Previously on Ash Vs. Evil Dead: A drunk, despondent Ash (Bruce Campbell) hallucinates that the bifurcated and duct-taped-together Pablo (Ray Santiago) encourages him to go back in time and destroy the Necronomicon, reversing 30+ years of misery and bringing Pablo back to life. Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Ruby (Lucy Lawless) aren’t on board, but Ash forces Ruby to recite the incantation that will take them back to the cabin in the early 1980’s. They arrive in 1982 prior to when Ash & friends made their ill-fated trip. Ash winds up separated from Ruby and Kelly (who are attacked by the trees), and searches the cabin for the Necronomicon. He finds a human Henrietta (Alison Quigan) chained in the cellar. Prof. Knowby (Nicholas Hope) arrives with one of his students, Tanya (Sara West), and Henrietta convinces Ash to free her so they can save Tanya from Henrietta’s fate. Ash releases her just as Prof. Knowby tells Tanya his wife is possessed, and that he wants to try using the Book to force the demon out of Henrietta and into Tanya. Henrietta morphs into the grotesque creature from Evil Dead II and attacks. Prof. Knowby takes the Book and locks them all in Henrietta’s fruit cellar. While Ruby and Kelly, who having thwarted the trees’ attempts to drag Kelly into Hell (presumably), head toward the cabin, Deadite Henrietta (Ted Raimi) ominously threatens to bring grievous harm to Ash and Tanya.
Like “Home” and “Home Again,” “Second Coming” is directed by Rick Jacobson, who has a talent for thrilling action and high comedy. The season finale is filled with whip-smart wisecracks and breakneck action—in fact, it seemed things moved along more quickly than normal for this show. Luke Kalteux’s script throws in plenty of original trilogy references to sate long-time fans without distracting from the overall story, but as I’ll delve into later, it leaves a lot of questions up in the air for the next round of episodes (Ash Vs. Evil Dead has already been renewed for a third crazy season). It’s a very good episode to end the season on, still. Everyone’s on their A-game in this one.
Let’s get into the details right away: In what may well be the shortest opening sequence of the series to date, Prof. Knowby asks for forgiveness from Ash and Tanya before booking it out of the cabin with the Necronomicon. “No one escapes their destiny, Ash,” Deadite Henrietta says (and boy, is she right!). Ash shoots Henrietta, who spits out the buckshot, disappears, and then drags Tanya through the stairs. Blood splatters everywhere. Outside, Prof. Knowby gets in the car and is bloodily murdered by an unseen force. Title card!
Tanya, covered in blood, tries to open the cellar door and ask for help, but is dragged back down by Henrietta. Ash is distracted by the cabin door opening, through which a blonde-coiffed Ruby walks with a blood-spattered Necronomicon (this episode is extremely bloody). Henrietta drags Ash back in cellar before he can ask too many questions. Our Ruby and Kelly show up and blonde Ruby asks our Ruby who she is.
Down in the cellar, Henrietta shoves her naked breast in Ash’s mouth and makes him drink her “milk.” He kicks her between the legs, an image made grosser because Henrietta coos, “Ooh, feels so good inside me!” There really is no end to the indignities the Deadites will force on him. Ash breaks free from her, um, grip. “Prison rules, eh?” he smirks. Henrietta transforms into the “snakehead” form from Evil Dead II and attacks. Their fight is, to put it mildly, gross, but also comical, given the “Three Stooges”-esque touches (fingers to the eyeballs and such). Ash grabs Henrietta by her elongated neck and chainsaws her head off, having completely forgotten (or just not caring) about not changing things too much because of repercussions on the timeline. The only thing missing in this episode is Ash actually stomping on a butterfly.
Upstairs, our Ruby tells ‘80s Ruby she can make another choice. She doesn’t have to follow Baal in trying to bring Hell onto Earth. Ash is freed from the cellar and see both Rubys. In typical Ash fashion, he gets straight to the point: “Oh, here’s a question: If we all had sex right now, would it still be a threesome because technically, you’re both the same person?” Both Rubys give him a weird look. Ash proceeds to tell ‘80s Ruby how she winds up killing her own children in the future, and she looks stricken by the revelation.
