Evil has once again returned to Elk Grove, and as always, Ash is ready to face it head-on.
Following a painstakingly long wait, we were finally thrown back into the world of Deadite slaying fun! On Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 1, Ash, Pablo, and Kelly returned along with a few surprising additions.
After defeating Baal along with Ruby's spawn on Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 10, all seemed right with the world. Pablo was returned to the land of the living, and Ash finally received the praise and recognition as a hero in his hometown.
Yet, this isn't a world full of sunshine and rainbows, and it didn't take long for things to go downhill.
So what have Ash and the gang been up to since eliminating evil from the world?
Our pal Ash has been living the dream, opening up his very own hardware store, Ashy Slashy's Hardware/Adult Toy Emporium. Whatever you need, Ashy Slashy's has got you covered. It was nice to see Ash adjusting well and not letting the fame and glory of saving the world go to his head.
Alright, maybe it did just a little bit, but that's okay -- he's earned it.
Pablo opened up his own food truck business and appeared to be doing well for himself. That is, of course, until the Necronomicon came calling.
You know me as Ash Williams. The hero who saved Elk Grove from evil. For 30 long years I've used this saw on monsters and demons. But those battles are won. So now I use it to--slash prices!Ash
If you stuck around for the post-credits scene after the Ash vs Evil Season 2 finale, we were teased with a brief little scene of a woman stumbling upon the ol' Book of the Dead in the rubble of the cabin. So, it was not a question of if evil would be returning, but when, how and who.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 wasted zero time in answering all of those pressing questions in one fell swoop.
Given the bizarreness of the Necronomicon, the woman who found the book thought there could be potential value in such a find and brought it to an appraiser/collector.
And what does the collector do? He begins reading the incantations -- because why not? And just like that, we were thrust right back into the world of Deadite madness.
Evil wasn't the only thing that made a return, as Ruby came back to retrieve the book. My question is: why did Ruby wait until the collector read the inscription to reclaim the book? She was obviously still alive at the end of the Season 2 finale, so why wouldn't she have just gone back for the book herself?
It's unlikely that she thought it had been destroyed considering that she is the one who wrote the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, so you would think she shares a special connection with it.
Then again, this is a franchise built around being bat-shit crazy, so trying to find a reasonable explanation can often be a futile task.
Ash: Who's the boy toy?
Kelly: This is Dalton, he's with the Knights of Sumaria.
Ash: The who with the huh?
With the book once again in her possession, Ruby used it to unleash something awful. My hope is that it's not more demon spawns. That didn't work out too well last time, and it's completely played out at this point.
So, to go back to that idea merely a season later wouldn't bring anything new to the series, especially with this season's attempt at a new direction.
We'll have to wait to find out what Ruby's plans are, but based on what was trying to emerge from her stomach, it doesn't seem good.
The craziness didn't end there. We were then hit right in the face with a nice double whammy -- not only does Ash have an estranged wife he had completely forgotten about, but he also has a daughter named Brandy! Huh? What?
Not only did Ash just find out that he has a daughter, but she's in imminent danger now that evil's returned. That's a hell of a lot to throw at a guy who just got his hardware business off the ground.
Regardless, Ash wasted no time in running back into the mouth of hell to help save his daughter, who ended up becoming trapped in the school with her friend Rachel.
While Ash and Pablo ended up coming to Brandy's rescue. Unfortunately, her friend Rachel wasn't so lucky, who became possessed and tainted by the demonic presence. Deadite Rachel playing the bloody piano was beyond creepy, and it made me realize that we were officially back in Crazyville.
Que Ash fighting possessed musical instruments!
I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the writer's room during their brainstorming sessions when they come up with this stuff. When you go into Ash vs Evil Dead, this is typical stuff to expect from the series.
What I didn't expect, though, was for Brandy's mom, Candace, to be a one-and-done character. Brandy just found out who her father was, and moments later, lost her mother. That's a whole lot to process.
Brandy obviously doesn't care much for Ash, and while it is definitely going to take time for these two to get to know each other, I can see Candace's death as a means to propel Brandy into fighting the Deadites.
It's the only thing they have in common at this point. I can't think of a better way to bring a father and daughter closer together than some good ol' fashion demon dismemberment. I'm still trying to come to terms with Ash being a father.
He's not exactly role model material nor is he remotely ready for that responsibility, but it's something we'll have to get used to. As long as Ash works on getting his daughter's name right, everything else will fall into place.
Baby steps, Ash, baby steps.
Just like old times, hey Pablo? Except for the wife part and no Kelly. Actually it's not like old times at all.Ash
As interested as I am to see Brandy's relationship with her father grow, I'm much less intrigued by Dalton. At first, he was being set up as a dark and mysterious character, but upon Kelly arriving with Dalton, my intrigue quickly vanished. He just seems to be some goofy fan-boy right now.
The character still has time to win me over, but so far I'm not impressed.
I had been wondering not only when Kelly would show up to help the team, but who she was speaking to on the phone. Apparently, it ended up being Dalton who, as it turns out, is part of another group that fights evil.
As only Ash vs Evil Dead can, this series is always great for a grotesque scene or two or three. But the best kill by far was Ash slicing through Rachel's head with the harp strings. Seeing Rachel's head get peeled like a banana was perfectly gruesome.
I had almost completely forgotten about the mascot until he pulled Ash through the classroom window. It wasn't expected, and I'll admit raised me off my seat about an inch or so.
There was one thing that remained in the back of my mind throughout the episode. What in the world happened to Linda?
During the finale of Season 2, Ash and Linda ended up together, yet there was no explanation of her absence in Season 3. Perhaps things just didn't work out. Ash has never been the type of guy to settle down.
But if that's the case, I wish that had been addressed in some way. That's a mighty big thread to leave dangling.
It looks like evil's back, and Elk Grove is ground zero. Kelly, Pablo, other guy, you up for this?Ash
All in all, this was a solid episode and a great way to get things going again after a 14-month break in between seasons. The band is finally back together with a couple of noble additions to the team. Season 3 already has a vibrant and different look to it.
Sure, its core cast has basically remained the same, but the new additions give it a fresh feel that I hope will ultimately aid in the series' new direction.
I don't yet know what direction that is or where Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 is headed, but I'm definitely on board.
Now it's your turn TV Fanatics!
What did you think of "Family"? What are your first impressions of Dalton and Brandy? Do you think they could become vital members of the team? Sound off below!
Ash vs Evil Dead returns with a new episode Sunday, March 4th on Starz at 9/8c.
Remember, you can always watch Ash vs Evil Dead online right here at TV Fanatic.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.