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TV Review: Ash vs Evil Dead 1.2 “Bait”
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Ash vs Evil Dead 102-05

Ash vs Evil Dead
Season 1 Episode 2: “Bait”
Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Written by Dominic Dierkes
Created by Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi, Tom Spezialy
Starring Bruce Campbell, Jill Marie Jones, Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo
Starz
Air Date: Saturday, November 7th, 2015, 9pm

The highlight of my four days at this year’s NYCC was Saturday afternoon at Hammerstein Ballroom, where we were treated to a special presentation of the pilot of Ash vs Evil Dead. The crowd of thousands showered their approval the way deadites shower Ash with blood. The original Evil Dead crew – Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Bob Tapert came together with the Starz network, and maybe the most gruesomely fun show on TV was born. If you missed the premiere, which debuted on Starz on Halloween, Ash got high and accidentally read from the Necronomicon, thereby re-releasing the Evil Dead. Along with co-workers Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), Ash must once again fight the deadites, and try to use the Book of the Dead to defeat them once and for all.

Spoilers below.

Episode 1.2, “Bait,” picks up right where the pilot left off, after Ash donned his chainsaw and boomstick to get rid of a “Nanny” deadite. Kelly drives away on Pablo’s motorcycle to find her mom, who has mysteriously returned from the dead. Ash and Pablo give chase. When Pablo asks Ash how he so coolly handles deadite situations, Ash delivers the first of a few classic Ash lines: “I’d call it a gift from God, but that would be giving the man up there too much credit.” Bruce Campbell delivers dialogue like that better than anyone. It’s what makes him a transcendent star. He is a true A+ B actor.

Of course on the way to catch up with Kelly, Ash and Pablo are attacked by their former boss turned deadite, and the result is a typical Evil Dead bloodbath for Ash and company. There is almost no part of the 30-minute episode where Ash isn’t covered in blood… which is actually perfect. Evil Dead trilogy fans will love the callbacks to the films, especially Ash and company getting perpetually doused by gallons of demon blood.

When they get to Kelly’s they find Mom (Mimi Rogers) is alive and well… she was in homeless shelter with amnesia you see… it’s just pure coincidence she’s here after the book was read from. When she invites Ash and Pablo to stay for dinner, Ash decides the time is right to interrogate her. The scene is laugh out loud funny. My sister, who has not seen any of the Evil Dead films, was hysterical watching with me. When, of course, Mom shows her true self, we get more great Ash dialogue and more cool film homages. Mom singing “Hush little baby” to Kelly is a direct callback to Evil Dead II. The scenes fighting deadite Mom are at the same time hilarious and scary. My sister screamed “Oh Sh*t!” several times. That was the beauty of the films. Part one was legitimately terrifying; part 2 turned into the perfect blend of horror and comedy; and part 3 devolved totally into slapstick and while great in its own way, most true Evil Dead fans relish the first two. The TV show finds that soft spot where Ash’s dialogue and the lunacy of the situations resemble 2 and 3, but there are truly scary moments that remind us of part 1. You can tell how much care Raimi, Campbell, and company took to stay close to the source material.

The bottomline: I can’t think of more viscerally fun thirty minutes on TV right now. There’s gore galore, epic dialogue, cool characters — seriously what more do you need?!?! If you’re a fan of the movies, then the show is that much better because you’ll catch all the homages and references. But as my sister proved tonight, no prior knowledge is required. She was laughing, hiding her eyes, and yelling at the TV. But make no mistake, this is the Bruce Campbell show. At the end of the episode he turns to Kelly and tells her, “You’re like a young me; deadites ruined your life and you’re hot as hell.” Had I been drinking anything I might have done a spit-take.

Everyone in the show, working on the show, and watching the show has an appreciation for this story. Collectively they make Ash vs Evil Dead great. As a diehard Evil Dead fan, this episode made me so happy.

Ash vs Evil Dead returns next Saturday night at 9pm ET on Starz.

Image Gallery

Video

Ash vs Evil Dead | Episode 102 Preview | STARZ


In Episode 102, Special Agent Fisher is tracking Ash, Pablo gets his first taste of blood in a manic showdown, and a revelation changes Kelly’s life forever.

Ash vs Evil Dead | Ep. 102 Clip : It’s Just a Fact | STARZ

Kelly takes the Necronomicon, forcing Ash to go after her.

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