Ash vs. Evil Dead Recap: Enter the Ghostbeaters

Photo: Matt Klitscher/Starz Entertainment, LLC.
Ash vs Evil Dead
Episode Title
Books From Beyond
Editor’s Rating

As I hoped for, prayed for, and somewhat expected, “Books from Beyond” gets AvED back on track, weaving some of the show’s threads together and beginning to fleshing out the world — “fleshing out”, of course, in more ways than just discussing the binding materials of the Necronomicon.

Charging down the road under the apocalyptic chorus of Verdi’s "Requiem," Lucy Lawless’s still-unnamed character arrives at Kelly’s house, now clearly following the trail of carnage Ash leaves in his wake. This cold open was fun for a lot of reasons, because it got us off the so-far very linear track of the “Ghostbeaters” (the so-dumb-it-may-stick name Pablo gives the main trio), and because Lucy Lawless is fun and badass in pretty much everything she does. But I also really appreciate the show’s attention to creepy, practical atmospheric effects in almost every scene. Here it was Lucy stepping into frame as the windmill spins behind her and cross rattles below her, just a really nice, spooky shot.  But throughout AvED, insert shots of blowing wind, flickering lights, ominous clouds, various props rattling and shaking of their own accord, all used to great effect to remind us that Evil is lurking.

Anyway, Lucy pulls Kelly’s now deadified-dad out of the ground and cruci-pales him rather awesomely. She’s grills him for information on our man Ash, twanging the Deadites eye-fork to wheedle him. It appears that more than just a bumbling savior of his own hide, Ash is Legend. Well, he’s at least known and pursued by both her and the Deadites, so he’s got at least some cosmic significance other than “guy who keeps accidentally reading the Book Which Should Not Be Read.”

 It’s cool to see a Deadite actually interacting with someone in (slightly) more substantial way than nasty one-liners. These guys eventually have to be more than one-off encounters, hopefully we’ll get a least some who have plots and personalities and long-term grudges –a Big Bad, a Boss Fight– and Kelly’s Dead Dad was our first hint there’s some deeper scheming going on in the Deadite hive mind. (It is a hive mind, right? They’re always saying “we” ...).  Of course he then gets his face cut/melted off by Lucy’s big, presumably magic ceremonial dagger, so BYE-BYE Dead Kelly’s Dad (Though I’m secretly hoping she keeps his disembodied face so it can come back and yell at us more).

Meanwhile, at Books from Beyond! State Trooper Amanda Fisher and Ash finally cross paths as Ash brings the book to Lionel, whom Fisher had been interrogating after finding his business card at the scene of the trailer-park murders. Ash and Lionel concoct a plan to summon a lesser demon (“a teeny-tiny demon, like a mouse demon!”) to shake down for information on how they can un-summon what they already have. They settle on Eligos, “a demon of the mindscape”, draw a chalk circle, get to summoning and…

WHOA, when Eligos shows up he’s no mouse; that is one shockingly dope demon.  Seriously, Eligos’s crazy, shifting body was definitely the best CG effect the show has done yet, and an excellent way to use some digital enhancements to make a creepy monster suit way creepier. If AvED keeps coming up with monsters this cool to supplement the classic (beloved!) white-eyed Deadites, I will be delighted. I can also forgive some less-than-great graphics work (I’m looking at you, floating glass shards), if we get the good stuff where it counts (though to be fair, Lucy Lawless’s face-melting knife also looked pretty cool).

Anyway, after being knocked unconscious and restrained when she tried to arrest Ash, Amanda convinces Kelly to let her join the fight, where she ... immediately tries to arrest Ash. Their confrontation causes Ash to smudge the chalk circle containing Eligos and all hell breaks loose (GET IT?).  And just as it looks like Eligos is going to scramble Ash and Pedro’s brains, Kelly steps in, destroying it by just whacking him upside the head with the Necronomicon itself.  Which is ... good to know, I guess?  Turns out knowing ancient Sumerian isn’t really needed for unleashing the book’s awesome power.

So after a little sleight-of-wooden-hand, Ash leaves Amanda handcuffed at the bookstore (and in the clutches of resurrected Evil Lionel), and sets off with his crew to find Pedro’s uncle, who just happens to be a Brujo. They continue to break down Ash’s self-defined status as “an alone wolf”, only natural after they all keep saving one another’s lives.  And though Ash and Pablo’s whole Don Quixote/Sancho Panza schtick is still a little one-note to me, Ray Santiago and his goofy hair keep being charming enough to make it work, and I hope we’ll get to see him and Dana DeLorenzo grow into badasses of their own rights.

So, I’m glad the show got some more momentum this week and we got some more information on what exactly our heroes need to do to stop the evil. Between Lucy Lawless’s hunt for Ash and Lionel telling him the answer is “inside,” (and of course Pedro’s insistence he’s el Jefe), it seems Ash may actually have a whole “chosen one” thing going on, which is always a fun place to put him.

Listen up, Screwheads:

  • I swear I heard a little bit of “I Zimbra” in Lionel’s summoning incantation.
  • Sadly, it appears Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” is not the only tape Ash has in the Olds. This week we’re listening to the Stooges “Loose,” which of course Ash loves as a good ol’ Detroit boy.
  • Ash is unable to stop joking about Pedro’s ethnicity, calling him a “smooth, brown Einstein” and making sure he knows liking churros is “not a racial thing, that’s just a great desert.” It’s okay because Pedro’s not Mexican, he’s Guatemalan! Har har, etc.