December 26th, 2015, 9PM, Starz
Overcompensating (n) - Excessive compensation, especially the exertion of effort beyond what is needed to compensate for a physical or psychological characteristic or defect.
After (too quickly) dispatching Evil Ash, the real Ash and company have to tend with a lot of surprise baggage, such as the re-appearance of the hikers Kelly and Pablo bumped into in the woods and the fact that Ruby’s finally tracked the team down. After Pablo and Kelly’s attempt at leading the hikers out to safety results in two of them being murdered by a resurrected Amanda, Ruby leads them back to the cabin and a show-down with Ash. He trusts her to do an incantation that is allegedly supposed to dispel the evil – but, of course, it just results in a dark secret being revealed and the team being put in even more danger than they were before.
After the generally solemn parade of gore that was episode 8, episode nine returns us to the comedy horror spirit of the rest of the series, with an oddly self-parodying tone. It’s almost as if this episode’s writer read last week’s script, chucked it out the window and decided to write a wicked deconstruction of the entire situation, undoing Evil Ash’s omnipotence and even the seriousness of the situation with a shrug. Indeed, for a good third of the episode much of the dark horrific atmosphere of the previous episode is undone through music and dialogue choices – things don’t feel dangerous again until we get to the very end.
The narrative almost seems to mock the viewer for investing in it. In a desperate scramble for some kind of controversy-based hook, Ash (the real one, apparently) drools over Amanda’s now-dead breasts and declares his intentions to peek at them while chopping her up and says he likes Chinese people because of the massages they give “with their tiny little hands”. Surely someone must be offended, right? Only it adds to the show’s cumulative picture of Ash, in which he is the worst person in the world because..reasons? It amuses Raimi and Campbell and Tapert to portray him that way? Either way it doesn’t jibe with what we got of his character even in threadbare narrative of the three movies that preceded it. It doesn’t even jibe with what we just got in the previous episode, where he was “in love” with Amanda, a black woman. He is best friends with Latino Pablo. His “Racism” amounted to a couple of comments in the third episode that Pablo declaimed and a few more in the pilot. Definitive character traits don’t show up once and go away, they exist in every episode. Weirdly, The show seems to be overcompensating for its diversity casting wise by proving Ash is still a primeval lunkhead so the presumptive audience won’t get worried about…something it doesn’t seem to even care about?. This stuff adds nothing to the show – it’s just insulting to people who are fans of Ash and just want to watch him chop demons up.
This at least happens in this episode; the gore is both plentiful and darkly comedic, and best put to use when Amanda reawakens and puts on a Charlie McCarthy show with the corpses of two of the hikers. There’s also a scene that provides probably the most bizarre use of Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us” in entertainment history . But yet again, I have to complain about head severing being the be-all-end-all of Deadite extermination. Beheadings have never been a guaranteed way of getting rid of Deadites. That is not how any of this works.
This is a weird ride; not quite unsettling enough but decently gory, not quite ‘Evil Dead’ enough to flow well, and rather a violation to Ash’s character. Yet I laughed at it more than I have the other eight episode that aired before it.
- This episode was also directed by Tony Tilse, who’s likely best known for his Farscape work.
- The episode was written by Rob Wright.
- Big plothole of the week: So if Ruby is an all-powerful Deadite who created the book, why was she so incredibly bad at tracking Ash? Why did she need his hand as a literal GPS?
- Your jukebox soundtrack: as aforementioned: “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers.
- Ash call his saw and shotgun Moe and Larry, respectively. Does that make him Shemp or Curly?
- Next Week: There is a season finale and stuff.
Someone, somewhere must surely be offended by this. Right? RIGHT?! PLEASE BE OFFENDED SOMEONE NEEDS RATINGS.