Our Ruby tries to talk her ‘80s self into walking away, telling her she can do anything; ‘80s Ruby takes “anything” to mean stabbing our Ruby, which she does with the Kandarian dagger, straight up between the ribs. Ouch. Our Ruby grabs the Necronomicon and uses it to knock out her‘80s counterpart. Kelly wants to save Ruby, but Ruby tells them to leave. She gets very still, so Ash says a few nice words and tries to close Ruby’s eyelids. “I’m not dead, you dumb bastard,” she says weakly. Ruby gives Kelly the Book, saying Kelly knows what to do and that she should forge her own path, as Ruby told Kelly in the previous episode. Also, Ash owes Ruby $200. She forgives the debt. Kelly and Ash leave the cabin. ‘80s Ruby gets up and heads for our Ruby. The camera cuts away; we hear gunshots, but we don’t see anything.
Outside, Ash feels pain in his chainsaw arm. He pulls the chainsaw off, revealing that his hand is back, making him very happy. Kelly is convinced they’ve changed the past, and sure enough, Pablo makes noise in trunk—he’s alive, but he still has the Sumerian writing on his body. Ash explains how they saved him, and Pablo sees Ash’s hand, which he shakes. “Now that is a firm handshake, Jefe!” Pablo says. Ash responds in typical Ash fashion: “Brand spanking new hand. Or, brand new spanking hand?” Ha.
In the Delta, Ash asks Pablo to help them go back to the future, but Pablo says no. He pulls off his skin because he’s Baal (Joel Tobeck)! Baal knocks Kelly out just as ‘80s Ruby shows up and tosses our Ruby’s head into the Delta. Damn. ‘80s Ruby knocks out Ash. When he comes to, Baal and ‘80s Ruby are birthing babies out of the mouth of the Book (several of the shadow forms are crawling all over, too). Ash asks about Pablo, and Baal says Pablo is suffering in a terrible dimension beyond human comprehension. Baal explains that he was able to get inside Pablo and take him over while Pablo was doing the incantation to send Baal to Hell, then used Pablo’s body to convince Ash to go back in time. Oh, and he transferred to Pablo right in front of everyone, but they didn’t know it (a flashback shows the exact moment—a moment which fooled me, too).
Ash offers to fight Baal in order to bring back Pablo. “I’m willing to throw in,” he begins, “but—and this is a big hairy but—you gotta turn off your demon powers.” Ash makes a deal—if he wins the fight, Pablo is restored to life, and if he loses to Bill (heh), Ruby gets her fiery apocalypse and her creepy eyeless children get to eat Kelly. Kelly’s not happy about that. Baal agrees and slices Ash’s good hand, then his own. The two seal the deal with blood dripping onto the Necronomicon.
Ash beats Bill pretty good at first, but then Bill fights back—hard. ‘80s Ruby is pissed off that the men are deciding hers and Kelly’s fates, and says she will alter the deal as she flips through the Book. Ruby asks Kelly why she is following Ash, offering her powers to switch sides. Kelly would rather die, she says as she tries to grab the Kandarian dagger but is rebuffed by one of Ruby’s creepy kids.
Baal disappears from the fight and is replaced by Chet. Has Ruby restored Baal’s powers? Hmm. Anyway, Chet beats on Ash and shoves him head-first into a piano, which he then plays so the hammers smack into Ash’s face. Chet then grabs the chainsaw and cuts off Ash’s newly restored hand. OUCH. The hand flips Ash off, making the same weird talking noises as in Evil Dead II. Chet disappears, to be replaced by our next returning champion, Cheryl! While Kelly is in the other room getting her ass kicked by the shadow children, Cheryl also has a chainsaw and goes after Ash, who locks himself in a bathroom. Cheryl appears briefly in Deadite form to spook Ash, then disappears.
