Previously on Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell) realized he needed to go back to the cabin to stop the Deadites, and fretted about taking Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) with him. Ruby (Lucy Lawless) and Fisher went to Brujo’s cabin, where Ruby was dragged by Skeletal Deadite Brujo into the burning funeral pyre. Ash’s hand went missing. Agent Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) once again caught up to The Ghostbeaters. The Deadite Force attacked the diner where Fisher, Ash, Pablo, and Kelly were, resulting in the bloodiest massacre yet. At the end of the murderfest, Fisher joined The Ghostbeaters.
After the glorious mayhem and punning of last week’s episode, “Fire In The Hole” slows down a bit, at least where Ash is concerned. He’s not exactly back-burnered like he was in “The Host,” but he’s low-key because he’s truly starting to care for Pablo and Kelly (and now Fisher and her lavender-scented cleavage, which Ash definitely hasn’t noticed before, heh). Michael Hurst returns as director, with Sean Clements, Dominic Dierkes, and Ivan Raimi sharing script credit. “Fire In The Hole” is heavy on feeling and eventually, gore, but somehow feels less substantial than last week’s entry.
We start in the woods where Lem’s (Peter Feeney) militia group is. Ash and the gang are looking for Lem. Ash tells the gang he has misgivings about them accompanying him to the cabin, but they refuse to leave his side.
Our foursome comes across two bodies, one cut in half with plenty of entrails visible, and the other guy barely alive. The dying man tells our group that “he” tore the militia’s compound up, as well as some of the militia members. Ash tells the dying man they will help him, then mimes to the group that the guy is a goner. It’s darkly funny, and all Ash.
The rest of the militia comes upon Ash and company and blows the dying guy away. His exploding head’s blood-spatter gives us this week’s title card. The militia takes Ash and the gang prisoner.
Ash says he’s looking for Lem. There are some weird noises from the roof and the head militia guy, Crosby (Mark Mitchinson), says it’s Lem and that he’s basically a monster. Crosby believes Lem has been infected by a virus, courtesy of the U.S. government. There’s a lot of Michigan militia-bashing in the episode that’s cartoonish, but mostly funny. Ash tells Crosby he wants his weapons back so he and The Ghostbeaters can take care of the Deadite threat.
Kelly, who’s been feeling her oats since slicing up Deadite Diner Waitress, taunts Lem, who goes very quiet. Delmont (Milo Cawthorne), a younger militia member, recognizes Fisher as a cop, which makes the rest of the militia immediately paranoid. A door suddenly opens and when an unnamed militia dude goes to check, Deadite Lem grabs him and drags him down into a bunker. Kelly and Pablo manage to escape in the confusion, but Ash and Fisher are caught and imprisoned in the same bunker where we saw Deadite Lem go.
Ash and Fisher are handcuffed together, and it’s dark. Turns out Ash’s Swiss Army hand has a flashlight, and he’s delighted when it works. Fisher tells Ash about Ruby. As she talks about what a poor, normal woman Ruby was, we see Ruby step naked out of the ashes of Brujo’s funeral pyre. She has a strange look in her eye. Ruby crushes Brujo’s charred skull and walks off.
Back at the bunker, Deadite Lem stalks Ash and Fisher, while the militia hunts Kelly and Pablo. Hurst intercuts between scenes frequently, meaning there is a lot of jumping around this episode between the Ash/Fisher dilemma and the Kelly/Pablo one. This doesn’t hurt Kelly and Pablo’s scenes because we’re already familiar with their characteristics, but it doesn’t do Fisher any favors.
Deadite Lem, looking more crazed than your usual Deadite, tries to set Ash and Fisher on fire. Meanwhile, Pablo and Kelly are hiding from Crosby’s men, and Pablo decides that’s a great time to philosophize about identity. Kelly knows who she is, but Pablo doesn’t know himself. Kelly is a flamethrower, but what is Pablo? An axe man? A gun guy? A rusty chain man? Kelly’s incredulous reaction to his existential debate is priceless.
Kelly is full of adrenaline and bravado, and hatches a plan to save herself and Pablo. She pretends to get caught by some of Crosby’s men and then nails one of them, Austin (Mike Estes), in the balls. As Pablo grabs Austin’s gun and tells him to stay still, Delmont catches them. Austin ties Kelly to the truck’s roller bar and says some grossly sexist things to her while Delmont puts twist ties on Pablo in the truck’s cab. Another Deadite shows up, tears out Austin’s’ throat and bashes Delmont’s face against the trailer hitch ball.
