Ash vs Evil Dead: Family – bound in blood and forged in bloodshed


Reluctant hero, Ash Williams is back with his Ghostbeaters in tow.  Fans have been waiting for the return of this show for over a year now and they won’t be disappointed.

“Evil…we’re coming for you!” – Ashley J. Williams

***SPOILER ALERT*** (Proceed at your own peril. Spoilers abound)

Worth the Wait

Season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead ended in December of 2016 to decidedly mixed reviews. Behind the scenes, Lionsgate was acquiring STARZ and changes were being made. AVED happened to be caught up in the turmoil.

After showrunner, Craig DiGregorio left citing creative differences, the future started to look uncertain for the series. Then STARZ began dragging its feet by not picking a release date. AVED was in limbo.

Finally, at New York Comic Con 2017, a teaser trailer dropped and February 25 was announced as the return date for the show. Fans everywhere rejoiced!

Now, the premiere episode of Season 3 entitled “Family” has arrived and followers of the Ghostbeaters crew will not be disappointed.

Ash Williams Is Back, Baby!

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family – Long Screw 2 – Courtesy of STARZ

All is well in Elk Grove.  We find Ash (Bruce Campbell) thriving as the proud owner of Ashy Slashy’s Hardware Store and Sex Toy Emporium. Of course, the very first thing we see him doing is a “Crazy Eddie” type local commercial.

Campbell is hysterical as he cavorts around slashing prices with his chainsaw and yelling about nuts and long screws. He even lets his customers know that he has everything from “D” to “ildo.” Classy!

Pablo (Ray Santiago) is living the dream as the proprietor of “Pablo’s Fish and Chips.” Forever the loyal sidekick to the Jefe, even if he doesn’t pay him for working in his store.

However, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) a critical member of the posse appears to be missing in action. Where is she? Forging her path as a bouncer in a bar.

In typical Maxwell fashion, her entrance onto the show is when she head slams a non-paying customer for taking pretzels. Meanwhile she notices a scene of utter destruction on the television set in the bar. Something egregious is afoot in her sleepy burg and she is going to get to the bottom of it.

Lurking in the Shadows

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family – Ruby Ice Queen – Courtesy of STARZ

The scene of chaos and mayhem that Kelly witnessed on television is actually an Antiques Roadshow gone awry. Guess what happened? A young girl tried to score a profit off of the Necronomicon.

Amidst all the carnage is everyone’s favorite demon queen, Ruby (Lucy Lawless). Looking glamorous with her platinum Farrah Fawcett coif and splendid white three-piece suit, she grabs the book from hell and exits.

Cut to two girls in Kenward County High School scrubbing graphic graffiti off of lockers. Little do they know that things are about to go sideways on them in a quick and horrible fashion. After exchanging unpleasant words with the school mascot “Cougie” things get decidedly dark.

Cougie turns demon, a torrent of blood spills onto the floor, the lockers take on a life of their own all while the terrified girls look on. Finally, they get the idea to run. Of course, there is no way out because the doors are locked leaving them in peril.

50 and 0

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family – Ash and Candy – Courtesy of STARZ

While the mayhem is happening at the school, Ash is throwing a grand opening block party outside of his store. As he’s schmoozing around the crowd, hitting on the women, two things become readily apparent.

A woman and a striking young guy clad in a leather jacket on a motorcycle watch every move that he makes. Oblivious to this fact, Ash continues his flirtatious ways until the woman approaches him.

This entire encounter for Ash is going to be rather momentous. Annoyed that Ash doesn’t remember who she is, she cold cocks him in the face and says, “I’m your f****** wife!” Now, there is one revelation he didn’t see coming. Frankly, neither did the audience!

His wife (Katrina Hobbs) proceeds to tell him that they have a daughter and she is in danger. Wow. Another sucker punch to the gut for Ash. In denial, he assures the mystery lady that during the aughts he wore his lucky rubber and that sucker went 50 and 0.

Watching this drama unfold from the sidelines, Pablo speaks up and lets Ash know that more Sumerian writing is starting to appear on his body. Evil is back and now Jefe and Pablito have to take it on to rescue Ash’s daughter that he didn’t know he had.

As the Delta goes whizzing by, the leather jacketed guy jumps on his motorcycle and tails them.

I Want Candy

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family – Branson Backseat – Courtesy of STARZ

On the way to the school, we find out through a creative montage sequence how Ash was married and how his daughter was created. Trust me, Bruce Campbell looking like Lemmy from Motorhead is a sight to behold.

Apparently, Ash got married in a fever in Branson, Missouri to Candy Barr. Yes, Candy Barr, which sounds like the name of a stripper. This union was forged on bourbon and crazy sex. Enough said.

