Ash battled Ash and Amanda returned as a reanimated villain, but the most shocking moment in tonight’s episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead arrived at the installment’s conclusion, with Ruby revealing that she is the author of the Necronomicon. Guessing it might not have been such a good idea to turn the book over to her. Then again, Ash making a poor decision probably is to be expected, especially where evil is concerned.
His generally lousy judgment does at least help save his life temporarily. Poor confused Pablo and Kelly must try to determine a way to tell him apart from his Deadite doppelgänger as the episode opens — not an easy task given that both Ashes are saying totally idiotic things. Each Ash also knows certain private facts about Pablo and Kelly, like, until he was 9, Pablo’s best friend was a cat (Notorious C.A.T.!). Finally one Ash (who turns out to be Real Ash) suggests that they just shoot both of them, that way “the other guy is dead and I don’t have to deal with any of this s— anymore.” Kelly immediately knows what to do, riddling the imposter with bullets. That idea, she points out, only could have come from the real guy — it’s the easy way out. “The only person you’re willing to lay down and die for is you,” she says. Ash responds, “Well, that’s because I’m very important to me.” Pablo offers, “Yeah, we definitely shot the right one.”
As Ash explains Evil Ash’s weird origins, he laments that this recent turn of events cost him his shot with Amanda, whose body is still impaled on the deer antlers. (Wouldn’t you think maybe they’d be a little less cavalier about her death? Well, not Ash, but Pablo and Kelly?) He focuses on the grim business ahead, namely dismembering the bodies to prevent either from returning as a Deadite: “We can’t have hot and sexy coming back to ruin our day.” As he fires up the chainsaw, they hear those three travelers call out a greeting from the woods. (Knew they’d be back.)
Turns out, hiker Brad got them lost — evidently the trail map just stopped making sense (we’ve heard that before). Despite the fact that Pablo, Kelly, and Ash are spattered with blood and armed to the teeth, the group asks if they can sleep overnight at the cabin, or even just camp out front. Conferring with Pablo and Kelly, Ash insists that the trio stay elsewhere: “They’re going to get possessed, and then it’s the night train to Kill-adelphia.” “With stops in Choklahoma City and Die-ami,” Kelly adds. Ash advises them to lead the hikers to safety on a trail behind the cabin, and Pablo signs on eagerly, hoping to find a way to impress the “super cute” Heather. He does get some one-on-one time with her, and she thanks him for his help. But she also wants to know what he, Kelly and Ash are really up to, and she lets it drop that she could get the information out of him, if he didn’t have a girlfriend. A sound from the woods interrupts the conversation, and Pablo draws his gun. She takes his hand just as Kelly glances back at them.
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At the cabin, Ash sets to work to the soothing melodies of Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us.”: “Chopping up my evil clone. Maybe someday that will feel weird.” As the blood from the severed body parts seeps across the floor, it makes contact with the Necronomicon — which begins to speak to Ash, addressing him by name. “If you bury me, you’ll stop being a super man and go back to being a stock boy. I’m what makes you special.” Unwilling to listen, Ash throws the book in the refrigerator. Next up? Taking care of Amanda. But when Ash turns the corner, her body is gone. Of course.
NEXT: Ruby saves the day … and then … doesn’t[pagebreak]
In the woods, Pablo and Kelly walk side by side, and when he asks her why she told Heather he was seeing someone, Kelly suggests that it isn’t the best idea to get involved with anyone —”Life expectancy is real short out here.” (Girl’s got a point.) On edge, they open fire after hearing a rustling in the brush— o n what turns out to be a raccoon. Moments later, they hear something similar, but hiker Brad cautions them against shooting another innocent animal. Except this time, that’s no innocent animal. Just then, his wife, conveniently dressed in a midriff-baring shirt (because that’s definitely what people wear when they go camping in the Michigan woods) has a hand sticking through her abdomen. Hello Deadite Amanda!
After briefly using Brad and his wife as puppets (with each of her hands punched through their skulls), she tosses their bodies aside to give chase to Heather. Amanda catches her easily, promising to tear the skin off her “pretty little face.” Pablo rushes to save Heather, but Amanda grabs him by the throat: “It’s time your loyalty to Ash got rewarded.” Before she can kill him, a hooded figure jumps through the trees — it’s Ruby! And she’s brought along her Kandarian dagger! Amanda, looking like her old self, tells her former friend that they could still be together, and Ruby responds that their time has not yet come. An injured Heather breaks the spell with a blood-curdling scream, and Amanda flees. As Ruby dismembers the other hikers, she tells Pablo and Kelly that she’s committed to stop Ash from turning anyone else into monsters. As long as he has the book, she says, a trail of dead bodies will follow.
But he’s not going to give up the Necronomicon without a fight. Or at least some extensive bickering. Once Ash and Ruby finally come face to face at the cabin, they argue — with her asking him what he’s accomplished in all these years. His response? “Name one other person who has a functioning chainsaw arm.” (Boy’s got a point.) Ruby tells him his “stupid” plan to bury the book won’t work, and after more increasingly hostile back and forth, she points out that if the Necronomicon is simply buried, someone else could come along and find it. For it to be laid to rest, it has to be dismantled. A priceless exchange follows:
Ash: “Impossible. Tried it.”
Ruby: “With what, your pea shooter and power saw?”
Ash: “Don’t talk bad about Moe and Larry here, They’ve served me very well.”
The thing is, a chainsaw and a shotgun can’t touch the power of a Kandarian dagger, and Ruby explains that Ash must use the ancient weapon to rip off the book’s binding. Once he starts, he cannot stop no matter how difficult it gets. (“Don’t stop until the face lift is done,” Ash says. “Got it.”) Ignoring the book’s pleas, Ash peels the face from the tome and tosses the mask of skin across the room, where it lands with a wet thwack. Ruby then instructs him to present the book to her, so that the power of ownership will be hers and the ritual will be complete.
In a rare contemplative moment, Ash briefly considers how his life will be different without the burden of the book, and he hesitates before turning it over. Ultimately, he surrenders the Necronomicon to Ruby, who immediately begins to read from it as though she’s summoning something. Winds howl, evil speeds through the woods, the ground splits open, and the face of the book unpeels itself from the floor and rises into the air. Pablo’s amulet is inexplicably drawn toward it — and suddenly the mask is afixed to his face! The friends panic, and when Ash questions Ruby’s actions, he’s met with her chilling reply: “Of course, I know what I’m doing. I wrote this book.”
Will Ash and Kelly be able to rescue Pablo? Will Ruby roll out the welcome mat for hell’s dark forces? Guess we’ll find out next week during the show’s season finale.