RECAPITATION! Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 6
This latest episode is one of the most “the other shoe drops” episodes we’ve had in a while. Last week’s episode felt like such a cliffhanger into what’s to come, here we start off really strong with the metamorphosis of Ruby’s Evil Ash baby and the brawl from hell between Kelly and Ruby as Kelly shoots Ruby full of holes and grenades her to bits. That’s the opening! As the episode continues it seems very cut and dry exposition other than this sequence. Dalton’s allies in the Knights of Sumeria show up and it’s not as awesome as I would’ve hoped as they're kind of lame. It’s just them driving to Ash’s hardware store as he fills them in on what’s been going on and cracks some jokes. Even Pablo and Brandy more or less just mull over the events of what’s happened. There’s not much new information, just characters getting caught up on the up and up and honestly for the viewer it’s a little boring. One of the things I’ve loved about ASH VS EVIL DEAD is it’s mostly kept the films consistent energy and expediency. We don’t need forty-five-minute episodes with fifteen minutes of that being filler. It’s kept a brisk pace and very little time on screen is wasted. This was the first time I watched an episode where the entire middle, with the exception of the Kelly Ruby fight, felt a little wasted. Then that other shoe drops and as Pablo says, “Shit just got really weird.”
That may be the genius of this episode though is it is so unsuspecting because of its pace as all of a sudden not only do we get a portal opening up in Ash’s basement where basically John Carpenter’s THE THING emerges to kick ass, but we get a huge gut punch as well. Ruby kills Kelly. Not since season two’s death of Pablo had we gotten something like this. We’ve seen scraps like this before in previous episodes and I honestly thought old school style the dastardly villain would run away to fight with Kelly another day. “Hell no.” Says Rob Tapert let’s stab her right in the chest and take a page from the book of Joss Whedon. Just like when Illyria took over poor Fred’s body in ANGEL, the witch, Kaya took the body of Kelly to help Ruby take Ash’s daughter and descend the world into a war of evil
The backbone of this episode is an all-out gritty fight of limbs and punches flying through the air between Kelly and Ruby. These scenes are so powerful to watch especially after the intimate time Kelly spent with Good Ruby in season two, where she had a role model adverse to the idealism Pablo placed upon Ash. Unlike most protagonists that would be blinded by that connection, Kelly has fully turned into her own amazing character that surpasses any we’ve seen before, once again my case for why she would’ve been awesome as Ash’s true daughter. Sher does not care what Ruby represented to her. She knows what this Ruby has done and is going to do and will stop at nothing to protect what she has left to call a family. She empties her shotgun into Ruby to slow her down enough to come at her with the Kandarian dagger, the only true weapon against Ruby’s immortal body. Back and forth the two come to gaining the advantage in the fight. This becomes such a clever device because as the episode is expository for the other characters we are treated to this fight sequence throughout the episode as the two women try to tear each other apart. It makes an incredibly compelling experience as it goes from the least visually striking and least interesting aspects of the episode into the utmost hardcore. The culmination of the sequence I would never have dared to think would have such a pay off as this twist. It’s so damn quick and gives you no time to linger or think about what you just saw. In that aspect, I find this story structure quite amazing. We have no idea what Kaya has in store for Kelly's body and persona to use against the Ghostbeaters. Such a crazy switch as Kelly fought hard to save Pablo he must now unknowingly do the same for Kelly, whom he's already had to save before from the touch of Eligos. Can she be saved once again? Is there any hope for her now? Questions that you don't have to think about during but that will follow you throughout the week until the next episode. I find myself even thinking do we want to tread down that salvation path again with Kelly as we did in her possession from Eligos? Or do we let her transcend to something more? I hope the writers can take it somewhere knew a right by Kelly's character arc. Could she never truly return just as Fred died in ANGEL?
The shoe drops, now let's drop a huge ass boot. From day one Raimi has said anything can come out of the book. While we’ve gotten some pretty interesting creatures I have been a little disappointed in the deadite design for the possessed souls a bit. Within THE EVIL DEAD movies, each deadite had a distinct look and feel to them that made these “shemps” iconic and memorable, whereas in the show the deadites are merely fodder for the slaughter. However, when the Knights of Sumeria and Ash discover ‘The Rift” which becomes a gateway to monster hell is when the deadites originality in design returns. It’s like watching Rob Bottin take molds from THE THING and combine them with ideas from Stuart Gordon’s FROM BEYOND. I have to give mad props to the Practical FX team on the creature that collects bodies and fuses them to its own to become an awesome looking deadite beast for Ash to face. It partially reminded me of the tree of faces that came through the cabin in EVIL DEAD II which is one of my favorite creatures. With this deadite being carved up by Ash, Pablo senses with his newfound powers and connections with the book that the Rift has so many more evils to bestow upon our heroes which has me completely ready for that originality to come back to the deadite design.
I have a lot of mixed feeling about this episode because I do think it’s the slowest of the series but in some ways find it genius as I said on how that exposition plays into the payoffs at the end of the episode catching the viewer completely unaware. I would like to think that was the writers/directors sleight of hand intentions but who knows? We also got our random ARMY OF DARKNESS/ending of EVIL DEAD II flashback which felt very random and full of wannabe fan service. I hope that's more toward the idea of ARMY OF DARKNESS coming more into the lores forefront and not just a passing wink. Definitely not the best episode but very ballsy.