Previously on Ash Vs. Evil Dead: Baal (Joel Tobeck), who had tricked Pablo (Ray Santiago) into reading the spell from the Necronomicon that would release him, made his way through two deputies and stole their skin. Ash (Bruce Campbell) was arrested by Sheriff Emery (Stephen Lovatt) and dragged to jail, where Chet (Ted Raimi) was also incarcerated. Everyone else eventually showed up at the jail: Ruby (Lucy Lawless), Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), Linda (Michelle Hurd) and Lacey (Pepi Sonuga). Baal played mindgames with everyone, increasing the paranoia and animosity between Emery and Ash. Baal also fought with Ruby and revealed she’d lost her immortality. After murdering Joanie the prostitute (Medulla Oblongata), Baal kidnapped Linda. Ash rescued Linda and proved to Emery, et al, that demons are real. Linda dumped Emery and left with Ash and friends. Pablo started manifesting signs that something evil was taking over his body. Ruby said it was the only thing that could save them from Baal.
After last week’s exercise in tension, “Trapped Inside” slows things down a bit, even as it takes Ash back to the past once again and in a particularly nasty way. The show also rips our hearts out (almost literally) once again with another major character death. On the less gruesome side, the episode is also a showcase for Dana DeLorenzo’s Kelly, who outshines even Ash with her one-liners. It’s Kelly’s world now, fuckwads!
Working off James E. Eagan’s script, director Mark Beesley uses familiar film techniques for this series, including the Kandarian demon point-of-view and cross-cutting between parallel scenes, albeit with a pronounced difference. Whereas previous uses of cross- were between scenes that were both quietly building tension before reaching a noisy climax, here, Ash’s story is a lot quieter while Pablo’s is full-throttle loud action.
All our Ghostbeaters, plus Linda and Lacey, arrive at Ash’s house after the events at the jail. Ruby tells Ash that the Book is “festering inside a live human” (i.e., Pablo), and she’s never seen that before. Pablo contorts, passes out, comes to, and vomits blood. Eww. Poor Pablo!
Back at the jail, a mob is confronting Sheriff Emery and calling for Ash’s blood. Baal starts seducing Emery with talks of revenge against Ash. Emery seriously considers Baal’s offer, especially the one involving murdering a particularly mean townswoman who’s giving Emery agita.
Ruby tells Pablo he is “spiritually converging” with the Necronomicon, and once it takes over, Pablo will be gone. Ash vows not to let that happen; in fact, he’s going to take his “chainsaw and shove it up Baal’s ass,” plus he’s got a pet tracker he’s going to shove down Baal’s throat so they always know where Baal is (and which will make it easier for him to shove his chainsaw up Baal’s ass). Ruby and Lacey take Pablo up to Ash’s room while Ash says he will go find Emery (“your…ex-husband?”) for Linda; however, the Emery-led mob shows up and attacks the house. Baal is wearing the skin of the mean woman Emery wanted to shoot.
The mob throws rocks at the house, so Kelly, fully fed up with the idiots in Elk Grove, uses her machine gun to scare them off. “You fuckwads want Ash, you’re gonna have to walk through lead!” she screams. Kelly shows she’s the daughter Ash never had (which he reminds us of again this week).
Ruby puts a circle of salt around Pablo to protect her and Lacey from whatever he becomes. She’s decided to accelerate the process of Pablo’s convergence in order to get the spell they need to show up faster and dispatch Baal.
Ash suits up with chainsaw and boomstick because he hears noises upstairs, which leads him to Cheryl’s room. Ash is momentarily distracted when he hears Ruby’s incantations, but then the sign on Cheryl’s door moves as if it’s blowing in the wind.
Inside Ash’s room, Pablo’s pendant is preventing the convergence from happening. Pablo speaks in tongues and levitates, as if he’s being exorcised. His words are summoning demons through Elk Grove and straight to Ash’s house. As Ash arrives at Cheryl’s door, Pablo rips off his brujo’s pendant and falls back to the ground. He’s covered in Sumerian text. Ash sees broken glass in Cheryl’s room, and the reflection of someone standing over her bed. It’s Chet, who sounds like he’s gratifying himself to Cheryl’s picture and clothes. Eww. Stupid Chet! Ash hears the Kandarians coming and gets Chet out of harm’s way.
Outside the house, Baal realizes the Ghostbeaters have the Book. Inside, blood comes out of Cheryl’s picture and seeps into her clothes. Ash asks what Chet was doing in Cheryl’s room; Chet plays dumb. Yeah, okay, Chet is dumb. Ash hears Cheryl calling for him; you’d think that would disturb him more, but after everything he’s been through, it’s like he expected it. The door starts opening and Cheryl (original The Evil Dead actress Ellen Sandweiss) comes out. Beesley uses another familiar film technique and elongates the hallway so it seems as if Ash is farther away from Cheryl. Cheryl seems confused and asks Ash where their dad is. A compassionate Ash responds simply that Brock’s not there.
