Michael J. Bassett
Jill Marie Jones
We’re past the first two episodes of Ash Vs. Evil Dead and so far, the show has been hitting literally every note perfectly. And of course, everyone is wondering if the show can keep it going. But given the talent involved, I am personally past that point and am just now in a constant state of excitement for each episode now. So, we have been seeing the name Lucy Lawless on the cast list of each episode, but despite a very brief appearance in the pilot episode, we have unfortunately not seen anything from her. But “Books From Beyond” starts with her character visiting the farm where Ash, Pablo and Kelly just buried her possessed Deadite parents. After a brief Carrie homage, her character, credited as Ruby Knowby (which makes her likely related to Professor Knowby, the one who’s voice was heard on the tape recorder in the films), pulls Mr. Maxwell (Phil Peleton), now in full Deadite mode, out of his shallow grave. After some standard Deadite taunting, Ruby impales Mr. Maxwell on one of Ash’s homemade crosses. Turns out she is hunting down Ash and the Necronomicon, and after getting nowhere she pulls out the special blade from Evil Dead 2 (which hardcore horror fans will also recognize as the blade needed to kill Jason Voorhees in 1993’s Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, in which the Necronomicon also made an appearance) and starts cutting his face, resulting in a terrible time for the body of what used to be Kelly’s father. And this is all before the credits roll!
Following the open credits, we catch up with Ash, Pablo and Kelly, who have made their way to Books From Beyond. Ash instructs Pablo and Kelly to stay in the trusty ol’ Oldsmobile while he ventures in with the hope of having the Necronomicon translated to find a spell that can send the Deadites back to hell once and for all. We do get a great conversation from Pablo about a name for their team, which both Kelly and Ash hilariously inform him that his idea is one of the worst things they’ve ever heard. Pablo also asks Ash if he ever gets tired of being the “lone wolf” which seems to hit Ash despite his rough exterior denying it. Once in the store, Ash comes face to face with Fisher who seems to be ahead of the game with the investigation. After confirming that Ash matches up with the sketch of who is responsible for all the death and carnage, while Ash has the bookstore owner Lionel Hawkins (Kelson Henderson) get to work on translating the book.
Pablo and Kelly spot Fisher grabbing her gun to go after Ash and get a little worried. As Fisher has Ash at gunpoint, Pablo knocks her out with a bone, and the group handcuffs her so they can continue their work at the store. Hawkins explains the history of the Necronomicon to Pablo and Ash, before they decide to summon a demon in hopes of finding a way to close the passage through which the Evil Dead make their entrance to the realm of Earth. Pablo jokingly mentions he wishes they could summon an answer, which leads Ash to have Hawkins summon one of the weakest demons available. The group comes face to face with a demon named Eligos (Ben Fransham) who bears more than a passing resemblance to the Chatterer from the first two Hellraiser movies. Fisher convinces Kelly to free her to help, but she of course turns on Ash, firing a bullet that results in Ash breaking the circle of salt containing Eligos. This results in a battle between Ash and the demon while Hawkins tries to send the demon back, before Eligos sends a group of glass shards into his face, effectively putting an end to him. Eventually Kelly is able to whack Eligos over the head with the Necronomicon sending him back to where he came from. Ash leaves Fisher cuffed to a table and the group decides to go see Pablo’s uncle in search of more information.
The episode moves at a brisk pace with Michael J. Bassett returning to direct once again. The script by Sean Clements packs the perfect amount of violence and humor that the show is becoming known for. The only real downside to this episode is the overabundance of CGI during scenes with Eligos, which at times feels like it pulls you out of the episode, but it is certainly not bad enough to not recommend the episode. It keeps everything moving, and once again feels like it is over before it really gets going. It is undoubtedly becoming clear that the show is going to be built for a marathon watch. Another thing of note is that Fisher becomes increasingly unlikeable as she still keeps trying to take down Ash despite the fact that it is clear that Ash is on the right side of this battle. You definitely can’t fault Ash for leaving her cuffed to a table in the bookstore, even when the episode ends and Hawkins returns to life as a glass-impaled Deadite.
Overall, Books From Beyond is an episode that is more about setting things up for down the line and continuing the relationships of all the central characters. Ash even relents and realizes that if he is going to be successful in this venture, that he will need Pablo and Kelly along the way. Is the episode as entertaining as the first two episodes? No, but as I said, it is very important in the formation and continuation of the relationships between the characters and as such is crucial to the story being told through the show.
Stick around as Ash and the gang head off to see Pablo’s shaman uncle, and see if Fisher can survive yet another encounter with a Deadite.