Ash Vs Evil Dead – Season 1, Episode 9: Bound In Blood

As the Evil Dead franchise has quite a – shall we say – unique tone, it was always was going to be a challenge to lasso it’s relentless energy into something as rigid as a weekly television format. Be it the lashings of cartoonish gore, the blunt refusal to treat virtually anything with a shred of seriousness or the fact that its hero is nothing more than a boorish moron, the show could hardly be considered normal. So when came time to deal with the shock death of a major character, expect Ash Vs Evil Dead to characteristically do things… a little different.

When we last left our beleaguered cast, their trip to the cabin in the woods in order to bury the Necronomicon once and for all had already ended in disaster. After finally joining forces with Ash and his motley group after episodes of pursuit, Detective Amanda Fisher met her gruesome end at the hand (pun intended) of an evil double of our hapless hero. Grown like a tumour from the wrist of Ash’s possessed severed hand, Evil Ash brutally murdered her and then indulged in a clumsy brawl with his good doppelganger as they targeted each others numerous physical ailments. However, in the midst of these two idiots choking each other out, Kelly and Pablo enter only to find themselves in the middle of a classic “who’s who” scenario were they have to use their innate knowledge of Ash’s questionable personality such as his casual racism (“Hey, I’m racist too! Asian babies creep me out!”) and his general laziness to figure out which Ash is their’s.
Cracking the puzzle by clocking on that while Ash is racist, he’s not racist against Asians (“They give great massages!”), the Ghost Beaters pump Evil Ash full of bullets and get on with the business of carving up the massing bodies to avoid any chance of Deadite related resurrection. However, they are interrupted by two rather alarming things – the first is the clueless trio of Aussie hitchhikers introduced last episode have doubled back and has unwittingly put themselves in hideous danger; the second is that Amanda’s body has been given a second shot at “life” thanks to the Kandarian Demon that’s now living rent free inside her body. Celebrating this new lease of life by butchering Brad and Melissa and shattering Heather shin bone, the Amanda-Deadite seems to be yet another a huge obstacle in the way of Ash’s quest – or at least she would be if not for the timely arrival of Ruby Knowby into the fray. Scaring off Amanda, Ruby forges an uneasy and snark-filled alliance with Ash as the two debate what to ultimately do with the Book Of The Dead – but their decision to skin the book with the Kandarian dagger may prove to somehow makes things even worse.

So, in the light of Amanda’s demonic return after being impaled, it turns out to be immensely ironic that the milky eyed, leering version of the character proves to be the most entertaining by a long way. No disrespect to Jill Marie Jones, but the show never really knew what to do with her character as either a vengeful cop or Ash’s unlikely love interest, however, freed from all this restrained bullshit, Jones goes all out as a crazed, demon super-rich and milks the insanity for all it’s worth. In fact, even if she didn’t punch out the backs of Brad and Melissa’s skulls to puppeteer them in order to grotesquely mock Kelly and Pablo’s will-they-won’t-they relationship, Jones may still be the single best Deadite of the entire season.
Also this episode we finally get to see Ash and Ruby lock horns in a classic battle of wits (well, maybe not in Ash’s case) which goes pretty much as you’d expect as these two fan favorite character actors collide for the first time since Xena: Warrior Princess and the mutual disdain these two have for one another manages to tease the fact that Ruby is as untrustworthy as Ash is stupid and the sparks are magnificent.
The final character to get a belated moment in the spotlight proves to be the Necronomicon itself, which, after getting soaked in the blood of a dismembered Evil Ash (“Chopping up my my evil clone? Maybe someday that’ll feel weird.”), becomes alarmingly chatty and the moments where Ash actually feels remorse after skinning the thing under Ruby’s orders seem weirdly sweet considering the long history the dufus has had with this wedge of evil literature. Of course, things take a sharp left into shitsville when the disembodied cover decides to fly across the room and affix itself to the face of sweet, innocent Pablo much to the horror of all involved and the final revelation from Ruby that’s it fact she who originally wrote the book means we’re all set for the final episode of the season.
While giving us all the deadite action you could possibly ask for, Bound In Blood slightly falters on a few noticable aspects, with the main one being we simply don’t get enough Evil Ash in this episode and he’s dispatched far too soon for my tastes – bear in mind the previous incarnation of that dastardly duplicate was the main villain of Army Of Darkness and led a frickin’ skeleton army, so seeing him floored by mere machine gun fire feels a tad lame.

Still, Bound In Blood manages to hold it’s own in the wake of the towering nostalgia of the previous episode and it powers to the final showdown with all the energy we’ve come to love from a show that happily murders its main characters in order to bring them back as screeching monsters.


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