“Ashes to Ashes” brought Ash back to where it all began at last: the Evil Dead cabin in the woods. It was a not-so-sweet homecoming—as Ash’s past came back to haunt him (literally), and some of his worst fears came true.
Ok. No Ruby in this one. But we do get a very important bit of information: that Kandarian dagger she’s been carrying around has a very special link to the Necronomicon; when the two objects are together, the knife “sears the binding’s flesh” and, presumably, some serious fireworks happen.
No doubt we’ll get a front-row seat for some of that action in either episode nine or ten. But this week, just when we thought Ash was going to lone-wolf it at the end, Amanda shows up. She’s been hot on Ash’s trail since he ditched the group at the militia camp, and though he’s full of warnings—the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes, but “I don’t pay taxes so all I know is death!”—he reluctantly allows her to enter the cabin with him.
Naturally, it’s filled with bad memories of that long-ago “fun weekend”—though Amanda senses the sinister vibes, too, flashing back to her partner being impaled on deer antlers much like the ones that decorate the cabin’s walls. Ready to be done with it all, they make a move toward the cellar to bury the book, but it’s chained shut, and they’ll need a crowbar ... from the tool shed ... where Ash chopped off Linda’s head 30 years ago.
While Kelly and Pablo fumble around the woods, encountering some friendly Australian backpackers who’ll likely be Deadite fodder soon, Amanda nervously waits in the cabin, keeping an eye on the book. Ash heads to the shed, where Linda’s cranky spirit awaits, along with several self-propelling saw blades and other implements of destruction. While Ash dodges rusty doom, he also endures Linda’s taunts about Amanda, which spell out his deepest fears: “We all die ... everyone you ever loved!”
And Amanda is indeed in deep shit. When the pair walked into the cabin, we caught a glimpse of Ash’s disembodied hand, which had grown larger and sprouted an eyeball. Alone in the cabin, she finds Professor Knowby’s notes about the Kandarian dagger before being confronted by a weirdly friendly Ash, who puts the moves on her (again) and suggests they just run away and start over. Though she’s initially charmed (despite Ash being a “crazed, chainsaw-handed Deadite killer”), she soon notices his rotting hand where he formerly had Pablo’s robo-hand. “Maybe I grew another hand,” Evil Ash says. “Or the hand grew another me!”
In the most honestly tragic moment yet on Ash vs Evil Dead, Amanda loses her battle with Evil Ash, taking a cleaver to the neck (“Now that’s what I call cleavage!”) and, perhaps fittingly, being impaled on antlers. Good Ash bursts in too late to save her, and seconds later Pablo and Kelly enter the fray and find him standing over Amanda’s dead body. “I did do it, but it wasn’t me,” Ash explains, before racing off after, uh, himself to do battle.
The episode ends with both versions of Ash (who prey on their shared knowledge of Ash’s weaknesses: “Ow, my trick knee!”) strangling each other, locked in an an apparent fight to the death. Ash has always fought an internal battle with himself, being a reluctant hero who is both good-time guy and stone-cold killer. But now that things have gotten all too literal, Good Ash has got to win. But how’s he gonna defeat his most formidable opponent ever? And when the hell is Ruby gonna show up?