Brandy goes to her high school dance to clear the air with Ruby, Ash is dealing with Ash and Pablo headbutts the woman he loves!
“Ruby went to Kandarian Kinko’s and this a****** dropped out!” – Ash Williams
***SPOILER ALERT ***
Love or Loss
Ash vs Evil Dead – Love and Loss – Courtesy of STARZ
The centerpiece of this episode is what Evil Dead fans have been waiting for since the beginning of this season. Many of them were quite vocal on social media platforms as wanting more “Evil Ash.” Well, you got him.
What the audience also got was Ash 2.0 (Bruce Campbell). This one is older, wiser and knows how to handle situations. He is also capable of emotions and dare I say it love but more on that later.
Evil Ash, on the other hand, he knows nothing of love. Right off the bat, he is given a task by his cold-hearted mother, Ruby (Lucy Lawless) to saw off his flesh and bone chainsaw hand. When he is looking for comfort because “it hurts” she tells him it will scab over. This is not a good start to his life.
It seems like the theme to Twist and Shout is love and loss. All of the characters are coping with both emotions especially Pablo (Ray Santiago). While he is in the cellar with Zoe (Emilia Burns) trying to comfort her about losing her fellow knights, he hears Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) call to him from the portal.
She tells him that she went after Ruby and was killed. In the background, Pablo can see where something is coming after her but then the picture fades out. You know that he senses something horrible is lurking around the corner.
Father Knows Best
Ash vs Evil Dead – Father Knows Best 2- Courtesy of STARZ
Ash is dealing with Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) wanting to go to her high school dance to clear the air with Ruby/Ms. Prevett. Against his better judgment and at Kelly’s urging, he allows her to go but tells her that they will be like “rubber and glue.”
He is becoming comfortable in his role as a father but he is still puzzled as to how to accept affection from his daughter. When she kisses him on the cheek, he seems startled but then pleased.
This is the first time that anyone has shown open feelings for him and while he may be all about machismo and bravado, he needs to feel that. After all, he is human. With each new episode we continue to see the evolution of Ash Williams from lone wolf to actually needing to be part of a family.
A Tale of Two Ashes
Ash vs Evil Dead – A Tale of Two Ashes – Courtesy of STARZ
When the two Ashes meet face to face it is after the Evil One has carved up some kids for a snack. Blood is everywhere and Ash knows that it is just a matter of time before his “dumbass double” starts trouble.
Campbell is actually a joy to watch because he clearly is playing both roles to the hilt. Much like the Good Ash and Bad Ash of Army of Darkness this encounter does have some light humor but that is overshadowed by the dark intentions of Ruby.
Channeling John Wayne in True Grit with a swagger, Ash starts advancing down the hallway to mix it up with his annoying doppelganger. Witty banter is exchanged but before any action can take place, a policeman appears and Evil Ash has vanished.
This is most unfortunate because what happens in the ensuing scenes is bats*** crazy! Since Ash is tied up at the moment before Kaya/Kelly comes to his rescue, Evil Ash is free to start a rampage at the high school hop.
Fresh off an upsetting discussion with Ruby who does her best to convince Brandy that her father is a mass murderer, Brandy runs around the halls looking for her father. Instead she runs into Evil Ash.
He shows her the torn-up body of one of her classmates because he didn’t adhere to the dress code and had horrible shoes. While this is hysterical, it is also terrifying and is even more so when he reveals his true demon face to her.
Prom Night Massacre
Ash vs Evil Dead – Prom Night Massacre 2 – Courtesy of STARZ
Everything starts with this scene. Brandy has found Ruby again, this time over the body of a dead student. She tells Brandy that her dad did this and with impeccable timing her evil son appears with chainsaw revved and ready to go.
What happens next is pure unadulterated carnage. Evil Ash goes slicing and dicing teens. There is blood in the air and a red hue takes over reminiscent of the movie Carrie. Students are screaming and running.
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Evil Ash is on a mission to annihilate everyone. Outside the chaos, Pablo pulls into the parking lot. He sees kids running and screaming everywhere. Quickly entering the building and dodging the escaping hordes he begins looking for Jefe.
Instead he runs into Kelly/Kaya. He knows immediately that something is wrong because the real Kelly is stuck in the Deadlands. She tries coming on to him but he thwarts her with a head butt.
In their scuffle, Kelly takes the gun away from Pablo. She fires at him but runs out of ammunition giving him time to flee to safety.
