Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 3 Review: “Books from Beyond”

Ash vs. Evil Dead

The quality of the follow-up to Ash vs. Evil Dead‘s series premiere was exactly on-par with what we were introduced to in that first week, and this show has the potential to be just as good throughout the entirety of its run. Let’s take a look at what happened in this week’s episode, “Books from Beyond.”

The episode opens as Ruby (Lucy Lawless) finally makes a big appearance on the series as she shows up at Kelly’s house to see the graves of her parents. The Deadite father attacks her, but she’s able to handle herself perfectly as she questions him about Ash and the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. Through a little subtle exposition, we learn that Ruby has been looking for the book for quite some time, and it’s revealed that she’s in possession of a powerful blade. This brief scene at the beginning was is the longest time we’ve spent with Ruby until now, and it’s clear that Lawless is going to have a ton of fun with this role.

Ash, Kelly, and Pablo finally arrive at the Books from Beyond bookstore in order to get the Necronomicon translated so that they can end the Deadite threat once and for all. Before they walk in, though, the three have a fun dialogue scene in Ash’s car that helps to make their personalities clearer to the audience. It’s a short scene, but I love how much development the writers are giving to the relationships on this show. It really does go a long way in helping us become more attached to them. Inside, Ash confronts the owner as Amanda is leaving, telling us that she may be closer to things that we expected. She manages to get a copy of the sketch that was drawn after the events at the trailer park, and she realizes that the man she just saw (Ash) is the one “responsible.”

The owner of the bookstore, Lionel Hawkins, is amazed by the book, reminding fans that it is bound in human flesh. While he starts looking over the book to see what he can figure out, Amanda re-enters the bookstore with her gun drawn. Before she can arrest Ash, though, Pablo knocks her out to stop her. Kelly ends up watching over her while Lionel tells more about the book with Ash and Pablo. He tells them that, essentially, it is a gateway to hell that can release evil on the world. Lionel’s reveals about the Necronomicon are more than we’ve ever gotten about the book in the history of the franchise, and it adds so much more to the mythology of the fictional universe. One of the things that fans of the Evil Dead franchise were hoping for, other than simply the return of Ash, was an expansion of the world that the movies built, and it’s clear, even only three episodes in, that Ash vs. Evil Dead is going to do just that. Lionel’s knowledge also leads to one of the more supernatural events that we’ve seen on the show so far, too, and I like the way so many different elements of the genre are being added to and blended with the Evil Dead that we’ve all come to love.

Something that I really liked in “Books from Beyond” is the fact that people in-universe are letting Ash make so many terrible decisions when it’s obvious to the audience that he has no idea what he’s doing. It’s been clear in the previous episodes, too, but the summoning of the demon in the bookstore was such a horrible decision that would only be made in this specific context. On any other show, that would be a negative, but it’s a huge positive here. This is exactly what we want from this series, and the writers are giving it to us.

It’s worth mentioning that the CG element of the show that we saw with the demon wasn’t fantastic, but it was no worse than what we saw in the premiere episode. The strength of the effects on Ash vs. Evil Dead definitely lies on the practical side, so I hope that we keep more of a focus on that style as we move forward.

“Books from Beyond” was another incredible episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead. Action, while present, took more of a backseat than we’ve seen so far so that the story could progress in a meaningful way, and the in-universe mythology was expanded in a major way. This series hasn’t appeared to be losing any steam at all up until now, and I think Starz has something very special on their hands with this one. The balance of horror and comedy is as great as ever, and the character development and story progression all factor into the writing in a perfect way.

What did you think of “Books from Beyond”? Are you loving Ash vs. Evil Dead as much as we are? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

[Photo via Starz]

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