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Ash vs. Evil Dead 3.10 Review – ‘The Mettle of Man’

April 29, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 2017
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Ash vs. Evil Dead 3.10 Review – ‘The Mettle of Man’  

Ash vs. Evil Dead Review: 3.10: “The Mettle of Man”

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


Well, this is it, folks. The last episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead and, based on what star Bruce Campbell said last week, the end of the Evil Dead franchise as we know it. Does that fact suck? You bet it does. We were originally supposed to get five seasons of AvED and, maybe, another movie, but that isn’t going to happen now. This is it. So how does it turn out for our heroes, the Ghostbeaters, Ash, Pablo, Kelly, and Ash’s daughter Brandy? Is evil finally vanquished, or does Ash fail?


Episode 10: The Mettle of Man

Directed by: Rick Jacobson
Written by: Rick Jacobson

(All images courtesy of Starz)

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

The Mettle of Man picks up where episode nine, Judgment Day, left off, with Ash (Bruce Campbell), Pablo (Ray Santiago), and Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) facing down the massive Kandarian destroyer creature that has burst out of the ground smack dab in the middle of downtown Elk Grove. Normally, when faced with a new Evil Dead threat, Ash just whips out the chainsaw hand and starts slicing away, or he breaks out the boomstick and starts blasting everything in sight. He can’t do that this time, though. The chainsaw hand is gone, and the boomstick, while a handy weapon in close, hand-to-hand situations, isn’t going to do much against a creature that’s one hundred feet tall. He’s going to need something else to take out this big bastard. But what? Ash has no goddamn idea. The only thing he can think to do is run and hide and run again. The creature is one hundred feet tall. Jesus Christ.

After watching a local cop and a few other poor souls get possessed by the Evil Dead, Ash and his team book it for Ash’s home to regroup and come up with a plan. They also bring Kelly’s body with them, since they’re going to have to find a way to get back to the rift in the basement of Ash’s hardware store so they can bring back the trapped Kelly. So what the heck is the plan? How are the Ghostbeaters going to beat back this new, massive threat?

Ash has no idea. In fact, Ash is about to have a breakdown. He doesn’t know what to do, and he didn’t ask to be the Chosen One to fight off the Evil Dead. Ash suddenly starts looking back at his life, the choices he’s made, and what’s happened to him since he went to that cabin in the woods and found that damn book. After everything he’s been through, Ash feels as though he’s a fuck up and a failure. He can’t beat back this creature, he can’t save his friends and family and Elk Grove and the human race. He’s doomed, the world is doomed, and everyone is fucked.

Right before he can chug another Shemp brand beer, Brandy gives her father a much needed pep talk. Ash isn’t a failure. He can’t be a failure. He has to lead the charge and fight back against the Evil Dead, something Brandy didn’t know even existed until she met her father. He can’t give up on her and the world. Ash Williams has to be Ash goddamn Williams again. The fight isn’t over. There are still deadites out there to kill. Ash thanks his daughter for the kind and inspiring words. It’s exactly what he needed to hear. Because there are more evil dead deadite demon monster zombie things out there to kill, and killing those damn things is what Ash Williams does best. And with similar monsters apparently popping up all over the world (they see that on TV), Ash has a lot of work to do.

So Ash is back in the game (well, he has to smoke some pot first because he isn’t “fighting that thing with a clear head.”). So what’s the plan? Ash figures they can use the town’s sewer system to bypass the ongoing carnage in town, and the sewer has an access point in the basement of the hardware store. Ash and Brandy will go through the sewer (Ash doesn’t want Brandy to go with him, as he doesn’t want to put her in any more danger and he doesn’t want to see her die again, but Brandy insists on going. She’s a Williams and can fight off the Evil Dead, too), and Pablo can go by foot on the street with Kelly’s body strapped on a hand truck. For a normal person that would be a suicide mission, but since Pablo is the Brujo Especiale, he seems to have the ability to move around both the regular world and the deadite world unscathed. So that’s the big plan. Ash and Brandy in the sewer and Pablo and Kelly up above. What could go wrong?

Well, while traveling through the sewer, Ash and Brandy are attacked by deadites who were either in there before Ash and Brandy went down there or followed them in. Ash has the boomstick to use, while Brandy has the Kandarian Dagger as protection, and they make quick work of the assembled deadites. While all of that is going, Pablo manages to navigate the carnage without too much trouble. Pablo does realize something, though, while watching military jets attack the Kandarian destroyer. The more the military shoots bullets and missiles and whatnot at the giant creature, the more powerful the creature becomes. That isn’t how it normally works with the Evil Dead. If and when the Ghostbeaters meet up in Ash’s basement they’re going to have to come up with a better plan than “blast the shit out of it.”

