TV Review: Ash vs Evil Dead: Season 1 - Episode 5

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Season 1, Episode 5: The Host

SUMMARY: Ash (Bruce Campbell) has to contend with Pablo's (Ray Santiago) Brujo uncle, who thinks he's possessed by the Deadites while Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) does her best to rip apart the team from the inside.

REVIEW: I think it's safe to say Starz surprised fans a bit when it was announced that Ash vs Evil Dead was going to be a half-hour series instead of a more traditional hour-long. In some ways, I think the rationale might have been that had the series been a flop, ten half-hours are a lot less likely to hurt the bottom line than ten hours. I had a lot of reservations about this as half-hour shows have always felt a little minor to me unless they were comedies and while Ash does have its share of that, I'd wager it would still make a good hour-long show if they ever decided to go that road.


Yet, it can't be denied that the half-hour format has been good to the show in that it's allowed for the same kind of fast-paced, manic edge the original films had (which all only ran about eighty-five minutes a piece) and has likely been a good thing as far as pacing goes. Which is why episode five, which really feels like the second half of episode four, is probably my least favourite episode so far, as until the last ten minutes, the manic pacing isn't really there.

Now, before you guys light up the talk-backs, don't be mistaken – I still really liked this episode. For me the only thing wrong with it is that Ash spends too much time tied up and out of the action as Ray and Kelly take centre-stage. This isn't really a bad thing but not much happens here to drive the action, as we already know Pablo has a thing for Kelly and that the demon will exploit this. The same thing already kinda happened last week, so part of me wished this part has simply been condensed to get to more of the action.

When Ash gets untied by the Brujo, things pick up considerably, and the last act – which borrows shamelessly from THE EXORCIST – is as fun as anything we've seen from the series so far. Particularly cool is the way Ash finally manages to defeat the demon – by simply not thinking (his strong suit). It's also cool to see Ash developing some protective feelings towards his younger cohorts, although I do feel maybe Kelly is a little too friendly with Ash considering his actions led to her father being killed – something which really only happened maybe a day ago in the series timeline. She seems to have gotten over it all pretty fast – although hey, this is fantasy, right?

While this has been my least favourite of the Ash vs Evil Dead bunch so far, on the whole this was still a pretty good episode, and I'd say it's a very consistently entertaining genre show and far-and-away the best thing Starz has green-lit since the short-lived (but awesome) Kelsey Grammar show Boss. Hopefully the consistency keeps up.



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