Episode 9 of Ash vs. Evil Dead doesn’t really focus on one big event quite like the previous installments, but as the second to last episode of Season 1, it sure does one heck of a job setting up what’s to come in the season finale.
“Bound in the Flesh” picks up immediately where “Ashes to Ashes” left off. Amanda is as dead as can be and Ash is still busy going at it with Evil Ash. It eventually reaches the point when Pablo and Kelly have guns drawn on both of them and must figure out which one to shoot. Is the Ash that’s calling the other Ash a “shiny turd” the real one or is it the one who finds Asian babies creepy? Finally, one Ash insists that Pablo and Kelly shoot them both so that the “asswipe” is dead and he doesn’t have to deal with this anymore. Soon thereafter, Pablo and Kelly pull the trigger, choosing to save that Ash because he tried to take the easy way out.
Before they can carry on with the plan to bury the book, they’ve got to dismember Evil Ash and Amanda so they don’t return in deadite form. Trouble is, as soon as Ash revs his chainsaw, the happy campers return. They attempt to shoo them away, but when the group asks to camp in front of the cabin, they’ve got to come up with another plan so decide that while Pablo and Kelly lead them back to civilization, Ash will stay behind to slice and dice.
While chopping up his evil clone to the tune of “Just the Two of Us,” Ash spills a little too much blood and the puddle expands to the point that it touches the Necronomicon, bringing the book to life. The Necronomicon tries to convince Ash that it’s the only thing that makes him special and that once he buries it, he’ll have to go back to being a stock boy, but Ash doesn’t fall for it and tosses the book into the fridge. After that, he goes back to body chopping, but there’s one big problem – Amanda’s gone.
Out in the woods Pablo and Kelly mistake an innocent raccoon for a deadite and feel like jerks, but soon thereafter, the hikers realize why they’re so on edge. It’s deadite Amanda. She goes straight for one of the hikers (Indiana Evans), punching her hand right through her stomach, and then snatches up Brad (Ido Drent). She puts her hands through their skulls, plays puppet with their dead bodies and then hurls them at Pablo and Kelly. Heather (Samara Weaving) makes a run for it, but she doesn’t get very far. A couple of scratches and a nasty broken leg later, Pablo arrives but he doesn’t stand a chance. However, just before Amanda can choke the life out of him, Ruby flip/flies in! Ruby and Amanda have a questionable exchange during which it appears that Ruby is ready to use the kandarian dagger on her, but when Heather screams, she distracts Ruby, giving Amanda the split second she needs to disappear.
While Ruby dismembers the other two hikers, Pablo and Kelly try to explain that Ash is the only one who’s fighting the monsters. However, Ruby clarifies and tells them that as long as he has the Necronomicon, a trail of dead bodies will follow. (Which is a pretty fair statement given everything that’s happened so far.) Assuming Ruby can help, they bring her back to the cabin but as soon as she’s face to face with Ash, she demands that he hand over the book immediately. He tells her about his trip and plan to bury the book, but she insists that it won’t work. After dishing out some juvenile insults, Ruby pulls it together and makes a pretty convincing case for dismantling the Necronomicon instead of burying it six feet under. Ash, Pablo and Kelly have a pow wow and come to the conclusion that they’ve got to give Ruby a shot.
Inside the cabin Ruby has Ash use the kandarian dagger to cut up the Necronomicon and rip its face right off the binding. As soon as the defacing is over and done with, Ruby tells him to present the book to her so that she gets the power of ownership, completing the ritual. Ash has some second thoughts, but eventually hands it over and that’s when Ruby flips to a specific page and starts reading an ominous incantation. Lightning strikes, the ground splits and the Necronomicon’s face levitates and latches onto Pablo’s face, seemingly going after his necklace. Ash tries to pull the book away from Ruby to end the chaos and that’s when we get the big reveal of the episode; Ruby wrote the Necronomicon. She’s a Dark One.
“Bound in the Flesh” definitely feels like an episode that was made to serve the finale rather than function as a strong half hour on its own, but it still plays well enough because at this point, we’re completely invested in the characters and their efforts, and because the way it tees up the big finish is absolutely brilliant.
I’m a little bummed that some of my theories aren’t panning out, but it’s quite nice to get a show that rocks so many surprising twists and turns. As presented in this episode, Ruby doesn’t come across like much of an anti-hero and it doesn’t seem like Amanda will get a second chance either. I do take some issue with the fact that Ash can be so flippant after last week’s especially heartfelt episode but the “Ash will be Ash” excuse works well enough.
As for Pablo and Kelly, their relationship has more promise than ever. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you want something until you can’t have it anymore and it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening to Kelly. Not only did Heather reveal her big secret, that Kelly lied about Pablo having a girlfriend, but then deadite Amanda outs Pablo, announcing that he’s got feelings for Kelly. There’s no doubt that once things settle down, both will reconsider what they mean to each other. But, what if Heather is still around when that happens?
Now back to the Ruby reveal. The final episode of the season is called “The Dark One,” but as we learned in Episode 3, the Necronomicon was created by “The Dark Ones” so it’s likely that Ruby is one of many, and perhaps she was trying to summon them when she gained ownership of the book at the end of the episode. But, there’s also the possibility that Ruby is a Dark One traitor. Remember that skeleton creature in Episode 6? It called her a double-crosser and then shouted, “The others will never let you get the book for yourself, and neither will I.” Maybe she’s a Dark One who had a change of heart and now wants the book so that she can destroy it for good.
Again, these are just guesses and could most certainly be proven wrong next week but the point is, Ash vs. Evil Dead has us asking some very important, thoughtful questions. It may not have the sound structure of “The Killer of Killers” or the heart and emotion of “Ashes to Ashes,” but “Bound in the Flesh” does help ensure that the season finale has some serious potential.
Episode Rating: ★★★★
Extras and Ashisms:
- “The only person you’re willing to lay down and die for, is you.” – Kelly “Well, that’s because I’m very important to me.” – Ash
- “If you live in the past, you hurt the future.” – Ash
- “There is no way in hell they’re gonna stay here because they’re gonna get possessed then they’re gonna be on the night train to Kill-adelphia.” – Ash “Which stops in Choke-lahoma City and Die-ami.” – Kelly
- “The truth is, we can still be together if you want.” – Amanda “Well, I’d like that, but our time has not yet come.” – Ruby
- “Hey, Evil! Why don’t you eat my butt?” – Ash
- How about Evil Amanda? One of the best deadites of the season?