Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn — Courtesy of Renaissance Pictures
More Laughs and a Puppet Fight
The second season of Ash vs Evil Dead and Evil Dead II are also kindred spirits. Evil Dead II is where the intentional humor and “splatstick” which later permeated the series finally began to take hold. it is also where Ash grew into more of a one-liner spewing comedic hero. At the same time, the film is still fairly intense, with moments of genuine horror.
Unlike its predecessor, Evil Dead II is brimming with iconic moments of inspired lunacy, including Ash’s epic battle with his possessed hand, the maniacal laughing inanimate object sequence, and the climactic showdown with Henrietta (Ted Raimi).
Ash vs Evil Dead season two features too many homages to Evil Dead II (and the rest of the series) to count. The most significant homage is the return of Ted Raimi’s possessed Henrietta in scenes that create an eerie sense of deja vu.
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn– Courtesy of Renassance Pictures
Season two also contains some of the series’ more iconic comedic moments, including the infamous “up the butt” sequence in “The Morgue.” This sequence, which features Ash battling a possessed colon, culminates in the colon literally pulling Ash up its host’s derriere. This was one of the most unique, boundary-pushing scenes in television history, and it is tantamount to some of Evil Dead II’s more indelible gut-busting moments.
The second season of Ash vs Evil Dead also features a progressively more comedic Ash. In season two, Ash is more of a happy-go-lucky guy with the hubris dialed up to 1000. Ash now lacks the occasional doubt and weariness, which plagued him in season one. After his blissful respite in idyllic Jacksonville, Florida, he is born anew and determined more than ever to vanquish evil once and for all, for he now has a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that has been the last thirty years of his life.
Between seasons, Ash didn’t undergo the complete metamorphosis from milquetoast to charismatic badass that he did between The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. At the same time, he became a more comedic character in every way, which matched the show’s turn to more overt comedy. Still, Ash wasn’t without melancholy and regret as evidenced by the superb “Delusion” which features what may be the deepest exploration of his character in the entire series.
The character whose journey is more emblematic of Ash’s overall arc between The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II is Kelly Maxwell. Her transformation from sardonic Value Stop employee to bona fide badass is a true caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis.
Dana Delorenzo as Kelly Maxell — Courtesy of Starz
In season two, Kelly now has the swagger, the skills, and the mastery of the one-liner that Ash developed in Evil Dead II. Kelly’s epic battle with the diabolical Ashy Slashy puppet-a bravura bit of physical comedy by Dana DeLorenzo evocative of Bruce Campbell’s insane battle with his possessed hand in Evil Dead II. The magnificent DeLorenzo channels Bruce Campbell’s Evil Dead II Ash with her expert handling of both the comedic and dramatic dimensions of her character. She truly transforms Kelly into today’s greatest heroine.