Ash Williams vs Rick Grimes in the Ultimate Battle of the Dead

Ash Williams VS Rick Grimes

Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) returns, this October, to fight the Evil Dead and the Deadite hoard. Fans of the Evil Dead franchise have waited a long time for our one handed hero to make a comeback. Ash vs Evil Dead premiers on Starz on October 31st.

Evil Dead has long been a cult classic. Yet, I believe the success of horror televisions shows, like The Walking Dead, are the reason it is getting chance.  New episodes of The Walking Dead start on AMC on October 11th. 

This now does now raise the question, “Who wins in a Ash Williams vs Rick Grimes match-up?” In order to be able the answer this I will will explore three areas in greater detail:

  1. Who would do better if Ash and Rick traded places?
  2. Who makes the better leader?
  3. Whose group has the best chance of survival?

Be sure to add your choice in the comments.

Ash & Rick Trade Places

Evaluating whether Ash or Rick would do better, if they switched worlds, we first have to look at the foes within each universe.  The differences between Deadites and Walkers are significant. Their experience fighting evil, in their own world, allows you to infer how well each would do if they traded places.

Deadites are ancient demonic forces from another plane of existence.  Once brought into our dimension, these demons can possess both plant and animal, both living and the dead. The possessing demon is also consciously aware and intelligent. They are aggressive, fast, and strong.

Ash learns destroying the possessed does not kill the Deadite, who will then moves on to possess a new body or object. The only way to end the horror is to send them back to their own dimension using  the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, the “Book of the Dead”.

On the other side, Walkers are reanimated corpses. In The Walking Dead universe, a virus has infected all humanity. Anytime anyone dies, the virus reactivates and controls basic, primal brain functions, taking control of the body. However, Walkers are neither conscious nor intelligent, “living” only to feed. They are also slow, and become weaker the longer they have been a zombie.

Rick’s perspective is the real threat comes from other humans. The Walkers are easily put down by destroying the brain. Once dead, they stay dead. Now that Rick and his group know sorta what they are dealing with, Walkers are really only a threat in large numbers or if one appears unexpectedly.

Trading places, Ash wins. Rick is just not equipped to deal with the Evil Dead. However, killing Walkers would be a kind of vacation for Ash. Rick does not adapt quickly, while Ash has demonstrated time and again, despite being a bit of a fool, that he is resourceful and innovative.


Ash vs Evil Dead

In the first Evil Dead movie, Ash is not much of a leader, and his entire group dies. After severe hallucinations and descending briefly into madness in Evil Dead II, he steps into a bit of a leadership role when more people show up to the cabin in the woods. This second group also dies. However, in the end, he was willing to sacrifice himself to send the Deadites back where they came from.

When we meet Ash in Army of Darkness, it is only the 3rd or 4th day of his ordeal, and he has been transported to medieval England. Despite an initial unwillingness, Ash steps up to lead humanity against an army of the dead. Ash successfully commands the medieval soldiers to victory over the Deadites, saving and bringing peace to the world before returning to his own time.

On the other hand, Rick Grimes has the innate qualities of leadership. When he first encounters his group, they naturally begin to gravitate toward him despite the group already having a leader. Over time, and despite some loses, he has been able to keep and maintain the loyalty of those following him.

Rick has had his own battle with hallucinations, after the death of his wife. However, having come out the other side, the man he is today is not the man he was before. His goal today is to save only those within his family and core group. He could care less about anyone else.

Leadership is a draw. Those who have followed Ash have done so more out of need and necessity, not because of leadership ability. Rick’s leadership overshadows everyone, even the leaders of other groups. However, Rick’s attitude towards people is a bit of a threat to humans outside his inner circle. The pros and cons of both make this a tie,

Group Survivability

The Walking Dead

Who can best ensure the survivability of their group needs to be evaluated based on who these two characters are today, not who they were when they started. Both fundamentally changed since the start of their ordeals.

Ash Williams has evolved over three movies into a real hero. Ash grows from a person unable to cope with the realities of the Evil Dead, to a man of distinguished courage and ability. In Army of Darkness, he starts out as a person doing what needs to be done for his own personal survival,  but at the end is ready, willing, and able to defend all of humanity from the Evil Dead and the Deadite hoard.

We even see Ash use his new found character to bring human enemies together to fight the true evil. He has used past loses to fuel his drive to end the demonic attacks on humanity, all of humanity.

Rick Grimes has had his heroic characteristics diminish over time. By the end of Season 5 of The Walking Dead, if he perceives you as a threat to his survival, his family, or his core group then you may not have much time left.

We can see that Rick has begun to categorize people in camps of worthy and unworthy to survive. Being part of Rick’s group does not mean you are part of Rick’s group. His loyalty and willingness to ensure your survival depends on becoming part of his inner circle. Everyone else is expendable.

On survivability, Ash edges out a thin win over Rick. In Ash’s world, humanity is to be protected. Rick doesn’t have much humanity left. It may be true that in Rick’s universe humans pose a greater threat than zombies. Nonetheless, Rick is becoming the evil that should be fought against.

Ash Wins the Ultimate Battle of the Dead

Ash vs Evil Dead

I can sum this decision up with this: Ash became the man he was always meant to be. Rick has become the man that he believes he needs to be. Ash had become better for his circumstances, while Rick has become diminished.

William F. Halsey, an American fleet admiral, has been quoted as saying, “There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet.” In their fictional worlds, Ash and Rick both have great challenges. However, Ash becomes a hero. Rick is being transformed into a monster.

Be sure to add your choice in the comments.

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