Pablo manages to get the car going and backs up, smashing the Deadite against a tree. Maybe Pablo is a car guy? Kelly says to get the Deadite’s gas mask so they can disguise themselves, go back to the compound, and save Ash and Fisher. Pablo tries to get the gas mask off the Deadite, which of course isn’t dead and attacks him. Kelly has trouble handling the automatic rifle and shoots wildly, resulting in poor Pablo being covered with the Deadite’s blood. Once the Deadite finally stops moving, Pablo angrily punches it until Kelly makes him stop and grab the gas mask.
Back at the diner, Ruby gets in her car and sees Ash’s hand is missing. Frustrated, she pops a hidden Deadite knife from the car’s glovebox and roars off. Oh, and she’s clothed again. Not sure where she found the threads, but that’s the last we see of her for yet another ep.
Meanwhile, Ash and Fisher see daylight, but a locked gates stands between them and freedom. Fisher acts helpless and calls for Deadite Lem to come save her. It’s the second time a strong female fakes weakness to fool a man. I kind of like it.
Pablo and Kelly trick the militia and take over. Deadite Lem covers himself in kerosene and blows fire at Ash and Fisher, who have impressive back-bending capabilities. Ash scalps Deadite Lem, who cries “My brain!” and screams. Deadite Lem takes a pickaxe to the face and that’s it for him as far as we know.
During this ordeal, Ash can’t stop flirting with Fisher and they almost kiss, but Kelly and Pablo burst in right then to rescue them. They’ve also handcuffed all the militia guys. Pablo, still looking for his signature weapon, finds his own boomstick in a grenade (or maybe mortar?) launcher and accidentally blows up part of the compound. Austin returns as a Deadite and is destroyed by Fisher, Pablo, and Kelly, who all have guns now. Kelly’s taken a real shine to the automatic weapons. It’s not at all phallic with references to girth or any of that sort of nonsense, except wait, it is. It’s still funny, though.
Ash tells them all they have a special place in his heart, amen. He’s starting to care for them and even though his speech is played for laughs, after it, he looks pensive. As Fisher, Pablo, and Kelly walk away while asking Ash where the cabin is, Ash disappears. Bootsy Collins’ cover of The Chamber Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today” starts playing and we see Ash’s hand “looking” at the cabin. The possessed hand gleefully scampers toward it.
Despite some truly funny lines and one legitimate jump scare, this episode flags a little in energy and pacing. The sheer amount of back and forth between scenarios doesn’t hurt Kelly and Pablo, as I stated earlier, but it did with Ash and Fisher. That near-miss kiss between them is far too early in their relationship; we still don’t have a great grasp of Fisher’s full character like we do with Pablo and Kelly. Also, nothing against the natural charisma of Mr. Campbell, but unlike The Ghostbeaters, Fisher barely knows Ash and his crude come-ons to her aren’t exactly endearing. Sure, she’s been through one massacre with him, but really, a kiss, now? No. They weren’t even handcuffed together all that long to forge an emotional bond in the face of death, especially as the killing of Deadite Lem is presented humorously.
The show’s scant use of Lucy Lawless is starting to wear a little thin, too. In a longer season, it wouldn’t be so bad, but in a 10-episode season of 30-minute-or-less episodes, it stands out. We’ve gotten tantalizing bits of information about Ruby and she did just emerge unscathed from a fire, but it feels like the show should give us more. Maybe it’s just me, though. I love Lucy Lawless and am itching to see Ruby confront Ash.
Oh, well. Coming next week: “Honey, I’m home!”
This week in Ash (and other) one-liners (plus other stuff I liked):
Ash: “Guess if you’re dead set on it.”
Pablo: “Dead set? Let’s say live set, keep it upbeat.”
Kelly: “We’re not leaving a trail of blood and guts behind us; we’re keeping Michigan moist.” Michigan, there’s your new state motto. Put it on a bumper sticker, stat!
Pablo: “I wish I had my rusty chain, yo!”
Kelly: “No, keep trying.” (You’ll have your motto someday, Pablo!)
Ash: “I’m old school, baby.”
Fisher: “Oh, you’re old something.”
Ash to Fisher: “No, but I’ll say yes just to keep hope alive.” I see what you did there.
Ash: “Life is hard and dangerous, and sometimes you have to chop off someone’s head to stay alive.” Words to live by in these Deadite times.
Seeing Ash’s hand move as the lyric “Wind me up” is sung.