Ash vs Evil Dead (S01E03) “Books from Beyond”

It is night time and a red Dodge Charger is flying down the road, screeching to a halt in front of Kelly’s house. The car door opens and we see a killer pair of black boots and leather pants. Upon moving up we see the back of a brunette in a leather jacket.

The mystery woman (Lucy Lawless) walks over to the graves of Kelly’s parents. Immediately, the crosses turn sideways as if they know they are in the presence of a bad ass. Seeing something in the dirt, she bends down to examine it. A hand punches through and grabs her. She tosses it off and reaches into the ground and pulls out the Deadite corpse of Kelly’s dad.

Without hesitation, she hoists him up and impales him on one of the crosses. The mystery woman then asks if Ash was there with the book. After a few wisecracks and no answers, she tires of Deadite Dad and slices his face open with a huge intricate ritualistic dagger.

Ash and the rest of the gang roll up to Books from Beyond. Before going in, he tells them that the owner is an odd duck and not to look at him or engage him in conversation. He just wants to get the reversal spell to stop all the mayhem and get back to normal. At this point, he tells Kelly and Pablo that he is going solo because he is a lone wolf.

Upset, Pablo tells him he thought they were a team and that he came up with a name for them. When he reveals Ghostbeaters, both Ash and Kelly tell him it’s an awful choice.  After that, Ash heads into the bookstore leaving Kelly and Pablo to watch the Delta.

As Ash enters the store, you can almost smell the mustiness and mold. Looking around, he sees all these weird items in jars plus tons of old, dusty books. No one is around so when Ash gets to the counter he has to call for someone. A nervous looking chap in a tweed jacket comes out. This is Lyle, the proprietor of the shop. He apologizes to Ash for not being able to respond sooner due to taking care of “legal issues” beyond his control in the office.

At that moment, Special Agent Fisher appears and when she sees Ash she looks as if she recognizes him but then quickly exits the building. Ash hands Lyle the Necronomicon and explains that they need an “undo” spell.  Fisher is outside and is on the phone asking her colleague to send her a picture of the suspect in the Mossy Haven Trailer Park murders. She receives the photo and it is clearly Ash’s face.

We cut back to the mystery woman in the Dodge Charger and evil is once again roaming the woods and heading toward civilization and the bookstore. On an interesting note, the imagery of the old Raimi “shaky cam” with the disembodied demons traveling over hills or a body of water is actually an ingenious use of camera technique to denote foreshadowing. You just know when you see this shot that trouble is on the way.

In the Delta 88, Kelly is looking rather pensive and Pablo is concerned for her. He asks her how she is doing. She informs him that something good did come out of this horrible experience and it is him. Pablo who secretly crushes on Kelly brightens up at this only to be shot down when she informs him that she considers him to be the little brother she never had.

Pablo’s retort to this revelation is that maybe he is a “bad boy.” Before they can continue the conversation, both of them spy Fisher getting out of her car, packing heat and heading into the bookstore. At this point, Kelly turns to Pablo and asks if there is any world where this doesn’t have something to do with Ash.

Fisher draws her weapon and tells Ash to get on his knees so that she can arrest him. Before she can do anything, Pablo appears and hits her over the head. She is down for the count. Ash thanks him and then proceeds to tell him that he just knocked out a cop which freaks Pablo out. Assessing the situation, Ash decides that he, Pablo and Lyle will go and rid the world of evil leaving Kelly to babysit Fisher.

Once in the backroom, Lyle tells Ash and Pablo the story of the Necronomicon. He lets them know that the “Dark Ones” who weren’t quite demons and not quite humans created the book out of parts of the dead. Inked in blood, the book was used as a weapon against humanity.  Ash asks about the reversal spell to send the evil back to where it belongs. Lyle tells him about the annulment and that it can be found inside man.

The lightbulb begins to turn on and Ash realizes that the answer to getting rid of the Deadites might lie within him. Ever impatient and impulsive, he tells Lyle that this sounds like “a lot of yapping and not a lot happening.” For whatever reason, Ash decides that it may be a good idea to conjure up a weak demon to give them answers on how to stop the evil.

While they are preparing to summon an entity in the backroom, Kelly is dealing with a very pissed off Special Agent Fisher. Kelly pulls a gun on her and Fisher asks exactly what does she know about Ash?

