Monday, 10 October 2016

Review - 'Ash vs Evil Dead', S02E02 - 'The Morgue'

These is no possible way that any description I could give would do justice to Ash's desperate battle with a dead man's demonically possessed intestines – so, I'm just not going to try. All I'll say is that, while I have never really had a problem with the truly absurd amounts of fake blood that we have seen so often on this series, the events that took place within that hospital morgue left me feeling genuinely queasy. Ash vs Evil Dead has always been a series which, much like the franchise as a whole, has been quite happy to indulge in more than its fair share of blood and gore – but, with this single scene, the series has truly managed to outdo itself.

It was, to be honest, a genuinely disgusting scene – but, it was also just as genuinely hilarious (which is, of course, exactly the combination that the series has always strove for). It was, also, a very creative scene – featuring a truly brilliant combination of stunt work and practical effects. The early moments of Ash's battle actually brought to mind the classic horror of The Thing, rather than anything we have ever seen in the Evil Dead franchise, before now. Considering the fact that one of my recurring issues with this series is that any scene involved the franchises classic Deadites has begun to feel a bit repetitive, these displays of creativity are always very much appreciated by me.

Of course, context is everything – and, the context, here, is Ash's attempt to recover the Necronomicon before it can be claimed by Ruby's demonic children. This, of course, leads us to Ash and Kelly's trip to the hospital morgue, which serves as the centre-piece of the episode – since, as Ruby points out, only dead flesh can truly conceal the book's scent from her children, so the morgue was the only logical place to hide it. This, of course, leads us directly to Ash's desperate (and, truly repulsive) battle – as, it seems that the body chosen as a hiding place for the Necronomicon has become infect by the book's power, and it isn't quite as willing to let the book go as Ash may have hoped.

Of course, while this scene might count as the episode's true, stand-out, moment (and, as a moment that is likely to be remembered by fans of the franchise for quite some time), it is far from the episode's only high-light. In fact, the second season's second episode is a strong one for just about everyone. Kelly and Pablo each continue on their own paths toward become true equals for Ash, as opposed to the side-kicks that they were throughout the first season – with the manner in which the Necronomicon may have changed Pablo standing as a genuinely compelling mystery which will, hopefully, lead to an equally compelling resolution. Kelly, meanwhile, found herself kept mostly to the side-lines, as she was placed on look-out duty by Ash. She still managed to feature in a handful of great little moments, though – particularly in her tense, yet still oddly amusing, stand-off with Sheriff Thomas Emery (Stephen Lovatt).

Brock Williams, meanwhile, also get to put in another appearance in this episode – and continues to make a strong impression, in his time on-screen. The manner in which so much of his behaviour seems to mirror what we have already seen from Ash, in the past, provides some clever insight into exactly how similar these two men are – and, of how Ash became the sort of person that he is. Of course, I have no idea what the season may have in store for Brock Williams – but, so far, Lee Majors has been so entertaining, in his time on-screen, that I genuinely hopes the character has the opportunity to become more directly involved in the action.

Ruby, for her part, seems to have encountered some rather amusing difficulties in her efforts to be treated as a genuine member of the group – with her seemingly entirely earnest desire to be trusted, in spite of everything that she has done, standing out as another genuinely funny element of the episode. Also, while it might not be on quite the same level as Ash's battle, Ruby and Pablo also get to take part in a very entertaining fight-scene of their own, when a Deadite searching for Ash crosses their paths, instead.

Beyond these moments of humour and action, the season's second episode also managed to fit in a bit of, surprisingly unobtrusive, exposition – as another of Pablo's Necronomicon-inspired visions seemed to give Ruby the final clue she needed to determine her children's true intentions. With this new revelation, it seems as though this season is definitely going to have a sense of focus that the first, at times, seemed to lack – and, I am definitely eager to see how it all plays out.

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