By now, it’s apparent that Ash Vs. Evil Dead is not a vestigial capitalization on the Sam Raimi IP. It’s a brisk, nauseatingly funny horror-comedy which honors the legacy. In this third episode, Ash requires answers to quelling the unleashed hordes of Deadites forever with incantations from the Necronomicon. Of course, the logical next step would be visiting the Books From Beyond bookstore where he came into possessing the book.
The Flight of the Valkyrie score is a soaring song to ignite the fuse this powder keg. Up until now, Lucy Lawless’ Ruby Knowby has been a red herring only briefly showing up in a diner. However, her painful interrogation of the paternal Deadite shows that she is clearly an invaluable warrior with the same dispatching spirit as Ash if not more lethal in her methods.
Ash’s uncouth racism is hysterical when he suggests to Pablo (who is not Mexican) that they devour churros after their misadventures. Evil Dead has been fickle with the folklore behind the demon-summoning literature but this is the first time we’ve been treated to some of the hieroglyphic origins of the Necronomicon. It was a gateway devised by the Dark Ones with inscriptions written on the flayed back skin of their condemned cohorts.
Once again Ash cluelessly misconstrues that they should conjure a “wimpy” demon to contravene on the already present Deadites. Thankfully, Michigan state trooper Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) doesn’t harbor her suspicion of Ashs for long. Now she is a cog in the wheel against the entities. The ceremonial whirlwind when the portal is opened reminds one of Raimi’s own Drag Me to Hell only its mitigated by Ash’s flinty quips (“First of all, you look nothing like your photo. Might want to update that.”).
The creature itself is a gnarled, gummy Silent Hill villain but it definitely wreaks havoc in its few minutes on screen. This is a monster-of-the-week standalone episode but it provides vital background on what the Necronomicon was. It also concludes on a cliffhanger as to what Amanda’s fate will be. But frankly, she is less pivotal than the trio of Ash, Pablo and Kelly so she is expendable.
Rating: 4 out of 5