Ash vs Evil Dead: Breaking down the psychology of Ash Williams

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Ash vs Evil Dead – Young Ash and Old Ash 4 – Courtesy of Found Flix and Renaissance Pictures and STARZ

Fans of Ash vs Evil Dead are not happy with the character progression of Ash Williams this season on the show. So, in an attempt to better understand their complaints, I decided to explore the psychology of the iconic character.

“Shoot first, think never.” – Ash Williams

The Quiet Man

For every person enjoying Season 3 of Ash vs Evil Dead, I will find those fans who are disgruntled. Their complaints seem to be very similar. “Why is Ash an idiot now? When did this happen?”

“The writers are focusing too much on the comedy and not enough on why Ash is the hero from the sky.” To each his own, I think, but then it made me turn around and want to do a deep dive into this iconic character to find out what makes him tick.

Now, before I go any further, I am not claiming that these conjectures of mine are correct or absolute truth. Nor am I in any way shape or form trying to say that I know what was in Sam Raimi’s head all those years ago when he created the chainsaw-wielding Deadite killer.

That said, after rewatching the trilogy and contemplating the series, I decided to endeavor to understand this character based on the experiences he had in the movies and how in real life that would alter a person forever.

If you look at the very first Evil Dead, this is Ash Williams in his purest form, so to speak. A twenty-one-year-old college student who has the world ahead of him. All he and his friends want to do is have a good time in this remote cabin in the woods.

His girlfriend Linda is with him, so naturally he’s probably hoping to get a little side action as well. Shy, socially awkward, and yes, somewhat studious he is the epitome of nerdiness. There is nothing hip or worldly about him.

Survivor’s Guilt

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While his friends are playing games, Ash is tinkering around with an old reel to reel tape recorder. He’s actually interested in finding out what is on the tape. Very much a loner, he seems more inclined to do his own thing and go his own way.

Maybe even a bit of the romantic, he presents Linda with a looking glass pendant in a shy, almost sweet fashion. Endearing in its sentimentality, it’s clear this guy is no warrior. Later, this is proven when he and Scotty are endeavoring to fight off Shelly  who has become a Deadite.

Ash has the ax but he is paralyzed by fear. Scotty has to grab it away from him and dismember his former girlfriend himself. Having a sensitive disposition, Ash is clearly not able nor ready to deal with the horrors awaiting him.

After his friends convert to the dark side and he is forced to fight, he teeters on the brink of madness. When he is watching them disintegrate before his very eyes, it is horrifying and heart wrenching. This is the kind of carnage that will haunt your dreams forever.

Put yourselves in Ash’s position, knowing that you killed and buried your friends is an enormous burden to carry. You know you can’t tell anyone what happened because they would never believe you. So, you have to repress those memories, which wouldn’t be an easy task.