Editor’s Note: this review has very minor spoilers for season two of Ash vs Evil Dead. We promise you’ll still enjoy the premiere but regardless, we just have to say it—you’ve been warned!
There’s something about the Ash Williams of Ash vs Evil Dead that works better in this TV iteration than any of the films. (Yeah, we said it.) His braggadocio, offensive quips, and say-it-all attitude really landed with audiences and lovers of the Evil Dead franchise when its first season debuted on Starz in 2015. But in the second season, the tone and tenor of both its leading man—and the series—finds its rhythm and makes a case for an even stronger sophomore run. Like a fine wine, Ash Williams only gets better with age.
After season one—which found Ruby (Lucy Lawless) in control of the Necronomicon and proud momma to a bunch of demon babies byway of Pablo’s mouth—Ash and his companions, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago), have made it to the the Promised Land of Jacksonville, Florida. And, oh, what a life they’re living. In what is sure to be a surprise to absolutely no one, Ash thrives in an environment of constant partying and debauchery, where he can willfully ignore the very real evil he’s aided in unleashing onto the world. Naturally, some of them (ahem, Kelly) are none too pleased with Ash’s acceptance of the easy road.
Naturally, things take a turn and, without fail, Ash and his compatriots are roped back into the war against the Deadites. Only, this time, we’re getting something we never thought we’d see: the evolution and contextualization of Ash Williams. That’s right, folks: we’re heading home to Ashy Slashy’s hometown, and everything that entails, including familial relations. Taking up the role of Brock Williams, Ash’s father, Lee Major plays the elder Williams with the sort of racism and misogyny you’d expect from the tree from which Ash fell. Also on the scene? A seeming old flame of Ash’s, Linda B. (not to be confused with Linda A.), played by Michelle Hurd.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remark on that signature Evil Dead sense of humor, which—under the tutelage of showrunner Craig DiGregorio—continues to becoming winkingly self-aware and playfully outlandish in a way that only endears the audience to Ash, Kelly, and Pablo. Kelly, in particular, has really come into her own, and Pablo? Well, he’s got a lot going on this season thanks to his connection to a certain group of terrible offspring, and we’re perhaps most excited for his journey this season.
The series’ first two episodes include all the one-liners and bloody insanity you’ve come to expect from the show, but season two tends to elevate the way that story is told with a much more focused and refined sense of storytelling (relatively speaking, natch). For the first time, maybe ever, we’re going to really understand what makes Ash tick, and why he’s the Jefe we apparently need to end those damn Deadites once and for all. (And the seeming promise of character development certainly doesn’t hurt any, either.) But in many ways, that’s always been the journey of Ash’s story: constantly improving from one iteration to the next, becoming a more realized version of Sam Raimi’s vision. And season two looks like it might be the best iteration (Army of Darkness not withstanding) yet.
4 out of 5 possessed burritos: