Previously on Ash Vs. Evil Dead: Ash (Bruce Campbell) re-opened his dad’s hardware store as a “hardware store/sex emporium,” Ashy Slashy’s. Pablo (Ray Santiago) works with him and also runs the Pablito’s Fish & Chips cart outside the store. The woman who found the Necronomicon brought it to a TV show dealing with antiques, and the expert who evaluated it was so excited, he read from the book. Whoops. Evil went after two high-school girls, including Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill). Turns out she is Ash’s daughter courtesy of a drunken marriage he sort of remembers. Ash saves Brandy, but not her friend and not her mother. Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) shows up to help with a new friend, Dalton (Lindsay Farris), who turns out to be a Knight of Sumeria and bows down to Ash because Ash is the Prophesied One. Hoo boy! Meanwhile, Blonde Ruby (Lucy Lawless) gets the Necronomicon, does some hoodoo with it, and becomes pregnant with…something.
“Booth Three” opens with Ruby’s car careening in a storm as her spawn roils inside her. She skids off the road, narrowly missing two hitchhikers, Eric (Mark Sole) and Natalie (Samantha Young). Some…thing breaks through her stomach as she screams; blood explodes onto the inside of the car. Eric keeps approaching the car anyway. DUH. He opens the door and finds Ruby, split open and dead, her umbilical cord still connected. The cord moves, so Eric follows it to see what it’s connected to; it’s a human-looking baby. Eric picks up Ruby’s spawn; the baby opens its mouth wide, revealing sharp teeth, then attacks Eric. Eric’s blood goes through cord and reanimates Ruby, who severs the cord with her teeth. She reclaims her child, her organs hanging out. Ruby tells her child, “You may be born from the image of that idiot Ash, but you’ll be nothing like him.” Then she kills Eric. Bloody opening credits!
Brandy is at Ash’s in Cheryl’s room, where everything in it is freaking her out. Ash tries to comfort her in his Ash way because he’s a “cool dad like you see in the movies.” He gives her her cellphone because it has a message from her counselor. She asks Ash for a ride to school.
Pablo and Kelly talk. He says he doesn’t buy the whole “princes of Sumeria” thing. Kelly responds that Dalton’s ancestors were “whaling” on evil long ago. Pablo remains skeptical. Dalton narrates an animated tale, saying evil has manifested in many forms and is rooted in “master demons” called The Dark Ones. The most ruthless Dark One is the Demon Woman of Fire, who we know as Ruby but he doesn’t yet. One of the knights, a sorceress named Kaya, tried to take over the power of the Necronomicon after the knights stole it, but her soul was bound into the book instead. “Only the Prophesied One can abolish the Dark Ones,” Dalton adds, mentioning a “foretold battle against evil.” Gulp.
“Thanks for the scoop, Poindexter!” Ash brashly says as he walks in; Dalton immediately kneels like a dork. Ash, already freaked about Brandy, freaks even more at the thought that he might have lots of children. Especially since the Deadites mentioned destroying his seed. Ash decides they need to get out there and whale on evil while providing Elk Grove “top-quality hardware at a reasonable price—but not that reasonable!” “I missed him,” Kelly exclaims.
Ash tries to bond with Brandy on their way to her school by telling her about the consummation of his marriage in the Delta 88 with her mom. She turns on the radio to avoid hearing about it. At her school, everyone is grieving and sobbing. The cops are also there, and Ash advises Brandy not to talk to them about what happened with Cougie.
As she gets out of the car, Brandy feels the stares of her fellow students; she flashes back to Cougie’s attack. A woman named Ms. Rebecca Prevett is her counselor; the blonde turns around to reveal she’s really Ruby! Man, she is waaay ahead of everyone. Brandy tells her about what happened to Rachel and her mom. Ruby is soothing and Brandy confesses Ash is her real father. Ruby is surprised, but doesn’t show it, instead hugging Brandy and saying, “It’s okay; I’ve got you now.” It’s ominous because it has two meanings!
Meanwhile, Pablo is working and hears someone calling him. He cramps up as the writing on his skin becomes inflamed. He sees a mask on the bed nearby, and soon a mostly naked woman in the mask appears before him. She tells him his uncle’s magic can save him. Kelly and Dalton come in and the lady disappears before they see her. Dalton notices the inflamed writing on Pablo’s arms. He tells Kelly that Pablo is “marked by evil,” and that his soul is in mortal danger. Dalton is convinced Pablo will “go demon,” and that he’ll either kill them, or they will kill him.
Back at school, Ruby is gently getting Brandy to open up, then tells her that Ash murdered Cheryl and that she’s afraid for Brandy’s safety. Elsewhere, Ash goes to the Elk Grove Cryobank. A doctor there, Mrs. Lam (Helene Wong), asks him how Brock is. “Oh, he’s still dead,” Ash says. Mrs. Lam is disappointed because Brock produced “a lovely semen” with a “high sperm count”; unfortunately, it was unusable due to syphilis. “Uh, TMI!” Ash tells her.
It turns out that Ash has been donating his seed to many such banks, and he wonders if his friend at the bank, Marci (Debbie Newby-Ward), can tell him if anyone’s ever used his “man sauce.” He’s so subtle. Ash bribes her with a coupon to Ashy Slashy’s. While Marci looks up his info, Ash pulls out one of the magazines used to arouse the donors, then decides to go donate since he’s there. Act first, think never, right, Ash? We also see that there are several vials of his product in the freezer. I’m not sure I’m in favor of where this is going.
