How do you know that a show has been riding high creatively? When an episode can feature the brutal deaths of several lead and supporting characters, defeat the main antagonist, and wrap up a season’s worth of plot points… and yet still feel like a slow week when compared to the rest of the season so far.
This week’s Ash vs Evil Dead wasted no time in getting right to the climactic, series-changing action we’ve been waiting for. The episode, titled “Ashy Slashy”, opened where last week’s left off, as Pablo, Ruby, and Kelly pulled up outside of the asylum where Ash was being brainwashed. Having followed him there using the pet tracker in his pocket, the group is now heavily armed and ready to break him free from Baal’s control. Meanwhile, inside the demon’s office, we learn that Sherriff Emery and his wife Linda were a part of Baal’s evil plan to convince Ash that his Deadite-hunting was a delusion. The couple demand that Baal hold up his end of their deal and release their daughter, Lacey. Of course, the super demon had no intention of staying true to their agreement at all, and the two are now stuck, separated, in the spooky asylum. Suddenly, Lacey appears. Now under demon control, she attacks and kills her Sheriff father, ripping his head clean off his body, and suddenly ending his story arc for the season.
RIP jerk cop guy.
Kelly begins fighting her way through the halls of the hospital where she too is confronted by Deadite Lacey. The two battle until Kelly, knowing that there’s no way of saving Lacey at this point, shoots her dead. Kelly then continues her search for Ash, eventually getting herself locked in his room alone with his demon-possessed therapy puppet Ashy Slashy. In an Evil Dead II-esque moment, she fights her own hand so that she can shoot and kill the puppet. It’s one of the strangest action scenes I’ve ever seen, and as a fan of this franchise, that’s saying something.
Meanwhile, Ruby and Pablo continue their push through the hospital as well. Ever the optimist, Pablo reflects on the dreams he has for his future after the Baal situation is contained. Ruby, however, remains a realist, and warns him that even the best case scenario has him die. Further strengthening her case is Ash: stoic, chainsaw-handed and ready to attack. Ruby reminds us that Ash is under Baal’s influence. Ash has been instructed to destroy the book, which is now contained in the markings on Pablo’s body. Destroying the book, therefore, means destroying Pablo. Their mission then changes from saving Ash to hiding from him in closet. Ash saws his way in through the door, The Shining-style, and drags Pablo away.
Having found her ex-husband’s severed head, Linda continues to search frantically for her daughter Lacey, eventually finding herself face to face with Kelly – the woman who ultimately killed Lacey. Kelly lies and says she’ll help find Lacey if Linda helps her find Ash first. Eventually the truth is discovered, fueling Linda’s thirst for revenge against the demons that took her daughter.
The climax of the episode sees Kelly, Linda, and Ruby burst into Baal’s office, where Ash has Pablo strung up from the ceiling like in Pablo’s vision of his death from the first episode of the season. Ash has his chainsaw at the ready, prepared to follow Baal’s orders and kill “the book” living inside of Pablo.
The episode then rapidly resolves itself as Ash reveals this all to have been part of dumb plan from the episode three weeks ago – to use a pet tracking GPS to hunt down Baal, use himself as bait, then have Pablo “do his thing” and kill the demonic presence.
He then cuts Pablo down, and has him transfer the powers of the book from his body into Baal while the rest of the group holds him down. The plan works and Baal explodes into a splattering of black ink across the room. Ash, Linda, Ruby, and Kelly celebrate Pablo heroically overcoming the Necronomicon and defeating the bad guy. Pablo smiles, then splits in half and falls to the floor, apparently dead.