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Speculation in the Wake of “Ashy Slashy”

by Landon Evanson

“Ash vs Evil Dead” producer Rob Tapert noted that the goal for “Ashy Slashy” was to morph Ash (Bruce Campbell) into something of an homage to eighties slashers once he embarked on his quest to destroy the Necronomicon and the Ghost Beaters.

And they nailed it. Unicorns and all.

The chainsaw blade pulled against an asylum wall held elements of Freddy Krueger and damned if Jefe didn’t look a bit bulkier as he Voorhees’d through the halls.

But an eye-gouging throwback aside, that’s not what you’re here for, and I know that.

So enough with the foreplay, let’s get down to business. If you have not seen “Ashy Slashy,” I implore you to click out of this post right now because there are monumental spoilers to follow.

As someone who is an avid “Game of Thrones” fan, I have never been more upset with the death of a character than I was when Pablo (Ray Santiago) was halved by a desperate Baal (Joel Tobeck) at the conclusion of “Ashy Slashy.” In fact, that’s exactly what I wanted to do — bawl.

However, I’m not going to focus on Pablo dying a hero because there are just too many factors that lead me to believe we haven’t seen the last of our powerful vagina.

To begin, the foreshadowing was overwhelming. There was nothing subtle about it. And that’s kind of the point of foreshadowing. Let’s face it, “Ash vs Evil Dead” has been hinting at Pablo’s departure since the season began, and that strikes me as not only a bit much, but also too obvious. I’m just going to go ahead and say it, when it comes to Evil Dead, the most beloved character not named Ash is Pablo. For a player of such magnitude to be taken from us, it would simply need to be more shocking and out of left field. Perhaps not a long and agonizing death like Amanda (Jill Marie Jones), but one that would pack a more powerful punch because we weren’t already suspicious that it was going to happen. With all the hinting and near-misses through the season’s first seven episodes, no one could claim that they didn’t see Pablo’s apparent ouster coming.

Splatstick or not, “Ash vs Evil Dead” is a a show that qualifies as well done, so that strikes me out of place.

Secondly, in the episode breakdown for “Ashy Slashy,” Tapert confirmed that Pablo died, but quickly offered that it wasn’t the first time that the franchise had killed off an important character. While that’s true (and the breakdowns are always brief), it was a quick-hitter that offered about as much emotion or nod to importance as when Lee Majors passed earlier in the season. To show Pablo as much love as someone who appeared in a handful of episodes seems fishy to me.

Next, in our Q&A with Dana DeLorenzo in August, she said a few things that are glaring in the wake of “Ashy Slashy.”

I mean, I’m sorry to keep going back to the same conversation, but Ms. Maxwell gave us a lot to digest, and it’s altogether fitting for this argument.

There will be a mistake — in general, I’m not going to say who made it — that cannot be undone. Actually, I shouldn’t say a mistake because it’s not really a mistake. There will be an “action” that cannot be undone.

DeLorenzo said that there would be “an ‘action’ that cannot be undone.” Now, a man being cut in half seems pretty final, but let’s not forget how she began her statement. You’ll note that originally, DeLorenzo said there would be “a mistake” before rephrasing to “an ‘action.’ Pablo’s death at the hand of Baal was certainly an action, but nothing about that struck me as a mistake because none of the Ghost Beaters were involved. That Pablo was the personification of the Necronomicon and would be the one to banish Baal had been the plan all along.

pabloThen there’s DeLorenzo’s response to my question about how the relationship between Pablo and Kelly would progress in Season 2:

When I watch the show I just want to scream at the TV like “Oh my God, just make out already!” You root for them and I think what’s so great about their relationship is the yin and yang aspect. Pablo makes Kelly softer, she makes him harder and I really love how they are just either side of the coin together. They’re just so great. Here’s what I will say about Season 2 with Kelly and Pablo, they definitely get closer but also they know that in their world if they make if official one of them is going to end up dead, it’s inevitable. So this season you will see them get even closer — hint, hint — but you’ll have to wait and see if they can beat the odds or if the house of evil always wins.

Focus on that final sentence.

“So this season you will see them get even closer — hint, hint — but you’ll have to wait to see if they can beat the odds or if the house of evil always wins.”

Let’s start with the “hint, hint.” Unless I missed something, there was no indication that the two had hooked up in any way, shape or form. There were some tender moments to be sure, but nary a kiss or a wink or hand-holding or even the accidental slippage of a “baby” from either one of them.

To my mind, Kelly and Pablo have not yet had their “hint, hint” moment.

Which brings us to the latter part of DeLorenzo’s sentence.

“…you’ll have to wait and see if they can beat the odds or if the house of evil always wins.”

We will need to wait and see. It would certainly appear so. Can the tandem beat the odds? As in finding a way to bring Pablo back with Ruby’s (Lucy Lawless) help or “will the house of evil always” win?

Santiago’s Twitter messages weren’t exactly definitive, either. For instance, in response to one fan’s sadness over Pablo’s passing, Santiago wrote, “Don’t be too sad! Hang in there! In the EVILDEAD world, everything happens 4 a reason!”

An earlier message stated “Playing #Pablo has been a dream come true! An illegal immigrant with a plan 2 stand by a hero n save the world from evil! #ashvsevildead”

Hang in there, everything happens for a reason and “has been” not was a dream come true. Perhaps I’m grasping at straws, but I just don’t we’ve seen the last of Pablito.

All that said, let’s consider a couple of things to bring it home.

The season’s final two episodes are titled “Home Again” and “Second Coming,” so let’s do a little speculating of our own.

Episode 9 will find Ash and the remaining Ghost Beaters returning to the cabin where weird shit happens all the time. However, the only important thing to remember here is that they will once again find themselves in Ash’s old stomping grounds.

Why? Let’s wind the clocks back and remember that for the inaugural season of “Ash vs Evil Dead,” the show wasn’t allowed to touch on any of the events from Army of Darkness. Those reasons were legal in nature, but that changed for Season 2, and the idea of Delta as DeLorean is fair game now.

If I had to guess (which is all I can do at this point), I’d be willing to wager that “Second Coming” has less to do with the group’s return to the cabin or Baal’s resurrection or even Yeats, than another trip through the portal to the land of Sheila and Mr. Fancypants. Said trip will lead to some adjustments that will find Pablo alive and well for Season 3 and not simply appearing as Ash’s Obi-Wan wing-man.

I’m sorry, but Pablo was (and remains) too adored to have left the show in such an unceremonious manner. Then again, maybe I’m wrong and none of us will ever have the pleasure of Honduran fish and chips.

If that’s the case, Pablito died a hero and certainly made Brujo proud, but something tells me nothing is settled.