Lyle is drawing a circle with ritual symbols inside it. He informs everyone that they cannot break the circle because that is what contains the demon. They decide to conjure up a lesser entity who preys upon the spiritually or emotionally weak. Once Lyle begins reading from the book, the atmosphere in the back starts getting progressively ominous.

Things aren’t looking too good for Fisher or Kelly either. Fisher tells Kelly that if it weren’t for Ash she wouldn’t be in a creepy ass bookstore to which Kelly replies if it weren’t for Ash she would be dead. She also asks Fisher if she knows what they are dealing with and Fisher tells her the story of her partner who became a Deadite and then she killed him. By giving her this personal account, Fisher manages to convince Kelly that they are on the same side.

Back in the conjuring room, everything begins to shake and we see the shot of the evil moving through the woods as dark clouds start descending over the bookstore. At the same time this ruckus is occurring, Kelly and Fisher are questioning what is going on.

Chaos is brewing and jars are flying off the shelves and shattering on the floor. One of the residents of the jars, a small, dead animal lands on the floor and much to Pablo’s dismay comes alive leaving Pablo to kick it against a shelf. While all this is happening, Fisher is still trying to persuade Kelly to let her go.

Loud growling can be heard over the mayhem announcing the arrival of the demon. Lyle reminds everyone not to break the circle. Looking straight at Ash, the demon calls him by name and asks why he has been summoned. In a hysterical moment that cuts the frightening tension, Ash replies, “Well, first, you don’t look like your photo. You might want to update that.” He then asks how they can put a lid on the evil. The demon tells Ash to die quickly.

The two face off and Ash looks down at the circle so that he doesn’t cross it. He gets in the demon’s face. He tells Lyle to send this asshole back because he doesn’t have any answers. Special Agent Fisher comes busting through the door with Kelly. She sees the entity and wants to know what it is. In full cop mode, she tells Ash to put his gun down.

Ash tells her that he is kind of busy which causes Fisher to shoot her gun. All this does is knock Ash off balance and into the circle. The line has been crossed and the demon is angry. It grabs Ash and yanks him to the ground while Ash is yelling at Lyle to send the thing back. This causes the demon to start frying Ash’s brain.

In an attempt to stop what is happening, Fisher fires her gun at the demon only to have it throw her against the wall. Now, the demon becomes invisible and no one knows where it is. While Lyle is frantically chanting, Kelly and Pablo are cowering in a corner and Ash is trying to locate the entity by firing his shotgun.

All of a sudden, the demon appears and starts assembling broken glass in the air. The glass flies and impales Lyle. Jumping out at Ash, the entity starts frying his brain again. Kelly tells Pablo to get the book. Pablo grabs Fisher’s gun and shoots the demon. Of course, this backfires and now Pablo and Ash are getting their brains fried together.

Kelly grabs the Necronomicon and hurls it at the entity telling it to go back to hell. It disappears into the circle in a cloud of black smoke. Ash and Pablo are released prompting Ash to utter the understatement of the year, “Well, that sucked pretty hard.” Pablo and Kelly head for the Delta leaving Fisher and Ash to face one another.

Fisher goes to handcuff Ash. She cuffs his wooden hand. Laughing, Ash unscrews his prosthetic and cuffs Fisher instead. Departing the building, he joins Kelly and Pablo in the car. Ash says that he believes the answer to stopping the evil is inside him so Pablo suggests that they go see his uncle who is a Brujo or Shaman for help.

Before they set off, Kelly asks what happened to being a lone wolf. With a sincerity that is unusual for Ash, he replies that if it wouldn’t have been for his pack, he wouldn’t be alive. That is what makes this show special. In between the gore, the carnage and the snappy one liners you see the vulnerability in these characters. Ash is no longer the one dimensional screaming guy from the Evil Dead movies. Beneath that gruff exterior lies a very real person who is damaged and lonely. As a viewer, you become invested in the Ghostbeaters. You care about what happens to them.

As the trio sets off with music playing, Fisher tries to extricate herself from the cuff. While she is doing this, something starts rustling papers and debris. She can’t locate the sound until she sees Lyle rising up. As he turns to face her, he is a pure Deadite and he charges at her. Is Fisher going to join the demon squad? Will she make it out alive? On this show, you quickly learn anything and everything is possible.