“The Host” marks the halfway point of the inaugural season of Ash vs. Evil Dead. More importantly, the episode also happens to be one of the best of the season, if not the best episode period. While previous episodes in the series have done their best to balance the humor with the horror, which has seemed a bit lopsided on the humor side, “The Host”, by comparison, reminds viewers that for all of Ash’s one-liners, Evil Dead is still a horror property. Spoilers follow.
Like each episode before, “The Host” picks right up where the last episode left off. Kelly, now possessed by a Deadite, has convinced Pablo and Brujo that Ash is actually the one possessed, after last week’s “spiritual journey” ended rather violently. As Brujo is attempting to exorcise a demon that is not there, Kelly does her best to aid Pablo in getting to that big Value Stop in the sky. Quick side note here: Kids, NEVER smoke weed out of the barrel of a shotgun, no matter how hot the woman/man is that is trying to convince you. Back to the recap. In previous episodes, Kelly has been an interesting, if a bit cliche, character that seemed as if she was being groomed to pick up Ash’s mantle. With this episode, however, Dana Delorenzo truly performed and the Kelly to which audiences were treated was sexually charged, manipulative, scary, and perfectly played.
As is his modus operandi, Ash manages to convince Brujo that Kelly is actually the one possessed by Eligos just as the shit hits the fan. Now, there is no doubt that Pablo is the silliest character on the series. His hero-worship towards Ash seems unwarranted and if there is one thing that Pablo is generally best at, it’s presenting eye-roll worthy lines. Like DeLorenzo’s Kelly this week, however, Ray Santiago played Pablo a bit differently this episode. Suddenly, his “silly” apprehension wound up being the very thing that saves his life. Beyond this, as the group attempts to rid Kelly of the Deadite inside, Pablo seems genuinely concerned with the well-being of his friend/crush, and before too long, bravery that never would have been expected from the character begins to shine through. In the end, it is actually Pablo’s bravery that likely saves Kelly’s life, but at the expense of Brujo, who could have been invaluable to the group on their journey. As the episode ends, audiences are steered back towards the fun aspect of Evil Dead, as Ash puts on his new, mechanical hand, thanks to Pablo, and the group continues their journey that will almost certainly end at the cabin in which it all began.
Evil Dead fans expect a bit of silliness with their Deadites, which is one of the biggest reasons that the 2013 reboot didn’t resonate as well with fans as the producers had hoped. That being said, considering most of the focus of the series up to this point has been mainly action and one-liners, it was nice to get an episode that was not only more horror than comedy but that, at times, was even emotionally charged. The reality is that Ash vs. Evil Dead isn’t going to be taking home any “Best Actor” or “Best Actress” awards when the Emmys come around but no one tuning in is expecting Sons of Anarchy. So, considering the property, the actors, and the source material, “emotionally charged” is probably the best compliment that they can receive in this case and with “The Host”, the compliment is well deserved.
While the past few episodes have teased the budding relationship between Ruby and Amanda, the duo was completely absent from this episode, which was a bit disappointing. In last week’s episode, it appeared that the pair was getting closer to finding Ash, who Ruby blames for the Deadites (a fair accusation), and using Ash’s severed hand from Dead By Dawn to lead the way. Chances are that they will be showing up again soon but it has been interesting to see Ruby getting a bit closer with every episode, and now that the audience knows why she is searching, it was a little disappointing not to see her in “The Host”.
Ash vs. Evil Dead continues to play to its strengths and it seems that the series may be getting stronger and stronger as it continues marching forward. As mentioned, the series is now at its halfway point and things will no doubt start rolling very quickly in the coming weeks. If the series can maintain the momentum it has built all the way through the rest of the season, it will represent the Army of Darkness sequel that fans have been waiting for years to see. Take a look at next week’s episode, “The Killer of Killers” (excuse the frames).
Are you still enjoying the ride? What is the weirdest thing from which you have smoked weed?