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TV Review: Ash vs Evil Dead 1.3 “Books From Beyond”
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Ash vs Evil Dead, Season 1, Episode 3 Review

Ash vs Evil Dead
Episode 1.3 “Books from Beyond”
Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Written by Sean Clements
Starring Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, Jill Marie Jones, Lucy Lawless, Kelson Henderson, Ben Fransham
Starz
Air date: Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9pm

Last week on my new favorite show, Ash vs Evil Dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) followed Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) home to her parents’ house where Ash correctly identified her Mom (guest star Mimi Rogers) as a deadite. Unfortunately, it was too late for dad, who took a fork to the eye en route to being buried in a mass grave in the front yard along with a beheaded mom.

We open this week’s episode, 1.3 “Books from Beyond,” with Ruby (Lucy Lawless) driving a red sports car (of course), getting to the house after Ash and crew left. Dad tries a Carrie-esque scare, but Ruby ain’t having none of that. She proceeds to torture a deadite to get Ash’s location; even pulling out the dagger from Evil Dead II. I can’t wait for Ash and Ruby to be on screen together!

Ash and his new posse arrive with the Necronomicon at Books From Beyond to meet with Lionel (Kelson Henderson) to translate the Book of the Dead and send the deadites back to Hell. Ash is used to being the lone wolf in his crusades against evil. Pablo tries to create a team name for their trio, but “Ghost Beaters” is understandably mocked by Ash and Kelly. Pablo is adorable in both his admiration for Ash, his “jefe,” and his flirting with Kelly. Before Ash goes in, there’s this great back and forth:

Ash – “If we get this done quick enough, we can stop for churros. That’s not a racist thing, Pablo, that’s just a great dessert.”

Pablo – “You know I’m not Mexican, right?”

Ash – “That’s the spirit!”

Campbell is literally the only actor who get away with the cheeseball dialogue Ash uses. But after 30 years, I expect nothing less. Detective Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), investigating Ash on her own ever since deadites killed her partner, is already at the shop and moves in to arrest Ash, leading to Pablo and Kelly rescuing him. With Kelly watching the cuffed Fisher, Ash conceives the bright idea to have Lionel summon a minor demon from the book who could then offer advice on how to send all the deadites back. On this plan, another great back and forth between Pablo and Ash:

Ash – “It’s like spilling paint on a painting… It’s okay because there’s already paint on it.”

Pablo – “That is incorrect.”

Kelly gets outsmarted by Fisher and she screws up Ash’s terrible plan. The demon looks great, like a cross between a Resident Evil monster and a Harry Potter Dementor. Of course, summoning a demon backfires and Kelly needs to save Ash and Pablo’s butt. This whole scene doesn’t really work out for Lionel, who receives a healthy dose of shattered glass for his troubles. In a hilarious moment at the end, Fisher cuffs Ash’s wooden hand, which he easily dislodges and then cuffs her, trapping her in the store. Ash acknowledges that his lone wolf days may be behind him as they drive off with the book. The episode ends with Fisher trapped with a suddenly alive and demonic Lionel.

We know what’s coming and I can’t wait! Ruby will inevitably save Fisher as she’s a step behind Ash. Ruby and Ash will have some classic moments. Lawless and Campbell go back to the Xena days, so they have chemistry. While Campbell is obviously “dead” on perfect here, Pablo is emerging as my favorite character. And his last advice to Ash was that he had a shaman uncle, you know his role will get bigger and we’ll find out more about his background.

This week’s episode was lighter on the bloodshed and gore, but heavier on the background and set up. We got a nice look inside the Necronomicon, and a cool looking demon also. It’s obvious that Ruby and Fisher will end up a team sooner rather than later to unite against Ash’s trio. Even though all will eventually end up on the same page since they’re all against the deadites.

Thirty minutes, tons of fun dialogue, some scares — this is without a doubt my favorite new show on TV and in full disclosure I’m totally biased: I once waited 4 hours to meet Bruce Campbell at a horror convention. The show and characters on their own are great and will win over audiences for the pure fun factor. If you like horror, but The Walking Dead is just too serious an hour for you, here is your answer. If, like me, you’re a fan of the Evil Dead films, then this is icing on a wonderful cake.

Ash vs Evil Dead is on Saturday nights at 9:00 ET on Starz

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