Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ash vs. Evil Dead - Bound in Flesh

Ash is trying to save a little something called Earth.

Tony Tilse, director of the previous episode, 'Ashes to Ashes', continues the story in the penultimate episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead's ten episode first season. This time Tilse was working from a script by Rob Wright, a veteran television writer who has worked on such shows as Charmed, Grimm, and Walker, Texas Ranger.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Evil Dead franchise hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is trying to figure out exactly what to do with the Book of the Dead, which has been messing up his life for thirty years and is currently causing a plague of demons to sweep across the state of Michigan. A drug-induced vision told him that the way to get rid of the book and the forces of evil for good was to bury the tome deep beneath where this nightmare all started for him, the cabin in the woods that was the setting of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II.

But before he can get to doing that, he and his sidekicks Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) have to contend with his evil doppelganger - sort of like the Evil Ash he fought in the third Evil Dead movie, Army of Darkness - and the possessed corpse of his former love interest, Michigan State Police officer Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones).

Caught in the crossfire between Ash's group and the evil are a trio of hikers, played by Australian actresses Samara Weaving and Indiana Evans, and South African actor Ido Drent. As Evil Dead fans know, people who aren't Ash don't fare very well in these woods.

There's not all that much to these hikers, but there is some extra focus given to Weaving's character Heather, who has taken an instant liking to Pablo. Pablo has a crush on Kelly that she hasn't reciprocated to this point, except for when she was possessed, but when Heather shows interest in Pablo she is told by Kelly that he has a girlfriend. Love triangle on the edge of the apocalypse!

Since she got some extra development, Heather survives a bit longer than her companions, but Tilse and Wright put her through the wringer for it.

There's also the wild card addition of Lucy Lawless as Ruby Knowby, who was previously on a mission of vengeance, chasing Ash because she held him responsible for the death of her family (tying back into Evil Dead II). She butts heads with Ash when she first shows up at the cabin, but rather than outright attack him, she instead offers to help defeat the evil. And she has her own suggestions for what should be done with the book. A ritual that involves the use of the Kandarian dagger featured in the first two movies.

An episode that consists entirely of action, bloodshed, and rapid fire, amusing banter, 'Bound in Flesh' flew by very quickly. It's amazing how fast these half hour episodes are, and how entertaining they tend to be. I am so glad Campbell, franchise creator Sam Raimi, and producer Rob Tapert decided to return to the world of Evil Dead in this way.

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