This review contains spoilers.
1.5 The Host
There was a lot to like about this week’s episode of Ash vs Evil Dead but, five episodes into the run, there is a bit of a holding pattern starting to emerge with regard to two characters.
After her brief intersection with the main action a couple of weeks ago, Fisher seems to have been relegated to weekly appearances, now featuring Ruby, that feel a little forced and tacked on. Both are interesting characters who ought to provide some decent fireworks when they eventually encounter Ash again, but right now it’s a little frustrating seeing them wheeled out once a week presumably to give the actors a credit and remind the audience they exist, before doing nothing else with them all episode. Really, what did their scene in The Host actually tell us about anything? At least last week we saw them meet, team up and reveal Ash’s hand; brief stuff, but important. This week all we got was a bit of forced friction and the (very) minor reveal that Ash’s hand is leading Ruby to him, which we kind of gathered last week.
None of this is to say that things should be sped up to bring them into conflict with Ash before the time is right, as the pace of the show is already rapid, but it would be nice to give them something to do. A bit of investigative work maybe, or a couple of Deadite kills of their own. Some of the possession stuff this week could easily have been trimmed to let us learn a bit more about both women or see their own partnership develop in the same way we’re seeing the team dynamic between Ash, Kelly and Pablo become something really worth rooting for.
Generally speaking though, The Host was another strong instalment, if not up there with the best this show has to offer. Possession stories have been done so many times that there wasn’t a whole lot this plot could really bring to the table, and while a couple of weeks ago Elegos was an impressive piece of design and a creepy villain, there wasn’t much he did in this episode that we hadn’t already seen, so Ash finally dispatching him was more of a relief than anything else. While this episode certainly had some great tension (the scene between Pablo and a possessed Kelly was great), I was more or less ready for Elegos to be over and done with by the halfway point.
But, all that said, the possession story led to some really solid character work for Pablo, as he was forced to farewell his uncle. Brujo was a good character who was probably never going to last too long, but made enough of an impact in his brief time to make us feel it when he met his demise (some dodgy CGI notwithstanding). The use of music in his funeral scene and Pablo’s last words were quite moving and I loved the imagery of his various totem poles going up in flames as Pablo left his uncle’s body, and by extension his childhood, behind him.
We even got to see a more serious side to Ash as he had to consider whether or not to kill Kelly in order to spare her further torment, and his genuine care for Pablo at the end and gratitude over his new hand all worked to endear us even more to this little dynamic. Unlike the previous weeks, The Host didn’t actually end with any kind of cliffhanger, rather just allowing our heroes to ride off toward the next adventure, but I liked that; these first five episodes felt like a nice little origin story for this team, and while there may not be a clear path forward, by this point the gang and by extension the show has won us over enough to be ready and excited for whatever comes. I just hope it involves Ruby sooner rather than later.
Read Gabriel’s review of the previous episode, Brujo, here.