In the words of Bruce Campbell… Groovy. While it definitely isn’t groovy that we won’t get another series of Ash vs Evil Dead, what we did get was three great series which is the closest to classic Evil Dead since forever. Oh, and yes I’m aware that there is going to be an animated revival at some point… Anyway, if you love gore, cheesy one liners and headshots this is definitely the series for you.
Ash vs Evil Dead first debuted on Starz in 2015 and ran for 3 series until 2018. As mentioned above, the show follows Deadite killer and all around cult horror hero, Ash Williams, as he once again has to rid the world of a Deadite plague he unleashed after getting really high with a prostitute. The show received praise, mostly for the return of Bruce Campbell’s Ash, and the overall tone of comedy horror which blended well with the camp performances of the cast. Despite low viewership numbers eventually causing the show to be cancelled, Ash vs Evil Dead continues the grand tradition of Evil Dead media being cult classics. Anyway, with all that out of the way here are the best episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead ranked.
10. El Jefe (S1, E1)
No, this isn’t a Spanish reference to Bruce Springsteen as far as I’m aware. Instead it’s the nickname Ash is given by Pablo, the nephew of a Spanish witch doctor or Brujo and Ash’s work colleague. As all good pilot episodes should, this re-introduces Ash Williams, the chainsaw-wielding hero, as he reluctantly returns to fighting the Deadites after accidentally unleashing them upon the world. And yes it bears repeating that he unleashed them after getting high before a great sequence of Ash chainsawing Deadites. A perfect introductory episode and nostalgic blast.
9. Bound in Flesh (S1, E9)
If I had a pound for everytime Ash vs Evil Dead had a storyline featuring an evil Ash doppelganger, I’d have two pounds which is strange because it’s happened twice. Anyway this episode sees Ash and his friends deal with a Deadite infestation in the cabin. All of this is to bury the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis as well as killing Ash’s evil doppelgänger, leading to a thrilling showdown. Oh, and there’s also Lucy Lawless being great and in no way deceiving as she manages to trick Ash. Not that it seems too difficult but I digress.
8. Second Coming (S2, E10)
If you predicted a battle between a god of the underworld and a chainsaw handed hero would involve chainsaw lightsaber fights, then well done. This intense season finale sees Ash facing off against Baal, a powerful demon, in a battle to save humanity. And it somehow ends with Ash tricking Baal by asking him how good Ruby is in bed. Very crass, very violent yet funny. Not only does this episode show off the chemistry between Lawless and Campbell but its filled with action, gore, and unexpected twists.
7. DUI (S2, E4)
Hands up if you had Ash’s car getting possessed by the Necronomicon and him having to fight it in order to get his car back on their Evil Dead wishlist. Congratulations, this is the episode for you. Other highlights include the Necronomicon being sent to Hell which is in Ash’s boot for some reason only for one last demon jump scare at the end of the episode. And that’s not even mentioning a lot more exploration of Baal and his relationship to Ruby on top of some nice development for Pablo and his complex relationship with the Necromonicron.
6. Trapped Inside (S2, E6)
What’s worse than being trapped inside a house with a Deadite? Being trapped inside a house with a Deadite and an armed mob controlled by a vengeful Baal outside. Or as Ash would probably call it: another Wednesday. Anyway, despite Ash managing to prove his innocence to the crowd he still gets knocked out by Baal. Also, there’s a nice moment between Ruby and Kelly which explains the former’s lack of immortality.
5. Delusion (S2, E7)
Now I can’t say for certain that this isn’t the result of Raimi being very sleep deprived but it feels insane enough to be. This is evident from not only Ash’s weird series of hallucinations while trying to track down the book in an insane asylum but also the Ashy Slashy puppet which starts attacking him. And that’s not mentioning the great ending which really makes the audience wonder whether Baal has got to Ash. Overall, this is a great episode as it dives into Ash’s mental state and provides a unique narrative perspective.
4. Ashy Slashy (S2, E8)
If you thought Delusion was mad, Ashy Slashy is arguably just as insane. Mostly, because it involves a scene between the Ashy Slashy puppet and Kelly which is hilarious. And that doesn’t even take into account the daftness of Ash’s plan which involved not telling the gang he would fake being possessed to get Baal and use a tracking device to get him in the same room as Pablo’s incantation. To quote Tony Stark, not a great plan. A very good episode overall with a creative and darkly comedic twist.
3. Baby Proof (S3, E5)
While viewership was way down by Series 3, that doesn’t mean there weren’t brilliant highs. Case in point, the running through line of Ash trying to prove to his daughter, Brandy, that his story is true and that he’s a good father. So, naturally, this involves kidnapping Ruby’s demon spawn child who’s his clone. Yep, back to that old well again. Oh, also this episode sees Pablo become El Brujo Especial after dying and mixing his blood with his ancestors. It’s a weird episode for sure but has enough emotional beats to keep it grounded.
2. Rifting Apart (S3, E8)
So what can Ash do when Ruby kills his daughter, Brandy? Well, get Pablo to open a portal in order to bring her soul back to reality. Yet more utterly compelling nonsense from Ash vs Evil Dead. Oh, and one of the Knights of Sumeria sacrifices himself to save the gang from a vague shadow creature. Yeah I forgot they were a thing too… Also, there’s more ineptitude from Ash as he accidentally brings the wrong body in for Pablo to resurrect. Yeah, I forgot to mention Ash and Pablo steal a coroner’s van in order to save Brandy. What a mad episode….
1: The Mettle of Man (S3, E10)
And the best episode of Ash vs Evil Dead is…. The Mettle of Man. Now why is the series finale the best episode? Well, because the series finale features a climactic battle between Ash and an army of Deadites. Oh and that doesn’t mention Ash firing the Kandarian Dagger out of a tank into a 60 ft tall demon. Overall, there’s plenty of great emotional beats like the ending with Ash now in a post apocalyptic world in an armoured version of the Delta. Not only is this episode action-packed and emotionally resonant but it provides a satisfying conclusion to the show. Now that’s pretty groovy…