Keeping Michigan Moist

An episode like “Fire in the Hole” could be seen as a bit meandering. We know where the endgame is going to take place, so we know that our characters have to get to the original cabin at some point in the story. Luckily, despite a slow start, the seventh episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead delivers some new thrills and laughs to keep us invested as the Ghost Beaters sojourn to a backwoods militant base.

Of course, we find them exactly how we expected them to. Lem has returned possessed and is already wreaking havoc, setting up an episode that looks a lot like The Walking Dead at first glance. Except The Walking Dead never provided action this good.

The biggest laughs this episode came from Pablo and Kelly, having been separated from Ash and Amanda. In the middle of being hunted by the militants, accused of being government conspirators, Pablo sounds like he is questioning his own life choices. It was a moment where the show looked like it was hitting the brakes, only to reveal he was talking about his weapon of choice. It was a much needed gag that put the episode on the upswing, paying off with a great pick-up truck stunt that served as this week’s best sequence.

Underground, Ash and Fisher have their own problems to work out, literally and figuratively. Being handcuffed together in the dark is not where you want to be with a deadite lurking around, unless you’re Ash and you’re handcuffed to an attractive woman, in which case you’re exactly where you want to be. The downside of the thirty minute run time is that there isn’t much room for chemistry, so to see Fisher immediately falling for Ash’s horrific one-liners after she spent half the season trying to arrest him was a little strange. I also didn’t buy the fondness in which she spoke of Ruby, having only met her for a handful of hours and not pausing to think twice about her fate.

ash vs evil dead s1e7 fire in the hole

Still, the show makes the best of it, pitting them against a pyromaniac Lem who is intent on lighting them all on fire. Following Fisher’s plan to lure him towards them for some reason, the duo fight and tango. After dispatching the deadite with the help of a shovel and some nifty acrobatics, Ash and Fisher turn towards each other, only to be interrupted by Pablo and Kelly.

“Fire in the Hole” ends with a tender moment from Ash, watching his friends go on ahead of him. He slips away, after telling them how much he cares about them. We know why he does this. The cabin is the next destination, and so far he is the only person to ever leave the place alive. He’s made good friends with Pablo and Kelly, and now seems to have a new lover with Fisher. To put any of them in jeopardy is something he refuses to do.

The Evil Dead series has never paused to reflect on the effect these events have had on Ash. It’s a kinetic series, and to slow the movies down to do so would have been detrimental. It’s vital to the franchise moving forward that the show has found some small moments to give to Ash. We know the character is not much for words, but Bruce Campbell does an excellent job of conveying a vulnerable side behind his outer toughness and machoness.

The seventh episode may seem like a bit of filler, but despite a rushed romance between Ash and Fisher, it manages to be another fun addition that solidifies Ash vs. Evil Dead as a success. Pablo and Kelly have never been more fun to watch as they exchange banter and slaughter deadites in imaginative ways, and Ash’s trepidation towards returning to the cabin is real and powerful. Bring it on.

Odds and Ends:

  • “I wish I had my rusty chain, yo.”
  • “Save your lies, Hillary!”
  • Ruby rises from the Ashes and…is still good? Evil? No idea.
  • The hand is crawling towards the cabin, too. This will be an interesting end-game indeed.
  • I’m kind of surprised more of the militia guys didn’t end up dying. I wonder if they’ll show up later.

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Steve Dixon

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