The Horror Honeys: Ash vs Evil Dead - Season 1 Recap

Ash vs Evil Dead - Season 1 Recap

The Good, the Bad, and the Guy With the Gun

A Horror TV Honey Groovy Recap by Jennica

Listen up, you primitive screw-heads! It has now been a week since the Season 1 finale of Ash vs. Evil Dead and my mind is still blown as if it were shot with a boomstick. The even mixture of old gimmicks and props with newly added characters and plot developments is enough to give fans of the Evil Dead trilogy the nostalgia that they crave as well as the intrigue of awaiting the next surprise as the series continues.

Like most fans of the cult classics, I am well versed in the details of Ash's past and the concept of Deadites and the Necronomicon. That being said, there were times during this first season of the television series when I feared its potential for redundancy. But the new team of writers and directors with the guidance of Sam Raimi proved that there is still plenty more story to be told and we do not know as much as we think we might know about the root of all evil. And due to the addition of unfamiliar characters now forcing their way into Ash's life, we see that even Ash still has room for development.

While we anxiously await Season 2, let's take a look back at the good, the bad, and the guy with the gun in Season 1...

The Good

The series brings back that warm fuzzy feeling living within Evil Dead fans with each prop acting as a security blanket and the cabin in the woods as an old friend. Although the original 1982 cabin is no longer standing, the resemblance between that cabin and the one designed for the television series is uncanny. The set design crew used actual blueprints for the original cabin to create the exterior and examined the first two films to replicate the interior from the cellar door all the way down to specific items leaning on the shelves. Ash returns to the cabin to find that it looks untouched since he left it, which is also what many fans expected from a follow-up to the Evil Dead films.

Ahhh, home sweet home. 
However, the series also introduces a few new characters who help as well as occasionally hinder Ash on his trek back into the woods to restore order to the earth. Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) two of Ash's co-workers at the local Value Mart (it's probably safe to assume that Value Mart bought out S-Mart), join Ash in the battle against demons and Deadites even though Ash considers them a burden at first. But as Ash begins to find value in their combat abilities and in their companionship, they also serve the purpose of maintaining balance to his often swollen ego. While Pablo resembles Evil Dead fans with his idolization of Ash, Kelly is quick to roll her eyes and keep Ash grounded.

In addition to Ash's new compadres, he is also greeted by a new nemesis. Years ago, if anyone were to tell me that I would be watching another television series with Bruce Campbell AND Lucy Lawless, I would have told them to stop drinking the bong water. Alas, the two have reunited and bad never felt so good. Lawless plays the role of Ruby, whose family owned the cabin... or so she claims. Throughout the majority of the season, Ruby's intentions for catching up to Ash are somewhat vague despite the subtle hints that she cannot be trusted such as her devilish red muscle car speeding down the roads blaring Omen-esque operatic music in contrast to the classic rock n' roll coming from Ash's Oldsmobile.
You'd be out for blood too if you spent the 90s wearing heavy armor.

Editors fangirl note: LOVE YOU LUCY
Of course, the season would not be complete without Amanda Fischer (Jill Marie Jones), Ash's new love interest. However, like all of Ash's previous failed romances, Amanda gets real ugly.

In line with the fresh meat introduced, the team of writers and directors raise their glasses to the-- until somewhat recently-- under-acknowledged massive population of women who love the Evil Dead films as Ash seems to be quite outnumbered by fierce female characters. Outstanding performances by Dana DeLorenzo, Jill Marie Jones, and veteran of bad-assery Lucy Lawless show Ash -- for the first time ever-- surrounded by women who do not need saving. Stick that in your shotgun and smoke it!

Finally, one of the most reassuring qualities of Ash vs. Evil Dead is that it extends the knowledge already possessed by fans regarding the Necronomon and the Deadites and leaves all jaws to the floor in the end. Just when diehards think they know everything about the Book of the Dead's innerworkings, they are schooled for the first time in thirty years. And now that the book's author is revealed and it is now known that the Deadites are mere child's play compared to other forces being conjured, the series contains solid grounds for continuity into the second season.

