The latest installment of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ finally gives Lucy Lawless something to do. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, the episode as a whole is the weakest of the show’s run so far.
We pick up where last week’s cliffhanger left off. Amanda is handcuffed to a shelf while a Deadbite approaches her. Luckily, she’s saved at the last minute by Lawless’ mysterious stranger. I don’t recall hearing her character’s name in the episode, but IMDb credits her as “Ruby Knowby” so we’ll go with that.
Ruby explains what Deadites are to Amanda. She also claims that her parents and her sister were murdered in a cabin in the woods, and she blames Ash Williams for unleashing the evil that killed them. She’s been hunting him for revenge ever since. (This, obviously, attempts to tie the series to the events of ‘Evil Dead II’.) Ruby also shows Amanda that she has possession of Ash’s original severed hand, which still twitches with life.
Sadly, that’s all we get from these characters this week. Still, it’s progress.
The Rest of the Gang
While en route to see Pablo’s uncle, the brujo, Kelly feels sick in the car. She brushes this off as a “tiny concussion,” but the recap clip at the beginning of the episode implies that the demon they fought in the last episode may have possessed her (which of course means that it must have).
Suddenly, Ash’s car is chased by an evil smog cloud. In a pretty neat visual effects shot, a car heading the opposite direction into the cloud hits it and gets flung away into the air. Ash guns his old clunker and barely crosses the threshold to the brujo’s property, at which point the cloud cannot pass. Pablo explains that his uncle’s property is protected by spells and talismans.
Pablo has a contentious relationship with his uncle, who’s frankly kind of a dick. The man is utterly unimpressed by Ash. Nonetheless, he senses a flicker of something powerful within him, so he gives Ash a hallucinogenic drink to unlock his mind. Ash has a pretty freaky trip that starts with a talking iguana and a visit to his ultimate dream vacation spot – Jacksonville, FL for some reason – before turning decidedly disturbing with visions of the brujo growing an eyeball in his mouth, and Ash having his own eyes sewn shut while he’s surrounded by Deadites.
Meanwhile, Pablo and Kelly head to another room where Pablo can work on constructing a new artificial hand for Ash using an old Nintendo Power Glove. (Now you’re playing with power!) Kelly’s headaches get worse and she’s tormented by voices. Sure enough, she’s soon revealed to be possessed by last week’s nasty demon. Under its control, she electrocutes Pablo (not fatally) and tricks the brujo into leaving her alone with Ash.
Kelly straddles Ash, and the demon inside her forces its way into Ash’s mind as well. Fortunately, Ash has apparently seen some of the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ movies and realizes that he sets the rules within his own dreams. He takes control of the dream and fights back against the demon. In the regular waking world, this means that he unknowingly strangles Kelly until Pablo and the brujo return and pry him off her.
The episode ends with Ash returning to consciousness and the implication that the demon is still inside Kelly.
Although it features several really funny lines of dialogue (Ash’s attempt to coin the catchphrase “When evil shows up, it blows up” is a great one), the episode on the whole doesn’t make too much effort to be comical. Instead, it’s balanced too much toward the scary stuff and simply pushing the narrative forward. I suppose that Ash’s drug trip is intended to be the hilarious centerpiece of the episode, but it feels kind of derivative and just isn’t as funny as I’m sure the writers thought it would be.
The episode still has some very fun stuff in it, of course, and I’m definitely still enjoying the show. This particular entry just hits a small lull.