Ash calmly tells Cheryl she died 30 years ago after being “tree-banged.” Cheryl’s confusion over being resurrected is short-lived, though, as she turns into a Deadite and attacks just as Baal incites the mob to go kill Ash and his pals. A protective Kelly gives Linda a gun to help stave off the mob long enough for Ruby to finish her spell.
Cheryl has Chet in her room and puts on Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never.” She licks and then bites Chet’s neck. Apparently, they used to date. Eww, Cheryl. Ash chainsaws through the door to save Chet. Cheryl throws Ash aside and disappears, taunting him from off-camera,“Your game sucks Ash!” Oh, Deadite Cheryl, leave the puns to Ash and Kelly. Chet pops out and Ash tells him to stay put and “do a bunch of nothin’” while Ash takes care of the Deadite.
Kelly, retreating from the front room, runs into Ash and he tells her about Cheryl. Kelly goes into Ash’s room and is worried about Pablo, giving him a pep talk to help him manifest the Baal-killing spell. Their relationship is becoming more brother/sister, which makes sense now that Ash is their surrogate father. Ruby says they’ll put Pablo’s necklace back on right after the spell appears in order to protect Pablo from being taken over by the Book.
Ash continues looking for Cheryl throughout house. Blood starts coming out of wall, a call-back to Ash’s time in the cabin. Cheryl bursts out of wall, trying to drag Ash in and use his chainsaw against him. Just then, the spell appears on Pablo’s chest in a burst of energy that re-opens the wound on Ruby’s side. “Wolverine that shit back together,” Kelly tells her, but Ruby says her children stole her immortality. Whoops.
Stupid Chet comes down after Ash told him not to, allowing Cheryl to take him hostage. Cheryl pushes her hand through Chet’s chest, holding his heart out to Ash. Aww. Bye, Chet! Ash shoots Cheryl, but she comes back and goes after Linda, so Ash shoots her again; she lands outside in front of the mob. Ash confronts the mob, telling them in his convoluted Ash-logic that he kills demons, not people, but if the demon’s look like people, then he kills people. He waits for Cheryl to come back to life to prove it, but it looks like she might remain normal just to screw with him some more. However, the demon can’t resist showing itself, killing a mob member. The mob tries shooting Deadite Cheryl, but it doesn’t work, as she keeps coming after them, intestines dangling in front of her. The hypocritical mob begs Ash to save them. Ash shoots Cheryl and chainsaws off her head, covering both himself and a mob member in blood. It’s pretty funny, albeit gross.
“I hope you all learned something today,” Ash tells the mob as Cheryl’s severed head says “Not again” before dying.
Ash’s triumph and redemption in front of the mob is as short-lived as Cheryl’s earlier confusion as Emery sneaks up and puts Ash in a chokehold so Baal can kill him. Baal offers to work together with Ash to take over the world, then takes Ash’s boomstick and knocks him out. Lacey and Linda look on helplessly. Credits!
Even with Pablo’s moaning, groaning, and crying out in pain, the episode was a lot quieter than I anticipated, given the return of Ash’s sister. Ash’s weariness from fighting Deadites kept him very low-key in his interactions with his Cheryl; whereas another show might have tried to wring every last bit of drama from Ash seeing his dead sister alive 30 years after he killed her, this show knows its characters and its audience well enough to avoid the kind of bathos that would result from that sort of forced pathos. Instead of hesitating to kill a being who looks like his sister, Ash knows it’s not really her and does not think twice about lopping her head off in order to protect everyone nearby, including the idiots in the mob who minutes before were ready to turn him into a bullet receptacle. It’s a credit to everyone involved in Ash Vs. Evil Dead that they don’t play with our emotions or use the characters to advance the plot, allowing them to remain true to their own natures, tearful reunions be damned. And to make sure we don’t have a moment to wallow in the death of yet another person close to Ash, the credits are set to “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa” by Napoleon XIV, a novelty song from the point of view of a nutcase about to be institutionalized. Never change, AvED, never change!
Next week: Will Ash join with Baal to burn the world? Will the pendant keep Pablo from becoming the new Necronomicon? Is Ruby telling the truth about that whole deal anyway? We probably know the answers to the first two, but the third is anyone’s guess. Stay tuned!
This week in Ash (and other) one-liners (plus other stuff I liked) (The Kelly Edition!):
“Back off now or I will fuck your faces with bullets!” – Kelly
Cheryl: “You look different. What happened to you?”
Ash: “Pancakes.” (Nice callback to all the pancake talk this season!)
Kelly calls the Necronomicon a “demonic glorified romance novel.”
“There’s my powerful vagina.” – Kelly to Pablo during the convergence
Who doesn’t love this fully formed hard-ass, hard-talking Kelly? She’s mad as hell and she’s not going to take it any more, Deadites! Watch your demonic asses!!
All photos courtesy of Starz