Ash Vs. Evil Dead recap: The Dark One
Ash strikes a bargain with Ruby in a blood-soaked, brain-busting, full-on 'Evil Dead'-inspired finale
Talk about saving the best for last — the final episode of the first season of Ash Vs. Evil Dead really brought out the Evil Dead, with set piece after frenetic set piece adding up to almost non-stop cabin carnage. And we really mean non-stop, with Ruby preparing to unleash every evil thing inside the Necronomicon upon the world.
Ruby’s certainly wasting no time conjuring her coming Hell storm. Even as Ash tries to absorb the news that she is the author of the Necronomicon, gale force winds whip through the cabin, and evil zooms through the woods outside. Kelly struggles in vain to help Pablo remove the book’s grotesque face from his own, but it’s already begun to exert its control over him — moments after begging for help, he utters in a sepulchral voice, “It’s mine,” and sends Kelly flying across the room.
Adding to the chaotic scene, hiker Heather finds her way back to the cabin, Deadite Amanda on her heels. Ash grabs for his chainsaw, but so, too, does Amanda, and she gets there first. She lunges at him, nearly missing him with the blade, which runs through the wall—and right through the framed message reading “Home Sweet Home.” (Director Rick Jacobson really deserves serious kudos for orchestrating the sort of madcap horror mayhem that Sam Raimi invented.) Amanda delivers the classic Deadite threat — she’s going to swallow his soul! — but Ash wins out, running her through with the chainsaw as she laughs maniacally, blood spurting everywhere, dousing Ash and splattering a screaming Heather. And then Ruby grabs Pablo and disappears down into the fruit cellar.
Ash isn’t all that excited about retracing those steps after so many years, but he squares his shoulders and resolves himself to a grim fate: “That lady has my book and she has my Pablo.” He then asks Kelly and “other girl” to stay and guard the cellar door — “I’ve been stuck down there before, and it’s not exactly Mardi Gras.” Kelly points out that it’s a bad idea to go it alone, and Ash reluctantly agrees that she should probably accompany him on the Pablo rescue mission. But just then, evil strikes the cabin with such force, it knocks Ash down the stairs, slamming the trap door shut behind him, and he’s sucked into a vortex that takes him back to… The trailer, where he’s getting stoned with Lucy, and she asks him to read her poetry.
Ash, nearly gleeful at the idea, is beginning to think this all might have been a dream. But no. In a flash, Lucy’s gone, and Ruby is seated across the room, dressed in white, explaining that one day long ago, Ash appeared in her book, and she knew he would stand against her. She insists, though, that they don’t have to be at odds with one another — she simply wants the world to revert to a time when the Dark Ones, herself included, ruled over the evil forces on Earth. “So you want to control all these demons like the Godfather?” Ash asks. “Yeah, well, I hated that movie. Too long and boring and not enough boobies. I’m more of a Death Wish kind of guy.”
But Ruby has a powerful tool of persuasion at her disposal. She proposes a truce, offering Ash the “undo” button he’s long desired. Meaning Jacksonville, a normal life, no more demon-slaying. But Ash is wise to her tricks: “You’re just trying to beguile me with those radar eyes of yours.” When he decides blowing her away with the boomstick might be the better option, Ruby bellows and Ash is back in the fruit cellar. Kelly and Heather are still struggling to open the trap door, with Kelly going so far as to try to shoot it open. It doesn’t budge. As the recording of the original demon resurrection passages starts to play on its own, Kelly takes a hatchet to the door.
And that’s when a cockroach crawls out of Heather’s shorts onto her leg — followed by hundreds more. She screams as the insects swarm her body, but Kelly slaps her and brings her to her senses (it was only a hallucination). Suddenly, an eye appears in the wall, watching them, and Kelly attacks it with a hatchet. The cabin, however, is not pleased. The cellar door springs open, and Kelly is thrown — out the front door, in fact, leaving Heather trapped inside. Downstairs, Ash hears chanting and Pablo screaming for help — Ruby is using him as a vessel to birth her children, with Pablo vomiting up slug-like demon spawn, which instantly grow and take on a more humanoid shape. One promptly slithers up the wall and out of the cellar.
From outside, Kelly tries to reassure a terrified Heather that she’ll survive, but then blood splatters against the window with an alarming thwack. Heather is pursued first by a moving sofa, then by the nails in the cabin walls, which remove themselves with such force that they fly right into the injured woman’s face. The nails in the floorboards also rise up — directly into her feet — and as she falls to the ground, whimpering in agony, she hears a sound behind her. A door stands open revealing an ominous red light. Before Heather realizes what’s happening, her broken body rockets toward the light, pulled by an unseen force, and the door slams closed.
Kelly is still determined to get back inside the cabin, but the front door knob, which has grown sharp teeth and a tongue, does its best to keep her out. Blood seeps from underneath the door, which then springs open, douses Kelly with blood and bangs closed once more. But the cabin has left something extra on the front lawn next to Kelly — Heather’s severed Deadite head, which tells her that Ash has failed and mankind is doomed.
Technically, though Ash hasn’t failed — yet, anyway. Attempting to psych himself up for the big confrontation, he’s giving himself a pep talk, not realizing that Ruby’s pale demon child has wandered up behind him. Even when Ash notices the creature, he can’t bring himself to shoot it. Which gives it a distinct advantage. The boy(?) launches itself at Ash with a scream and tries to tear his flesh with its sharp teeth. It inflicts some pretty painful-looking damage, too, before Ash manages to blast it to bits. Up next is Ruby — Ash finally makes it to the chamber where she’s working her dark magic and lets her have it with a few shots to the torso.
Increasingly desperate, Kelly finds a gas canister and a flare and lights the cabin on fire—it works. The door and shutters open. She grabs the hatchet and heads into the fruit cellar, where Ash, his chainsaw low on gas, is struggling with Pablo, who is pleading with his friend to kill him. Ruby laughs off her injuries — Ash’s “toys” are no match for her — and utters a brief incantation that transforms Pablo into a powerful aggressor. Pablo nearly kills Ash, but Kelly rushes in and wrestles him to the ground. And that’s when Ruby, dagger in hand, decides that the Necronomicon needs a new cover, and Ash’s weathered mug would do quite nicely.
She starts to make the cuts, too, before he comes up with a ridiculous distraction: “Wait, wait! I just gotta know — did you lose weight?” He grabs the dagger, and slashes Ruby with it. Evidently, that’s how you do some real damage. Ash orders her to remove the book from Pablo’s face (Pablo, who at that point, is strangling Kelly), but Ruby returns to the idea of a truce, holding in her hand that postcard from Jacksonville. Ash bargains with her, saying that Kelly and Pablo’s lives would have to be part of any deal (and maybe $10,000 in cash), and he insists on keeping the dagger for insurance. Ruby agrees — though not to the money. “I’m not a bank,” she tells Ash.
He grabs the postcard, the mask flies back onto the cover of the Necronomicon, Pablo is back to his old self, and in the next scene, he’s in the backseat of the Olds with Kelly, both of them dumbfounded that Ash would strike such a bargain with Ruby. Ash appears euphoric though, heading for Florida, and when an announcer on the radio issues a warning that massive sinkholes have inexplicably begun appearing all across the area, he simply breaks out the AC/DC on the cassette player, blissfully unaware that one such sinkhole has opened on the road immediately behind them.
Looks like that trip to Jacksonville might have to wait a little bit longer.