Sunday, 8 November 2015

Review - 'Ash vs Evil Dead', S01E02 - 'Bait'

Picking up right where the first left off, the second episode of Ash vs Evil Dead managed to keep things moving at the same impressive pace. Within moments of barely surviving their encounter with a Deadite in Ash's run-down trailer, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) has stolen Pablo's (Ray Santiago) bike and taken off. After receiving a call earlier which seemed to suggest that her deceased mother has returned to the grave, she clearly has reason to be concerned for her father's safety - especially after what she had just seen.

Pablo and Ash, meanwhile, are left to follow along after her when Pablo reveals that Kelly has also taken the Necronomicon. After being caught by surprise by Mr Roper (Damian Garvey), the former manager of the ValueStop at which they worked and now a possessed Deadite, the two men are left battered and bloody as they burst through the front door of Kelly's house. They are, clearly, expecting more violence - but, instead, they find themselves intruding on what seems like a fairly conventional reunion as Kelly's mother, Suzy (Mimi Rogers), weaves a tale of an accident that left her with amnesia.

Ash is unconvinced, of course - believing, instead, that the entire situation is an elaborate trap intended for him, personally. So, naturally, Ash insists on joining the Kelly family for dinner with his shotgun still strapped to his back. Of course, it probably doesn't count as much of a spoiler to reveal that Ash is actually absolutely right - and, the violence that results is as bloody and absurd as anything from the previous episode.

After a fantastic opening episode to Ash vs Evil Dead, I do have to admit that I had some concerns about whether the series could maintain that same level of pure entertainment. I also had some concerns about whether the shift to episodes of only around half an hour in length, after the longer first episode, would leave enough time to tell any sort of coherent story. Well, this may only be the second episode - but, so far at least, it seems that my concerns remain unfounded. This episode was, really, every bit as entertaining as the first - and, the comparatively shorter length actually didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. In fact, given how simple and straight-forward the story we are being told seems to be, I'm actually found myself wondering, now, if longer episodes would have just caused it to drag unnecessarily. It's much too soon to tell, obviously - but, I do know that this episode didn't seem to suffer from being too short.

While it was always fairly obvious that much of the humour of Ash vs Evil Dead would come from Ash, himself, Pablo has already started to inject his own style of comedy into the series. He remains as endearingly goofy as he was in the previous episode, even after first-hand experience with the Deadites, and he is clearly Ash's greatest fan. He is, as I said in my review of the previous episode, a natural side-kick - he even managed to take a moment to be suitably impressed with Ash's ability to come out with contextually appropriate one-liners when killing Deadites.

Regarding Kelly, though - the fact that Kelly still hasn't made quite as strong an impression as either Ash or Pablo really shouldn't be held as a mark either against the character, or the actress who plays her. Kelly is clearly intended to be the more level-headed and restrained member of the group. While this does, admittedly, leave her at risk of occasionally being overshadowed by Ash and Pablo, I can easily see it paying off in the long-run, as she slowly develops into the more competent of Ash's two side-kicks.

Of course, while the bulk of the episode was devoted Ash, Pablo, and Kelly, there was also room for a small bit of progress on Amanda Fisher's (Jill Marie Jones) investigation into her own encounter with Deadites - as she finds her way to the site of Ash's trailer. I do have to admit, though, that I'm not entirely sure what to make of this development. Clearly, Ash's fight with the Deadite attracted the attention of the police - which, in turn, lead to him becoming to suspect of a murder investigation as the Deadite's body was discovered. But, I'm not entirely sure I understand who Amanda, as a police officer currently suspended from active duty, found her way to Ash so quickly. That being said, though, there was definitely something wonderfully strange about the way that the severed arm of a Deadite pointed toward the business card which led Amanda to the same bookstore that Ash and his team are heading toward. Clearly, there is more going on, there - as someone, or something, seems to be leading Amanda toward Ash. I am definitely interested in seeing where that leads.

This is only the second episode, of course, but so far Ash vs Evil Dead has managed to fulfil every hope I had for the series. Following on from the first episode as it did, though, this episode was also, essentially, the second half of a two-part premiere - meaning that it still had the momentum established by that episode to carry it forward. Now that we are moving into more episodic territory, we'll just have to hope that Ash vs Evil Dead can maintain the same level of quality it has established, so far.

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