We’ve fought colons together, laughed at psychotic hand puppets, fought corrupted cars and traveled back in time. This, ladies and gentleman is Ash vs The Evil Dead. And while that list of outrageous incidents may raise an eyebrow when presented out of context, it really is just another day at the office for Ash, Kelly, Pablo and Ruby. Aside from a couple of forgettable episodes, season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead has been a fantastic ride that saw character growth, cinematic action, actors being taken out of their comfort zone and terrific writing all converging to form a must watch show.
Now that we’ve reached the final episode, the only conceivable exit strategy is to capitalise on a brilliant season with a honourable last ep. Second Coming achieves that for the most part. This ep kicks off directly after the last one with Ash and professor Knowby’s hapless victim cornered in the cellar by Henrietta. Suffice to say, that chick meets her grizzly end while 80’s Ruby show up and confronts the group.
Second Coming is somewhat of a toned down affair compared to the whacky season that preceded it but it does it well, stripping all of the insanity back and grounding itself for a classic feel. Ash vs Henrietta admittedly kicks the episode off in the same vain with Ash being lactated on after she morphs into some original Evil Dead type creature. It’s remarkable how being back in that cabin with Ash and a vintage villain just conjures up so much nostalgia. From day one, despite Ash vs Evil Dead’s modern setting and made-for-tv switch in style, it still manages to (literally) bleed Evil Dead, through and through.
Once Ruby returns, things (comparitively) settle and it’s time to get down to brass tax. She nabs the book, murders current day Ruby and the timeline resets. Despite the obvious, this offers up one of the funniest 5 minutes of the series as Ash not only tries to coherse the two Rubys into a threesome but in a tender moment – that lampoons a classic movie trope – moves to close Ruby’s eyes only for her to exclaim that she isn’t dead. But alas, after holding 80s’ Ruby off while Ash and Kelly escape, she does die. We saw it coming, but Ash vs Evil Dead successfully transitioned Ruby into a sympathetic and almost hero like character so her demise is still somewhat impactful. That she went down protecting her friends, it signifies that her character had fully turned, something I never thought was going to happen after episode 1 of the first season.
With Pablo seemingly now alive and Ash having regained his hand (WHAAA!?), all the three have to do is get back to present day right? Na. Baal was totally hiding in Pablo the whole time and Kelly and Ash are dragged back to the cabin to witness the rise of the underworld. So Ash, in all of his infinite wisdom challenges Baal to a bare bones, no powers, mano e mano brawl for the ages. The stipulation: Ash, Wins, Baal and Ruby return home and never bother Earth again. Baal wins, the deadites rise and may take Kelly prisoner.
The fight itself, is a classic beat em’ up that is filmed exceptionally well. All the right angles and lighting are on show and the choreography put into some good ol’ fashion fisticuffs was excellent. Ash and Baal tear the cabin apart, until Baal starts spawning in loved ones like Chet, Cheryl and Pop (cheater). Much to Ash’s dismay, he loses his newly acquired hand and things look grim. Once Baal starts using his power, Second Coming really pours on the “all is lost” angle. I mean how can a out of shape, middle aged man who lives in a trailer possibly defeat a demon King? Well he does, the only was that Ash ever could. With his tongue. Distracting Baal just in time to use his own evil claw against him, Ash shows that if nothing else, he can talk his way out of a situation with his crude humour and charm.
And like that, Ash wins again. Ruby and Baal are banished along with the book AND the cabin and Pablo is back. Ash gets the ceremony he always wanted from his home town and Ruby, well she’s seen walking away from the crowd and along with a post credits clip, sets up season 3.
I dug the whole subversion aspect here. Season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead tried to outdo itself for 9 episodes with off the wall moments only to put on a finale that didn’t mind grounding itself. By other shows standards, it was still nuts but a fist fight and some nice character moments really calmed things down for the better. Setting another finale in the cabin was a tad questionable but at least it allowed for the iconic shack to be dealt with once and for all.
This was a brilliant season of a must-watch show that was consistently bold, tried new things and was, if nothing else unique. And now with some major players and the cabin out of the equation, along with the challenge of not rehashing anything, the prospect of season 3 has just become super intriguing.
- Stripped back
- Great character moments
- A worthy finale
- Left a lot to deal with next season
- Cabin was a tad repetitive
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Ash vs Evil Dead is streaming now on Stan.