It’s ironic that the central thread of the third season of Ash Vs Evil Dead concerns Ash having to mature (somewhat) and act like a father to his newly discovered daughter, Brandy. I say this because after the scattershot plotting of season 2 that chose to prioritise Evil Dead callbacks over focusing on moving their characters forward, great steps are now finally being taken to actually build on its story arcs.
It’s important that this show – one that trades heavily on marvelously adolescent violence, extreme gore and a lead character who’s so hideously (an hilariously) regressive he makes Johnny from Cobra Kai look like Greta fucking Grunberg – take itself slightly seriously every now and then if only to keep things varied when the plasma isn’t flying. So it’s with a strange sense of pride that I can announce that Booth Three gets down to business of capitalising on the info dump of the previous episode and does so with added… spunk.
Ash has had quite a lot to digest over the last 24 hours; not only did he open his very own hardware store (also stocked with booze and sex toys) and discover that ancient evil has risen yet again, but he also found out that he was married during a drug and booze binge which produced an unsuspecting daughter, Brandy. After rescuing her after Deadites came after her at her high school, Ash finds himself her only guardian after her mother was rudely decapitated, but predictably finds that instant parenthood is something he probably needs to work on a bit instead of proudly proclaiming himself a cool dad “like in the movies”.
Meanwhile, Pablo is having to process a couple of returns, one welcome (Kelly has come back from taking time out from Ash’s crap to “carry on the fight”) and one decidedly bad (the Sumarian markings from the Book Of The Dead have reappeared all over his body), but what’s really catching his eye is the fact that Kelly is hanging around with Dalton, a leather jacketed himbo who is a member of the ancient order of the Knights Of Sumaria.
Elsewhere, Ruby’s plan is spelt out as she uses the book to messily give birth to a demon spawn created in Ash’s image in order for it to get the powers of the chosen one in tbe event of Ash’s death – but for it to work, it means that any other uses of Ash’s seed must be destroyed. This is obviously shitty news for Ash’s daughter, Brandy, but it’s also not great for the staff at Elk Grove’s local sperm bank where Ash has made numerous deposits over tbe years…
If all this wasn’t disturbing enough, Brandy’s guidance counseller at school looks awfully familiar…
So, I don’t want to keep continually going on about it, but Booth Three is yet another great example of how good Ash Vs Evil Dead can be when it actually spends time on some solid plotting and make the copious gore happen organically. In fact, when it comes to merging its trademark outlandish setpieces with some honest to goodness story telling, Booth Three is around the best the series has to offer.
Chief among this is we already have Ruby’s newest, dastardly plan all spelt out for us straight off the bat as her traumatic birth makes the one from Alien look like a serene pool birth with whale music and shit. Her torso hollowed out like a Halloween pumpkin, she proudly looks on as her shark mouthed baby attacks a couple of hitchhikers, the scene spells out nicely what her aims are without skimping on the red stuff.
Elsewhere, the ludicrously expendable Dalton shows his worth but being a fashionably stubbled exposition machine, but also manages to stir up some conflict when warning Kelly about Pablo’s returned Necronomicon makeover – which is something Kelly absolutely does not want to hear. But it’s past damn time that we finally got some Pablo and Kelly love as their plot arcs last season were practically non-existent and we also get hints that Pablo may be next in line to be the next Brujo (sort of a shaman) after his uncle died in season one (remember that?). The fact that d plot threads are finally being re-examined is a massively good sign, but it doesn’t mean anything unless Bruce Campbell is either saying something award-winningly stupid (“How was I to know all that crazy sex could lead to a kid?”), doing something stunningly selfish (he suggests they keep his new store open so they can “whale on evil while offering top quality hardware at a reasonable price”) or getting involved in a disgusting fight scene. Awesomely, Booth Three manages to give us exactly that while simultaneously trying to outdo the infamous The Morgue episode when it comes to jaw dropping, gross out humour.
That’s right, the finale of Booth Three sees Ash at the sperm clinic try to fend off a double team of a snarling Deadite armed with test tubes full of chilled man gravy and a living, killer porno mag to the tunes of Ah-ha’s “Take On Me”. While it doesn’t quite hit the dubious heights of a grown man with his head stuck up the ass of a dead body screaming “I’M IN THE BUTT!”, the fast paced semen assault is still bust a gut hilarious and fantastically well shot as the grasping hand of a topless model emerges from the pages of a Kitty book to fasten itself to El Jefe’s overused jock.
While you could suggest that Ash’s awkward relationship with his daughter still hasn’t got up to speed yet, the revelation that Ruby is posing as her beloved school counseller should chuck the chainsaw in with the Deadites soon enough, but as it stands, Season 3 is continuing to be the return to form we hoped for.