“Fire in the Hole” brings the gang, which now includes cop and former skeptic Amanda Fisher, face to face with a new adversary: the Michigan militia. But of course, one particularly persistent Deadite comes out to play, too. And a character we were pretty damn sure would return does exactly that.
In need of weapons ahead of their imminent return to Ash’s haunted cabin, the group ventures into the backwoods in search of Lem and his militia buddies. They prove not very difficult to locate—thanks to the shredded corpses and barely-alive bodies wailing in pain along the way. As we saw last week, Lem was unable to escape a certain evil hurricane that followed him from the diner, and he’s been picking off his comrades since he came back. These suspicious survivalists wouldn’t be too stoked on a gang of random visitors anyway—and the situation is made way worse when they decide that Ash and company are responsible for Lem’s condition.
Kelly and Pablo manage to run into the nearby wilderness, with camouflaged goons in hot pursuit. Though Kelly is more confident in her fighting skills than Pablo (who’s wondering what his signature weapon should be ... uh, rusty chain?), they make a good team—and they’re able to turn the tables on the heavily armed rednecks with gore-gushing flair ... especially when one of those rednecks turns out to be a Deadite. TCB!
Ash and Amanda, meanwhile, are handcuffed together and tossed into a network of underground storage rooms, where Deadite Lem lurches in angry pursuit. The confrontation builds to a spectacularly fiery dance of propane, highway flares, and one well-aimed pick axe, but the most memorable part of these scenes is Ash’s incessant flirting with Amanda, aka “Babycakes.” And eventually, after really seeing him in action, she goes from disbelief that he’s hitting on her in a time of crisis (“There’s no bad time! I’m old-school, baby!”) to actually kinda falling for the guy.
But that romantic spark will have to wait awhile to catch fire. After the quartet is reunited and the militia stands down, agreeing at last that “In this war, everybody’s on the same side,” Ash—who’s come to care an awful lot about his ragtag posse—allows himself a rare solemn moment. “Good job staying alive,” he tells the group. “Keep it up.” The group thinks they’re heading together to the cabin to kick some serious Deadite ass, but when they turn around, Ash is gone like the wind—clearly having decided he didn’t want any more of his loved ones to be killed fighting his battles. Since none of them know exactly where the cabin is, it’ll take some work picking up his trail.
Elsewhere, we see Ruby rise from a charred pile of wood at the brujo’s farm. So Ruby isn’t exactly human, but she’s not a Deadite, either. What’s her deal? We still don’t know exactly who/what she is, and why she wants the book so badly, but she’s able to defy death to keep going after it. When she gets to her car, she realizes Ash’s hand is gone ... but her super special knife, which we glimpsed way earlier in the season at Kelly’s house, is still in its glove-compartment hiding place. She speeds away. Can a confrontation at the cabin be far off?
Speaking of the cabin, Ash is going to have at least one member of the Deadite welcoming committee awaiting his arrival: his hand, which we see skittering through the forest to the cabin’s front door in the episode’s final shot. YES!