‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ 2.10 Recap: “Now THAT Is a Firm Handshake”

The last episode of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ was a lot of fun and gave me hope that the show would close its second season on a strong note. That the finale is actually rather sloppy, confusing and not entirely satisfying is perhaps a fitting reflection on this very messy season.

Picking up where we left off, Ash is locked in the cabin basement with Tanya (the college student) and Deadite Henrietta. Ash yells at Professor Knowby to let them out, but the jerk grabs the ‘Necronomicon’ book and runs away. As soon as he gets in his car, something evil kills the professor in an explosion of blood.

Tanya isn’t long for the world either. Ash shoots Henrietta with his shotgun, but it proves ineffective. The Deadite vanishes into the shadows. Before Ash even knows what’s happening, Tanya is grabbed and splattered. Ash blows the lock off the basement door with his shotgun (why didn’t he do that to start?) and climbs out, only to hear Tanya’s voice crying for help below. He’s skeptical, as he should be. Suddenly, Ruby walks into the cabin carrying the ‘Necronomicon’. Something about her is different. When did she find time to dye her hair blonde?

Ash doesn’t have any time to ponder this before he’s dragged into the basement again. He fights Henrietta, which turns really disgusting (even for this show) when she gets him in a headlock and squirts breastmilk onto his face from her saggy bosoms. Henrietta then turns into a long-necked demon monster (another callback from ‘Evil Dead II’). Fortunately, Ash’s chainsaw starts working again and he’s able to decapitate her.

On the floor above, Kelly and… Ruby again, with her normal hair… enter the room as well. Yes, there’s two Rubys. The blonde one is the Ruby from 1982 and the other one is the Ruby from the future. Young Ruby sees the chainsaw on Ash’s hand and quickly surmises that he’s the hero prophesized to defeat her. She’s aghast that her older self is working with this man. Old Ruby tells her that everything in her life will work out and she’ll have the power she craves if she just turns over the ‘Necronomicon’. Of course, dim bulb Ash has to spoil the lie. Young Ruby stabs Old Ruby in the gut (what a cold-hearted bitch!), but Old Ruby grabs the book from her and tosses it to Kelly, who slams Young Ruby with it, throwing her backwards and knocking her unconscious.

Ash and Kelly get the hell out of the cabin. Old Ruby stays behind to hold her younger self off. On their way back to the Delta, Ash feels something funny going on with his right arm. He removes the chainsaw and discovers that… his hand is back! They did it! They changed history and now he never lost the hand. More good news comes when they hear banging noises from the Delta’s trunk. Pablo is alive again as well!

As they drive away feeling pretty triumphant and discussing how they’re going to get back to the future, Pablo reveals that he’s not Pablo at all. He’s Baal, wearing Pablo’s skin. The car screeches to a halt. Young Ruby rips off the driver side door and tosses Old Ruby’s head inside.

The next thing you know, Ash and Kelly are prisoners of Baal and Young Ruby. They witness some of Ruby’s demon children being spawned. Baal explains how he possessed Pablo’s body at the moment of his death.

Ash challenges Baal to a fair fight, mano-a-mano with no demon powers. If Ash wins, Baal and Young Ruby will return to Hell and be exiled from Earth forever. If Baal wins, he and Young Ruby will bring about an apocalypse on Earth. Also, Ruby’s children get to defile and eat Kelly. Ash is fine with those terms. I’m not sure why Baal thinks this is a good idea, but he cuts his hand and Ash’s hand and they make a blood oath over the ‘Necronomicon’.

Ash takes an early lead in their punching contest, but Baal cheats and takes the form of Chet and Ash’s sister to distract him. He cuts off Ash’s new hand, which becomes possessed and gives Ash the finger. When Ash sees his dead father (Lee Majors) appear next, he of course assumes it’s Baal again and drowns him in the bathtub, but it turns out that Baal actually resurrected Ash’s father just to watch Ash mistakenly kill him.

Eventually, Baal overpowers Ash and tosses him into the room with Kelly. Just when it looks like Ash is a goner, he tricks Baal and kills him with his own claw finger, slicing his body straight up the middle until Baal’s skin slides right off.

The bet won and Ash victorious, the ‘Necronomicon’ flies out of Ruby’s hands. The cabin bursts into flames and a portal to Hell opens in the floor, which sucks Baal and the book down into it. Ash and Kelly run outside just as the cabin explodes, Ruby still inside.

The cabin very quickly burns to the ground. From its ashes, an arm juts upward out of the rubble (an image straight from ‘The Evil Dead’). It’s Pablo. He pulls himself up out of the ruins. Ash punches him in the face just to be sure it’s not Baal again.

In no time at all, Ash, Pablo and Kelly are back in Elk Grove in what appears to be the present day. The town throws a big parade to celebrate Ash as a great hero. Ash sees the ghosts of his dad, his sister and Chet in the crowd. He takes the stage to make a speech, and there’s a kid in the front row wearing a really awesome Ash Williams costume. With Linda at his side (I guess she got over the deaths of her husband and daughter), Ash announces that he’s moving back to Elk Grove permanently.

This may be the greatest day of Ash Williams’ life. Everything seems almost too perfect, until we spot blonde Ruby watching from the back of the crowd.

Episode Verdict

I made a passing attempt at trying to figure out the time travel logic on this show, but eventually had to give up, realizing that the show has no logic to its time travel. Ash changes history and Pablo, with all the memories of everything they’ve done together, comes back to life there in 1982? Uhh… OK. Likewise, why would the townspeople of Elk Grove throw Ash a parade in 2016? How do they know what he did to defeat evil, other than him claiming to have done something that, from their perspective, would have happened 34 years earlier?

Perhaps I’m overthinking it. The finale episode has its bright spots and a decent amount of entertainment value. Nonetheless, it feels like a weak end to the season. The first season also had this problem. I still like the show a lot, but I wish it were more consistent.

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