Ash vs. Evil Dead, Starz’s glorious continuation of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s Evil Dead films, encountered some media he-said/she-said over the summer. Producer Rob Tapert revealed the second season would not only “bring up Ash’s events in Army of Darkness,” but the show would even “reference it” directly in its own burgeoning mythology. Yet Campbell, who again plays Ashley “Ash” J. Williams to the delight of his fans, disagreed. “I’ve been sort of putting that to bed,” he told Arrow in the Head. “I think Rob was more alluding to the fact that we’ve already taken stuff that would have been in Army of Darkness.”
In a way both are right, for as all of season one and the season two premiere “Home” suggest, Ash vs. Evil Dead is rife with Army of Darkness lore. Consider Ash’s standoff with his own shadow in a sleepy Michigan town’s creepy crematorium. While Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) battle their own literal demons elsewhere in the vicinity, the titular hero recreates some of the film franchise’s lighter, slapstick moments. Things like repeatedly knocking his head on low-hanging
fruits pipes, toying around with his rebellious shadow, then trying to kill it once he realizes it’s not actually his.
It’s silly moments like this that — combined with all the horror and gore the Evil Dead movies are famous for — help Ash vs. Evil Dead stand out from its predecessors. Especially since Ash is no longer the lone vigilante he once was. With Kelly, Pablo and a somewhat peaceable Ruby (Lucy Lawless) by his side, Ash’s efforts to fight off the latter’s demonic children while searching for the Book of the Dead is no longer a solo misadventure. Instead, as Campbell told us last year, his character’s dive back into the annals of blood-soaked horror-comedy has company: “[DeLorenzo and Santiago can] do humor, horror and [are] also very patient and willing to be covered with blood… they passed the test wonderfully.”
Pass the test they did, and if “Home” is any indication, Kelly and Pablo won’t be leaving Ash’s side anytime soon. (Mainly because they’re literally stuck together due to all the blood and guts.) The second season premiere finds the trio partying hard in Jacksonville, Florida, Ash’s dreamed-about haven away from the events of season one. Kelly remains unhappy about the truce her former S-Mart coworker brokered with Ruby, while Pablo can’t stop praising Ash for his deadite-killing heroics. And Ash? Well, considering his drunken intentions for a mother-daughter duo at the party, he hasn’t changed a bit. Or as Campbell puts it, “Don’t ever fall into the trap of overthinking Ash.”