This review contains spoilers.
1.9 Bound In Flesh
Who is Ash Williams? An awesome anti-hero and masterful killer of deadites, but what about outside of that? It’s a question the first season of Ash Vs Evil Dead has touched on occasionally, but it came to a head tonight with the Necronomicon’s entirely on-point statement that without evil to slay, Ash isn’t very much at all. A boorish, loudmouthed, slightly racist bagboy. For the first time this week the show seemed to be making the suggestion that perhaps Ash doesn’t really want the Necronomicon destroyed. His reluctance to hand it over to Ruby was pretty strong evidence of that being the case, and honestly, it makes sense. That’s not to suggest Ash is actively putting his own sense of worth ahead of people’s lives, but rather that there is a part of him, a part that he may have been hitherto unaware of, that really wants all of this chaos to continue. After all it has given him purpose, a sense of responsibility and above all, a makeshift family, none of which he had before. Not to mention killing deadites is the one thing he’s good at. Would anybody want to give all of that up?
It’s a surprisingly nuanced and logical glimmer of character development for this horror icon; after all, we never delve too much into the psyches of Leatherface or Freddy Kruegar, and it’s arguable that we didn’t need to with Ash. He was, after all, plenty of fun when he was simply a quip-spouting badass, but I don’t think the developments of the show detract from his appeal at all. If anything, they enrich him, and the fact that the series has managed this without compromising its faithfulness to the spirit of the source is laudable.
Character development aside, Bound In Flesh was another gloriously fun ride, full of great lines, wicked action and killer twists. While I was initially a bit thrown by how blasé Ash suddenly seemed to become regarding Amanda Fisher’s death, it didn’t take long to be swept up in the whole thing, as is so often the case with this show. And while Kelly and Pablo’s brief jaunt with the backpackers and the carnage it inevitably descended into (courtesy of an undead Amada) felt a bit run-of-the-mill, it was really all about setting the stage for the return of Ruby Knowby and the first meeting between her and Ash. And man, it did not disappoint. The crackling back-and-forth between these two badass monster killers was exactly what I was hoping for from her introduction; the squaring off between an unstable woman on a mission and an immature egotist who is far more out of his depth than he realises. It was fun, tense and had me hoping for more, but then came what may or may not be the game changer.
Is Ruby Knowby really evil, and did she actually write the Necronomicon? Considering her age and the apparent age of the book when it first appeared in the very first Evil Dead, I doubt it. Bear in mind the woman did recently come back from hell and probably is not entirely herself right now. I will be incredibly surprised if she isn’t being possessed. That said, I could be totally wrong and we could be dealing with the ultimate mastermind behind every bit of horror that has occurred through the entire series. From the start it’s been fairly evident that Ruby is not entirely what she seems, but this would be a big deal if it’s true, and a very cool direction going forward, provided the show is smarter than to kill her off in next week’s finale.
Meanwhile, Samara Weaving’s (Hugo’s niece) character remains alive, albeit with a broken leg. Will she be joining the team going forward or is she just here to provide a catalyst for Kelly and Pablo’s relationship? Will there even be a relationship of any kind between these two after next week? I’m at the point now where the thought of losing either of them is very hurtful, but I know better than to assume the safety of anyone outside the titular character of this show. That said, the easy chemistry between our three leads would be a huge shame to waste, and robbing this show of the delight that is watching them bounce off each other would be borderline criminal. I like to think the writers know better.
There is a lot to get through before this debut season wraps up. Amanda is still out there somewhere, Pablo appears to be in a bit of face related trouble, not to mention Kelly’s newfound jealousy of his romantic interests and, of course, we need to know just what is going on with Ruby. The fact that season two is confirmed makes me a little less anxious about just what next week will bring, but no less excited. It’s been a stellar ride; let’s hope this chapter ends in style.
Read Gabriel’s review of the previous episode, Ashes To Ashes, here.