Just Say No
Acid trip episodes are always shaky territory. From Tony Soprano’s prophetic dreamscapes to Roger Sterling’s ego death, they always center around a known truth, hidden behind overt metaphors and not-so-subtle symbolism. For Ash? It’s a trip to Jacksonville, Florida.
We don’t actually know too much about Ash, despite him starring in three beloved movies. Good or bad, he was always the guy with the gun (heh). Now, we have some time to actually get to know what’s underneath. What is that flickering light deep inside of him that has not gone out?
Through some trippy effects, Ash’s acid trip in “Brujo” cleverly fills in some of these blanks. He bounced around from Save-A-Lot to Save-A-Lot, had a collection of Playboy magazines, and has a fantasy about reaching Jacksonville, the place he was heading before all hell broke loose in an isolated cabin in the woods.
“Brujo” also takes some time to expand the world of Ash vs. Evil Dead, something that has also been remiss in the series so far. The movies always brought in whatever was called for or what would make for a fun sequence, but the television series has to play the long ball. We need rules, set up, and a mythology that is expansive enough to fill ten episodes (and a second season!) without getting out of hand. We always knew Ash was the chosen one, in one form or another, but now we have some third party confirmation, not just his own ego to back it up.
The tracking camera through the woods is also back, evil incarnate itself, which is prevented from entering the property thanks to the charms from Pablo’s uncle. However, sneaking in under the guise of Kelly is our old pal Eligos, ready to infect the mind of Ash and disrupt his sojourn to Jacksonville. It’s an interesting setup that could, again, buck some of the previously established world depending on how it all plays out.
This expansion doesn’t just stop at the demon slaying. We’re more properly introduced to Lucy Lawless’s character, Ruby. She’s the daughter of Dr. Knowby himself (the archaeologist from whom all this stemmed), and is teaming up with Detective Fisher in order to hunt down Ash. The twist is that she’s using Ash’s own severed hand from Evil Dead II to find him. While Fisher continues to be the least likable plotline and character, hopefully her team-up with Ruby gives her some more agency, although I fail to see how that’s possible. She is overshadowed almost immediately by Ruby’s own sense of style and motivation, which carries more weight than her own desire for answers about her partner’s bizarre death.
While we’re expanding the world, the episode also serves to fill in some blanks about Pablo. It effectively works similar to how “Bait” worked for Kelly. His interactions with his uncle hints at a sour past, one where he denied his faith and heritage in order to find a different life. It’s a simple, but relatable backstory that explains his willingness to attach himself to Ash. He wants to be a part of something greater, and fighting evil with Ash lines up quite nicely with his uncle’s line of work.
Overall, “Brujo” was another step in Ash vs. Evil Dead. It effectively fleshed out (gross) some of the world, while giving its characters the chance to fill in some back story. No word on if Eligos will become the big baddy of the season, or is just a passing demon, but it’s nice to see the horrid creature design again. These last two episodes have definitely lost some of the snappy pacing as the earlier two episodes, relying less on nonstop one-liners and action sequences. It was inevitable that the show was going to have to slow down in order to come into its own, let’s just hope it knows how to pick things up again moving forward.
Odds and Ends:
- I’m powering through three of these suckers playing catchup. Why is this show on a Saturday night? Here’s hoping next season gets a better slot.
- That said, move on over to “The Host.”
That’s two of three. Steve is on Twitter.