Ash hears noises outside the door, then his dad’s voice. Brock is back! Ash lets Brock in, and Brock is about to tell Ash the truth he hinted at back in “Last Call,” but Ash is convinced it’s just Baal and beats his dad pretty badly. Brock continues trying to tell Ash the vital intel, but instead, Ash drowns Brock in a tub. Baal shows up behind Ash, who realizes he was played for a fool. Was that really Brock? Probably not because in Brock’s place is another chainsaw. Ash hears his father’s voice telling him, “Take the chainsaw, son.” Baal has his own, and the two have an epic chainsaw fight. Unfortunately, Ash is no match for a demon-powered Baal. Baal throws Ash into the room where Kelly and Ruby are. Ash apologizes to Kelly and admits his failure; Kelly tries to comfort him, but Baal says the “prophesied one” will die by Baal’s hand as the two men face off.
Baal grows out his long fingernail, but before he can slice open Ash with it, Ash asks to know one thing about Ruby: “What was she like in the sack?” Baal starts to chuckle, and the distraction is enough for Ash to get the jump on him as he grabs Baal’s arm and shoves that nasty fingernail into his gut, then slicing upward to the top of Baal’s head. Baal’s skin comes off in strips; he angrily says to Ruby, “What have you done!?” but all she says back is “Honor the deal!” Apparently when she made the fight “fair,” she helped Ash somehow? The Necronomicon flies to the floor and opens up a portal to Hell; a skinless Baal is defeated and the creepy children scream in agony. As flames burst out everywhere, Ash grabs Kelly and saves her. Outside the cabin, they hear Ruby cry out in pain, then the cabin explodes in flame and crumbles. Nothing is left but a pile of ashes (no, not Tiny Ashes). Out of the middle of the burnt ground, a hand shoots out and it’s Pablo, resurrected. Pablo still has the Sumerian writing on him. Kelly explains what happened, but Ash doesn’t believe it’s Pablo and punches him in the face (just as Kelly did to Linda two episodes ago). Kelly stops Ash, who finally believes it’s the real Pablo and brings them both in for a group hug.
Back in Elk Grove in the present (presumably), Ash gets a “thank you” rally, complete with “Town Hero Ashley J Williams” banner. Linda B. (Michelle Hurd) is by his side with Pablo and Kelly. Ash sees the ghosts of Brock, Cheryl, and Chet cheering him on. Ash tells the “assholes” in the crowd that they’re responsible for the deaths of Chet and Brock, but hey, it’s a new day, so it’s time to move on. Ash announces he’s moving back to Elk Grove for good and tells evil to stay out as only he can: “Evil, if you show your ugly mug in this town ever again, I will fuck you up, I will take you down, and I will wipe you out! I love you, Elk Grove!” Someone in the crows yells, “I love you, Ash!” and he responds, “Hey, I love me, too! Let’s party!” Is this still the ‘80s? The town square set looks a little cheesy and dated, after all.
Ash tells Linda everything’s perfect, but he didn’t expect it. Linda, who doesn’t seem at all sad that she’s lost a daughter and a husband, sexily says he can do whatever he wants. In a brief Army of Darkness reference, Ash wants “some sugar” and kisses Linda like he did Sheila. Everything seems great, then…’80s Ruby is seen in the back of the crowd. Ash lets out a “Whoooo!” as we cut to credits
But wait! There’s more! The credits music is the same heard earlier in the episode when Ash was fighting Henrietta and also comes from Evil Dead II. As the credits wind down, the music starts sounding warped and slowed down. Sure enough, there’s a stinger scene: The camera moves past a rusted VW; we hear flies buzzing, and an unseen female finds the Necronomicon under some leaves. “Hey, look what I found!” she says innocently. Cut to black! Could this have been Mia from the recent Evil Dead remake/reboot? For those unfamiliar with the remake or who didn’t sit through the credits, the stinger for that movie was present-day Ash putting on the chainsaw, after which he turns to the camera and days, “Groovy!” Stay tuned for next season, fellow Ash vs. Evil Dead fans!
