So I’m going to start this by addressing the absolutely horrible elephant in the room: Ash vs the Evil Dead has officially been cancelled. Quite frankly, I am super upset about this.
The series cancellation had apparently been thought about and juggled around due to falling numbers in viewership after the second season, and STARZ didn’t believe it could keep up with their current heavy hitters like Counterpart and American Gods, so the decision was made give the series’s the ax or rather the chainsaw. What made this news even worse is that I’m a follower of Ray Santiago, Dana Delorenzo, and Arielle Carver-O’Neill on Instagram and their goodbyes to the series were just too much for me to handle. I will truly miss seeing them but that’s a sob story for the finale next week.
Whether they knew the series was ending or not, this episode managed to start a sort of rushed tying of loose ends to actually end the story, even if there likely isn’t enough time in the finale to cover everything. Maybe as a last farewell to fans we could actually get the hour runtime we always wanted? Wishful thinking, but a man can dream. Either way, a final showdown is imminent and this was definitely a good precursor to that fight. One thing we can be certain of is that no one on this staff has ever given us reason to not expect exactly what we want. Fan service be damned, but I know we’ll have an unforgettable series finale ahead of us.
The episode opens with Zoe being hooked up to tubes that are drawing out most of her blood into jars as Kaya urges Ruby that they need to run from the Dark Ones. Ruby however, is more keen on creating a new page into the Necronomicon in order to mask its presence from them, ensuring they won’t get their hands on it. From Zoe’s back she flays her skin off a size of a page. Zoe does manage to break free afterwards, but Kaya makes short work of her once she catches up.
Ash , Pablo, and Brandy return to the house, during which Brandy experiences side effects of coming back to life; aka, a hangover. They discuss why Kelly couldn’t come back with them as we get a strange revelation from Pablo. Either from his Brujo powers or from being host to the Necronomicon once, he can see through the eyes of the book itself. Pablo sees that another soul is in Kelly’s body and surmises that this is the reason she was held back in the Deadlands, because her spirit had no body to return to. He also sees the house they’re in and that they need to find a rift.
The two split as Pablo goes to secure the rift and Ash goes to deal with Ruby and get Kelly’s body back. In a moment of fatherly intuition, he leaves his famous boomstick with Brandy at the house…and she vomits on his shoulder.
Pablo returns to the hardware store too late since the rift opens and the ever-powerful Dark Ones appear in the flesh, dressed as the Nazgu—great hooded figures. They find the missing book pages on Pablo and then toss him aside, barely noticing his presence and leaving him to wonder why they didn’t kill him. In Elk Grove their presence is felt as random people start becoming deadites, and all hell breaks loose when violence erupts.
Brandy hears the commotion and gives herself away while the house begins to mess with her mind. She runs as the dark force chases her around the house from room to room, leading her take refuge in the shed. Like father and daughter, this scene is almost a complete rehash of the scene in Evil Dead 2 when Ash cut off his own possessed hand. The demon further messes with her by pretending to be her dead mother calling her phone, her phone then actually biting her thumb off.
The fight begins between her and a demon ridiculous looking phone demon, which ends when she nails the vulgar demon to the floor and then runs it through with a snow plow. Poor Brandy is constantly taking blood to the face, as Pablo returns to her racing to regroup with Ash.
Kaya begins to create her own protective circle while Ruby finishes creating the page. Ash gets there just in time and holds Kaya hostage. Ruby tries to get Ash to work with her stop the Dark Ones but at this point he can never trust her again. He’s attacked by a deadite Zoe and she gets free once more. Ash gets tossed around by Ruby when she tries to get the location of the rift out of him. She even destroys the chainsaw for good!
Before they can end things, the Dark Ones finally appear and tear Kaya’s soul from Kelly’s body and make her own physical body appear, which they proceed to burn her alive. Ash uses the confusion to take the book, the dagger, and Kelly as Ruby gives him a chance to get away by further provoking the Dark Ones. Ruby also meets her end as her soul is sucked from her body.
Ash communicates with Pablo via the book and they plan to meet by the rift even though Pablo tells him not to. The gang meets up at the hardware store while Elk Grove becomes the scene of martial law with the Dark Ones returning for the book. The missing pages are restored. Pablo tries to stop them and they disappear after saying in Sumerian, “the time has come to test the mettle of man”. Their chants fill the air and episode ends with a giant black demonic hand coming from a great whole in the ground.
A lot happened in this episode and it was a lot to take in, yet at the same time it did feel a bit rushed. I’ve no idea if they knew the series was being canceled before this episode was aired, but they tried to include a bit too much in too little of a time frame. Granted it was still a joy to watch—it’s just that some great significant moments came across as underwhelming due to how quickly they came and ended.
An example would be Kaya and Ruby’s deaths. While still very satisfying to watch, with all the talk of how angry the Dark One’s were with them and what they would do to them should they ever get the chance, left enough promise that their deaths would be cruel, long, and painful. A simple burning and a soul stolen were a bit too merciful even for them, though I suspect it does have something to do with the series end. Also we don’t really know if Ruby is actually dead or not; being a Dark One herself they may be just holding on to her soul for now.
As for the Dark Ones, I’m still not sure how I feel about them. They had enough screen time to show off their power and malice but really ended up just reminding me of the Nazgul. Their exertion of power against Ruby, considering how powerful she is herself, did get the point across that Ash may not be able to defeat them alone. I would have liked to see them showcased a bit more but I’m sure we’ll ge that and more in the series finale. I’m left with a question of why they didn’t kill Pablo as well. As stated before it could be because he was host to the book once so they may think he is one of them. Or it’s as he said, having a foot in either dimension could have played a part in this.
I’m expecting a lot from the finale. Will Kelly come back before the end? How will Ash fulfill his destiny? What will the final showdown be like with the Dark Ones? So much of this and more. I have high hopes for the season and I know the writers who have given us what we want for so long will not disappoint.