I really didn’t want to be carrying on with every review of Ash Vs Evil Dead’s third season by going on and on about how the mistakes of season 2 needed to be rectified, but dammit, when the show makes it this easy, what else am I supposed to do? A major niggle I had with the previous season was how we finally had got to meet Ash’s friends and family from before he went on history’s most traumatic vacation, only to have the show do absolutely nothing with them except kill them horribly before they really had a chance shine. The main victim of this was Lee Majors’ Brock Williams’ grumpy old fuck of a father, a character who held immense comedy potential when it came to verbally sparring with his idiot son. While we did get to see him smoke his boy at riding a mechanical bull and fall victim to a Deadite attack from a girl he was trying to bang, the roaring wheels of Ash’s possessed Delta soon put a stop to that shockingly early in the season. Once again it seems it’s down to season three to mop up the pieces and make things right yet again.
After being abruptly decapitated near the end of the first episode, it’s time for the funeral of Ash’s wife (of about an hour and a half…) and while he’s trying to do his best to do right by his estranged daughter, Brandy, the constant threat of evil (not to mention a magnificently hideous suit) make him turn the solemn event into a gore sprayed shit-show when he’s forced to kill a resurrected Candy all over again during the service. This pushes Brandy ever deeper into the clutches of Ruby, who has been posing as her school guidance counsellor as a way to eliminate all spawn of the chosen one and this latest turn of events convinces the teen to move in with the undercover Dark One.
Ash, finally getting wind of Ruby’s plan sends Pablo, Kelly and Dalton back to the wrecked cabin to search for the Kandarian dagger – a weapon with the power to hurt the immortal Ruby – that should still be there after their jaunt to the 80’s. However, Dalton’s misgivings about Pablo’s connection to the Book Of The Dead still has him suspicious and he tries to convince Kelly to turn on her powerful vagina (calm down, it’s her pet name for Pablo).
However, Ruby is also hugely capable of playing dirty and her final attempt to drive a wedge between Ash and Brandy involves resurrecting Ash’s dad, Brock, to do her work for her.
An immensely busy episode, Apparently Dead isn’t exactly the smoothest entry of Ash Vs Evil Dead, but even though most of what it does is fairly uneven, it’s also pretty damn vital. Everyone’s got something going on in this episode and so the makers decide to get the big set piece out the way early with a massively farcical fight scene that sees Ash inflict stupendous amounts of damage on the possesed body of his former wife. I could literally watch Ash Vs Evil Dead’s Deadite fights all day as they’re always original and damned funny, but taken on it’s own terms, this one may be one of the best. Whether somehow playing hide and seek with his attacker inside a locked coffin (?), removing a waggling tongue with a picture frame or just simply ripping a whole fucking jaw off, it’s fast, brutal and squirt liquid out your nose funny – just like all good Evil Dead scenes should be.
After whetting our appetites with that classic example of Bruce Campbell buffoonery, the episode then roles up its sleeves and gets to work – after all, there’s a lot to get through. Pablo has yet more visions of the naked spirit urging him to become the next Brujo and he’s become quite enamored of the full frontal vision, probably because he’s crazy jealous of the bond forged between Kelly and Dalton. However, as Dalton tries to convince Kelly that Pablo is a massive danger to them, a prediction I had two episodes comes true; yep, Dalton got possessed and killed in record time, but not before serving a purpose – dropping vital exposition in episode 2 and putting doubt in Kelly’s mind concerning Pablo. Thanks Dalton, sorry you couldn’t stay around a little longer…
It’s also really refreshing seeing Lucy Lawless’ Ruby final get to be full evil for a change as for most of the first season her alligence with foggy and she went good in the second, and her dastardly plan is moving nice and fast and even gifts Lee Majors back to us for another go.
This is what Ash and Brock’s relationship should have been before – less dismissive and more way spiteful with the two finally coming to blows in a way that can only be settled by a chainsaw in the chest cavity.
Having a coherent villain plot is doing wonders for this season and as Ash & co have never had to really react to a well planned assault before (Baal was more of an opportunist), you genuinely feel like the Ghost Beaters are being massively outclassed. After all, there’s never been a trap Ash hasn’t blindly walked into and everything he says or does (classic response to destroying the funeral? “I can almost explain!”) is just placing Brandy directly in Ruby’s clutches – and while Brandy herself could use a little more oomph than miserable teenager, you still feel worried for the whole damn gang.
Uneven, yes – but still a damn solid Brock party.