Previously on Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell), high as a kite, unleashed the Kandarian demons on an unsuspecting populace because he was trying to impress a woman whose name he couldn’t remember. Two of his co-workers, Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), became his sidekicks, while Agent Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and mysterious woman Ruby (Lucy Lawless) hunted him down. Last episode saw the deaths of two hikers at the hands of Deadite Fisher. Ruby showed up to save Pablo, Kelly, and the third hiker, Heather (Samara Weaving). Ruby and Ash sparred verbally, then she convinced him to hand over the Necronomicon after he removed its face with the Kandarian knife. Ruby began reciting incantations, and the cabin shook violently and other bad things happened. When the face of the Necronomicon attached itself to Pablo, Ash tried to stop Ruby, who revealed she was the author of the dreaded book. Say what now? Let’s find out more!
Both Craig DiGregorio, the Ash Vs. Evil Dead showrunner, and one of the show’s producers, Rick Jacobson, makes their series debuts as writer and director, respectively, of the season finale, “The Dark One.” Both display a lot of affection for the series, especially the film Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn, from which the season finale borrows a few tricks, such as the ticking clock and the rivers of blood which flow freely throughout.
Deadite Fisher, previously run off by Ruby, returns and attacks Ash with his own chainsaw. Deadite Fisher tries sawing through Ash’s fake hand, but whatever Pablo used to make it holds up very well. Elsewhere, Kelly is trying to get the Necronomicon “mask” off Pablo’s face. Suddenly, Pablo turns into something demonic with buggy glowing red eyes; Ruby takes advantage of the shock and knocks Kelly out. Heather, completely freaked out, stands there screaming. She is so going to die in this episode.
Ash gains control in the fight with Deadite Fisher and gets his chainsaw back, which he attaches to his arm with great flair. He gores Deadite Fisher in the stomach with the chainsaw and beheads her. While he’s doing that, Ruby grabs Pablo and disappears. Ash realizes Ruby took Pablo down into Henrietta’s fruit cellar.
Ash prepares to go down into the cellar to do battle, including applying his hair dye stick because he’s Ash and he’s vain. “She has my Pablo,” Ash says. Kelly wants to go, but Ash refuses to take her until she convinces him with her heartfelt “That’s my Pablo down there, too.” Aww! Heather insists on accompanying them because she doesn’t want to die. That’s so cute.
As Ash, Kelly, and Heather get ready to go after Ruby, the Deadite Force comes barreling through the woods and hits the cabin, knocking Ash alone into the cellar and slamming the door after him. He takes a mighty tumble down the stairs and into a void, then lands back in his trailer with the girl whose name he can’t remember. She wants him to read his “poetry” from the Necronomicon, but he tosses it aside instead. He wonders if he is dreaming. He is, in a way: The girl disappears and Ruby, in a pretty white dress, is revealed to be sitting across from Ash.
Ruby says Ash appeared in her book and she knew he was El Jefe. “That’s ‘Mr. Jefe’ to you,” Ash spits. Ruby tells Ash she wants the Dark Ones to rule again. She’s offering him an “undo” button, a truce where he goes to Jacksonville to live in peace and she gets to control all the evil in the world. What could go wrong with that? Ash tries to boomstick her, but the chambers are empty and he falls, landing at the bottom of the cellar. He tries to leave, but the cellar door won’t open.
On the other side of the cellar hatch, Kelly decides to try shooting it open, then chopping it with an ax. The door bleeds, freaking out Heather some more. Kelly explains the cabin is just “fucking with” them. The reel-to-reel tape starts playing, and we hear Prof. Knowby’s voice. Heather thinks she’s covered in roaches and begins screaming bloody murder, so Kelly slaps her. Kelly enjoys it, too. Kelly then sees an eyeball in the wall and chops it with the ax. The cabin, angered, knocks Kelly outside completely and locks Heather in. Heather screams more bloody murder as Kelly tries in vain to go back inside.
Down in the cellar, Ash has screwed up his nerve and is slowly advancing through the cellar, which seems bigger than the cabin. He comes upon a demon child that quickly vanishes. Ash finds Jake’s (Dan Hicks) skeleton as we get a flashback from EDII of Jake being dragged into the cellar by Henrietta. Ash hears some weird chanting, as well as Pablo pleading for help. Ruby is controlling Pablo and using his blood to write more pages of the Necronomicon. Uh-oh. Pablo vomits out a gross wormy thing that grows into a demon child like the one Ash saw earlier. This child crawls out of the cellar. Double uh-oh.
Kelly is still trying to get back into the cabin while poor, screaming Heather is getting thrown around by the Deadite Force. The couch attacks Heather and further damages her broken leg. The Force then sends a bunch of nails flying into her while bringing some up through the floorboards; Heather steps on them, impaling her feet. Poor thing is getting totally tortured. She tries to get to the front door to help Kelly get back in when the Force drags Heather into a glowing red room. She finally stops screaming. R.I.P., Heather.
The door to the cabin suddenly opens and Kelly is knocked backwards by a torrent of blood and Heather’s dismembered corpse; Heather’s disembodied head taunts Kelly about her “boyfriend,” Pablo. The cabin then locks itself up, but Kelly is determined to get back in to help Ash save Pablo. She punts Heather’s head away.
Ash, finally seeing what Rudy is doing, tries to psych himself up to attack Ruby when he notices a creepy demon child is behind him. The kid attacks when Ash is unable to shoot because he’s struggling with shooting a child, even a creepy one. It rips off one of Ash’s shirt arms; he looks like he did in Army of Darkness. Ash finally manages to jam the boomstick down the kid’s mouth and blows its body off (another homage to EDII).
