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Ash Vs. Evil Dead Review 3.1 “Family”

February 25, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 2018
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Ash Vs. Evil Dead Review 3.1 “Family”  

Ash vs. Evil Dead Review: 3.1: “Family”

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the review of the first episode of season 3 of the hit Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.


Yes, finally, the best show on TV, Ash vs. Evil Dead, is back for its third season. The show was expected to be back at some point in the fall of 2017, but the show was held until early 2018 so it wouldn’t compete with The Waking Dead on AMC and Stranger Things on Netflix. At least that was the sort of official explanation as to why Ash and company were not back for new adventures in the fall of 2017. Starz still seems to believe in the show (various Starz channels have had marathons getting everyone ready for tonight’s season three premiere the last few weeks). And the show’s loyal fans clearly believe in it. Hopefully, as the season progresses, that particular segment of pop culture fandom grows. There needs to be a season four.

The world still needs Ash and company. There are always more monsters out there to destroy.

And now, the third season premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 2017

Episode 1: Family

Directed by: Mark Beesley
Written by: Mark Verheiden

(all images courtesy of Starz)

“Family” picks up, I guess, a few weeks after the end of the second season, with Ash, Pablo, and Kelly (Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo) now living in Elk Grove, Michigan. Ash is set to reopen his dead father’s hardware store as a hardware/sex toy emporium called “Ashy Slashy’s.” There’s a massive crowd waiting to get into the store, as Ash is now considered a full on hero to the people of Elk Grove. What better way to show your appreciation to your town’s hero than buy some roofing nails and a dildo from his store? Pablo has his own food cart business, opening up right outside Ash’s hardware store. And Kelly is a bouncer at a local bar (she has a real problem with non-paying customers indulging in the free pretzels at the bar). Life, in general, seems to be on the upswing for the former Ghost Beaters. There’s no evil dead to fight off.

Well, at least not at the moment. While Ash is set to open Ashy Slashy’s, a young lady brings a book she found in the mud in the woods to one of those antique appraisal shows, which is airing a live episode for some reason. The book has a strange cover and is filled with weird writing and imagery. The appraiser, the kind of staid British guy that people assume is a staple of this kind of programming, recognizes the language in the book as ancient Sumerian and starts reading passages from it. The appraiser figures out pretty quickly what we, the audience, already know: that the book is the Necronomicon, the book of the dead, and that the passages inside can summon great evil. And that’s exactly what happens. The winds outside pick up, the building shakes, and the great evil comes out of the woods and lays waste to damn near everything in its path. The deadites, the Evil Dead, are back.

The new evil Ruby is back, too. The sort of classy, blonde Ruby (Lucy Lawless) we saw at the end of season two. She’s been looking for the book since then. She shows up to retrieve the book, punching the poor antique appraiser’s face off in the process. It’s a nasty scene, but then that’s what this Ruby is all about. Nasty, nasty things.

The scene then shifts to the Elk Grove high school, where Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) and her best friend Rachel (Ellie Gall) are cleaning off their graffiti covered lockers (they created the graffiti in question and cleaning the lockers is their punishment). Brandy is so over high school and can’t wait to graduate so she can then leave Michigan. She, like Rachel, is also pretty much done with dealing with the dipshits in the school, like the guy wearing the school mascot outfit. As they clean their lockers and talk about the future, the lights suddenly flicker and the whole aura of the school changes. It seems darker in the hallway. Much darker. The mascot kid also shows up again, but this time he looks different. What the hell?

Now, Brandy and Rachel have no idea what’s going on. We know what’s going on, though. The Evil Dead have infiltrated the school and have set their sights on Brandy and her friend. The new evil mascot starts pumping massive amounts of blood out of its body, creating a huge slipping hazard in the hallway. Brandy and Rachel then slip in that blood as they try to get away.

While all of that is going, back at Ashy Slashy’s, Pablo starts feeling pain all over his body. It’s a pain that he’s felt before. Pablo freaks out a bit, steps away from his food cart and checks his abdomen. Shit. It’s the same marks as before, the ones he had when the Book of the Dead entered his body. That shouldn’t be happening. The Evil Dead are gone. Right?

