The next question on the mind of both longtime Evil Dead fans and newcomers to the series (one week after being granted proof that the show can function properly without Sam Raimi writing or directing), was simply one regarding repetition. For the first two episodes, Ash vs. Evil Dead has had a noticeable blueprint; some traveling and witty dialogue, all punctuated by a gloriously bloody set-piece with a Deadite, all with a few subplots thrown in depicting a police officer and an unknown character of seemingly great knowledge portrayed by Lucy Lawless.
So it comes as a welcome surprise that this third episode entitled “Books from Beyond” (also directed by Michael J. Bassett, whom steered the ship on last week’s episode “Bait“) plays with that formula. This comes by further exploring the lore of both the Necronomicon origins and its demons beyond the standard Deadite looking to swallow souls and sing nursery rhymes.
Ash, as brilliant as always, while visiting the bookstore of a friend that apparently can decipher the ancient text and iconography penned inside, decides that the next step should be summoning a lesser demon in power on the hierarchy (using a special chant to contain it within a ritualistic circle), and essentially interrogate him for information on how to undo everything once and for all. It’s not necessarily a bad idea on paper (aside from the fact that a creature willingly helping them would make no sense), but we all know somehow this will go terribly wrong. Much to our surprise it’s not Ash that royally screws everything up this time, but I’ll leave that as a surprise.
I would rather briefly touch on this new demon itself, named Eragos (that’s probably spelled completely wrong but even with research I cannot find the actual correct spelling) who is a gray, faceless, monstrosity with deep cuts and streaks of blood all over his head. His only distinction is a round mouth with vicious looking teeth and saliva, or possibly slime dripping downward. Most intriguingly, is how he attacks (is it really a spoiler that he escapes from the captivity of a circle?) by sonically affecting neurons in the brain while placing his palm over the faces of characters. It’s not really known how this will affect anyone in the long term, but the demon is described as one that preys on the psyche of the mind.
My only real complaint (one of the first with the entire show so far) is that it is easily defeated by having the Necronomicon slammed shot around him, which seemingly transports him back into the book. It’s completely odd and uncharacteristic of an adult oriented horror/comedy show, and something more in line with what I would see and forgive in something family-friendly like Goosebumps. There’s also the possibility that this thing isn’t dead at all, but the finale to this action sequence was unfortunately rather anti-climactic. The baddies unleashed within this book should take an overwhelming amount of punishment before succumbing to defeat, or at the very least, having a spell vocalized.
Also, while this episode was still definitely humorous, it did pale in comparison to the previous two efforts. It still has its moments and memorable quotes, but placing it alongside episode two showcases a noticeable step down in terms of quality. Trying to choose a specific favorite moment from the first two episodes was fairly challenging, but not so much with this one. The bright side is that some lore of the universe was delved into, and we got to see some new interpretations of what hellish beings this book actually houses.
Rating: I’m going to give “Books from Beyond” a 7/10. Although not the best episode of the series, Ash vs. Evil Dead is still one of the best shows on television. This episode expands upon the mythology. pushing the narrative forward, all while still delivering what we’ve come to expect from the franchise, although the absurd humor and over-the-top violence wasn’t all there this time around except for one scene in particular towards the beginning, which is actually our…
Grooviest Moment: We still don’t know who Lucy Lawless is playing (although you could spoil it for yourself by looking at some appearances she and Bruce Campbell made recently on television talk shows), but we do know that she can fuck up a Deadite. While visiting the farm house of Kelly’s now deceased parents, the father rises from his grave (fork still stabbed in his eye) much to the expectations of Lucy Lawless, whom then impales the sucker on Ash’s makeshift crosses, demands the whereabouts of Ash, and then uses a very large knife to cut off his face. Ouch!