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

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Glimpses into the Future

Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn — Courtesy of Renaissance Pictures

In Evil Dead 2, this incarnation of Ash is still awkward as evidenced when trying to woo Linda, “After all, I’m a man and you’re a woman …at least, last time I checked.” Yet, there is a certain quiet cockiness that he is starting to exhibit.

Throughout this film, you can see the older, future Ash Williams. The one liners are more prevalent such as “Swallow this!” when he is grappling with Henrietta. Plus, this film also has more of the signature “splatstick” in it.

When you compare the kitchen scene in Evil Dead 2 to the kitchen scene in AVED Season 2’s “Home Again,” it’s readily apparent that the metamorphosis from the reticent and bashful youth has begun. He is becoming El Jefe, the savior of the world.

Throughout Evil Dead 2, Ash is the one who’s taking charge. He knows the lay of the land now, and while he is prone to moments of cracking, “We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw. Does that sound fine?” this version is definitely channeling an inner strength. He’s learning how to present that shoot first, think never veneer.

The Transformation Is Complete

Finally, in Army of Darkness, Ash Williams has come full circle from the original film. He’s hardened, now a veteran of Deadite battles. You can also see that he has closed himself off to other people. This Ashley can go it alone and he’s pretty resilient.

21-year-old Ash would not have fought a “She Bitch.” He would have run. AOD Ash stands his ground and has learned that people listen when a boomstick is involved.

Although he has a liaison with Sheila, it’s all about being in the moment or as he phrases it “pillow talk.” Being human, he needs that intimate contact but he doesn’t allow himself to open up because if he starts to care for someone, they will die.

No longer introspective, this Ash is brash. He has no time for the shenanigans of the townspeople nor the pomposity of the royal guard. All he wants to do is get back to his time period and he doesn’t care how he does it.

Of course, he ‘s selfish but this is due to his self-preservation instinct being kicked into high gear because of past traumatic experiences. Yes, if you age this character by twenty years you have Ash, the hero of Elk f****** Grove.


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For fans who are annoyed with the writing of Season 3, Ash didn’t suddenly become an idiot. In actuality, he’s  a product of circumstances. When you’re subjected to tragedy or carnage on a frequent basis, you can become numb to its effects.

In order to cope, you develop a façade to protect yourself. No one gets close, so you are in a sense protecting them from harm. It’s a lonely life but it is necessary.

While Ash may exhibit boorish behavior and he may come off like a buffoon, it’s because he can’t trust anyone, even his own daughter! The Deadites are a clever bunch and they can appear to be normal. He always has to be on guard.

Taking Ruby as an example to the rest of the town she is sweet and helpful Ms. Prevett Kenward High’s guidance counselor. However, to Ash and the Ghostbeaters she is evil incarnate otherwise known as Ruby.

Self-preservation is a natural instinct. It’s inherent in us to protect ourselves for evolutionary purposes. The species must survive. However, with the introduction of Brandy this season, Ash is finding that sensitive part of himself again.

An Ordinary Shmoe

He is allowing himself to open up to her because he wants to connect with her. The saying “Blood is thicker than water” does have some validity to it. His lone wolf has turned into an alpha who is now the leader of a pack.

The characteristics that some fans regard as flaws are actually necessary. It takes a certain type of personality to take on evil and he may be a shmoe but when it counts, I would take Ash in my corner any day and he may just save the world.

Next: Ash Williams is the greatest hero in the history of movies

What do you think of Ash vs Evil Dead this season? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.