Ash vs Evil Dead 1×08 ‘Ashes To Ashes’ heads back to the cabin in the woods. Let’s bitch it out…
Bring on the memories: Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Amanda’s (Jill Marie Jones) stay at the old cabin where Ash first encountered the Deadites proves to be a nostalgic enterprise. The new setting evokes a number of, mostly bad, memories including the death of her partner Carson (Mike Edward) and the death of his old girlfriend. Naturally the evil in the woods means that the threats become literal, so Ash spends the episode hanging out with Linda’s severed head in the toolshed while Amanda battles an evil version of Ash that grows out of his tumour hand. (Side Bar: How strange these reviews must be to the uninitiated).
Amanda’s battle with Evil Ash is difficult to watch. Due to the nature of her relationship with Ash, it’s obvious that she’s probably going to bite it, so her appearance at the cabin pretty much confirms that she’s a goner. Still, there’s a moment when it seems as though she might escape alive: first when Ash suggests that they abandon their quest and run and then again when she seemingly gains the upper hand against her attacker with a cleaver. The battle itself is appropriately brutal, although it carries a whiff of domestic violence to see a man brutalize a woman’s head in the fridge door (despite the fact that the preview reminded us that Amanda has already roughed him up). The real reason that the fight scene is hard to watch is because it’s clear that her relationship with Ash will cause her to underestimate her opponent and expose a weak spot. Cutting up Evil Ash’s hand into strips is good, but as soon as she hesitates to contact her attack, she’s doomed.
At least if Amanda has to die (according to the S1 arc the writers have clearly planned for the last few episodes since Amanda joined the team), she gets a worthwhile death. After taking a meat cleaver to the neck and getting impaled on a rack of antlers (just like Carson!), she survives long enough to say goodbye. It’s a touching, albeit brief, scene and leads into one of the episode’s biggest missed opportunities: Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) enter the cabin and discover Ash standing over Amanda’s body, asking him what he’s done. Suddenly it seems like we’ll revisit the early storyline wherein Ash is accused of killing innocent people, but in this case – thanks to his evil doppelganger – he technically is responsible. Unfortunately instead of ending the episode on that intriguing note or investigating this potential story line, the writers immediately move the story back to the safety of silly, gory fighting. While the Ash vs Evil Ash fight is amusing, it inevitably feels like a cop-out. Here’s hoping that the penultimate episode doesn’t shy away from exploring the fall-out of Amanda’s death more thoroughly next week.
- The moment that Pablo and Kelly encounter a trio of College tourists – Brad (Ido Drent), Heather (Samara Weaving) and Melissa (Indiana Evans) – it’s clear that they’re only there to die. When they don’t, it’s not a reprieve; it simply means that they’ll be back next week to die.
- Why doesn’t Amanda return as a Deadite? Is it because she was killed by Evil Ash and not a Deadite?
- Ash going over his litany of old-age weaknesses in battle with his evil doppelganger is amusing, though the timing (occurring right after Amanda’s death) is perhaps a bit ill-advised.
- Ash (describing his last encounter at the cabin): “I did cut my hand off with a chainsaw, though. Fun weekend.”
- Pablo (to the tourists): “These guns are for evil. Evil bears.”
- Kelly (when Pablo hopes the kids don’t end up dead): “They have pepper spray.”
- Ash (naming his doppelganger’s weakness): “Soft balls!”
Your turn: were you surprised that Amanda died? Did you enjoy Ash’s verbal battle with Linda in the shed? Did Amanda’s battle with Evil Ash feel uncomfortable? Are you hoping that next week’s episode deals with the fall-out of her death? Sound off below.
Ash vs Evil Dead airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on STARZ. Please note that due to the holidays there will be no review next week.