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ASH VS. EVIL DEAD Review: ‘Bound in the Flesh’

There are full spoilers ahead for the penultimate episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead season 1. You’ve been warned!

Most of Ash vs. Evil Dead’s inaugural season has come down more on the side of comedy than horror. In Sam Raimi terms, it’s been more Army of Darkness than Evil Dead. But with “Bound in the Flesh,” the series is definitely heading back into Evil Dead territory…and yet it’s still hilarious.

Picking up immediately after the events of last week’s episode, Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his evil double beat the crap out of each other before Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) broke it up. Instead of dragging out the reveal of which Ash was which, the dilemma was over before the end of the teaser scene—turns out Evil Ash was just ever-so-slightly more racist than regular Ash. But the most revealing aspect was that Ash would’ve rather died than face the consequences of being the Chosen One. Kelly and Pablo realized that only the real Ash would be that lazy and self-serving.

For most of the first half of the episode, Campbell was by himself while cutting up his double’s body. The music for that sequence was perfectly chosen—Grover Washington, Jr.’s “Just the Two of Us.” Ash’s sloppy handling of the dismemberment led the Necronomicon to become “quite the chatty Cathy.” The blood of Ash’s double animated the Necronomicon’s face, and it taunted Ash with the knowledge that he’s nothing without the Deadites to give him a purpose in life. The book wasn’t wrong, and Campbell actually played it like a conflicted moment before Ash threw the Necronomicon into the fridge.

“Ashes to Ashes” played up the idea that Ash took it really hard when Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) died, but Ash had a real creeper moment in this episode when he suggested that he might peek at Amanda’s body immediately after promising to be respectful when dismembering her. But it wasn’t long before Ash screwed up again and Amanda’s body was reanimated by the Deadites. Jones looked like she was having a lot of fun as Evil Amanda, even though she didn’t get to share any other scenes with Campbell. Instead, Amanda hinted that Ruby (Lucy Lawless) may have had a romantic interest in her after she terrorized Pablo, Kelly, and the hapless New Zealander campers who returned from the previous episode.

It would have been refreshing to not see the campers again, because they came off as Deadite bait from their very first appearance on screen. They existed only as a plot device to get Pablo and Kelly away from the cabin and to create friction between them when Pablo learned that Kelly lied about him having a girlfriend to keep Heather (Samara Weaving) from expressing any romantic interest in him. The only redeeming aspect of the camper victims was the way that Evil Amanda used them as ventriloquist dummies to expose Pablo’s feelings for Kelly. That was very Raimi, and very funny.

Ruby’s return was a big hero moment for her, and the episode did a good job of building up suspense about her motives. We’ve seen hints that Ruby isn’t completely human, as she went full Khaleesi a few episodes back. One of the Deadites even said that Ruby wanted the book for herself. But everything that Ruby said in this episode made perfect sense. Ash hasn’t done a very good job of protecting mankind from the evil he unleashed 30 years ago. Maybe it is time that he stepped aside.

Ash vs Evil Dead 109 part 2

After nine episodes, Campbell and Lawless finally got a chance to play off of each other, and it was glorious. They’ve rarely shared the screen since Xena: Warrior Princess, but their chemistry and comedic timing’s still intact. Ruby could have been a great addition to Team Ghostbeaters…if fighting evil was really her true goal.

Ruby tricked Ash into literally defacing the Necronomicon and giving it to her, before she promptly read from the book and caused chaos to erupt. In a dark twist, the face of the Necronomicon bonded with Pablo and Ruby revealed herself as…the writer of the Necronomicon?! I can’t wait to hear the explanation for that one, but it appears that Ruby is the big bad of season one and Evil Amanda is still around for the finale as well. That’s a pretty good lineup of villains to close out the season.

This was a particularly exhilarating episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead that was well executed on every level. It remains to be seen if next week’s season finale will tie everything up neatly or if there’s a cliffhanger ending that will send the story into season two. Either way, we’re up for it!

Tell us what you thought about this week’s Ash vs. Evil Dead in the comments section below!


Image Credits: Starz/Renaissance Pictures

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