As promised by last week’s episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, “Fire in the Hole” finds Team Ghost Beaters unwittingly in the midst of survivalist militiamen who were hopelessly outmatched by their Deadite-possessed friend, Lem (Peter Feeney). In a touch of comic genius, the militia’s leader, Crosby (Mark Mitchinson) blamed the whole thing on a government plot using an airborne virus. Unfortunately, one of Crosby’s men identified Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) as a cop and the militia immediately turned on Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his friends.
From there, Team Ghost Beaters coupled off, with Ash and Amanda handcuffed together and tossed into a bomb shelter with Lem, while Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) tried to come up with a way to save them. This episode gave some of its best humor and action moments to Santiago and DeLorenzo. Pablo’s subplot involved him trying to establish his identity through his choice of weapons. That was amusing and it served as another reminder that Pablo hasn’t quite figured out his role in this unfolding story. I still think that Pablo’s going to have some Brujo powers of his own by the end of the season, but his supernatural heritage was played down this week.
In its place, Pablo and Kelly shared one of the more inventive sequences in the episode in which they slammed a Deadite-possessed militiaman into a tree…and Kelly’s automatic weapon nearly took out Pablo when she used it to spray its body with gunfire. On a more serious show, Pablo would have been hit by Kelly’s wild aim. But instead it was a moment that was played for laughs, and it totally worked!
The other half of the story followed Ash and Amanda in the bunker, as she resisted Ash’s advances while they stayed one step ahead of Lem. Eligos is still my choice for the best villain this season, but Lem made a pretty strong case for himself. Lem’s attempts to burn Ash and Amanda came off as legitimately horrifying moments. This show needs villains who can present a real threat to its heroes, and Ash vs. Evil Dead has done a pretty good job of that so far.
Halfway through the episode, the story checked in with someone who may end up being the Big Bad of this series: Ruby (Lucy Lawless). The episode cleverly depicted Ruby’s return from the funeral pyre of Pablo’s uncle while Amanda told Ash what Ruby’s honesty and guidance meant to her. But Ruby can’t be fully human. Nobody goes full Khaleesi if they’re just an ordinary person. That means that Ruby was probably lying about why she’s after Ash and the Necronomicon. Either way, Ruby could potentially be a great villain for the end game of this season… and she hasn’t even had any scenes with Ash yet!
The one false note in this episode was the way that Amanda warmed up to Ash so quickly. Their tag team fight against Lem was really well choreographed and the interplay between them was funny… but it still felt like their near-kiss wasn’t earned. Amanda hasn’t even been on the team for an entire episode and she’s already falling for Ash’s cheesiness?! Come on…
That said, the episode ended on two great moments: Ash’s abandonment of his new found team and the hilarious shot of Ash’s severed hand crawling back to where it all began: the cabin from the Evil Dead movies. It makes perfect sense that Ash has actually developed feelings for Pablo, Kelly, and to a lesser extent, Amanda. If they’re not cannon fodder to him, then Ash can’t risk them getting killed in the final showdown with the Deadites. The “alone wolf” is alone again after pulling off a Batman, and vanishing while his team was looking away.
Of course, that separation isn’t going to last. Both Pablo and Kelly have lost family members to the Deadites, and Amanda lost her partner. The war against the Deadites is as personal for them as it is to Ash. Considering that Ash isn’t physically what he used to be, he may come to regret leaving his backup behind.
Tell us what you thought about this week’s Ash vs. Evil Dead in the comments section below!
Image Credits: Starz/Renaissance Pictures