Meanwhile in the gym, the real Ash shows up. Brandy approaches him with the Kandarian dagger. He tells her that there is another version of him running around.
Ruby gets in front of Brandy under the guise of protecting her and lunges at Ash grabbing his chainsaw and putting it inside her stomach. He can’t stop it because she is guiding it. A fountain of blood starts spraying out in all directions.
Ash vs Evil Dead – Jefe 2 – Courtesy of STARZ
Evil Ash is lurking in a hallway. Pablo darts by and stops when he sees him. He immediately calls him Jefe. The demonic version of Ash smiles and says, “Jefe. I know that word. You just called me boss.”
Pablo is a little puzzled at the response. He tries to tell him what is going on but Ash just keeps getting weirder. When he advances toward Pablo and places his hand on his shoulder, the vision of his true face comes into Pablo’s mind crystal clear. The two of them start battling it out in the hallway while frightened kids look on.
In the gym, Ruby is finally dead on the ground. Brandy grabs the Kandarian dagger and threatens Ash with it by pointing it at his throat.
At that moment, she sees visions of her dad and their time together. Realizing she loves him she bursts into tears and drops the dagger. You can clearly see in Ash’s eyes that he loves her too. It is real and the emotion is very raw.
In the hallway, Pablo is duking it out with Evil Ash and the chainsaw. They end up taking their fight into the gym where Ash sees his demonic doppelganger trying to make steak out of his sidekick.
Brandy is now confused because she sees two of her father. As an explanation, Ash utters one of the best lines in the episode, “That’s what I was trying to tell you. Ruby went to Kandarian Kinko’s and this ass**** popped out.”
Once again, the doubles face off against each another. This time, Ash pulls the trigger of his boomstick and blows off his evil twin’s head.
Ash vs Evil Dead – The Final Showdown – Courtesy of STARZ
Pissed off at her son being killed, Ruby rises up with the Kandarian dagger in her hand. Hell, hath no fury like a demonic ice queen scorned. She raises it and throws it at Ash, Brandy lunges to shield her father and takes the dagger right in the back.
Pablo is dismayed as he looks on while Ash suddenly realizes what has happened as he holds his dying daughter in his arms. Ruby leaves the scene of the crime and Ash is left broken and sobbing in the middle of the gym.
Brandy wakes up in the Deadlands. Bathed in an eerie green glow, she is in the middle of the gymnasium but yet it isn’t her high school. Something is wrong. She hears a creepy sound and runs off screaming.
Coming off the heels of last week’s emotional episode filled with deep loss, we go down the same path with the demise of Brandy. All deaths are heart wrenching but this one hits at your core. Even though Ash has the Ghostbeaters, they aren’t his flesh and blood.
In Brandy, he has a deep connection, a bond at the soul between a father and daughter. When she dies like Rob Tapert stated in the behind the scenes segment, it echoes the original Evil Dead when he loses Linda.
Everyone close to Ash dies. That is why he was a lone wolf for so long. His only respite from the painful loneliness is the occasional one-night stand with a barfly of the week.
Then he found out he had a daughter and that sparked a change in him. He struggled to get his bearings but just when he starts to figure out how to be a parent, his child is taken from him.
This is Bruce Campbell’s episode. His finest bit of acting on this series since Season 2’s Delusion. While we get some of his patented one liner goodness, this performance is more about what makes Ash tick.
For almost four decades, he has played Ash Williams. Now, we are seeing what he is capable of. He is more than witty banter and Stooge shtick.
The scenes between him and Arielle Carver-O’Neill were real, raw and powerful. Bruce has given Ash layers, there is a depth to his characterization that we never saw in the trilogy. There is emotion in his portrayal and when he mourns Brandy you feel it in the pit of your stomach.
The Verdict Part 2
Caitlin Meares wrote a terrific script. It starts with the story and her understanding of the characters is transparent. Mark Beesley continues to extract winning performances from the actors with his direction. Each episode is feeling like a movie that you never want to end.
Every week this show gets better and better which is more than what you can say about most series. Ash vs Evil Dead is the real deal and destined to be remembered as classic television.
Catch Ash vs Evil Dead every Sunday on STARZ at 9 p.m.
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Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge. She can also be heard talking up Ash vs Evil Dead every Monday night on the Nerdrotics Podcast at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT as well as their Pop Culture Wrap Ups every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.