I’ve had an impossible time pinpointing favorite episodes of Ash vs. Evil Dead so have resorted to giving every single one a four-star rating. However, the time as finally come; “Ashes to Ashes” is the best episode of the season so far. Not only does it uphold everything that’s been established in previous episodes, but it also nails emotional beats that I never thought could have fit in this type of show.
“Ashes to Ashes” doesn’t waste any time. Just after splattering a deadite bird all over a tree, Ash arrives at the cabin. Armed but a little apprehensive, Ash makes his way to the door and is immediately haunted by memories from his original visit. Before he goes inside, much to his surprise, Amanda shows up. Apparently she split up from Pablo and Kelly so that they could cover more ground and she wound up finding him first. Ash tries to get her to leave, but Amanda is persistent so they head into the cabin together.
Everything is pretty much how he left it. The windows are boarded up, the basement entrance is chained shut and Linda’s head is still in the vice in the shed. While Ash reluctantly goes into the shed to grab a crowbar, Amanda stays behind to keep an eye on the Necronomicon. But, little do they know, they’re not the only ones there. Ash’s severed hand is snooping around as well, and it isn’t just a hand anymore.
Meanwhile, Pablo and Kelly are lost in the woods. They bump into a trio of hikers and despite a brief and hilarious misunderstanding, the group winds up getting along swimmingly, with the hikers agreeing to lead Pablo and Kelly straight to the cabin. Trouble is, they don’t get there quick enough.
As soon as Ash enters the shed, things get crazy, fast. Linda’s skull is still in the vice and it comes right back to life – sort of. Ash knows the game she’s playing, but she still gets to him, especially when she threatens Amanda’s life.
Back in the cabin, Amanda is being tormented by a particularly manipulative form of evil herself. While getting some pretty juicy information about the kandarian dagger (presumably the dagger Ruby’s been carrying around) and how it’s got the capability of searing the Necronomicon’s flesh, she’s startled by Ash. He turns up the warmth and sincerity big time and tries to convince her to run away with him. After the pair shares their first kiss, suggesting they might actually have a shot at living happily ever after, it’s revealed that Amanda didn’t actually kiss Ash at all. Ash’s severed hand grew a new body and Amanda kissed that Ash.
The real Ash smashes Linda’s head with the crowbar and finally breaks out of the shed, but he’s too late. Even though Amanda manages to chop the rotten hand off Evil Ash, it doesn’t stop him. He puts a meat cleaver in her neck and then impales her with antlers, just like what happened to her partner in the first episode.
Amanda is still alive when the real Ash finds her, but she’s fading fast. She has just enough time to warn him about Evil Ash and share one absolutely heartbreaking kiss before she dies. Immediately after, Evil Ash comes to rub it in, but before real Ash can go after him, Pablo and Kelly burst in. He tries to explain that there’s another him running around, but they’re not getting it so he goes off to get revenge himself. In a fight that highlights Bruce Campbell’s exceptional physical comedy skills, Ash and Evil Ash kick the crap out of each other until both try to choke the life out of each other and the episode cuts to the credits.
Apparently Ash vs. Evil Dead can do just about anything. The show had some heartfelt moments amidst the comedy and chaos in previous episodes, but “Ashes to Ashes” is a total tearjerker. I figured at least one main character had to bite the dust before the end of the season, but I didn’t think it’d be Amanda after the writers built such an appealing connection between her and Ash, and I definitely didn’t expect it to happen before the season finale either.
I’m hopeful this isn’t the end of Jill Marie Jones, but if it is, this is one heck of a send-off, and she certainly deserves it. She went from making Amanda feel like a viable threat to someone who could actually be a perfect match for Ash. The character rocked an appealing sass and complexity and even though I’m not a fan of shows cheating death, I would be a bit disappointed if we didn’t get to explore that further.
“Ashes to Ashes” marks yet another big winner for the series. It’s got a little bit of everything – it’s hilarious, exciting, moving and so captivating that when those end credits cut in, they catch you completely off guard. “Bound in the Flesh” can’t come soon enough but until then we’re left to wonder, is anyone safe? Could Pablo or Kelly be next? And what about Ruby? That dagger she has could harm and possibly destroy the Necronomicon, so does she actually have good intentions? And then, of course, there’s the Amanda situation. Is she coming back as a deadite? Will Ash chop her head off? Or is there still hope for her? There’s only two episodes left and with everything the cast and crew of Ash vs. Evil Dead has achieved thus far, there’s no doubt in my mind that the best is yet to come.
Episode Rating: ★★★★★
Extras and Ashisms:
- RIP Tweety.
- “Don’t you get it? Everybody dies here. It’s just a rule. Death, taxes, more death, and I don’t pay taxes so all I know is death.” – Ash
- “She got possessed, I cut her head off with a shovel, then she did this crazy dance in the moonlight, I put her head in a vice and I cut it with a chainsaw … she did have a rockin’ bod though.” – Ash
- “Oh, look at the time. I should go and you should die.” – Evil Ash
- My Amanda Prediction: She isn’t off the show and I don’t think she’ll come back as a deadite either. After spending so many episodes with Ruby, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ruby winds up sacrificing herself to bring back Amanda. It’s specific and a long shot, but I have a hard time thinking that Amanda is gone for good and a scenario like that would be a nice payoff after all the team-up time they spent together.