Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead saga has made the jump to television, and we here at CHUD couldn’t be happier. Each week, Drew Dietsch and Andrew Hawkins will be discussing the current episode, and we invite you to join in the conversation in the comments below. ***SPOILERS*** for each episode will probably be part of the conversation, so make sure to watch before you read.
Drew Dietsch: Alright, we’ve been grooving on Ash vs. Evil Dead mighty hard here at CHUD, but the honeymoon is over and it’s time to see if this show is going to have some legs. “Books from Beyond” is our first real heavy dose of mythology. Andrew, would you say that this episode has given us an arc to look forward to for the next seven episodes?
Andrew Hawkins: This one actually changes everything. There have been small doses of mythology peppered throughout all of the Evil Dead films, but in “Books From Beyond” we now have some concrete history of how the Necronomicon ex Mortis was created. We’ve never seen straight up demons from hell before and now that the stakes have been raised, we know that there are greater forces at work than just the force that stalks the woods and possesses Ash’s friends.
Before we get too deep into who the ‘Dark Ones’ are and how stupid of an idea it is to summon a minor demon that preys on the weak, let’s discuss how much of a kickass character Lucy Lawless’ Ruby is. I dug everything about this week’s opening involving Kelly’s dad. Just that orange Dodge Charger speeding down the road while Dies Irae blasts in the background was enough to get the juices flowing. Between this and Fury Road, I think it’s been a pretty damn good year for Verdi.
Drew: Verdi people in the house say, “Ehi!”
I loved Lucy Lawless’ tough interrogator persona, and those little flicks of the fork in the deadite’s eye were more than chuckleworthy. I’m hoping the show doesn’t drag her along for too much longer as its clear she’s going to open up the world in a big way. Her partnership with Amanda should kick both of their stories into high gear.
Since we’re on the subject of Amanda: was Ash using his fake hand to escape from the handcuffs the best non-demon related moment of the episode?
Hawkins: I enjoyed the hell out of that bit. Ash detaching his pal ‘Woody’ was a great “Aw, come on!” moment and I’m hoping this means we’ll see a lot more chainsaw action from here on out, or maybe some medieval gauntlet action (though I doubt it).
Last week, one of us said that Amanda almost seems like a character taken from an entirely different movie. I’m kind of feeling that way at this point and I really wonder what her connection is. It seems like she will play a significant part in the long run, but I can’t shake this Annie from Evil Dead II vibe. What I mean by that is she seems like a strong character who is likely to be killed right before the final conflict, but that’s a stretch based on nothing more than speculation.
The big question in my mind right now is, “Has Kelly been turned?”
Drew: If she has (I don’t think so), it can’t be permanent. I was wondering if they will discover a way to release people from being possessed (like Ash managed to do in Evil Dead II), leading to a comical moment of, “Oh, I guess we didn’t have to dismember all those people.”
Amanda wouldn’t feel so out of place if we didn’t have Ruby also performing the role of “mysteriously important figure.” It feels like these two characters could have been boiled down into one, but maybe that sentiment will change once it’s revealed what Amanda’s purpose in this whole thing is.
OK, enough tip-toeing around it: how friggin’ awesome was the demon Eligos? The fact that the show is broadening the mythology (we finally have a concrete answer for who made the Necronomicon) and giving us monstrous threats other than deadites is such a fantastic place to take the show. His design was simple but effective, and I love the idea that Ash’s usual brand of ass-kicking may not work for all of the foes this season. I’m sure some people may not be as excited about this backstory stuff, but it seems like an obvious and even necessary place to go when you’re doing a serialized story like this. Did you love Eligos as much as I?
Hawkins: The thing I loved the most about what happened in the Books From Beyond shop is that Ash had the brilliant idea to summon a demon and blamed it all on Pablo. That had me rolling and when Lionel Hawkins starts describing Eligos’ powers, we immediately know that they are messing with forces way beyond their control. Ash facing off against the summoned demon and talking smack was a great touch, and the way the ritual circle was a great, “Oh, no.” moment.
There has been some backlash against this episode and I think it’s mainly aimed at how out of place Eligos is. I disagree with critics who have been saying that Ash vs Evil Dead is losing the tone of the films. The story is moving along and continuing to evolve towards a conclusion, and I am happy that we are seeing new elements that weren’t even present in Army of Darkness. This stuff is exciting and entertaining and I for one really dug the hell out of Eligos’ design and the supernatural powers he displayed. To me the introduction of these kinds of new elements enriches the story and raises the stakes for Ash especially.
Drew: Absolutely. If the show was just Ash vs. deadites, it’d get old kind of fast. Heck, they obviously knew that at the end of Evil Dead II when has had to fight some flying demon thing. I’m all for the show giving us more crazy monsters. More shows on TV need crazy monsters.
I’m still completely enthralled by this show. It’s been consistently funny, well directed, and feels like the natural tonal continuation of where we left of in Army of Darkness. The show definitely needs to prove it’s got the chops to sustain itself over a number of episodes, but I see no reason to get worried at this point.
Oh, and any show with a demonic goat fetus deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Next Episode: Brujo