Ash Williams has been through a lot. On this season of Ash vs Evil Dead alone, he’s lost his father, his best friend and his sister… again. So, it’s only reasonable that his sanity would now be on the line. Good thing that the other “Ghostbeaters” Pablo, Kelly and Ruby come riding into the semi-abandoned mental hospital to save Ash from the evil influence of Baal. “Ashy Slashy” is a relatively Ash-lite episode, allowing our other characters to have small moments for themselves as they run around this dilapidated asylum while Ash slinks around the corner.
The MVP of tonight’s Ash vs Evil Dead is definitely Dana DeLorenzo. She once again shines during the Deadite kills, creatively using a hose to destroy the possessed Lacey and getting some Muppeteer training to double as she fights off the Ashy Slashy puppet. The latter in particular is the highlight of “Ashy Slashy.” Great physical comedy, hilarious transformation looks for the puppet and more than a few one liners that display how easily DeLorenzo can sink her teeth into the Bruce Campbell role when he’s indisposed. Not only does she have the best Deadite-killing sequences, but she has the more intriguing character moments of the entire season. Earlier this season, Kelly was suffering from a sort of rut. Given Ash and Ruby always take the reigns, she seemed a bit lost as a leader stuck in a follower position.
“Ashy Slashy” allows her to let out her frustrations in a gory fashion, but also find her strength in building those with less confidence than her. There’s a scene of emphasizing Pablo’s status as her tough vagina once again, continuing the oddly endearing genitalia comparison, but there’s an even better example with Linda. After she loses her husband and daughter in the same night, Kelly drops the role of comforting her and instead enables Linda to build back up from the pain. Kelly reminds us that even after losing her family, she could take that pain and allow it to fuel her fight to destroy these demons. Ash vs Evil Dead has a role for everyone in the Ghostbeaters group. Pablo is the heart; Ash the unbridled gumption; Ruby the goal oriented compass. For Kelly, the role is ironclad will. The resilience to keep on keeping on.
It’s a shame that the spark Kelly drives in Linda couldn’t be exhibited for some of the other characters introduced this season. While Linda finally gets the badass boost Michelle Hurd actually deserves to inhabit, Pepi Sonuga and Stephen Lovatt are pretty much just cannon fodder to get her riled up into badass mode. This is especially irritating because of how poorly explained their involvement in any of this activity is. Despite building an entire narrative that allowed for The Ghostbeaters to invade Ash’s head, Baal apparently needed Linda to physically be there during her visit with Ash at the end of “Delusion” last week. It hurts that episode’s already fragile reason for existing and makes Baal’s abilities so limp in retrospect. Of course, that’s all pretty much down the drain once Pablo disposes of him pretty easily during the climax.
That’s ultimately the biggest disappointment of this week’s Ash vs Evil Dead. Everything feels so sudden. All this build up to Baal, Ash’s double agent routine and Linda’s sudden participation in the group have their moments, but it’s not really all that earned. As I’ve stated before, Ash vs Evil Dead is at it’s strongest when the core group of Ghostbeaters are at the center. Any diverging from that path has a “mileage may vary” style potential to how effective it can be. I honestly wish that more new characters could be like a Chet or Brock Williams; appear for a few episodes to show off their potential, then split. With the Emery family or Baal, things are dragged out to little pay off. It’s indicative of the idea that Ash vs Evil Dead could probably work as an even shorter season show, allowing for the quick visceral gut punches without all the flab. Still, we got a pretty sudden gut mutilation with “Ashy Slashy” as our cliffhanger leaves Pablo literally in two. How’s the gang gonna solve this with only two episodes left in the season?!
Kill of the Night: Ashy Slashy via fluff splatter by Kelly.
Best Ash Line: “Oh kinky. Wish I had my fluffy cuffs.” I’m gonna miss that damn puppet.
Next Week on Ash vs Evil Dead: “Home Again”, which promises to include more time travel antics. That won’t complicate matters at all.
One More Thing: Given the security guard and the inmate that’s still around, I guess this asylum was still operational not too long before Baal put Ash in there? Damn. Elk Grove must not be too far off from Detroit.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 Episode 8 “Ashy Slashy”: (3 / 5)