This weekend marked the 35th anniversary of The Evil Dead premiering. So, what better way for Ash to celebrate his birthday than a round of drinks on Ash vs Evil Dead?! Well, there’s an ulterior motive to Ash’s decadent actions this week. Specifically to draw in those damn punk kids who took his one true love: that 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Appropriately, we get a montage of Ash and his car made up of earlier footage, not just for the sake of nostalgia, but also to firmly place us in a state of nostalgia that is already clouding the judgement of our characters. Nostalgia for an earlier time where things weren’t so complicated. Where throwing a huge party meant you were impressive and able to get girls that look like Playboy centerfolds. It all just ends up being a distraction… WHEN DEADITES COME TO PLAY!
Ash vs Evil Dead going into full party mode this episode was sort of ingenious. The show already works so well when other substances are involved. Ash going on his drug trip last season was a huge highlight after all. The introduction of Ted Raimi as Ash’s high school bud Chet is the perfect vehicle for this to transpire, allowing that nostalgia theme to segue into the elaborate moments of debauchery. It helps that we have a ketamine concoction known as a Pink Fuck to send people into a serious state of heightened joy. The atmosphere of the entire bar setup that comprises most of this episode is vibrant with a bit of the small town sleaze we saw a few episodes ago. It has all the hazy energy of a drunk night of debauchery as well as the forlorn sense of regret. The atmosphere especially does a fine job of showing off the different shades of these characters, particularly with Kelly’s feelings of inadequacies brought out by drinking and Pablo’s attempts to stay sober to keep away his visions.
Of course, drunken antics can’t keep one away from the demonic force of terror that is an Oldsmobile. While our main heroes are getting wasted, the teens who stole Ash’s car are in for a world of hurt. One of these teens is young Lacey Emery (Pepi Sonuga), the daughter of Sheriff Thomas and Linda Emery we met a few weeks ago. While they’re all having a fun time, the Book of the Dead is read and causes the Oldsmobile to go full on Christine on these teens. The total mutilation of these kids is another high mark for the level of ingenuity on Ash vs Evil Dead, making every bone crunch feel palpable even if it’s being done by a possessed car. The Oldsmobile actually feels like a living breathing monster here, taking its own warped logic into account as it brutalizes these teens. Plus, the introduction of Emery is drawing us a bit closer to the inevitable confrontation Ash will have with the Sheriff and his cronies in Elk Grove. Nothing opens up old wounds like family.
Ash would know all about this when his father Brock Williams comes back into the picture. In an effort to show him up, Ash and his papa have a competition on a mechanical bull. This elaborate and hilarious sequence of events works has all the fun of an elaborate comedic set pieces, but there’s a bit more there. This dick measuring contest between father and son is more about trying to solve their lasting wounds. Even after Brock whips Ash pretty good, it doesn’t solve their animosity. Brock still hates Ash for abandoning him and killing Cheryl all those years ago. Lee Majors and Bruce Campbell have this authenticity to their back and forth that shows a sense of remorse for their detachment surrounded by a wall of mutual stubborn bitterness. Luckily, nothing knocks down such walls between a father and son like saving Dad from a Deadite sexual encounter in a bathroom. After some Ashy Slashy action, we come to the crowning achievement of “Last Call.” After some father/son reconciliation and a tease for something huge-WHAM! The possessed Oldsmobile comes roaring down the road, running over Brock and smashing his face in. It’s the perfect kind of ending for an Evil Dead project; subverting expectations with a grisly death. It’s sudden. It’s harsh. It’s… Ash vs Evil Dead at its best.
The Groovy Rundown:
Kill of the Night: Ash’s father by plot twist.
Best Ash Line: “Of course I mean the car. Oh, did I say ‘car’? I meant car.”
Next Week on Ash Vs. Evil Dead: DUI, in which Ash tries to hunt down his car while Ruby & Kelly hunt down some demons.
One More Thing: Solid soundtrack throughout this episode, mainly the use of Alice Cooper’s “Go To Hell” during the mechanical bull moment.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 3: Last Call: (4.5 / 5)