Ash vs Evil Dead, “The Host,” (1.5) - TV Review



November 28th, 2015, 9PM, Starz

Homage (adj) – an event in a piece of entertainment that references an event in another piece of entertainment, often a popular one. Or: French for rip-off.

With Elligos’ human host seemingly located in Ash, Brujo Bolivar starts the ritual to remove the demon – which may involve lobotomy. While trying to talk his way out of trouble from behind the gag, the actual demonic host – Kelly – tries to seduce Pablo into blowing his own brains out. Things quickly reverse focus, and soon the friends must risk everything to carefully exorcise Kelly of her demons, but is it too late?

This is a bizarre episode – and not when compared to the typical Evil Dead type bizarreness. From Ash learning a lesson he didn’t need to learn, some unnecessary queerbaity flirtation between Amanda and Ruby, and an exorcism scene heavily ripped off from the Exorcist series, this episode is a mess right from the start and only occasionally shows flickers of promise.

The show’s pov on drug use continues to be hilarious for the wrong reasons – Ash unleashed the evil while high on pot, he strangled Kelly on an acid trip and here Kelly’s eeeeeevilness is telegraphed by her marijuana use. It’s forced me to doubt the writers’ research and experience, whatever that may be. This continuity serves as a launching pad from which the characters are supposed to grow; Pablo steps up and claims his (embarrassingly stereotypical) shaman roots, almost directly quoting Father Karras from The Exorcist while the demon Kelly snarls at him. He loves her deeply and yet is unhappy when the seductive demon disappears and gives Kelly her body back, presumably because his chance at getting some demon nookie is now gone. All of this is enough to make Ash feel almost guilty, but he’s too busy trying to Jedi mind trick himself into killing off Elligos…using the exact same methods and mantra he’s been using for the past thirty years. Huh. It somehow all ends with laugher and Ted Nugent as Ash walks away sporting his new Power Glove hand, which looks suspiciously like another hand he once had and cannot use for Reasons That Don’t Count In Canon.

Oh, and Amanda and Ruby show up for a quick scene in which Ruby vaguely flirts with Amanda in a creepy, unnecessary way before following Ash’s hand into the distance.

The episode suffers from one problem – this is Evil Dead, and Evil Dead is not, by any stretch of the imagination, The Exorcist. The possessed Kelly should have more teasing wit about her but instead she’s a peeing, puking Blatty-style fantasy. Ash should be much more interesting to watch, instead of an outsider to the main story who repeatedly does what we’ve already seen. Pablo changes the most but still can’t bring himself to be frank with Kelly, and his wise brujo uncle seems to die just so he can have a loss equal to Kelly’s. The parts add up to an insubstantial core. “The Host” is sadly the show’s weakest episode yet.

The Roundup

  • This episode was directed by David Frazee, who also directed last week’s ep.
  • Deadites finally bleed a fresh color in this episode.
  • Kelly declares that she learned how to turn a shotgun into a bong from her Iraq war vet cousin. What a touching tribute to our troops.
  • Your jukebox soundtrack: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent, “Down by the Water” by PJ Harvey.
  • Pot apparently makes Pablo paranoid.
  • Kelly’s rings say “Hell” in this episode. Just a bit on the nose again, wardrobe.
  • Ash learned that Kelly and her parents are/were Jewish in the coda to episode 2, “Bait”.
  • Next Week: Amanda finally catches up with Ash, forcing the team to battle their way out of a demon-infested diner in “Killer of Killers”!
4.4 BAD

The series’ weakest episode provides us with some gore but no sense of purpose.[

  • BAD 4.4

About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.