'Ash vs Evil Dead' Recap: S2E7: "Delusion"

It’s been a very experimental season so far for Ash vs Evil Dead. The Starz series has seemingly gone out of its way this year to break its own format and stretch the boundaries of what you’d expect from Evil Dead. So it’s really saying something that Sunday night’s episode, “Delusion,” was their most unconventional yet, for better or for worse.

The episode opens with a montage of the most outlandish moments from the original trilogy, before cutting to Ash waking up in a hospital bed. His doctor, who is quite clearly ancient demon Baal in disguise, explains to Ash that he’s been a patient of this asylum for the past 30 years, and has hallucinated the events of the entire TV series so far as a coping mechanism to help process his murdering of his friends in the cabin in the woods back in the original film. In order to truly move past his delusions, Ash is told he must destroy the Necronomicon, which we last saw him throw through a portal in the trunk of his car. Ash, of course, refuses to believe Dr. Baal’s story, and is forced through a series of antiquated mental health treatments. Some of these are humorous, like the demon-doctor’s Ashy Slashy therapy puppet, while others are truly disturbing (being repeatedly electrocuted alongside an undead Chet).

In his stay at the hospital of horror, Ash meets alternate versions of his Deadite-slaying team: Pablo is an orderly, Ruby is a nurse, and a particularly fantastic Dana DeLorenzo is alternate universe Kelly - a deeply disturbed inmate.

After a failed escape attempt leaves both the bizzaro Kelly and Pablo dead, the doctor again attempts to get through to Ash, this time with surveillance of Ash killing them both (something we didn’t see him do.) Looking out the window to clear his head, Ash sees his car pull up outside of the facility. Something changes within him and he confesses to all the killings that have happened so far, pledging to find the Necronomicon once more. In the final shot of the episode, the drawing of Pablo hanging on the wall calls out to the “Jeffe” one last time, further suggesting this whole episode was a lie projected into Ash’s mind by Baal.

For what it’s worth, I did appreciate the experimental nature of this episode. It was dark and frightening and had some of the best performances from the cast so far. That being said, part of the Evil Dead charm lies in its campiness, none of which was present in this week’s show. With the episode going out of its way to show us that the doctor was really Baal in disguise, and plot being less of a story than a series of loosely-connected, spooky-asylum themed vignettes, the episode as a whole ultimately didn’t feel very consequential at all. In the end, nothing really happened this week. It was an interesting experiment, but to me it just felt like filler. Maybe if they left things a bit more ambiguous, then this premise could have been interesting. Unfortunately, “Delusion” was instead the weakest episode of the series so far.