“That, My Friends, is How We Do It”
The second episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead picked up right where the first episode left off, in true Evil Dead fashion. Aptly titled “Bait,” the episode helped our team come together and cross the point of no return through some spectacularly gory sequences. It also proved the show will remain strong, even when series creator Sam Raimi isn’t directing.
The crux of the episode hinged on the tension at Kelly’s parents house. After her mother’s sudden reappearance, she runs away to make sure her father is okay and not, in fact, being slaughtered by a soul sucking demon.
Ash and Pablo burst through the front door, still blood soaked from their ordeal in the car, wielding a chainsaw, a boomstick, and a broken beer bottle. The fact that Kelly’s mother was so forgiving and even invited the ghastly duo to dinner was the first indication that something was wrong, despite Kelly’s insistence that her mother simply suffered from amnesia and was beginning to recover.
Ash, ever suspicious, sits down for dinner with the family, but not before plopping his chainsaw smack on the breakfast bar and securing his shotgun to his back. The contrast of Ash trying to get Kelly’s mother to reveal her true deadite nature, with Pablo trying to simply impress her parents, made for one of the most hilarious, but extremely tense moments of the show so far.
This episode was substantially funnier than the pilot, with Ash not only delivering snappy one liners (“Goodnight, mother”), but slower, well timed ones (“We had to cut it up with my chainsaw…arm”). It’s a type of humor we haven’t seen in the Evil Dead series so far, which usually relies on slapstick humor coupled with a healthy dose of Ash’s cockiness. Instead, we got some great banter, especially at the dinner table. “You know you want a piece of this,” he says, speaking to the deadite inside Kelly’s mother, yet much to her father’s surprise. It’s an absurd scene that works just as well as the over-the-top violence we we’re frequently dosed with.
And boy, that sure was a lot of blood. Between the Deep Purple-backed fight in the Oldsmobile with his former boss and the good old fork-in-the-eye trick at the dinner table, “Bait” delivered buckets of blood. It was gross, fun, and cut with the right amount of humor to keep it all in check. Pablo learning fighting tips from El Jefe himself is the platform for endless jokes and a great relationship in the coming season.
Ultimately, “Bait” had to acheive a few things, all of which I would say it was successful at. The first was to prove the series would be okay under direction that was not Sam Raimi’s. Michael J. Bassett, while not as off the wall frenetic as Raimi, definitely proved he was capable of filling the role. The POV camera on top of Ash’s boomstick was probably my favorite of the episode. The claustrophobic framing paired with the act of trying to reload a shotgun worked to escalate the scene even more. Also kudos to Dominic Dierkes, who wrote the episode. It’s a daunting task to take over for an established, beloved series, but the writing here was some of the funniest I’ve ever seen in the Evil Dead universe.
The second thing it had to prove was that the thirty minute format was the right choice for the show, and I absolutely think this is the case. Ash vs Evil Dead should be wall-to-wall packed with fun camera work and a feeling of exhaustion for the characters fighting a seemingly insurmountable evil. The compressed thirty minute runtime will keep the series moving at a brisk pace, while forcing the writers to be economical with their content. Even though this means certain characters may get ignored for an episode, such as Detective Fisher this time around, I’d say it’s a fine trade off that will make me itch for the following episode rather than feel like the show has become bloated.
“Bait” was a very confident follow up to the first episode, and proved Ash vs Evil Dead can be a fun, humorous romp even without the series creator at the helm. Bruce Campbell has never been better, and the small team has some really great chemistry that I’m excited to see develop.
- Again, Saturdays are a crap day for a show to air. Sorry for the lateness.
- This is definitely the kind of Ash I was looking for in the first episode. He was cocky, but somehow inspirational. Like your cool uncle.
- “Oh good, I was starting to feel like a real dick.”
- ” You remind me of a young me. Deadites ruined your life and you’re hot as hell.”
- I’m honestly just relieved the series is in good hands when Raimi isn’t directing and writing. This was a make or break episode for the show, and it passed with flying colors.
Steve is on Twitter.