Evil Dead is one of the rare franchises where the protagonist is a total jerk who never changes or learns a lesson. Ash vs Evil Dead is at its best when it recognizes and celebrates these traits. In that regard, “Second Coming”, the Season Two finale, was a total success.
So far, this season has focused on Ash, Kelly, and Pablo, as they assist reformed former demon Ruby in hunting down ancient Super Deadite Baal, the former partner of Ruby and father to their demon children who wants nothing more than to use the Necronomicon to destroy humanity. Having been summoned back to Ash’s hometown of Elk Grove in Michigan, the three heroes reluctantly help Ruby defeat her demon children and grow accustom to life in a town that hates them. Ash’s father Brock (Lee Majors) in particular has no interest in his son’s adventures, until it’s too late and he’s dragged in too, dying inexpertly in a freak demon-related incident. Ash’s old friend Chet (Ted Raimi) also got sucked in to the demon-hunting, and found himself similarly killed. Ruby, we learn, has given up her immortal Deadite powers, and is living as full-out mortal to undo the damage she’s caused to humanity. Ash is reunited with his former girlfriend Linda, who loses her family to Demonic possession. Along their hunt for Baal, we also see Ash’s iconic car become possessed, his sister Cheryl (last seen in the original Evil Dead) come back as a Deadite, Ash committed to a mental asylum run by Baal, and get sucked all the way through a dead man’s anus.
It’s been a hell of a season.
The storyline has begun wrapping up these past weeks with Pablo (now infected by the book of the dead) sacrifices himself by using the powers of the Necronomicon to send Baal back to hell. In an attempt to resurrect Baal, Ash decides to use the book to travel back in time to the 80’s in order to stop himself from ever reading the book in the first place. Ash is now trapped in the classic cellar from previous Evil Dead films, fighting Henrietta, the basement-dwelling cabin demon from Evil Dead II, while Ruby and Kelly fight their way back to the cabin to save him.
This week’s episode lives up to the promise of the story so far, picking up in the middle of the Ash/Henrietta fight. Once again, it’s great to see so many throw-backs to the old films, now accomplished with modern technology and a higher budget. The fight is just as gross and awesome as you would expect, with limbs flying, bodily fluids leaking, and Bruce Campbell being tossed around the room like a rag doll. Attempting once more to escape the cellar, Ash peaks his head out of the door to see the still evil Ruby from the 80’s has arrived with the demon book and dagger in her hands. Ash quickly kills Henrietta and bursts his way back into the cabin, just as present Ruby and Kelly show up. The two Rubys have a showdown, played excellently by Lucy Lawless, ultimately ending with Past Ruby stabbing and killing the heroic Present Ruby.
RIP good guy Ruby
Furious at the loss of her friend, Kelly fights the book out of Past Ruby’s hands and escapes with Ash back to the car. Suddenly, Ash’s long severed right hand appears! They did it! He never got to the Necronomicon, and now has his hand back. Pablo’s back too! Yay!
… but not so yay it turns out. The Pablo in the trunk is actually Baal in disguise. When trying to destroy him two episodes ago, Baal managed to send Pablo’s soul to hell, and put his consciousness into Pablo’s corpse. He knocks the tow of them out and returns to cabin when he and Past Ruby begin their evil plan.
Ash and Kelly wake up to Baal and Ruby’s demon children being reborn. Ash makes a deal with Baal to surrender his powers temporarily and fights him over the fate of the world. If Ash wins the fight he gets Pablo back from hell and Ruby, Baal, and the child demons return their instead. If Baal wins, Ruby gets to conquer the world and bring about the apocalypse, and the demon children eat Kelly. They make a blood oath over the book and begin their battle. And man is it epic. We’ve been building all season to showdown like this and we get it in spades. Ash smashes Baal all over the cabin in one of the most satisfying fights of the season. Of course, Past Ruby decides to uses the book to cheat, and allows Baal some of his powers back. Baal then transforms into Chet, who fights Ash for letting him die, and ultimately cuts off his hand again. The he turns into Cheryl, who hates Ash for killing her and fights him into the bathroom, where Brock appears with advice for Ash. Not believing Baal’s trick, Ash drowns Brock in the bathtub. But Baal then appears on the opposite side of the room, convincing Ash that he did just kill his father for real. Still pushing through the trap, Ash regains to strength to continue fighting, as Brock’s body fades away while whispering “Use the chainsaw” a la Star Wars.
Kelly fights Past Ruby over her lack of morals, while Ash continues to battle Baal. It’s just really cool, guys. Really, really cool.
Ultimately Ash manages to chainsaw Baal in half, and with Ruby finally admitting Ash won, a portal to hell opens up and begins to suck everything down with it. Ash and Kelly escape with the book as the cabin burns down behind them. Out of the ashes, Pablo appears! He has a bit of a memory of dying, but mostly remembers a desire to be a hero like Ash. The group then travel back to the present to enjoy their victory.
The episode concludes with a big parade throughout Elk Grove, finally celebrating Ash’s heroic act. In typical Ash fashion, he manages to insult everyone in the crowd, but they love him nonetheless. Pablo holds Kelly, Ash holds Linda, and everything seems to finally be right with the world. The episode then ends with a shot of Past Ruby walking away from the celebration.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!?!
Overall this was a pretty solid conclusion. Not as good as Season One’s finale, but still pretty rewarding. And that’s pretty much how I feel about the season as a whole. It did have some weaker moments and episodes, but overall was a pretty well told story that honored the Evil Deads that came before it. My nerdy heart really enjoyed Season Two of Ash vs Evil Dead.