Though “Second Coming” wrapped up the main story of the season—that is, defeating Baal—it left an awful lot of loose threads hanging, as well as creating other questions. For instance, how did the Ghostbeaters get back to the present—if they did get back to the present? Was that part of the deal with Baal, or something else? The town still looked very retro and ‘80s Ruby had the same haircut and color when we saw her skulking around the outskirts of the rally. Pablo also still had the Sumerian writing on his body, which he wouldn’t have if they’d never had this adventure because he and Kelly wouldn’t have met Ash in the first place. Our Ruby did say the present would have a constant in Ash himself, but if they changed the past, would people other than Ash remember the original timeline? Shouldn’t their lives have reset and gone differently without Ash and the Deadites smashing through it? For an example of alternate timelines being created, see The CW show, “The Flash”; only Barry Allen/The Flash remembers the original timeline before he went back in time and changed events—everyone else only knows the reality they’re currently in.
Additionally, Ash was supposed to go back and get the Necronomicon, but not change anything else. By killing Henrietta before he ever first met her, how did that not completely screw up the timeline? One interesting wrinkle goes back to what Henrietta said about people not escaping their destiny, which we saw in action as Ash regains his hand, only to have demonic Chet cut it right back off. Couple that with the teaser after the credits and we know it’s only a matter of time (in this show, probably a few minutes into the new season!) before the Deadites are back making Ash’s life miserable and bloody.
The other big mysteries left hanging are whatever it was Brock wanted to reveal to Ash and the one teased since the first season: WHO THE FUCK IS RUBY? As far as Brock, all I could make out when he was trying to give Ash the vital information was “you and I,” “between grandmas” (I think), and “Ashley, you aren’t.” “You aren’t” what? Is Ash not Brock’s son? Is that what Brock wanted Ash to know after all these years? If so, who is Ash’s biological family? We never saw Ash’s mother in flashback or elsewhere, and when he first got back to the ‘80s, he wanted to see his dad but didn’t mention his mom. It’s possible she may make an appearance of some sort next season and fill us in. I hope.
We also never got to see Ruby interact with Prof. Knowby (either ‘80s Ruby or one of her creepy kids killed him) or with Henrietta, so we still don’t know who she truly is other than some immortal being who wants to rule the world, which I guess is enough, except she claims she’s a Knowby and she wrote the Book of the Dead. I’m hoping we get more of her story next season.
As I mentioned above, Linda doesn’t seem like a woman who lost her family. Did that all change, too? Also, why would the townspeople think Ash was a serial killer if he never went to the cabin with his friends since the cabin disappears thanks to Ash’s non-concern with changing the timeline? Something is more than a little off with the ending we saw.
No matter, I guess, as we are getting a third season (thank you, Starz!), meaning we might get some answers—some day. “Second Coming” was a great way to wrap up a corker of a season while giving us an unsettling cliffhanger (’80s Ruby still alive) to keep us guessing until the next season starts. Damn you, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, and your nefariously addictive ways!
This week in Ash (and other) one-liners (plus other stuff I liked):
I love the way Ash laughs when he gets the upper hand in any fight, as well as his lack of concern for mucking up the timeline. “Shoot first, think never,” always!
“Oh, my freaking hand! It hasn’t even held a beer!”
“Sorry, I don’t come with brakes.”
Bruce’s “WHOO!”s are a thing of beauty
“I’m jus a total badass hero, not a serial killer.” You keep doing you, Ashley!
R.I.P., our pink-haired Ruby. You were a true badass and you made a good mortal at the end.
So glad to see Pablito and Kelly sticking with Ash (as well as Pablo alive again). What will they all do, though, without Deadites to fight?
Thanks to everyone who’s been coming here and reading these reviewcaps. Hope to see y’all next year, same Ash time, same Deadite channel!
All photos courtesy of Starz