The Bad

There has been one common complaint among Evil Dead fans regarding this much anticipated series (besides the fact that hardly anyone has Starz) and, while it is a valid point, it has been blown somewhat out of proportion. That complaint is in regards to the CGI blood splatter sequences.

The Evil Dead films have been admired since their release in large part due to the strictly practical effects used back when computers were still fairly new and had limited capabilities. Although the CGI effects included in the series only last for mere seconds at a time, they appear out of place and unnecessary. Overall, the CGI is kept to a minimum so not to be too distracting from the action, but it also does not enhance the gory content in any way.
No! Not the CGI blood!
In terms of the story and the return of Ash, the show's pilot episode may have set expectations into an overload of nostalgic ecstasy. But by the third episode, the same gimmicks kicked the first half of the season into autopilot. Each episode meant more beheadings, more blood spraying in faces, and more forced humor. However, do not be fooled by the slow predictable nature of the first several episodes. The engine is just getting started.

The Guy With the Gun

Bruce Campbell fans get to see The Chin make a triumphant comeback as their favorite one-handed, boomstick wielding reluctant hero. He's still quick-witted, quick on his feet, and even quicker off his feet... only now he is thirty years older and a little heavier. And because of the side effects of being middle-aged Ash, Bruce Campbell seems to channel two more fan favorite characters, gyrating and thrusting in the pilot episode like Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep and living in a trailer and running on booze like he did as himself in My Name Is Bruce.

Keeping the focus on Ash, like in Army of Darkness, Ash is once again the culprit who accidentally unleashes pure evil from the Necronomicon causing Deadites to possess the living everywhere he turns. Although his irresponsibility initially comes across as a cop-out by the show's writers, it is necessary to bear in mind that Ash is the guy who could not even recall three two-syllable Latin words... and he wasn't even on the ganja back then.

Speaking of wacky tobacky, yeah... for a moment this season went to a weird place. Or rather Ash went to a weird place when a witchy substance-induced journey inside his own mind took him to Jacksonville, Florida with a talking lizard. It was the kind of goofiness that is the reason Evil Dead II has always seemed somewhat inferior to The Evil Dead. Beyond the nonsense, fans of the franchise do not need to see Ash's brain on drugs to know that it is filled to the brim with booze, Playboy, and the undead.
Hail to the king, baby.
Also for the first time since Army of Darkness, we see the return of a somewhat more compassionate Ash, one that struggles to allow his "alone wolf" wall to break down and accept help in his battle against evil. We watch the character of Ash rediscover the necessity of team work, strength in numbers. And we see his heart grow three sizes (or maybe just two and a half?) as he expresses sentiment in addition to his usual ogling toward Amanda, which is something that Ash has not really made known since his beloved decapitated Linda.

Overall, the series provides fans of the trilogy with exactly what they had anticipated during previous talks of another sequel: nostalgia. We get the return of the chainsaw, the boomstick, and the classic Oldsmobile, showing that Ash cannot let go of the past anymore than loyal fans of the franchise. But we also get the return of "Bad Ash," Ash's evil doppelganger spawned in Army of Darkness. Wreaking havoc as Ash's alter ego once again, Bad Ash has also been affected by the aging process. Bringing back the character, however briefly, stood as a strong reminder that despite the comfort instilled in us as fans through familiarity, we should not expect the Evil Dead universe-- including our iconic hero-- to remain exactly the same as we remember.

The season concludes as Ash, along with an unamused Pablo and Kelly, ride away to Jacksonville after Ash impulsively made a deal with Necronomicon author, Ruby. Because, what could possibly go wrong? As reports of anarchy are announced over the Oldsmobile's radio waves, Ash shuts off the radio in yet another attempt to evade his destiny as the strange one, El Jefe. Of course, we know by now that there is no escape from the evil dead.

"It's cool, I took the deal."

Editor's note: You charming bastard, you.

Until Season 2, stay groovy…

Will Ash ever find undying love? Will Pablo and Kelly ever find romance in each other? Will Jacksonville be everything that Ash hallucinated it would be?