Ash Vs. Evil Dead recap: Brujo
A psychedelic trip takes Ash to his happy place — Jacksonville, Florida — though Kelly isn't feeling like her old self these days.
The South American psychedelic ayahuasca is, according to National Geographic Adventure Magazine, believed by some to cure an array of diseases including depression and even cancer. But its efficacy against demonic mischief? That’s slightly less tested — until this evening’s Ash Vs. Evil Dead installment, during which Pedro’s shaman uncle instructs Ash to ingest some of the Amazonian hallucinogen to undertake a spiritual journey that might deliver important answers. So, what did we learn? His idea of paradise is Jacksonville, Florida, and if he had use of both of his hands again, he’d have a beer in each. That’s not to say that no truths came to light — Ruby finally(!) got a little more screen time, and we learn her connection to the unfolding mystery.
It’s Ruby who’s featured almost right away — the episode opens with Deadite Lionel coming for Amanda, who’s handcuffed inside the Books From Beyond store room right where Ash and co. left her. She fires a shot from her weapon, but it does little damage and things don’t look good for the detective. Until, BAM! Ruby walks in. Within moments, Lionel is impaled; shortly after, he’s decapitated. “I’m your new best friend,” Ruby tells Amanda. Who she is really? A surviving member of the family that owned the cabin where Ash accidentally worked his original voodoo three decades earlier, and she’s looking to avenge her parents and her sister, Annie.
Meanwhile, Kelly, suffering from a self-diagnosed “tiny concussion,” is trying to get some rest in the backseat of the Olds as she and Pablo and Ash drive out to see Pablo’s estranged uncle. But evil is close behind. Soon, the radio shorts out, and Ash begins pounding on the dash, shouting “12 more payments and she’s mine!” As the doors lock of their own accord, Ash sees a cloud gathering behind them and steps on the gas to try to outrun the storm, but an ill-considered boost of nitrous oxide just about does in the Oldsmobile. A conveniently timed turn onto the brujo’s property saves them — the talismans he keeps to combat dark forces do their job and the cloud dissipates immediately. Though some thing is still off. As Ash explains that the pure evil trailing them won’t stop until it’s sent back to where it came from, Kelly feels a stabbing pain inside her skull.
The brujo (Hemky Madera) isn’t exactly overjoyed to see them, but Pablo attempts to make amends, saying that he was foolish to turn his back on his heritage and that he believes Ash is one of the warriors against darkness that his uncle had described to him when he was a child. “When evil shows up, it blows up!” Ash notes and… Crickets. That slogan definitely could use some fine-tuning. Pedro’s uncle tells Ash that his lack of self-awareness will make it difficult to find the answers that he seeks, but offers him the ayahuasca anyway, hoping that important insights can be gleaned during his spiritual trek. Kelly, who seems to be undergoing some kind of journey of her own, complete with strange visions and auditory hallucinations, is looking for a different kind of medicine — Advil.
Ash embarks on his trip, complete with flashbacks to scenes from Evil Dead 2, a few classic Playboy covers, the Charlie’s Angels opening credits. He then finds himself in a makeshift grave, his eyes sewn shut and surrounded by aggressive ghouls. The brujo’s voice guides him, asking him how he can survive. “Shoot first, think never,” Ash states. Sight restored, chainsaw back on his arm, problem solved. Again, the voice guides him to follow his journey to a safe place, and here we arrive in Jacksonville. Evidently, Ash had booked a trip there 30 years ago, but then he “took a girl to a cabin and my life hasn’t been the same since.” The brujo appears to say that this is the location where he will find the answers he seeks. Then Ash notices his missing hand is back and it’s time for some liquid refreshment!
Speaking of that missing hand, though — the one Ash had to cut off with a chainsaw in that cabin after it was possessed and began bashing him over the head with dishes? — Ruby has it. IN HER TRUNK. She shows the gruesome artifact to Amanda, noting that it had been still for years but recently began to twitch. It definitely still looks a bit sinister. You probably don’t want to let that thing loose anywhere… While Ash remains unconscious, Pablo has decided to build a new mechanical hand for him, but as he’s considering whether to add a screwdriver or a laser pointer, Kelly doubles over. As she’s bent over in agony in front of the mirror in the next room, she glances up to see — the reflection of the demon Eligos, who seems to have taken over her soul (let’s hope temporarily). She’s outwardly regained her composure by the time Pablo checks on her, but she’s clearly not herself — she offers to help him with his invention only to electrocute him.
Ash, still tripping, learns from his talking lizard (of course) that he must bury the Necronomicon where his journey began to restore things to their natural order. But Eligos has other plans for him. Kelly runs in to alert the brujo that Pablo’s been injured, and as soon as he’s out of the room, she kneels over Ash’s body, setting in with the witchy mind magic. In the orange clouds of his ayahuasca dream, the words “Surrender Ash” appear. Suddenly, he’s no longer on a Jacksonville pier, but inside a familiar looking cabin where Eligos comes calling. Then it’s back to Books From Beyond where Ash’s face is in a glass jar alongside those other creepy collectibles on the store room shelf, which one after another shatter in turn. (“I’m not going to clean those up you know.” Yes, Ash, we know.)
Finally, he falls through a void and lands in a pile of cardboard boxes at the Value Stop, and there’s his delicate little doll friend with all those sharp teeth. Eli, always the helpful lizard, urges Ash to take control, which he does, dispatching the dolly and disarming Eligos. In the real world, he’s actually strangling Kelly, until Pablo discovers them and rescues her. Ash is knocked out, and Kelly embraces Pablo. But there’s no question she’s host to the demon. As the episode ends, her eyes fade to black.