Ash is back, baby! After a fun and chaotic first season, ASH VS EVIL DEAD continues the 35 year battle Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) has been having with the Deadites. Setting the tone early, the episode establishes that Ash is now using his chainsaw hand to entertain the locals in the perpetual spring break that is Jacksonville, Florida. It’s only moments before the scene is bathed in comically large buckets of blood, satiating the splatter fans and sitcom lovers in equal measure.
Ash, having once again made a bad decision, has retired to Florida with Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). However, it becomes evident that the uneasy truce with Ruby (Lucy Lawless), the scribe of the Necronomicon, has been broken. Ash and his friends return to his hometown of Elk Grove, Michigan, where we meet Ash’s father (Lee Majors). Despite the latter’s surly attitude, he is the only one in down that doesn’t treat Ash as a pariah, having labelled him “Ashy Slashy” and believing he went mad and killed his friends in a cabin in the woods. Yet bigger problems arise when Ruby loses control of her “children,” the evil unleashed from the Necronomicon, and it is up to one chainsaw wielding man and his crew to put a stop to them.
At the start of the second season, ASH VS EVIL DEAD continues to be a love letter to the franchise. Peppered with references to the previous films, not to mention several to The Six Million Dollar Man, it’s comforting to know that something can be so inside baseball but so broadly appealing at the same time. In one scene, Ash makes a leap for his chainsaw in a visual reference to Army of Darkness, but winds up falling flat on his face. It’s the hyper aware goofy nature of the show that allows it to continue getting away with a unique gore/comedy hybrid, and you’d never guess that it wasn’t Sam Raimi himself directing every moment.