Its been over 30 years since we’ve seen Ash in Army of Darkness, and the king has finally returned. Ash has had one too many donuts since the last time we’ve seen him and is sporting a few wrinkles, but everything that Evil Dead fans across the world loved about him hasn’t changed a bit. Bruce Campbell, the man with the most famous chin in B-movie cinema, slips back into the role he was born to play and nails it like the prom queen.
This episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, titled “El Jefe,” is directed by none other than Sam Raimi himself. It’s fast-paced, filled with instantly classic one-liners from Ash, and is shot with an energetic style that Raimi has perfected. The mix of horror and comedy hits all the right spots in the first episode thanks to the dedicated cast and crew.
If you like your TV shows bloody, this one is served up raw. The practical effects are done well; however, the CGI blood splatter dropped the coolness factor down a notch or two. Hopefully there won’t be too much CGI blood splatter in future episodes; it’s like putting ketchup on a perfectly cooked steak. Although, the contorting deadite, gore factor, and decapitations all make up for the few instances of poor blood splatter effects.
So, where is Ash now? Well, he’s still working at a convenience store, although it’s no longer S-Mart, and has been hiding out for the past 30 years or so, trying to rid himself of the heinous events he’s been through. Ash basically hits on any lady around, working his pick-up lines with arrogance and grace. Campbell’s delivery and mannerisms are on point, as he is willing and able to carry the show. Every time Ash wasn’t onscreen, the episode wasn’t as interesting, but the supporting characters are fairly new, so they need some time to develop.
One plot point that hasn’t gone over too well with some fans is how the Necronomicon has come back into play. Let’s just say Ash must have smoked himself dumb as hell to unleash the demons. It’s a little ridiculous, but it’s pretty easy to let go, as the rest of the episode more than makes up for it.
Ash has two new sidekicks in this adventure: Pablo, played by Ray Santiago, and Kelly, played by Dana DeLorenzo. Pablo comes off almost like a big fanboy of Ash, and influences him to stop running and face his destiny. He refers to Ash as “El Jefe,” which is the title of the episode, meaning the “chosen one.” Kelly comes off as a no-nonsense chick that may be a love interest for Ash (or even Pablo), but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The whole episode brushes off the character of Ash and reintroduces him into our lives. He’s been running away from his chosen path this entire time, and now he finely takes it on. By the end of the episode, he is whole again, and is ready to saw heads, make his boomstick bang, and spit one-liners so badass they make heads roll and panties drop.
The first episode was amazing overall, and hopefully the show keeps up the energy with the departure of Raimi from the director’s chair. There’s only one word that can perfectly describe the Ash vs. Evil Dead premiere episode: Groovy.