By: Heather Seebach
With the possessed Classic subdued and the Necronomicon cast into Hell, a celebratory Ash is ready to pack up and head back to his Jacksonville paradise but evil is not yet done with Elk Grove. So too are the police not yet done with Ash, who is swiftly arrested for murder. Meanwhile, the much-talked-about villain Baal finally makes his first appearance in the flesh - literally. Just call him Buffalo Baal because this bad boy has a thing for skinning folks and wearing their hide!
With Ash in jail, the whole gang soon assembles at the local police station and that's when things go a bit John Carpenter: Assault on Precinct 13 meets The Thing as everyone is locked in the station and Baal slowly turns them against each other using paranoia. Among those trapped is Sheriff Emery, who has a serious grudge against Ash (one made even stronger by Baal's whispers), along with his wife and daughter. Chet, a knife-happy prostitute, and the town drunk are along for the fun, as well.
Ruby in particular is taking no shit this episode and to be honest, it is the most I have liked her character in a long time. Mostly, I find her pretty useless and uninteresting, but I was buying her act a little more this episode. Lawless goes face-to-face with fellow Kiwi actor and Xena alum, Joel Tobeck, who portrays Baal, and who looks exactly like the would-be lovechild of Michael Shannon and Brad Dourif. He likes to slit people open with his velociraptor fingernail and masquerade in their skin-suit, thus creating the fear that he could be anyone and anywhere.
The skinning thing is pretty gnarly, and one of the best displays of practical FX to date on this show. It is obvious that the show-runners listened to CGI-related woes from the fans after season 1, as this season has definitely upped the ante on practical gore FX. Furthermore, that change has not remotely slowed the flow of blood; in fact, this season has only gotten wilder and bloodier! For that, this horror fan is most grateful.
My three wishes for the next episode:
- I would like to see what else Baal can do. This particular demon has been mega-hyped and I hope he is as frightening of a foe as they make him out to be.
- Please give poor Pablo a break. He has existed this season entirely to be tortured, tormented, and generally used as a meat puppet, and it's just getting sad now.
- Bring the original films back into the mix. I suspect there is a Cheryl subplot still coming and I look forward to that. The first episode of this season had a lot of direct and indirect references to the films and then the show shifted away from that.
Ash vs. Evil Dead airs Sunday nights on STARZ at 8PM ET/PT