Even if it has been pretty uneven, I still consider ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ to be one of the most fun TV series on the air right now. The show wrapped up its short first season this weekend with a finale that isn’t entirely satisfying, but fortunately we do have a second season to look forward to.
The last episode ended with Ruby (Lucy Lawless) stealing the ‘Necronomicon’, chanting a spell, and telling Ash that she wrote the book in the first place. For a while between episodes, I speculated that she may not necessarily be evil. Perhaps she wrote the book to contain the forces of darkness and is trying to do so again now? Sadly, no. The finale confirms right away that Ruby is straight-up evil and has been all along. She wants to use the book to unleash all the demons from Hell onto the world. Ash responds, “Aren’t we the tricky little bitch?”
The face from the book has adhered to Pablo’s head and won’t come off. Deadite Amanda bursts into the cabin and fights Ash with his own chainsaw. Ruby knocks Kelly unconscious and grabs Pablo. Ash eventually gets his chainsaw back and hacks Amanda into a big splattery mess, drenching himself and poor bystander Heather in blood in the process.
Ash reloads his shotgun and prepares to follow Ruby down into the cabin’s basement. Kelly comes around and insists on going with him. Before that can happen, the cabin shakes and Ash falls down the stairs. The basement door closes behind him, leaving Kelly and Heather trapped upstairs.
Ash appears to be sucked through a time portal and winds up back in his own trailer on the night he read from the book. He wonders for a moment if everything that happened afterward had just been a bad dream, but then discovers Ruby waiting for him.
Ruby says that she plans to impose order on all the Dark Ones by ruling over them like a Godfather figure. She asks Ash for a truce, and offers him an “Undo Button” on his life. She claims that she can give him the dream life in Jacksonville he always wanted. All he has to do is agree to stop fighting her, and leave her alone forever. Without even considering it, Ash tries to shoot her with his shotgun, but it misfires and he gets sucked back through the portal to the cabin basement again.
Upstairs, Heather wants to run and freaks out when she has a vision of being covered with bugs. Kelly refuses to leave her friends behind. When she struggles to get the basement door open again, the cabin itself spits her outside and locks Heather in.
Ruby casts another spell, which causes Pablo to puke out an eyeless demon child. Ick.
Heather is attacked by furniture in the cabin and impaled with nails, and then finally dragged across the floor into another room. The cabin chomps her up and then spits out her bloody corpse through the door. Her possessed Deadite head taunts Kelly.
The demon child confronts Ash in the basement. He can’t bring himself to shoot a kid, no matter how freakish. It jumps on him and bites him and claws at him until Ash is eventually forced to blow its head off.
Kelly concocts a plan to burn down the cabin with some gas cans left near the generator and a road flare. How this will help her to save Pablo doesn’t seem to be very well thought out. Nonetheless, she starts the fire, at which point the cabin opens its door to let her back in.
Ash finds Ruby and immediately blasts her a couple times with his shotgun. Pablo, under control of the evil mask, blocks him from finishing her off and fights with Ash. Pablo begs Ash to kill him, but Ash doesn’t want to do it, and his chainsaw is out of gas anyway. Kelly races in to save Ash from Pablo, but Pablo gets the best of her.
While the others are distracted, Ruby heals quickly from her gunshot wounds. However, Ash grabs the Kandarian dagger and slices her a few times with it. The blade causes her real damage and pain.
Ruby offers Ash the same deal as before, and says that he can take Pablo and Kelly with him. As he watches Pablo strangle Kelly, Ash agrees to accept this time. The ‘Necronomicon’ mask flies off Pablo’s face back onto the book.
As Ash, Pablo and Kelly drive away from the cabin, Ash is happy. He looks forward to having a normal life. When a news report about giant sinkholes opening up all through the state comes on the radio, he turns the station. Nothing’s going to bring down his mood – not even the ground behind his car collapsing and opening up a pit to Hell.
I get that the joke is that Ash is a selfish idiot who only cares about himself (and his immediate friends), but his sudden capitulation to Ruby doesn’t play right. He may be a dumb oaf, but he can’t possibly be dumb enough to believe her. What kind of life does he think he’ll have in Jacksonville after the apocalypse hits?
I’m also not especially thrilled with Ruby’s sudden heel turn, or the way Amanda was discarded in the last couple episodes. These were more interesting characters when they started. Even Heather deserved a better fate than she got.
On the other hand, the finale episode is pretty humorous and has plenty of fun gore.
I think the show is still suffering some growing pains as the creators figure out how to stretch the ‘Evil Dead’ concept into a long-form story. Hopefully, it will work out some of the kinks in Season 2.