So the Ghostbeaters team eventually assembles in the basement of Ash’s hardware store. Ash and Brandy are both covered in blood, and Pablo is unsure about the rift. The rift is open, but who can go through it to get Kelly? Ash seems to think that he needs to get stabbed again so he can die and go in there, but Pablo seems to think that, with his Brujo Especiale powers, he can move around the rift without getting attacked. It’s risky, but what other choice do they have? Deadites are getting into the basement. So Pablo jumps into the rift and Ash and Brandy fight off the deadites. For me, this is the scariest deadite attack of the season. When the crippled deadite goes after Brandy it’s freaky as hell. Ash’s “solution” for the deadite that’s attacking him is one of the most elaborate decapitations in franchise history. It’s also hilarious.

Pablo comes back through the rift, ready to talk to the resurrected Kelly. Kelly isn’t back, though. She’s still dead. Pablo thinks that he’s failed, that maybe Kelly has been dead too long to come back. Thankfully, Kelly eventually resurrects, and Kelly and Pablo kiss, cementing their love and attraction for one another. Kelly is pissed, though, because she looks like hell (she’s pale and blurts out that she looks like Keith Richards).

Okay, so the full team is back. Ash, Pablo, Kelly, and Brandy. What next? How the hell are they going to destroy the Kandarian Destroyer? The team heads for ground and the street. The military is there, armed to the teeth, and blasting the shit out of the Destroyer. The Destroyer isn’t going down, though. What Pablo surmised before is true, the Destroyer just absorbs the military’s attack. Missiles and bullets aren’t going to destroy it.

So then some stuff happens, Pablo rescues a child abandoned in the chaos, Kelly grabs a machine gun and starts killing every deadite bastard that she sees (the scene where we see Kelly shoot a deadite full on in the face with an M-16 is why this show was so great. It had the balls to show is everything and anything). And Ash and Pablo overhear that the military plans on nuking the Destroyer. Nuking the Destroyer? That will destroy everything except the Destroyer. There has to be another plan of attack. But what?

The military evacuates the area. Ash ushers the other Ghostbeaters into the back of a transport. Ash doesn’t get in with them, though. He’s going to stay behind to fight. He tells Brandy that he’s staying behind to protect her. He did tell her that he wouldn’t abandon her again, but considering the circumstances he’s going to have to. Ash has to save Brandy and “all of the Brandies” out there. Brandy sort of understands, or at least seems to. Ash tells Kelly that she’s going to have to be a leader because people will rally behind her badass, kickass attitude. And Ash tells Pablo that he’s the Jefe now, a terrific, emotional moment (check out Pablo’s face. His friend and hero just made him the boss). The transport drives away. The military moves out of the area. And Ash is all alone.

Sonofabitch. How is he going to do this? Ash comes up with a plan. The military left behind a tank. He can probably use that. So Ash gets into the tank and gets in front of the Destroyer. Driving the tank is a pain in the ass (it isn’t exactly like the arcade tank game he played back in the day), but Ash does manage to get the killing machine in place. He aims the tank’s cannon at the Destroyer. He then creates his own weapon, duct taping the Kandarian Dagger to the inside of a shell. He then loads the new shell into the cannon, aims, and tries to fire. There’s a malfunction of some sort. The Destroyer approaches, picks up the tank, and tries to look inside. Ash, in a panic, figures out what’s wrong with the tank’s firing mechanism and shoots the Kandarian Dagger shell into the Kandarian Destroyer. Suddenly, the Destroyer starts to die.

Yes! The Destroyer is dying! The Destroyer then drops the tank onto the ground, and what’s left of the Destroyer flops onto the tank.

And that’s when things get murky. We see Ash dragged out of the remains of the tank. There’s devastation everywhere. We see Ash wrapped in some kind of cloth. Ash is then placed in some sort of box. Who the hell is doing this? We then see the ring. KoS. The Knights of Sumeria.

The scene then shifts to what appears to be a concrete bunker somewhere. Ash is alive and inside an orange box, hooked up to some machines. Why is he hooked up to the machines? Why is he in the box? And where the hell is he? The box opens and Ash gets out. He unhooks himself from the machines and walks around a bit. He finds a door and opens it. What he finds on the other side is nothing short of mind-blowing.

