When Ash vs. Evil Dead returns to Starz for its third season on February 25, 2018, it’ll find things looking (briefly) better for its long-suffering characters. As Ray Santiago, who plays Ash’s sidekick Pablo Simon Bolivar, puts it during an interview at New York Comic-Con this past weekend, “Our happy ending [from the previous season] has lasted long enough for us to move on, and think that the evil’s not coming back. Long enough that Kelly [Dana DeLorenzo] is off doing her own thing, long enough for Ash [Bruce Campbell] to open up a hardware store, long enough for me to have a food truck and get my fish-and-chips business going. So we really do think it’s done—but of course, someone’s always gotta open up that stupid book and read from it.”
This time, as Campbell recounted in our previous interview, the stakes are raised by the appearance of Ash’s 18-year-old daughter Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill), whom he’s never previously known. Not only does he now have his own flesh and blood to protect, but their reunion doesn’t go entirely smoothly. “Brandy is a very stubborn, strong-willed and driven young woman,” Carver-O’Neill says, “but she’s also smart, which is a little bit of a difference between her and Ash. So that causes a struggle in the beginning, because of course, no one who’s smart is going to believe a guy who says, ‘It wasn’t me, it was the demons who did it.’ And also, it’s hard to accept that a chainsaw-wielding demon-killer is your father, after 18 years of not knowing who he is.
“So she goes on this journey through the season of not knowing who she is, and grieving in the beginning,” the actress, who has appeared in several Australian TV series, continues. “But then she strengthens a lot in a short period of time—emotionally, physically and mentally. By the end, she can take care of herself a bit more, and she can possibly protect Ash a little bit.”
Also new to the ensemble is Dalton (Lindsay Farris), the handsome leader of the ancient Knights of Sumeria who arrives in Elk Grove, Michigan with Kelly to join the battle against evil. “Dalton introduces a new bunch of mythology that the series hasn’t addressed yet,” says Farris, who starred in an underseen, creepy Aussie thriller called Observance a couple of years back. “The last time we saw the Knights, they were riding around on horseback with blades, and no one knew what was going on. It has evolved now so that instead of horses, I ride a motorcycle and use a shotgun.
“The interesting thing about Dalton is that he has been through everything in theory, but he’s never met a Deadite,” Farris notes. “The first one he meets is Cougie [a high school’s mascot that becomes viciously possessed]. I think he’s imagining demons and all that sort of jazz, but the reality of it is much funnier. It’s about him coming to terms and figuring out how to implement a bunch of theory without having practiced it.”
Dalton’s presence also impacts the dynamic between Pablo and Kelly, who became very close during the previous two seasons. “Now, all of a sudden,” DeLorenzo says, “here’s this guy who’s like, ‘Hey, Kelly, I’m with you, I believe you, let’s go find the fight.’ And Kelly’s like, ‘Finally, somebody!’ because Ash and Pablo are selling hardware and fish and chips, and Kelly just wants to stay in the battle. So she and Dalton link up, and he starts putting seeds of doubt in her mind about Pablo. And then, Pablo gets a little threatened by Dalton, and he does the thing that you do, whether you’re male or female—you start to puff up your chest: ‘What do you mean? There’s somebody else? I don’t think he’s that great!’ ”
“We now have two new hot people around, neither of whom should be trusted,” Santiago adds. “As we’ve come to learn on our show, no one can be trusted because they can start out good and turn bad, or be bad and turn good; you just never know. This season, we definitely explore the will-they-or-won’t-they situation [between Pablo and Kelly] in a way where jealousy comes in. Dalton is somebody whom Pablo does not trust—and there’s also a new girl around, so Pablo’s definitely looking at her. Something we will explore is, what if Pablo is into Ash’s daughter? How does that affect the dynamic?”
There’s also the potential for jealousy between Brandy and Kelly in terms of Ash becoming a father figure to the latter in the previous episodes—to the point where a revelation that he actually is Kelly’s dad seemed to be forthcoming. DeLorenzo says that while this does become an issue early in the season, her and Brandy’s relationship changes before long. “It goes in a very interesting direction, in terms of Brandy and how she ties into Kelly’s whole arc for the past two seasons. Kelly has this feeling of, OK, Ash is kind of a dummy, but the guy’s got skills and she does respect him, and he saved her life in more ways than one. Then you introduce this new character who’s a teenager in high school, and Kelly’s not havin’ it right away.
“She gets stuck with Brandy,” DeLorenzo continues, “and she’s like, ‘Oh, great, I’ve got to do the babysitter duties? Come on!’ And what ends up happening is, similar to what Ruby did with Kelly last season—good Ruby, not the evil one—Kelly takes Brandy under her wing. They have a lot of similarities; she starts seeing herself in Brandy, just with the fact that her mother died and she was thrown into this. It’s actually Kelly, the one you might least suspect, who is convincing Brandy, who’s rolling her eyes at Ash, like, ‘I don’t know this chump, he’s ruined my life.’ And Kelly’s like, ‘No, you don’t know how special he is—he’s gonna save the world!’ ”
In the end, DeLorenzo says, “This season is about family—the family that is bound by blood, and the family that is bound by bloodshed. When you raise those stakes, anything can happen—and it probably won’t be good.”