Outside, where it’s raining heavily, Kelly finds cans of gasoline and a flare. One of the creepy demon children runs behind her, but she doesn’t see it. She sets the cabin on fire in a sort of triumph.
Ash finally breaks in to where Ruby and Pablo are and shoots Ruby twice. Her eyes are completely black. Ash prepares to chainsaw her and end her evil.
The cabin opens itself back up to Kelly, who sees a demon kid come out of the cellar. She grabs the ax and heads down. Her capacity to ignore the evil little bastard is impressive.
As Ash readies to kill Ruby, she takes control of Pablo and makes him attack Ash. Ash refuses to fight back because he doesn’t want to hurt Pablo, so Pablo knocks him on his ass.
Kelly sees someone with a flashlight in the cellar. The light goes off and it’s one of the screaming demon kids, who takes off and drops the flashlight. Kelly grabs the flashlight and heads forward. She’s almost unflappable at this point.
Pablo, who has seen the horrors Ruby is trying to bring into the world, begs Ash to kill him; he’s convinced he can’t be saved. Behind them, Ruby’s wounds heal. Pablo tries to force Ash’s chainsaw into his own face, but it runs out of gas before Pablo can kill himself with it. Ash is happy that for once, Pablo forgot to remind him to fill the gas tank. Pablo then gets the boomstick from Ash and is about to shoot him when Kelly knocks the boomstick out of his hand. They begin to fight. Ruby grabs the Kandarian knife and starts to carve Ash’s face off because the Necronomicon needs a new cover, but he manages to distract her long enough to grab the knife away. He tells her to release Pablo, but she offers to make a deal again. Meanwhile, Pablo is choking Kelly and she’s near death.
Ash tells Ruby he won’t take the deal without Kelly and Pablo being spared as well. Ruby says sure, why not? Ash accepts only if she will send the three of them to Jacksonville, and oh, he would also like $10,000 in cash. “I’m not a bank!” Ruby says angrily. Ash says he’ll settle for gas money, which Ruby has on her.
Kelly and Pablo, however, don’t want Ash to take the deal. Pablo again mentions the horrors he’s seen, but Ash says he’ll take the truce and he’s keeping the Kandarian knife just in case. He grabs the Jacksonville postcard Ruby is tempting him with; the Necronomicon’s face flies off Pablo and back to the book.
Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” begins playing as the three Ghostbeaters wind up back in Ash’s Delta. An emergency alert on the car radio says massive sinkholes are opening up everywhere in Florida and for people to stay indoors. Ash turns the radio off and says Ruby will keep it all in check. He’s either one-hundred percent delusional or he’s faking being confident for Pablo and Kelly’s sake; either way, he looks a little crazed. Pablo and Kelly are still very apprehensive about the whole thing.
Ash sticks a cassette into his tape deck—for once, Pablo isn’t our music man—and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” begins playing (I would’ve gone with “Highway to Hell” myself). As they drive down the road hauling Ash’s trailer, a massive sinkhole opens behind them. END SEASON.
Both DiGregorio’s and Jacobson’s fondness for the ED series is apparent in every frame of the finale, whether it’s an homage to EDII or just having everything in the cabin look like it’s been sitting there since the last time Ash made that fateful trip. Jacobson is also good at ratcheting up the tension with Ash’s walk through the dark cellar, especially with those evil-looking little kids running around.
I also liked that Ruby’s minions are demonic children with hollowed-out eye sockets, sharp teeth, and black blood. It’s different and scarier than the Deadites we’re used to (and even Eligos), and bodes very unwell for the denizens of earth Ash has unwittingly (or not) sacrificed in order to call a truce with the Kandarians. We know from Brujo’s skeleton that the Kandarians themselves did not want Ruby to gain control of the Necronomicon, and now we’re seeing a little bit of why. I’m also curious to know what new spell she put in the book using Pablo’s blood.
Another thing I hope is clarified in season two is the purpose of Pablo’s medallion. Brujo gave it to him for protection, but all it did was try to fight the Necronomicon and is responsible for Pablo getting faced in the first place. It wasn’t addressed in the finale, which did have many other threads to wrap up, but it seems they left an important plot point dangling around Pablo’s neck.
All in all, the first season of Ash Vs. Evil Dead was a total kick. Even the one episode that was a little lagging in the energy department didn’t derail the momentum of craziness throughout these past 10 weeks. Everyone involved should be commended for not only keeping the spirit of the ED series alive and killing, but adding further to its glory. As much as I agreed with Pablo and Kelly that Ash should’ve just sacrificed them and killed Ruby (which he probably would’ve done if they’d only listened to him and not followed him to the cabin), I can’t wait to see this new evil Ruby’s unleashed, who she really is (we still don’t know, other than she’s the demon the other Kandarians are afraid of), and how in the wide wide world of Jacksonville Ash is going to be able to put an end to her reign of terror.
“Baby, I dumped you at the right fucking time.” Ash is all hearts and flowers (but really, the romance never felt earned, so him not being totally torn about killing her was okay).
Most of my Ash faves are on the review proper (his Pablo, etc.), but this one from Ruby was also good: “Without good, there is no evil. I just want evil under control, same as you.” Yeah, sure, Ruby, whatever you say.
Note to Ryan Murphy: This is what a comedy-horror TV show really looks like. You’re welcome!
See you next season for more recaps, fellow Deadite fans!