'Ash vs Evil Dead': Why the Second Season Finale Was Totally Un-Groovy
I think it's time to open my Pandora's box of worries for the direction the 'Ash vs Evil Dead' franchise is heading.
(WARNING: SPOILERS are a given, folks. If you haven't watched the Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2 finale then beware)
Like you, I've been a fan of the Evil Dead for a significant portion of my life. The movies were so bizarre they just instantly found a place in my horror-fueled heart. However since #AshvsEvilDead debuted on #Starz last year, I've had a sinking feeling in the back of my mind. I hailed the series for bringing back a character I never expected to see again, but perhaps I should have thought a little longer about what this meant for the series as a whole. After watching the Season 2 finale, as the credits rolled I was left with a sour taste in my mouth and I think it's time to open my Pandora's box of worries for the direction this franchise is heading.
Back To The Cabin, Again!
The classic cabin from the movies featured in the Season 1 three-part finale and it was quite honestly AMAZING to see on screen again. So I was totally blind-sided when the Season 2 finale had Ash time-travel back to 1982 to the cabin so he could swipe the book before he ever came into contact with it. Time travel nonsense aside, I thought we'd be breaking new ground and not falling back on old devices.
I think it would have been cool to perhaps show the original crew arriving at the cabin and #Ash avoiding them while fighting evil, but the episode was just a lazy rehash of Season 1. It seems that this didn't go unnoticed by the former showrunner Craig DiGregorio, who fought against spending the full run-time back in the cabin. As a result of this and other issues with producer Rob Tapert, DiGregorio chose to step down from the show. Here's what the original finale was meant to be:
"Here’s what I remember. Basically, Ash kills Henrietta, gets the book, and runs outside with it. So, we got out of the cabin quickly, and that’s when Ruby and Kelly return. Inside, young Ash has entered but the book is gone, so he never reads it in this timeline. At that moment, the trunk rattles, Pablo’s in there, and he’s OK."
It seems DiGregario had to fight for a lot of the creative control of the season, which, I'm not saying is all Tapert's fault, BUT there's a saying that comes to mind — "too many cooks spoil the broth."
Another MAJOR rehash in this finale was Ruby bringing back her deadite children (y'know, those black-eyed monsters). Now, I never really liked them in Season 1, as these deadites didn't seem like monsters that should exist in the #EvilDead universe. Plus, why the hell does Ruby even need the book to bring these creatures into being? She wrote it didn't she? (don't get me started on THAT point either). I guess the Evil Dead world has always been a bit bonkers, especially the continuity between the trilogy, but really, it comes down to the show's quality control team. After all, who do they think we are, primitive screwheads?
Another cardinal sin committed by the writers was the awful use of the evil twin cliche, AGAIN! Forgetting the fact we had Ash vs Ash in Season 1's finale (it was fun, after all), every #TV show has used this since the dawn of time and it's not original or clever. Just look at all those awful Van Damme movies where he plays himself and his twin brother. Frankly, it's an insult to the viewers and I wasn't falling for it. Add in the fact that Lawless is nowhere near as interesting to watch as Campbell and you get a completely lazy plot point.
When older Ruby tells '80s Ruby that she can do anything (in the hope she'd give up her mad quest for the book) '80s Ruby stabbed her older self and I actually cheered. Although, since #LucyLawless' husband (Rob Tapert) is a MAJOR producer on the show, I'm guessing we'll never be rid of her. If they want a Ruby vs.-type show let them make a spin-off. Leave Ash with Kelly and Pablo to battle those damn, dirty deadites — please God!
The one saving grace that really made the finale for me was the re-introduction of Deadite Henrietta. It was a complete surprise and, frankly, getting #TedRaimi to play her again was a stroke of genius in my opinion. We got to see a great little fight scene in the fruit cellar that had all the original flair we expect in the series while still showing the viewers that the show really has the power to surprise us. The only thing I was missing was Henrietta screaming, "Dead by Dawn!" and that would have made my night.
So by the end, Ash and the gang have transported back to their own time somehow without Ruby (who kind of died). Then we get to witness perhaps, the most bizarre sequence of events in the show yet. Ash is hailed by the locals for being a deadite-slaying hero, even though the only people who have seen him fight the monsters are already dead. Really? I was waiting for the penny to drop — maybe Baul would appear and smile, meaning this was all a psychedelic dream sequence. Alas no, this was the ending they went with and it's severely divided the fanbase.
It's infuriating because it seems to ignore the series-arch that was being built up and merely goes AGAIN with the same "we don't know how to make a cliffhanger" ending. Would it kill the writers to have Ash thrown back in time, surrounded by evil and low on gas? Perhaps with an army of deadites surrounding him? I know the series is a horror-comedy and doesn't take itself too seriously, but come on. It felt extremely cheesy and a little far-reaching for my tastes. Give me the "downer" ending any day.
Anyone hang around for the after-credits scene? I know it's not a Marvel movie, but they actually had a fun little moment here. We fade into the site of the now missing cabin as it was dragged to hell by Baul and co. We hear a kid's voice and a hand grabs the Necronomicon up from the dirt and fade out. A nice Jumanji moment if there ever was one and it clearly points out that the fun with those pesky deadites isn't over yet.
Although let's face it: We already knew Season 3 had been green-lit, so it's a little redundant. Ah well who cares, regardless I'll be watching the new series until the bitter end. I just hope that #SamRaimi takes a stronger hold over his property so it doesn't continue to slide down the quality ladder. All I'm saying is, Sam — make it GROOVY again.