And while all of that is going on, Ash’s old girlfriend Candace Barr (Katrina Hobbs) shows up to confront Ash about their daughter, who happens to be in mortal danger at this very second. At first, Ash has no idea who Candace is and is skeptical of having a kid (apparently Ash is a big believer in using condoms, sometimes the same one multiple times). Candace does manage to jog Ash’s memory about their encounter back in the day in Branson, Missouri. And it’s at this point that Ash realizes that Candace is actually his wife (they got married in Branson) and that it is possible he has a kid (they boned in the back of Ash’s car right after getting married, one of the few times Ash didn’t use a rubber). Ash agrees to help Candace’s daughter. And who is Candace’s daughter?


The rest of the episode features Ash, Pablo, and Candace going to the high school to find out what the hell is going on. It ends badly for several people. There’s also multiple absolutely disgusting special effects, the best one being a human body getting sliced into multiple “slices” by a harp. Just thinking about that scene right now freaks me out. Ruby also does something really, really nasty with the Necronomicon.

The very first episode of the show, the only one so far directed by The Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi, is really the only one that went substantially beyond the thirty minute mark. Pretty much all of the other nineteen episodes have been thirty minutes, and generally that’s a plus for the series. At only half an hour an episode the show can’t afford to waste time. It has to get to the point quickly. Again, that’s a good thing. However, this season three opener is an episode that could have used a few more minutes to set up the season, especially the “new life” for Ash, Pablo, and Kelly before the Evil Dead comes roaring back. I would have loved to see more of Kelly in the bar and of Ash getting the hardware store ready. The hardware store commercial is awesome, but it would have been cool to see just how bad Ash is at doing something like filming a commercial for local television. And, yeah, Ash has a “background in retail,” but is he smart enough/responsible enough to run his own hardware store?

There are also should have been a slightly more elaborate opening for Brandy. We should have seen her in a classroom setting being snarky like her father.
Now, that isn’t to say what we do get isn’t adequate for setting up the third season. The way it all plays out is still pretty good stuff (it’s clearly far more entertaining than anything currently happening on The Walking Dead). It would have been great, though, if “Family” was a thirty-five minute episode. More time would have been appreciated.

Once Ash gets to the high school the show is back in its element. It’s funny, it’s freaky (there’s a terrific sequence where the band room comes alive and various musical instruments start attacking Ash), and it’s disturbing (in a good way). There’s a decapitation scene here that will make you cry and then make you laugh. That’s what I did.

Campbell is awesome once again as Ash. He’s upped the asshole quotient a bit here, and it will be interesting to see if and how that changes as he gets to know his daughter Brandy (I bet everything will be fine between the two when Ash figures out what the hell Brandy’s name actually is). Both Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo are good, too, although they don’t have much to do in this episode as compared to Campbell. I’m going to assume that Kelly will get more screen time in later episodes alongside brand new character Dalton (Lindsay Farris), who we see briefly at the end (he’s a warrior of some kind).

Arielle Carver-O’Neill is the big unknown at the moment. How will her Brandy character fit in with the rest of the crew? Will she eventually bond with her father or will their relationship remain adversarial for the rest of the season? And how will she fit in with Pablo and Kelly?

And we have to think about this, too. What the heck is Ruby up to? And what the heck is going to happen to Elk Grove? I can’t wait to find out.

And check out the music playing over the end credits. “Daddy Cool” by Boney M. Is that catchy as hell or what?

Ash vs. Evil Dead is back. And that’s awesome. Really, really awesome.

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 2017

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Ash vs. Evil Dead is finally back with its third season premiere and it’s awesome. The episode could have used a little more time establish the world Ash and company currently find themselves in. I love how the show, as a whole, is designed to not waste time, but it would have benefited everyone if this episode had been extended a few minutes. It’s still a hoot, though, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Ash vs. Evil Dead is back and that’s really, really awesome.