Demon Ash

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family – Making Demon Ash – Courtesy of STARZ

Ruby still clad in that fabulous suit is in a hotel room. She has the book in her possession so you know she is already up to no good. Caressing the Necronomicon’s cover like a lover, she opens the page to Ash’s picture.

Plunging a dagger into the palm of her hand she lets the blood drip onto the page. Smearing it all over his visage, she eagerly takes the blood and swallows it. Almost gagging, she falls onto the floor writhing in pain.

Pulling up her vest she exposes her bare stomach. Almost like a scene from Ridley Scott’s Alien, we see a fetus moving inside her.

Saving Brandy

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family – Ash as Papa Bear – Courtesy of STARZ

At the high school, Ash, Pablo and Candy are roaming the halls looking for Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill). Even though he is there to engage in Deadite combat, Ash still finds time to locate the joint (Maui Wowie) that he hid over forty years ago.

You have to have your priorities straight and as fans of the show know, Ash is all about the Ganja. After that little detour they start their search for the girls. This leads them to the music room where a scared Brandy and her friend are hiding.

When Brandy hears her mother’s voice, she and her friend emerge from behind the piano. At first, Ash gets all excited because he thinks that his daughter is the smoking hot punky blonde. Instead, he comes face to face with a mirror image of himself.

The Sperm Shooter?

Both parties are not thrilled to see one another. Immediately Brandy inquires, “What’s the chainsaw geek doing here?” As Candy fumbles with an explanation, Ash chimes in, “I’m your Pop. Father Dearest. The old sperm shooter. You can call me Dad. Unless you’re a Deadite. Then you can go fuck yourself.”

Isn’t this little exchange heartwarming? While they are sorting out that mess, Brandy’s friend who we find out is named Rachel (Ellie Gall) has turned into a Deadite. Now, the fun begins!

Musical instruments come to life. Pablo dukes it out with a guitar. Ash gets attacked by a trombone and in a nod to the Three Stooges, he also gets pummeled with a pair of drumsticks!  However, these are not the best fight sequences though.

Two of the most creative demises occur in this scene. Decapitation by cymbal, goodbye Candy Barr. Slice and dice of Rachel Deadite courtesy of a harp!

Ghostbeaters Unite!

Ash vs Evil Dead – Family- Ghostbeaters Unite – Courtesy of STARZ

Traumatized by her mother’s death right before her eyes in such a gruesome fashion, Brandy looks to Ash for support. In a rare tender moment with Ash, he starts to tell her, “I know. It sucks. I remember my first taste of it,” only to get yanked out of the window by Cougie.

The two of them are going mano a mano in the hallway with Ash getting his ass kicked. Pablo tries to assist but he is also getting blown away. Low and behold seemingly out of nowhere, Cougie ends up with an aerosol can in his mouth and a shotgun blast to the head drops him dead.

Ash and Pablo turn around to see Kelly and the leather jacket guy standing there with weapons drawn. Both men are happy to see her. Introductions are made when Ash asks, “Who’s the boy toy?”

We find out that Kelly’s associate is Dalton (Lindsay Farris) who is a descendent of the Knights of Sumeria. Immediately, he is in awe of Ash and bows to him as the Prophesized One. Kelly, on the other hand wants to know who the kid is.

Ash explains that it’s his daughter, Mandy, Sandy… to which Brandy replies, “It’s Brandy and f*** you!” In typical brash fashion, Ash responds with, “We’re just getting to know each other.”

One thing is for certain, the Ghostbeaters are back and the fight against evil is on like Donkey Kong!

The Verdict

There have been some rumblings among the diehard loyalists to the Evil Dead franchise that this episode doesn’t cut the mustard because not enough of the canon is adhered to and timelines aren’t correct. Sorry, this universe isn’t exact much like life and ducks aren’t always going to line up in a row.

Yes, Linda B is no longer there. Why must we concern ourselves with that storyline? Who is to say that she and Ash didn’t part ways over something?

In order to truly enjoy this season, people are going to have to throw pre-conceived notions out the window, sit back and take the ride. The scenery is going to change. As so many of the cast have pointed out prior to the show airing, this year is going to be a game changer.

The pacing of the story was perfect. It kept moving along and wasn’t bogged down with heavy exposition. This episode ticked all the right boxes. Personally, Mark Verheiden did a tremendous job with the script.

Mark Beesley’s direction along with Joseph LoDuca’s score showcased the overall shift to a darker tone for the series. One can feel in the air that this is just the beginning of a crescendo toward an epic conclusion.

If Family is any indication of how the rest of the season is going to play out then fans the wait was worth it.

Catch Ash vs Evil Dead every Sunday on STARZ at 9 p.m.

Next: Bruce Campbell: Ash just might be crazy enough to save the world

What did you think of Family? Are you looking forward to next week’s episode? Feel free to share your opinion in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.