Ash vs Evil Dead Ep. 8 “Ashes to Ashes”

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“We’re back, back in the cabin groooove.”

This episode of Ash vs Evil Dead can be summed up as “brutal.” Just that one word captures what happened and what you know is about to happen from Ash’s arrival at the old cabin in the woods.

One of my constant complaints for this show is that the episodes are way too short. There was something very tempting, but not all together satisfying about “Ashes to Ashes.” While it certainly whet my appetite, the story itself didn’t fit in a 30-minute episode. I would have loved for something more. I’m not even sure if this is a criticism or a compliment. But I do know I really liked what I saw this week.

At the end of the last episode, Ash had left his followers behind. The opening scene is of his arrival back at the familiar site of the cabin from the Evil Dead movies, you know, the one where he had to kill his friends and poor Linda? His memories of that night quickly flash in his head, and it’s clear that everything will go wrong. But really, would we expect anything else?

He’s not alone for long as Amanda quickly spots Ash. She informs him that the group has split up to look for Ash because everyone knows that’s a fantastic idea. But more importantly, I don’t think we were very far out of Michigan when it came to the militia episode, so how did Pablo and crew know where to find Ash? This is a cabin in Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee, but alas…

Ash obviously isn’t too keen on having Amanda around and even lets this sentence of doom out: “Everybody dies here – it’s a rule.” And thus a whole series . There’s so much foreshadowing in this episode, you’d think the sun was out (but it’s not, it’s foggy and dark – obviously).

In the cabin, Amanda gets flashes of her former partner when she sees the mounted deer head on the wall. She remembers his gory death and seems distracted enough to allow Ash to leave her while he goes into the shed to face his former girlfriend, Linda.

Meanwhile, Pablo and Kelly are wandering the woods – lost. They realise they are going in circles when they spot three young travellers in the woods. They find their way to the cabin thanks to the hikers. As they watch them depart, Pablo and Kelly are reassured that they will be fine. They do have pepper spray, after all.

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Back in the shack, Ash is not having a great time with his ex. Linda is still very much a Deadite bitch. She locks Ash inside with her so she can scold him about his new love interest, Amanda.

Well, Amanda certainly isn’t having fun in the cabin either as she comes face-to-face with an old foe: Evil Ash. Now the return of this character is fantastic as it’s both heartbreaking to watch him betray Amanda while it’s great fun to watch Bruce Campbell have a lot of fun torturing others.

(SPOILERS)

It was pretty obvious that Amanda wasn’t going to last on the show. She lacked the strength of the other Ghost Beaters. Her character offered some grounding in the real world, but ultimately she served her purpose. It was both brutal and slightly exciting to watch her die (which is rather disgusting to admit, actually). Evil Ash is one sick man.

Watching Ash vs Ash was definitely a highlight of the series. But ultimately, there’s some even more nasty bits that await in the next two episodes. It’s certainly nice to be back to the naughtiness of the Army of Darkness film, which actually shares the most with Ash vs Evil Dead more than any other movie in the trilogy, if mostly with the embracing of full-on action and humour.

I saw someone moaning that Army of Darkness wasn’t cannon with the show. I have no idea what made him say that (unless he was going with the original ending of the film, but if that’s the case – you’re an obnoxious, whiny pain-in-the-ass), but “Ashes to Ashes” proved him wrong. The second coming of Evil Ash was hilarious. He was a fantastic antagonist in Army of Darkness, so I really hope he’s here to stir up a lot of trouble again.

The set up in “Ashes to Ashes” is pretty damn great. The last two episodes of this first season certainly seem to be filled with lots and lots of gory promise. And I really can’t fucking wait.

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