Tv Review: Stan Against Evil S03E01

I’ve struggled with Stan Against Evil in the past, I’ve wanted to like it as the concept appeals and I’m very fond of the two leads, John C. McGinley and Janet Varney are good value in every episode, but it felt a bit too by the numbers and the monster of the week episodes were always rather a tad predictable. It also came off second best when compared to Ash Vs Evil Dead which was far more inventive and playful when it came to over the top comedy horror. So I’ve missed the odd episode over the past two seasons (despite their only being eight each time) but tuned in to the season 2 finale as I heard it was a strong one.

In it Stan attempts to travel back in time to save the life of his dead wife Claire and whilst Evie discovers it appears to have worked as she turns up at Stan’s house to find Claire alive, Stan himself turns out to have been deceased for a year so Evie has to travel back in time herself to save him. This leads to Leon (Nate Moody) being decapitated, and a touching reunion between Stan and Claire, but despite their best efforts they’re unable to save her life. I’m not quite sure how this adds up as we saw her alive in the revised time line, and Evie didn’t turn up on the scene until after she’d been killed, and adding to the confusion when they return to the present day Evie thinks Leon might be alive despite the fact that she saw his head separated from the rest of his body. I was willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt and presumed they’d answer such questions in the next episode, but unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Instead the series is preoccupied with the fact that when they returned to the present everything has gone terrible wrong, with hell having taken over Earth. The first four minutes of the new episode are a recap of the previous two episodes which is a bit much considering it’s only a 21 minutes show, but I guess they’re hoping new viewers might be along for the ride so I’ll forgive them this time but I hope it’s not a regular feature of the series. After that we pick up straight away from the previous season’s cliffhanger with Evie attacked by a demon who she quickly dispatches. But then Leon turns up and arrests her and it’s revealed that she actually killed Stan and so ends up in a psychiatric hospital, which is always the kind of plotline I hate the most in supernatural shows. At least they don’t spend too much time there, and it’s explained that they’re trapped in their own versions of Hell with Stan looking like a demon to everyone he meets. The whole thing is resolved with ease though, and in a way which isn’t that satisfying either.

There are a good few things to like about the episode, the jovial doctor who treats Evie produces some strong laughs, and Stan’s dialogue is amusing from time to time, but it’s without a doubt still a flawed piece. Leon as always is a little too dumb, a little too idiotic for my liking given that he passed police training (and I’ve seen all of the Police Academy films so know how difficult that is) and it’s a frustrating element and a real shame they went down this particular road with the character. And as mentioned, plot wise everything’s resolved a little too quickly and it doesn’t feel like the characters have done enough to save the world. It is hinted at that this storyline isn’t yet over so I’m willing to give the show a chance, but I really hope it ups it’s game in the third season or I may well find myself once again only watching it from time to time.

Alex Finch.

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