It’s two for two now, and I really have to admit that I haven’t been this excited when looking forward to the next episode in a really long time. There’s literally so much that happened this week, it nearly overcame the last two episodes together in terms of realization for the series direction and a completely horrible approach to tragedy. I mean the latter in a good way. Characterization goes a long way when it comes to drawing out emotional responses from viewers, and despite the minor hiccup here and there, Ash vs the Evil Dead has managed to take our feelings in this season and just jumble them around like a cat with a ball of string. Again in a good way, albeit a painful way.
As we move farther past the midway of our journey through this season, we are constantly reminded of everything our favorite trio has been through over the last two seasons and how much they’ve changed in that span of time. Mostly Kelly and Pablo because Ash is…well you know, Ash. Even still, we’ve seen him both fail at redeeming himself in the role of a father (something we would have never expected him to pull off), but damn he became what he needed to be at the exact moment he needed to be.
The episode opens back at his home with Kaya/Kelly still playing her facade with the Kandarian dagger. Brandy comes down dressed up, wanting to attend her school’s dance in order to draw out Ruby, who she still isn’t entirely sure about, even with having a lot more faith in her father. Kaya/Kelly waits on the wings until the proper moment to see her own means met, a trap is obviously in the making. Meanwhile back at Ruby’s, her Ash clone has finally gestated long enough to be exact in his appearance. The only problem is his organic chainsaw arm, which she makes him saw off for a real one just like Ash.
Pablo remains at the rift with the only survivor of the Knight’s when Kelly herself seemingly begins to call for him from the deadlands. She tells Pablo that Ruby killed her but has to run from something chasing her before she can tell him anything more. Now at least someone knows that Kelly is dead. Ash and Brandy finally arrive at the school only to realize the cops are still after him because of the baby clone in his trunk so he decides to sneak into the school from the back, leaving Brandy with Kaya. She begins to plant the seeds of doubt in Brandy as she has her alone. Somewhere else in the school, demon Ash begins his killing spree, killing two students quite graphically even for this show. He leaves buckets of blood that will condemn the real Ash.
Back at the dance floor, Ruby again plants more doubt in Brandy by giving a speech and moment of silence for her mother and her friend, Rachael. We can see Brandy is very much on the fence about Ruby, and Kaya expertly still plays the Kelly role to make Ruby seem more untrustworthy, making the deception that more authentic. The real Ash discovers his clones handy work as he happens upon him in the act of consuming the remains. Before he can fight it, a police officer gets in the way.
Ruby takes Brandy and Kaya to a room away from the dance so she can better explain that she knows more than she was letting on. She says the war against evil is real and she is caught in the middle of it…and that Ash is the cause of it because he read from the book. Kaya confirms this by telling her he did read the book. She knows better though, and walks out even if she heavily doubts she’ll turn against Ash at this point.
Brandy goes on the look for her father when she sees a student running in terror from the clone Ash. Brandy doesn’t realize something is off about him until she sees a mutilated body of another student, showing off his demon and scaring her off. The real Ash is seemingly saved by Kaya as she tells him Ruby is plotting to kill his daughter. Things only get worse for Ash when more students discover his clones trail of bodies and the entire dance floor becomes a slaughter room as the clone Ash begins to indiscriminately butcher student after student.
Brandy watches in horror at Ruby’s side as her friends become victim to the clone. Pablo arrives outside the school not long after, looking for Ash but finding Kaya instead. He’s of course in shock from seeing the real Kelly in the rift. He craftily works in a statement that only the real Kelly would know, and then pistol whips her since she doesn’t know they kissed. Kaya then reveals herself.
Back on the dance floor, Ruby gives Brandy the Kandarian dagger to protect herself and the real Ash finally appears but no one noticed the clone leave. Back with Pablo, he has Kaya at gunpoint as she begins to call his bluff. She does get the gun from him but runs out of ammo and he gets away.
Ash tries to talk down Brandy and Ruby has the final laugh when she forces herself onto Ash’s saw, giving the appearance that he slaughtered her. Pablo finds the clone and uses the Brujo powers to see that he’s a demon. Brandy holds the dagger at Ash as a wave of good memories come crashing to her, and she can’t kill him. At the exact right moment, Pablo and clone Ash come in fighting and Ash blows its head off. In anger, Ruby picks up the dagger, finally revealing her nature when she throws it at Ash. Brandy jumps in the way and takes it to the back.
The episode ends with Ash cradling his daughter’s dying body. She wakes to the same world that Kelly is stuck in as something begins to hunt her.
Okay, let’s start with that ending. It’s seems like Raimi gave a two for two this month, but joke’s on us because there’s still a great chance both Kelly and Brandy can return. That’s not to say that their deaths didn’t have the desired effect, because boy did they.
Kelly’s, of course, we felt more for because she’s been with us from the very beginning. Brandy on the other hand, I said earlier in the series that it was somewhat hard to get attached to her, but it’s really not the case anymore at this point. Even those who still weren’t completely sold on her character could share in our mourning with the devices the writers used to hammer her demise into use. Just as she was finally beginning to see Ash as a proper father, even finally giving up the doubt that Ruby was on her side, the betrayal comes swiftly. As do the feels.
While the episode was mostly focused on Ruby trying to use Brandy to kill Ash, Kelly and her death were sort of put into the back seat. The pain is obviously still fresh for most of us, but we were given just enough to fill us with hope. We’ve known since Pablo’s possession a few episodes ago that being killed with the Kandarian dagger sends you off to another plane of existence. In his case, he was taken by his uncle to a realm hidden by the evil ones. Kelly however, ended up in the Deadlands, giving us the sense that she can still be saved. I really hope she is before the end of the series.