TV Review: Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2, Episode 8 “Ashy Slashy” (USA, 2016) is the best episode of the series yet

I was under the impression that Ash vs Evil Dead had reached it’s peak. That episodes like the last two and season one’s finale and Killer of Killers couldn’t be topped. After all, a goofy horror/comedy genre mash-up probably has no right to strive for anything brilliant. Right. Right? No. Ashy Slashy now holds the crown as the single greatest episode of the show yet and if it’s closing moments are any indication, it shows no signs of quitting while its ahead.

The Ghostbeaters (whether Ruby and Kelly want to acknowledge the name or not) have shown up at the Asylum to rescue Ash from Baal’s clutches but it won’t be as easy as they thought. Sheriff Emery, his wife Linda and daughter Lacy are all at the asylum too, all doing Baal’s bidding to lend credence to Ash’s delusion.

The most surprising aspect of Ashy Slashy is how ballsy it is with the characters it kills off and despite our emotional connections potentially playing a part we aren’t spared the full portrayal of their grisly deaths. Lacey is the first to go, being corrupted and instigating an awesome fight scene with Kelly. Her old man ignores Kellys words and gets too close, resulting in the sheriffs head being ripped from his body with his daughters bare hands.

It’s a brutal scene that is compounded by how much weight is injected into it. Ashy Slashy actually offered this in spades though and everyone got their moment. Kelly’s aforementioned conversation with Emery puts into perspective the similar position shes been in; Linda “toughening up” after telling Kelly that people have always seen her as weak and Ruby shows Pablo a hint of humanity now that she is mortal. Of course this means so much more considering how the episode ends. It was a breath of fresh air to see so much heart come out of this show, especially in an episode ripe for horror and action.

That totally wasn’t glossed over though. Ashy Slashy was rife with tilted camera angles and aggressive close ups of weapons. Kelly stormed the halls of the asylum like an action veteran, spouting one liners and laying bullets into deadites like a young Ash Williams. Her scene with the titular puppet was a thing of beauty too. Ashy is outrageous, completely vulgar and easily the most hilarious character in the show thus far. Too bad Kelly had to blow his stuffed head off.

Although DaLorenzo had another stellar outing, props need to be given to Campbell for how truly menacing and outright scary he can be. Ostensibly under Baals control he patrols the halls of the asylum, equipped with chainsaw hand, boomstick and military fatigues all sealed with a stoic expression. Seeing Ash set a hallway on fire just to increase tension and provide an awesome still was worth the extraneousness of the scene.

Of course it was all a setup and the guys work together to expel Baal. Initially I thought that this was way too early but then he fingernailed Pablo’s torso off left the guys intestines on display. I don’t know what this means or where it’s headed, especially seeing as how we’re only on episode 7, but Pablo dying hurts. Maybe the writing was on the wall but his departure (if he is in fact gone) will leave a massive hole in the show.

I say it a lot, but Ashy Slashy really did have it all and it’s crazy to think that so much was packed into 30 minutes and was still so tightly wound. The action was top notch, the camera work was cinema worthy, everyone had their time in the sun and it wasn’t afraid to take chances. There is a lot to address coming out of Ash Slashy but given the streak Ash vs Evil Dead is on, I have all the confidence in the world that they won’t drop the ball and that my friends is a rather substantial piece of praise in itself.

Highlights:

      • Bold/took chances
      • Action heavy
      • High production values
      • Great character moments
      • Kelly, again

Lowlights:

        • Has Baal left too early?

Review Score: FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Ash vs Evil Dead is streaming now on Stan.