The cast has now unified (except Ruby, but more on her later…), everyone’s plot threads are heading in the same direction, the main characters now have a location and a goal and it seems that Ash Vs Evil Dead is about to make it’s big push into the events that’ll make up it’s (hopefully) big-ass finale. However, the only thing standing between us and that is Fire In The Hole, an episode that feels suspiciously like Abed from Community is going to pop up at any moment and claim that it’s a bottle episode.
To be fair, the seventh episode does many things that disprove this accusation (for example, bottle episodes usually restrict its amounts of characters and sets whereas this expands the unnecessarily), but even the blank, white eyes of a Deadite can see the show is obviously running in place in preparation for the final three episodes.
After re-uniting with Detective Amanda Fisher after six whole episode of possession based misunderstandings, Ash, Kelly, Pablo and the newest member of the Ghost Beaters take a detour from their destination of the old cabin where all this Evil Dead malarkey began to swing by a local militia camp in order to stock up on weapons. However, upon arriving they get an increasingly hostile welcome after finding some of the participating rednecks disenboweled in the woods and it turns out that militia member Lem (a rare survivor of the diner massacre seen last episode) had an unfortunate run in with a demon on the way home and subsequently attacked the camp.
Taking our heroes hostage, things get worse when one of the troops recognises that Fisher is a cop and in the ensuing chaos of another Lem attack, Kelly and Pablo escape into the woods while Ash and Amanda are handcuffed together and flung into the bunker where the Deadite Lem has taken refuge.
While this is all going on, Ruby reveals yet another string on her bow by emerging from the ashes of the bonfire she fell in last episode without a single hair on her head singed in the slightest; and after a change of clothes, resumes her search for the Necronomicon.
Meanwhile, as Kelly and Pablo use automatic weapons to fight possessed militiamen above ground with predictably messy results, Ash and Amanda somehow refuses to let a kerosene guzzling, flamethrowing Lem get in the way of their inopportune flirting and the group comes together as a formidable fight force – or at least it did. A rare flash of compassion from Ash compels him to leave them behind for their own safety as he continues on is way to the cabin alone – but he’s not the only one, as the possessed hand he chainsawed off 30 years ago has also made it to the rickety structure…
While not a bad episode by any means, Fire In The Hole proves to be such an obvious side mission before the big ending it just can’t help but be slightly frustrating. Which is sort of weird because the episode features some admittedly cool shit which includes a legitimately creepy looking Deadite and Kelly going all out with a machine gun – however, you just can’t dangle the carrot of a return to the cabin to an Evil Dead fan and not expect them to get impatient.
The episode splits the Ghost Beaters into two teams of two and this ends up being somewhat of a mixed bag. The team of Kelly and Pablo is beginning to quickly become one of the best things about the series and their casual conversation about choosing a signature weapon is not only sweet but possibly the best chat they’ve had the entire series, plus they even get to do some of that flailing physical comedy that Bruce Campbell is usually renowned for as Pablo flops around in the grip of a pinned Deadite while Kelly tries to drill it full of holes with a machine gun that’s way to powerful for a novice.
On the other hand, the handcuffed Ash and Amanda’s battle with a highly flammable Lem is fun and original, but the fact that Fisher has suddenly found Ash utterly irresistible, strains the credulity of even the Evil Dead franchise. A middle aged man diving across the room to plug his arm into a flying chainsaw? Fine. No problemo. A police detective who has been tracking Ash for six episodes instantly falling for his dubious charms the second she finds him innocent? Guys, c’mon…
It’s not fatal by any means (nothing is too stupid for Ash Vs Evil Dead) but despite the copious action and easy pot shots at far right extremists – they believe the Deadites are result of a government virus – Fire In The Hole is simply obvious filler for what is to come and the final shot of Ash’s hand scuttling toward that notorious cabin at the failing light of dusk is possibly the most tantalising shot of the entire season…