ASH VS. EVIL DEAD Recap – S 01 Ep. 01 – “El Jefe”

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Ash is back on the screen after more than 20 years in a TV series that is a double-barreled shotgun blast of adrenaline.

The show picks up 30 years after the events of the Evil Dead trilogy. Our reluctant hero Ash is living in a trailer park spending his time picking up women at bars and wasting away his life in a haze of weed, sex and booze. He unwittingly unleashes the terrors of the book of the dead in clear Ash fashion – a reveal that is too hilarious to spoil here.

From there we are quickly introduced to the secondary cast of characters. There is a subplot about police detective Amanda Fisher, who witnesses the Deadite menace firsthand when she and her partner investigate a domestic disturbance. The scene quickly establishes that this show will go for broke with full-on gore and a tone somewhere in between that of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.

The show’s first lull comes when Ash makes pit stop to Value Stop (a stand-in for the S-Mart, since the series can’t legally make any references to Army Of Darkness) to pick up his paycheck before he goes on the road to confront the evil that he has unleashed. He’s forced to work his shift and we are introduced to his partners-in-crime, Pablo and Kelly. The problem with this scene is that the show has already established a break-neck pace, then takes a break from that pace to detour into a bad 5-minute, Chuck-style big-box workplace comedy. I understand it was necessary in order to show what Ash has been doing over the years while also establishing the new characters, but this sequence did give me cause for concern.

That cause for concern is alleviated when Ash does battle with a toy doll at the store that is reminiscent of his fight against his hand in Evil Dead II, and we are then taken to a 10-minute climax in Ash’s trailer where Ash finally accepts his call as hero and battles his Deadite neighbor. This sequence hits the exact kinetic tone and style of the movies, and finally made me feel as though Ash is truly back.

In all, this was a great pilot that sets up the tone of the show and reintroduces us to a character we never thought we’d see again. I do fear that the remaining 9 episodes might not be as good as the pilot since Sam Raimi is not writing or directing them, but I’m definitely looking forward to finding out.

Hail to the king, baby.

Photo credit: Starz Network

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Sammy Lucario

Sammy Lucario is a fan of genre cinema. When he’s not watching movies, he’s either turning his kids into film nerds or utilizing his Juris Doctorate to his advantage.