Season 1 of Ash vs Evil Dead was about the building of a surrogate family. Loner Ash found himself thrust into a small family unit with Pablo and Kelly, one that lasted through a series of nightmarish encounters. We see a bit of that connection in a lovely scene where Kelly calls Pablo a “strong, powerful” vagina and Ash says he’s proud of him for that. It’s one of many examples this week where “The Morgue” takes on very familial themes. Ash is butting heads with his father. Ruby reveals that her demonic children are trying to get their father’s attention. Pablo seems to be having a sort of postpartum depression after birthing those demons last season. Family ties are often strong, but can they survive the extreme force of Deadites chomping at the bit to tear them apart?
Well, one thing that might tear them apart first is an issue of trust. After rescuing Ruby in last week’s episode, our heroes return to Ash’s childhood home and lay up in Ash’s old room he abandoned thirty years ago. The production design on the room is honestly perfect, full of posters on the wall I could totally believe young Ash would have, particularly Alice Cooper. There’s even a pre-Eli lizard skeleton hanging off a tree base. Ash, Pablo and Kelly may have made a temporary alliance with Ruby for now, but doubt about her true motives seems to permeate amongst the trio. This is especially a factor once Ruby reveals that the Necronomicon is in safe keeping at the local town morgue. The group has a huddle, leading to the above mentioned vagina back and forth & Pablo volunteering to guard Ruby in Ash’s room while Kelly and Ash investigate.
Ruby and Pablo’s interactions hint at something larger for the dynamic of Ash Vs Evil Dead in terms of Pablo and Ruby having a kindred mystical connection. Throughout the subplot of Pablo telling Ruby about his visions, we further murk the lines of reality. Pablo can’t trust his own thoughts or what he perceives to be real, especially after the vision where Ruby slices his throat. “The Morgue” does an intriguing job with material that could feel annoying in the wrong hands. The visions could border into “all a dream” bullshit territory, but end up coming off as more of a Phantasm style unsettling factor that’s totally appropriate for this universe. However, playing this card too often could easily get tiring, so I hope we get more of a clear view of Ruby sooner rather than later.
Now, we’ve been avoiding the assholes in the room for this episode of Ash vs Evil Dead. The major set piece of “The Morgue” is featured in the A plot, where Ash and Kelly investigate the morgue. While Kelly deals with an asshole in the form of Officer Tommy from last week, Ash deals with the real deal. While trying to recover the book from a corpse, Ash is forced to play a messy game of tug-and-pull with the corpse’s sentient intestines. This elaborate fight sequence eventually has Ash end up the butt of a joke. Or is it in the butt of a joke? Point is, this becomes a rather graphic bodily function joke as Ash is sucked into an anus, spreading fecal matter all over. Oh and don’t worry. We get plenty of dick shots, too. This whole sequence is a bit conflicting. It does rely on cheap fecal humor. Yet… one can safely say that there has never been something quite like this on TV. The lengths to which this goes for a massive shit joke is both the least and most ambitious idea in Ash vs Evil Dead‘s history. Still – for the sake of reassurance – can Ash take a show at some point next episode?
There’s a bit more stuff involving a look into Ash’s father’s personality. It’s nothing too earth shattering; Ash’s father is quite disappointed in him and still has a Lothario drive left in him for a former lover of Ash’s. Of course, this former flame turns out to be a Deadite, who Ruby executes midway through an interrogation of Pablo. This is the episode’s weak point, as it involves a lot of obvious set up and lame tension setting that doesn’t get us any closer to Ash’s father. We just keep getting cheap jokes about their lack of connection and an old man wanting to have sex. Not that compelling. While it’s still very early, Ash vs Evil Dead can’t just rest on stunt casting. Lucy Lawless last season gave me little reason to blindly trust a familiar face in a potentially interesting part here. It could always go wrong. I have hope, but it won’t last unless something pretty big happens in the next few episodes with Ash’s dad.
The Groovy Rundown:
Kill of the Night: Ash performs some… “surgical unblockage” on that corpse’s intestines.
Best Ash Line: “Never say the words ‘ass’ or ‘hole’ in my presence again.” Same.
Next Week on Ash vs the Evil Dead: “Last Call”, which will likely feature Ash pounding down a few drinks and Deadites.
One More Thing: We didn’t go too deep into the Cheryl reference, but it’s worth mentioning. We’re starting to see the bonds of continuity bridge this series and the original films further together. Plus, how many people who aren’t hardcore fans remember that Cheryl was his sister?
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 2: The Morgue: (3.5 / 5)