Elsewhere, Ruby is chanting a spell to destroy all of Ash’s seed so there can be no more of his progeny. At the clinic, the lights start flickering. Evil heads to the clinic and breaks in. We see even more vials in the freezers labeled “A Williams.” Ash’s one hand has been quite busy. Mrs. Lam becomes immobile as she is reaching into the freezer, while one of the pictures in Ash’s magazine comes to life to the tune of a-ha’s “Take on Me” and I start to die laughing. Marci touches Mrs. Lam, who turns into a Deadite. The woman in the magazine (Sarah Overwater) reaches out and attacks Ash while Marci is killed. Deadite Mrs. Lam yells “Your seed must die!” while attacking Ash with vials of semen, which gets everywhere, causing Ash to slip. Yuck. Ash uses liquid nitrogen to freeze Mrs. Lam, then smashes her face to bloody pieces. The girl in the magazine calls Ash an “objectifying motherfucker” right before he tosses the magazine in a filing cabinet drawer and crushes her arm. Ash limps out of the clinic.
Back at Pablito’s Fish and Chips, Kelly tells Pablo why she had to get away from Ash for a while; she had to forge her “own path and shit,” plus she prefers Ash when he’s in fight mode. Kelly also tells Pablo what Dalton said about Pablo’s being marked. Ash shows up with a hand-shaped semen stain on his pants. He tells them that “it’s a long, sad story involving some unsightly bodily fluids” while they look grossed out. He also says their priority is protecting Brandy. “I may suck balls as a father, but I will not let evil take that away. Brandy, I meant. Or my balls,” he over-explains. “We got it!” Kelly says, exasperated.
Speaking of evil: Ruby is at her nursery, where she has Natalie chained up, pieces of Eric in a pile nearby. Ruby says her spawn is destined to be the next Prophesied One; once Devil Child kills Ash, he’ll get Ash’s powers. (Ash has powers? The Deadite, you say!) Ruby feeds one of Eric’s arms to the baby as Natalie screams. End credits as we hear George McCrae sing “Rock Your Baby”!
One of the hallmarks of Ash Vs. Evil Dead is how quickly each episode passes by, and “Booth Three” is no different. Director Mark Beesley, working from Rob Fresco’s skewed script, keeps things humming along; when Demon Woman of Fire and Ice feeds her Demon Child of Teeth and Blood the remains of poor hitchhiking Eric, it feels like the episode has just begun, not ended. The show is very good about packing in a lot of action, moving the story forward, and leaving the audience hanging on impatiently until the next episode drops. If ever a show were a candidate for binge-watching, it’s this one!
We also now have most of the season’s arc laid out for us. Blonde Ruby, who’s more of an ancient evil than we first knew, plans to replace Ash with her own creepy, toothed brat, while Dalton knows an epic battle is brewing and that it may be fatal for all or some of them. Ash, of course, knows none of this, but he does know he has to protect Brandy and be a father to her now that her mother is dead. I can’t wait until these threads come together.
Another hallmark of the show is the excellent musical choices, not just in Joseph LoDuca’s score, but the songs chosen to punctuate certain scenes as well as play over the end credits. “Take On Me” gets both porn-tastic and menacing in the slimy clinic scene, while Humble Pie’s “30 Days In The Hole” seems to comment on where Brandy would like Ash to be as he’s telling her way too much about his sex with Brandy’s mom. “Rock Your Baby” coming on the heels of Blonde Ruby feeding her evil spawn a bloody arm is flat-out hilarious.
Finally, the gross-out factor hits its apex—or yet another apex?—with the clinic scene. Ash slipping in the viscous, opaque product of his lust is both disgusting and hilarious, but mostly disgusting. While being hilarious. It’s a fine line of grotesqueness and Ash Vs. Evil Dead stomps all over it. I’d conjecture where they could go next (think: monthly), but I don’t want to give them any ideas. Or maybe I just did. Moo ha ha. Guess we’ll find out as the season progresses! Tune in next week, then come read here!
This week in Ash (and other) one-liners (plus other stuff I liked):
“How was I supposed to know all that crazy sex could lead to a kid?”
“Jesus of Anaheim!”
Ash: “We gotta do that thing—what’s it called like when you’re driving in a car, putting on deodorant and trying to drink a beer at the same time?”
Kelly: “Reckless endangerment.”
“New guy, take a knee!” (Ash’s dismissive treatment of Dalton tickles me no end)
Glamour Girl in the Magazine: “I’m not finished yet!”
Ash: “That’s what they all say, baby!”
Linda B. Watch: No mention or sight of Linda B. this ep. Argh!
Interesting tidbits from “Inside the World” (the after-show) with Rob Tapert & Co.:
- Booth Three is where Ash goes before he’s attacked in the sperm bank.
- More practical effects:
- The umbilical cord was operated with air to make it pulse as if blood was flowing through it.
- The Demon Spawn is a puppet.
- Demon Spawn also has a chainsaw hand, just like dear ol’ dad. Except it’s fleshy. EW HA HA HA!
All photos courtesy of Starz