The world is now a post-apocalyptic landscape. There’s a cyborg woman waiting for him, a KoS member of the future (she bows to Ash and calls him sire). And the Delta has been transformed into a badass mega car with machine guns, an ion engine out the back, and a front bumper that has “Hail to the King” spray painted on it. Ash, now sporting a prominent patch of gray hair on the right side of his head and wearing a cool as hell bomber type jacket, gets inside the new Delta. The cyborg girl gets inside, too. The Dark Ones are apparently on the move, and even in the future, there’s more Evil Dead deadite ass to kick.

Ash revs the engine, says “Groovy,” and then floors it, with “Space Trucking” by Deep Purple cranking on the soundtrack.

And that’s how Ash vs. Evil Dead ends.

Holy shit. Did anyone see that ending coming? Ash kicking ass in a post-apocalyptic future? I know I didn’t see it coming. What I wouldn’t give to see what the hell that fourth season would have been like. Would it have been weird? Absolutely. It also likely would have been incredibly cool, maybe even “innovative” in some way. Ash vs. Evil Dead would have become a completely different show. It’s a damn shame we’re never going to see it.

Now, as for a season finale, The Mettle of Man wraps things up nicely. The gang is back together at the end, there’s some great action set pieces, everyone “gets their shit in,” Ash has a few nice emotional moments where he’s vulnerable (the breakdown scene, the scene where he says goodbye to everyone) and he gets to kick more deadite ass. Campbell brings his “A” game for the final episode. Santiago does a great job, too. And, my God, DeLorenzo rocks the fucking house when she’s back and alive and she gets a machine gun (I also want to commend her for those leather pants. How the hell did she even get them on?). And Caver-O’Neill gets several nice scenes. Brandy finally has a true blue bond with her father, and when she has to leave him at the end it’s heart breaking. Ash has to do what he has to do, but it’s still sad. At least they’ll probably get to meet up again in the future. Right?

The Kandarian Destroyer is a bizarre creature, sure, but it’s also one of the best looking CGI creations on TV. It has a sort of cheesy cartoon frame, at least in shadow, but when you see it up close it’s goddamn terrifying. We know how Ash defeats the one in Elk Grove, but how were the other ones defeated around the world? Or were they? How many Kandarian weapons are there?

I’m curious to know how many fans are pissed off about the post-apocalyptic ending and why they’re pissed off. Are they pissed, like me, because we’re not going to see more of that world and what it looks like, or are they pissed that the show and the franchise “went there?” The alternate ending to Army of Darkness implied a post-apocalyptic future of some kind. Was the hope, with a fourth season, that the show would get a chance to explore an idea that back in 1992 no one seemed to like?

So what’s next for the Evil Dead franchise? I’d imagine that we’ll see some comic books, maybe even a “fourth season” of Ash vs. Evil Dead in comic book form (they did that with Jericho and it worked pretty well). There could be a sequel to the remake, or there could be another reboot of some sort. Campbell has said that he’s done playing Ash, so if he comes back to the franchise outside of the producing side he’ll have to play some other character (and I’d suspect that the odds of that happening are long. I don’t think Campbell will ever get involved in Evil Dead again with a significant onscreen role. He has said that he “has other fish to fry,” meaning he has other projects waiting in the wings that he wants to do. I can’t wait to find out what they are). Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo, outside of their future acting projects, will have a nice life doing the fan convention circuit as they are now a part of horror movie franchise history. In fact, just about everyone who was on the show will have a fan convention life from here on out. And that’s kind of cool. And I’d suspect that Santiago and DeLorenzo, if they want to, will start to get more genre work now that they’re “proven commodities.” I guess we’ll see how that all turns out.

And that’s it for Ash vs. Evil Dead and the Evil Dead franchise as we understand it. Ash vs. Evil Dead, while it was an ongoing concern, was the best show on TV. The third season wasn’t as good as the second, but it was still way better than most other shows on TV. I’d take uneven Ash vs. Evil Dead over just about anything. I loved the show, and will continue to love the show. It’s a great body of work, a terrific thirty episode run, and, hopefully, it will just gain fans as the years go on. I just wish we got the five seasons that Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Tapert wanted to do.

At least we got the three seasons.


Hail to the King!

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
Ash vs. Evil Dead and the Evil Dead franchise are now over with the tenth episode of the third and final season, The Mettle of Man. It’s a great way to end the franchise. It ends on a hopeful note, despite the obvious devastation that developed after Ash beat back the Kandarian Destroyer that popped up out of the ground in Elk Grove. The world may be a massive, sand strewn shithole with unknown monsters running rampant, but Ash is still going to be out there kicking deadite ass. I didn’t want to end, but because it had to end, I’m glad that it ended on a high note. I hope you all cranked “Space Trucking” by Deep Purple when the episode ended. That’s what I did. Hail to the King!