Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead saga has made the jump to television, and we here at CHUD couldn’t be happier. Each week, Drew Dietsch and Andrew Hawkins will be discussing the current episode, and we invite you to join in the conversation in the comments below. ***SPOILERS*** for each episode will probably be part of the conversation, so make sure to watch before you read.
Drew: I’ll be honest: I was more than willing to temper my expectations for Ash vs. Evil Dead after the first episode. While our initial outing into this show was an unquestionable home run, I was prepared to chalk a lot of that up to both Sam Raimi’s direct presence and an undeniable fanboy glee. I am happy to say that “Bait” looks to prove that the first episode was not a magical fluke. If the rest of the series maintains this level of fun and momentum, I’m ready to declare Ash vs. Evil Dead the best show of 2015.
Hawkins: I honestly can’t think of any new show right now that entertains me as much as this one does. Bait really surprised me with how tightly knit it was. The episode starts off right after the fight in the trailer and quickly takes us through two separate and very energetic deadite fights. By the time “Bait” was over, I was surprised at how fast paced it was, even with the 30 minute runtime. Everything was straight and to the point and damn if I wasn’t satisfied and left wanting more.
Drew: I’m sure every episode won’t meet the same gore quota, but damn if this episode didn’t have me cheering with bloody delight. Between the copious neck-stabbing of Mr. Roper and the grisly decapitation of Kelly’s mom, I am in awe of how this show is honoring the franchise’s legacy of practical effects work. And on top of that, Roper’s death continues this show’s nascent tradition of hilarious pre-title sequences.
Hawkins: When I realized it was Roper lurking behind the Oldsmobile I immediately smiled. When were introduced to him in El Jefe he was a snarky and crass character that I really wanted to see turn and get taken out by Ash. Good on Ivan and Sam Raimi for setting this one up and delivering on it in such a fun and gruesome way. This the first time we’ve ever seen Ash fight a deadite inside his car and the way it was all staged was genuinely exhilarating.
I’m really enjoying the building relationship with Ash and Pablo. Ray Santiago plays off Bruce Campbell like a pro and the banter and dialogue between the two made for some of my favorite comedic moments in this episode. Ash is throwing out one liners and misguided philosophy at rapid fire speed and I’m eating it up like manna from heaven. The running theme through the episode of fishing had me laughing from start to finish and I crack up just thinking about it.
Drew: The show has been a comedy knockout on all fronts. The dynamics between Bruce Campbell and his co-stars have been providing a lot of laughs (My favorite line this week: “I remember when I was like you. Young, dumb, and full of… conflicting emotions.”), and I’m beyond sold on the trio of Ash, Pablo, and Kelly.
Also, we got our first guest star with Mimi Rogers, and she was fantastic! She was more than willing to get into full deadite makeup and do her own stunts, and it all shows on the screen. I never even entertained the possibility of guest stars on the show, but Rogers has set the bar incredibly high in my opinion. I loved the very Evil Dead moment between her and Kelly in the bedroom. Creepy lullaby and a nasty taunt from a possessed loved one? Perfection.
Hawkins: I love me some Mimi Rogers. One of my favorite episodes of Tales from the Crypt is the episode she starred in called Beauty Rest, and oddly enough the fight in the bedroom made me think a lot about Demon Knight. The back and forth between Kelly’s mom and Ash was hilariously glib and when that punch lands and the juices begin to flow, I was on the edge of my seat. My favorite bit had to be Ash yelling, “This isn’t about you dad.” So good.
Drew: I just watched Demon Knight last (k)night and I’m ashamed that I didn’t immediately make that connection.
I think making the premiere a double-sized affair and the rest of the season half-hour pieces is a brilliant movie. It gave the show plenty of time to establish itself (and to let Raimi play for as long as he needed). but now the remaining adventures won’t feel stuffed or padded out. And like you said, it’s doing wonders for the momentum of this show.
“Bait” is a hoot. I think I may be in shock that Ash vs. Evil Dead is everything I hoped for and more. Now I’m worried that Don Coscarelli should have gone the TV route when it came time to wrap up the Phantasm saga.
Hawkins: One of the things that gets me the most about Ash vs Evil Dead is how good it looks. The practical and visual effects are excellent and the cinematography looks amazing. I dig everything from the lighting to the always fun Dutch angle and I have to give credit to director Michael J. Bassett for capturing the style and tone of what Sam Raimi has already established perfectly. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Next Episode: Books from Beyond