‘Ash Vs Evil Dead’ Turns What Seems Like A ‘Jumping The Shark’ Moment Into Television Brilliance

News & Culture Writer


“Did you see episode two? The scene?” Ash vs Evil Dead newcomer Lee Majors asked journalists gathered around him at the 2016 New York Comic Con. Along with Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless and the rest of the cast, Majors had just debuted the second season’s second episode, “The Morgue,” to a packed house. And judging by the crowd’s collective mishmash of laughter, screaming and cheering, one scene in particular caught everyone’s attention. Or as comedian and panel moderator Doug Benson put it, it was “the craziest thing I’ve ever seen on television.” So what, exactly, happened during Sunday’s episode of Ash vs Evil Dead?

In the premiere episode “Home,” Ash (Campbell), Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) found themselves renewing their uncomfortable alliance with Ruby (Lawless). The latter’s villainous manipulation of Ash in season one helped her secure the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis for her own purposes, while the hero finally got to enjoy his long sought-after party in Jacksonville, Florida. Now that Ruby’s demonic offspring were trying to kill her and claim the Book of the Dead as their own, however, a new truce was necessary — one by which the four would recover the book and defeat the show’s newest scourge. That is, if anyone actually believes Ruby’s claims.

Hence “The Morgue,” in which Ash attempts to recover the book from Ruby’s last-minute hiding place — a corpse. “Dead flesh masks the scent of the book from the spawn,” she tells a bemused Kelly. “So in terms of quick thinking, not the worst idea.” Considering the program’s penchant for voluminous amounts of blood, guts and gore, the prospect of Ash chainsawing through a bunch of bodies to find the book seems like child’s play. Yet Ash vs Evil Dead and its cinematic roots aren’t bound solely to the horror genre. Comedy — be it wordplay or slapstick — plays just as big a role, so the episode’s titular scene was never going to be that simple. Not by a long, gooey, intestinal shot.

Yes, that’s right. Ashley “Ash” J. Williams of Evil Dead fame squares off with a corpse’s innards, and for much of the fight, the corpse maintains the upper hand intestine. While Kelly battles with Ash’s hometown rival, Sheriff Thomas Emery (Stephen Lovatt), Ash finds himself on the receiving end of a dead body’s reanimated guts. And by “receiving end,” I mean something best described by a rather panicked line he exclaims several times throughout the scene: “Not up the butt! Oh god, I’m in the butt!”

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