After an ending as insane as last week, Ash vs Evil Dead needed to up the ante with the follow up. As Ash says while scooping up the brain of his father, “everyone in his life ends up being taken,” putting Pablo, Kelly and even poor little Eli at risk of being destroyed by Deadites. The stakes are being raised pretty high, especially when Pablo is taken by the possessed Delta and Kelly is off to find the mysterious Ball with Ruby. “DUI” continues the major theme of past regrets coming back to haunt our characters from both seasons. Or, as Chet wonderfully puts it, a “cathartic symmetry” that brings Ash back to the demolition derby where his father got the car. Hopefully, this catharsis is more symmetrical than Brock Willaims’ face right now.
Moments after that fatal face destruction, Pablo attempts to help young Lacey while she’s still trapped in the Delta. Unfortunately, a seat belt wraps around him in and drags him on a wild ride. While fighting to get the doors open, Pablo keeps getting visions of the Necronomicon talking, telling him that they’re truly connected. This weaves in the theme of past haunts pretty well, progressing the hold the Necronomicon has over Pablo to the point where he would make a decision as lame brained as he does at the end of “DUI.” Admittedly, Lacey doesn’t really have much to do during any of this, making me worried about her and her father’s role in this will echo the issues from last season’s detective snafu. Still, we get to see how Ray Santiago‘s mixture of nobility and vulnerability has evolved from than the meek boy Pablo we met in Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1. He’s now maturing into the dumb manchild that Ash is so proud of. Progression without going out of character in terms of intellect.
Speaking of pride and joy, Ruby and Kelly are off to pick off the last remaining demonic children of Ruby’s. While this sequence is a pretty standard “kicking Deadite ass” scene that has become quite standard for Ash vs Evil Dead. What really matters during this subplot is Ruby and Kelly having a shared sense of bittersweet maternal reassurance during all of this carnage. Kelly makes sure to emphasize to Ruby that these aren’t her children anymore and Ruby slices throats with a pure sense of regret wonderfully displayed by Lucy Lawless. There’s clearly more than meets the eye in terms of how emotionally torn Ruby is by all of this and that remorse is rubbing off on Kelly, who has found a strong figure to look up to instead of pick up the slack for with Ash.
Oh, but Ash is on a little adventure of his own. After fooling an inebriated Chet with promises of a titty bar, Ash comes clean and tells him that demons are after him. In his drunken state, Chet takes this pretty well, offering to give Ash a ride in his beat up AMC Gremlin. Following his introduction last week, Chet fits perfectly with Ash vs Evil Dead, being a wreck of a character who clearly has been sipping from the stock at his bartending job and misses his old buddy Ash so much. It’s a testament to Ted Raimi as a willing and able comedic actor, particularly in terms of drunk acting. Seriously, good drunk acting is hard to come by in this day and age. Hell, Ted Raimi does a better job here of being convincingly drunk than BAFTA nominee Emily Blunt did in the recent The Girl on a Train. He’s got the stumbling down, but doesn’t give into cartoonish slurred speech that much at all, which is genuinely commendable for a show as over the top as Ash vs Evil Dead. Still, the “DUI” aspect can be a bit disconcerting and gives Chet more flaws that will hopefully flourish over the next six episodes of the season… unless he ends up dead soon.
Unfortunately, Ash must come to terms with the sad truth at the demolition derby; his beloved Delta has become possessed and he must kill it. The scenes of Ash entering the derby and tracking his Delta are as symbolically sad as they are hilarious. Ash is able to tell that his car by the oil leaking out of it, leading him to the cavernous arena of destruction his father pulled the Delta out of. The cavernous scope of this derby is a true testament to episode director Michael J. Bassett‘s ability to make something so dingy feel mostrous in breadth. One gets the sense that as Ash walks into this arena, he is finally coming to terms with dropping the lingering item from his past. Bruce Campbell has portrayed Ash as so attached to this car – even as recent as earlier in “DUI” when he’s struck with horror at the idea of her being possessed – that we know how hurt he’ll be by destroying it. The relationship between a man and his first car is an important tie that’s soon to be severed.
It’s all perfect set up for yet another grand sequence of the Delta raging out of control as Ash has the face off against the car that traveled everywhere with him. It’s less Christine and more Herbie the Love Bug this time around, with elaborate slapstick and an odd cameo by Brock telling Ash his secrets to lasting on a bull. There’s a bit of awkward CG in there, but the idea of Ash finally pulling off his father’s secret trick of ass clenching while killing the last remnant of his memory gives this a bit more weight. As Ash drives his chainsaw through the engine of his beloved Delta, we know this death means more than most Deadite or human deaths before it. Of course, Ash thinks he can get out “the few dings” as he exits with Pablo, which does leave things on a disappointingly cheap laugh. Still, the two of them exit with assurance, having sent the necronomicon back to its corner of hell. And nothing could possibly go wrong, right? That never happens on Ash vs Evil Dead… right?
The Groovy Rundown:
Kill of the Night: Ash’s Delta by chainsaw to the engine. RIP, darlin’… for now.
Best Ash Line: “What’s the chainsaw for?” “Ice sculpture.” “What about the shotgun?” “In case they don’t pay for the ice sculpture.” We need more Chet/Ash dialogue exchanges.
Next Week on Ash Vs. Evil Dead: “Confinement”, which will hopefully be a spooktacular event given it’s place as Ash vs Evil Dead‘s Halloween episode.
One More Thing: The derby has a sign that says “Shemps” on the outside. Only appropriate for an episode with the OG Fake Shemp Ted Raimi.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 4 “DUI”: (4 / 5)