If you are a Buffy fan you’ll remember the episode Normal Again. This episode featured Buffy drifting from two realities, one where she is in a mental asylum, the other the usual Buffy world we expect. This episode was haunting and left us wondering what the character’s reality truly was. Now Ash vs Evil Dead now has a similar episode, but is it a classic like the Buffy episode, or just a trip to puppet filled hell?
Episode seven of Ash vs Evil Dead, Delusion, has Ash (Bruce Campbell) waking up in the asylum with a doctor (as you would expect, Baal actor Joel Tobeck) trying to wake Ash up from his “delusion”. Ash tries to figure out a way to escape the asylum, but his reality begins to break down as he realises that maybe he is the delusional monster he appears to be.
While Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), Pablo (Ray Santiago), and Ruby (Lucy Lawless) do appear in this episode they take on different guises. This is an all-out attack on Ash’s psyche, so things are getting serious. Well, as serious as an episode featuring an Ash puppet can be.
The puppet works as the comic relief for the episode, though the comedy is fairly downbeat, which is a shame. Ash vs Evil Dead relies on a lot of humour as well as gore to catch the interest of the audience, and this episode does lack these elements. Though there is a nice scene full of gore to help satiate our need. Even this though has a level of realism that feels slightly uncomfortable in this world.
This realism fits in with what Baal is trying to do though, and that is to make Ash believe that he is “Ashy Slashy” and really just a monster himself. While we can look back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a show that has tried to do an episode like this, sadly Ash vs Evil Dead doesn’t hit the same greatness. In Ash’s world there is no time for subtle psychological influence, there is only time for a sledgehammer to the head.
This episode of Ash vs Evil Dead is once again one that is being used to progress the story and set up a (hopefully) much bigger episode next week. The problem with this of course is that we’ve been hyped up about what this week’s episode was promising. While the puppet is funny, and Bruce Campbell does well in handling the dynamic between him and the hand puppet, it doesn’t feel like it has the magic as previous versions of his own duality have had. One to note is the battle between him and Evil Ash in season one.
Ash vs Evil Dead is easily one of the best horror shows on television right now, but this won’t go down as one of its best episodes. Taking itself a little too seriously and not being able to be subtle due to the short length of the episode, we don’t have enough time for dread to set in for the audience. Still entertaining, but never reaching its true potential, hopefully it will be next week’s episode that truly delivers for Ashy Slashy.
Ash vs Evil Dead is available in the UK through Virgin Media VOD.