Holy fan service Batman! What an episode! After a weeks break the streak continues as the second season of Ash vs Evil Dead continues to churn out a host of stellar episodes. But none of them are quite as special as this one.
The crew return but are unfortunately much more disheveled than when we last saw them. Ruby and Kelly are despondent on Ash’s porch watching El Hefe who is drunk, do burnouts out the front of his house with a mangled Pablo corpse riding shotgun.
However with enough angel dust, a visit from Pablo and a sweet Army of Darkness reference (we’re only just getting started), Ash, Kelly and Ruby travel back in time to 1982, just before young Ash had a chance to read the book of the dead.
I love me some time travel so this story arc has me all giddy. They’ve nailed the aesthetic as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing plays over a populated town square, littered with horrible attire, teens playing arcade machines and the local cinema advertising a double bill of Friday the 13th and The Poltergeist. Time travel paradoxes still apply but Ash inadvertently (and comically) turns a businessman into a homeless alcoholic so who knows how much he’s going to alter.
The references come thick and strong, both subtle and direct. After the trio get split up, Ash explores the cabin on his own and straight off the bat, he makes a tongue in cheek remark about where the book should be. In the original film he finds it in the basement with Scotty but due to rights issues that prevented Sam Raimi from including scenes for a recap, the beginning of Evil Dead 2 is basically a remake. In this version, the book is simply in the living room. I love that the producers can have this much fun with the lore and history of The Evil Dead, effectively making three decades worth of different mediums still feel connected.
Then there is that wonderful fight scene in the kitchen. Ash beats the living shit out of himself to hilarious effect in an homage to his scrap with his demon hand in the second film. He spits out a foul mouth fetus-looking creature and splatters it with a frying pan, topped with a witty one-liner. Who wasn’t smiling after that?
In the interim, those pesky trees (it’s cool, no one gets …. you know) ambush Ruby and Kelly in a surprisingly well shot scene with some very cool SFX. Ash vs Evil Dead is really coming into it’s own and it’s starting to match film quality as time goes on.
In yet another throwback, Ash finds Henrietta (who you’ll surely recall from the second film) chained to a wall in the cellar. After Ash smacks her round (and trust me it’s more funny than it sounds) thinking she’s a deadite, it’s revealed that her husband Raymond already has the book and comes down to the cellar with a poor student. After she gets caught in a bear trap, it’s revealed that Henrietta really is a deadite and Raymond was about to transfer the evil to the helpless young woman.
The final fight sequence is a pretty authentic representation of what the 80’s showdowns looked like. The make-up department should get a bonus for replicating Henrietta’s deadite look and there was barely any actual red blood in sight. Instead it was substituted with blacks and greens, a ploy utilised in the original films to try and stave off an X rating.
Time travel, homages and a noticeable improvement in quality earn Home Again a raving review. Ash vs Evil Dead is on a roll and the terrific thing is that it’s been doing it without having to resort to appeasing peoples nostalgia. Though every once in a while it’s awesome to just sit back and smile as you take a stroll through memory lane, being winked at and nudged by a crew who clearly give a damn.
- Fan service! Homages! References!
- SFX and fight scenes continue to improve
- Endless possibilities for new storyline
Review Score: FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Ash vs Evil Dead is streaming now on Stan.