The Movie Waffler TV Waffle - ASH VS EVIL DEAD Season 1, Episode 2: Bait | The Movie Waffler

TV Waffle - ASH VS EVIL DEAD Season 1, Episode 2: Bait

Ash's suspicions lead to a very awkward dinner gathering.

Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

After a blistering Sam Raimi directed pilot, we were left to ponder whether his absence from the rest of the series would have a negative impact on the remaining episodes. If Bait is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding no. It may lack Raimi's trademark camera swoops, but this Michael J Bassett (Solomon Kane, Silent Hill: Revelation) helmed episode maintains the frantic energy of the pilot, and the script by Dominic Dierkes has its share of witty one-liners, as you would expect from a former Onion News Network writer.
Picking up in the immediate aftermath of the events of the premiere episode, Bait plays very much like the second half of an extended pilot. When Kelly's (Dana DeLorenzo) Mom (Mimi Rogers) returns home mysteriously, having previously been believed dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell) jumps to the conclusion that the woman must be a deadite, and heads off for Kelly's home, chainsaw loaded for bear. This leads to a clever setup which sees Ash and his adopted sidekick, Pablo (Ray Santiago), join Kelly's family for a decidedly uncomfortable dinner, as Ash verbalises his suspicions to great comic effect.
Rogers makes for a winning guest star, and proves adept at comedy, something she's rarely had the chance to do over her career. We're accustomed to seeing Rogers play very serious characters (think of her recurring role on The X-Files) and this adds to the deadpan tone of her performance here. The script keeps us guessing as to whether Ash is indeed correct about her suspicious return to the land of the living, or whether he's just being the world's most ignorant dinner guest.
With the show switching to a half hour format from here on, the pace is quickened; there isn't an ounce of fat on this episode. Such running times are usually strictly reserved for sitcoms, but as Ash Vs Evil Dead shows here, it may prove useful for more dramatic shows also. Speaking of sitcoms, is there any more generic sitcom trope than the 'awkward dinner' featured here? Few sitcoms feature a protagonist with a chainsaw for a hand of course, but Campbell is probably giving the best comedic performance on TV right now, and we're certainly looking forward to seeing him deliver more of those trademark 'Ash-isms' over the next seven episodes.
With its Evil Dead 2 flashbacks, the pilot left us asking if the show acknowledged Army of Darkness in its continuity, given the absence of Ash's previous employer S-Mart also. Well, the answer is complicated. Due to legal issues, the show can't reference the existence of Army of Darkness, as the rights are owned by Universal Pictures. However, in an interview with IGN, showrunner Craig DiGregorio implied that we should assume Ash did in fact travel back in time; you just won't be hearing him mention it.

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