'Ash vs Evil Dead' Recap: S2E5: "Confinement"

One of my favorite tropes on TV is the “bottle episode.” These are episodes where, in an attempt to save money, the characters all stay in one simple location for the entirety of the story, as if they were trapped in a bottle. The best example is probably the “Chinese Restaurant” episode of Seinfeld, where the characters all sit in a lobby and argue about whether or not they should leave. This week, Ash vs Evil Dead took a swing at this plot device, as this week’s episode “Confinement” sees the characters all sitting in a jailhouse lobby, arguing about which one of them is secretly a demon. It was clever, intense, and surprising to see a show this outrageous take a step back to breathe.

The episode starts with a police officer discovering the bodies left behind at Chet’s bar from the demon massacre two episodes back. Figuring “Ashy Slashy” has struck again, she phones into the police department for backup in arresting Ash. Suddenly, a creepy naked demon appears in the shadows and begins calling to her. Entranced, she moves closer to him. The two kiss, as he extends his pointy demon claw finger from his hand and kills the policewoman.

It’s the same demon claw finger Pablo saw in a vision at the start of the season!

This demon is Baal, the all-powerful original demon this whole season has been building up to!


Image result for ash vs evil dead season 2 episode 5 confinement

Ash is thrown in jail for the murders he semi-committed, occupying the cell right next to Chet who has also recently been arrested for a thoroughly different crime. Unfortunately for Ash, upstairs ensuring his jail time lasts as long as possible is Sherriff Emery, the jerk cop who’s had it in for Ash, Kelly, and Pablo all season. He and his wife Linda, a woman Ash used to date before the cabin incident, are currently tending to their daughter, the young woman who was trapped in the possessed car along with Pablo. She’s claiming all her friends are dead because of demon cars, and Emery isn’t buying a word of it, certain Ash is responsible.

Things get even worse as the police officer we saw killed in the opening scene returns to go check on Ash in his cell. We discover that this is in fact Baal, wearing her skin as a disguise, something we learn he does to gain human trust and seduce future victims. The Baal-Cop lets Ash out of his cell to answer a phone call, which taunts him that demons are inside the precinct ready to attack. Ash rushes upstairs just in time for everything to fall apart. Ruby, Kelly, and Pablo all arrive to bail Ash out and are about to be arrested too when the lights go out. The skin of the murdered police woman falls from the ceiling as an unseen demon kills the majority of the prisoners inside the building.

The episode then turns into an extended Clue-style group interrogation, with the Sherriff, Linda, Their daughter, Ash, Chet, Kelly, Pablo, and Ruby all fighting over their growing distrust of one another. Ruby steals Emery’s gun and shoots him in the leg to get his keys to evidence locker, hoping to get the demon-killing Kandarian dagger to defend themselves with. In the cellar, she encounters another police officer who, in a reversal of the opening scene, kisses and attacks Ruby. The officer is revealed to be the incredibly powerful and manipulative Baal, who steals the dagger and knocks her out.

Upstairs, Pablo explains that the growing painful markings on his chest must be demonic, and that he fears he might be the demon they’re searching for. Kelly subdues him as a new demon, the reanimated skinless body of the cop from earlier, appears and captures Linda. Ash rushes to save the woman he once knew – a running joke in the episode being that he truly can’t remember who Linda is, and confuses her with many other women.

The episode’s climax is one of the series’ most subdued and yet most captivating action set pieces they’ve had so far, as Ruby wakes up just in time to help Ash fight off the skinless demon. She shoots it in the head while Ash chainsaws it in half, saving Linda at the last possible second. What was interesting to me was how small in scale this fight scene was, while still being true to the Evil Dead spirit of gleefully splattering blood at the walls. I’ve enjoyed how the TV show keeps upping the stakes of the demon-kills, but this simple shotgun/chainsaw scene was just as satisfying, if not more so, than any of the outlandish battles we’ve seen thus far.

The episode concludes with Pablo being held down Alien-chest-burster-style as the demon markings on his body grow and take form. Ruby assures him that the strange letters appearing on his chest don’t mean he’s a demon, but rather that he’s humanity’s last hope in fighting them off.

Overall I think I really liked this episode. It’s certain to be polarizing among audiences, as this, character driven tone is quite different than the other episodes before it. Personally, I enjoyed seeing the Evil Dead take on a bottle episode, and felt it stayed very true to the nature of the original film, which after all, took place in just one cabin. This was a subversive and strange episode. At times it moved too slow, but ultimately it paid off in the end.