after she says she’s a cop, oops. Ash meets with Lionel, he seems very interested in the book and they make an unholy salt circle, similar to what the Winchesters do in Supernatural. They see a demon in the book and it looks small, after it is summoned, Ash makes a social media profile picture joke about the demon.
Amanda is locked up with Kelly guarding her, she is trying to reason with Kelly about being set free. She is set free while Ash is dealing with a demon in the salt circle named Eligos. Pablo and Ash are face to face with Eligos, who feeds off the emotionally vulnerable as Amanda fires a warning shot, the salt circle is broken. The demon deals with Lionel and he dies. The demon appears in front of Ash and Pablo, draining them. Kelly uses the book to hit the demon and it’s gone.
Amanda tries to arrest Ash but he gets out of the handcuffs because of his wooden hand. She’s handcuffed inside the bookshop as Ash leaves with Pablo and Kelly. The three go to see Pablo’s uncle, who is a shaman. Inside the bookshop, Amanda is chained and is greeted by deadite Lionel.
There’s just so much happening that I’ve only covered the first three episodes, check back for more on Ash vs. Evil Dead season one very soon. You can find me on Twitter with the handle @immiebroods if you wish to discuss this show and your thoughts on it.