Ash Vs Evil Dead – Season 3, Episode 8: Rifting Apart


Not to belabour the point, but by the time we got to the eighth episode of Ash Vs Evil Dead’s third season, the end of the road seemed to be depressingly likely. Viewership had dropped worryingly low and everyone just seemed to be waiting for Starz to drop the hammer and put everyone out of their misery one way or the other.
Still, while we waited for the end to come, we still had a lot to process from the previous episode. After all, not only had Dana Delorenzo’s Kelly turned her toes up at the hands of Ruby, but Arielle Carver-O’Neill’s Brandy had also fallen before the blade of the Kandarian dagger while sacrificing herself for her dear old dad. If the motley, loveable group we know as the Ghostbeaters can’t stave off cancellation, can they at least escape from a creepy dimension of the dead?

After the school dance massacre claimed not only the lives of many unfortunate kids but Ash’s daughter too, El Jefe finds himself at an impasse. Juggling Brandy’s death with the news that fellow Ghostbeater Kelly has also bitten the bullet at the blade of Ruby’s Kandarian dagger leaves him and Pablo feeling as hopeless as they’ve ever been, but while they hide from the police, Ash has something rather rare – a brainwave. Surmising that if Kelly’s soul is trapped in the eerie green rift that has it’s entrance located in the basement of his hardware store, Ash figures if they steal Brandy’s body and dive into the netherworld to get the soul’s of Kelly and his daughter back where they belong.
Slight catch though, to enter the rift without becoming all demonized, Ash and Pablo reason that they have to die on the business end of that bloody dagger and so a plan (or at least the idea of a plan) gets put in motion that involves Ash sticking himself in the ticker with the pointy end.
Awaking on the other side, Ash has to locate Brandy and Kelly (with Dalton, the long dead Knight Of Sumaria joining the fray) and stay one step ahead of a smokey, shadowy figure that has the ability to expunge any trapped soul it can find straight to hell. Meanwhile, Pablo finds out the hard way that maybe Ash should have checked to see exactly which body he brought down to the basement…

So, with only three episodes to go and the threat of cancellation almost certain, Rifting Apart ends up being once of those episodes where the show has to take that deep breath and line up all of its ducks before the big finale. To be honest, it’s a bit of a mess, with a belated trip to the other side being sort of anticlimactic and the earth stuff being sort of unnecessary, with only Pablo’s brief rumble with a random Deadite giving the episode any drive whatsoever.
Watching Ash and Pablo try to formulate at plan like back in the good old days is pretty cool and Ash’s typically thoughtless bravado is sweet (“To save those two I would submit to a prostate exam.”), but the second Ash passes over to the other realm, things seen to lose all momentum. Nothing’s really explored it explained and the fact that this sickly, green version of Elk Grove makes no logical sense doesn’t help matters much. The shadowy hell creature that sucks screaming victims to eternal damnation may be a neat nod to the climax of Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell, but it’s not particularly interesting compared to some of the other beasties that this season has given us. On top of this, despite sacrificing Dalton (easy come, easy go, huh Dalton?) and having to leave Kelly behind, the gang seem to find a way out of this place trapped somewhere between time and space awfully easy.
Elsewhere, after her triumphant attempt to kill the Prophesied One collapsed in on itself like soggy origami, the show seems to have no idea what to do with Lucy Lawless’ Ruby next and her relationship with Kaya – the spirit inhabiting the body of Kelly – seems to be going precisely nowhere fast. Whether this is a result of the all-but-certain shit-canning of the show (no point setting up other devious plans for Ruby if there’s no fourth season to put it in) or just her plot has simply run her course I’m unsure, but it’s essentially left her the one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.
However fairing far better than everyone else by getting stuck in to a bout of good old fashioned Deadite smiting is Ray Santiago’s Pablo and while the scene is hardly groundbreaking – especially in the world of Ash Vs Evil Dead – watching our beloved Brujo smush the head of a screeching hell-bitch in a paint mixer is immensely satisfying.

A rare low point of season three, matters are made even more dire by the show’s shaky future, but all fingers (and a couple of toes) are crossed that the last two episodes bring the thunder in tbe way it truly deserves as Ash and co. hurtle towards the last round up.


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