“The Undo Button is Inside Me.”
After the kinetic bloodbath of Ash vs. Evil Dead’s first two episodes, “Books From Beyond” slows things down a tad to refocus the tentatively named “Ghostbeaters” and give them some clear goals moving forward. It might not have been as wall-to-wall packed with one liners and spectacular gorey violence like last week’s excellent “Bait,” but it provided some good fun and kept the momentum moving forward.
Trust is at the heart of this episode. “How well do you really know him?” Detective Fisher asks Kelly as Ash and Pablo attempt to summon a demon. Despite circumstances tying them together for the first two episodes, this feels like the first time they really looked at each other and took each other seriously. Kelly lets Fisher go not out of fear of Ash, but with the hope of helping him.
Pablo also gets some props this week, conjuring a plan that pleases El Jefe himself. Of course Ash would want to summon a lesser demon in an attempt to reverse the ones he already unleashed (“He sounds like a total nerd!”). The pair are brought closer together during the summoning itself, with Ash admitting he has no idea if all the ground shaking and wind blowing is normal when knocking on a demon’s door.
And what a demon it is. Eligos is supposed to be the weakest of the bunch, but proves instantly formidable upon entrance. Featuring a superb mixture of practical and CG effects, the demon is unsettling, unsightly, and downright terrifying. It’s simply good creature design, and major props go to the prosthetic department for creating a demon as instantly iconic and evil as the original deadites.
What the show decides to do with these demons moving forward is a question left for another day. Will we be seeing more of these one-off demons? Or is there a larger story at play? Eligos seemed to have been vanquished too easily by Kelly, and the creature design is good enough that I’d be up for round two if the show brought him (it?) back.
The episode is tied up nicely in Ash’s car. No longer wanting to be “an alone wolf,” Ash admits he could use the help of his two companions. It seems an unnecessary conversation – of course this team is going to be fighting demons all season long! – but for Ash it speaks volumes. For three movies, we’ve seen him operate alone, handling each deadite problem almost singularly, with no one to care about. It’s nice to see the show giving him room for an arc, keeping the brash one-liners and selfish attitude, but losing some of the unsavory traits from the first episode.
“Books From Beyond” proved that Ash vs. Evil Dead is capable of stepping up the demon game, while providing room for these character to grow closer together. It’s weird that a show feels like it has to prove itself every week, but with a legacy as ancient as the deadites themselves, it’s hard not to feel the pressure being put on the show. So far, things have gone masterfully. Here’s to the Ghostbeaters.
Odds and Ends:
- Wow I missed two weeks in a row. The next two reviews are going up shortly.
- It’s not hard to see where Lucy Lawless’s character is going. Hopefully she gets more to do than Fisher does.
- Speaking of, is that the blade from the first movie that she used to melt Kelly’s dad’s deadite face?
- “It’s not a racial thing, it’s just a great dessert!”
That’s one review of three Steve has caught up to. He’s on Twitter.