A day that I hoped would never come has arrived. With the release of “Twist and Shout” the seventh episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead’s third season, I am worried about the longevity of a show that I really love. It is no secret that making horror TV is tough. The format forces the story to be dragged out and it’s hard to maintain tension and stakes from week to week for multiple seasons. Ash struggled a bit in the beginning, but with the second season they really hit their stride. With only two episodes left before the season finale, however, the show is beginning to fall prey to some unfortunate, if not entirely unexpected, strain.
In this week’s episode, Brandy has come back to her Dad’s side and we saw some nice bonding between them last week, but she still isn’t entirely convinced that her beloved school counselor, Ms. Prevett, is in fact an ancient evil called Ruby. Brandy insists she needs to go to the school dance to see Ms. Prevett and speak with her face to face. Ash reluctantly agrees, with some urging from Kelly (who is actually now just a vessel for one of Ruby’s evil BFF’s). Ever the mastermind, Ruby has a plan. The adorable little demon baby we saw bursts from a gross embryonic sac as a fully-formed, naked Ash doppelganger and you better believe he’s headed to the dance as well.
Everything comes to a head at the dance when Brandy is forced to question whether her dad is in fact a good-ish man doing his best. When Ruby shows her hand and attempts to kill Ash herself, Brandy intervenes and takes a dagger to the back, making this the second episode in a row in which Ruby gets to kill a good guy with the weapon. This in and of itself is ballsy, but my larger concern is with what this means for Brandy’s now incredibly short-lived story arc. I worried in last week’s recap that Brandy hadn’t been given enough internal motivation to feel like more than a plot-device and now she has effectively become part of the trope that John Wick so famously toys with. Of course Ash will be spurred on by her death, and who could blame him. But he didn’t even know he had a daughter at the beginning of this season and Brandy didn’t get the chance to stick around long enough to even earn much of an emotional reaction from the audience. Neither she, nor their relationship, was well-drawn despite the inherent potential.
This was not the show’s strongest episode, but I’m not giving up that easily and I hope that you won’t either.
Random thought: Did anyone else think that Brandy waking up in the other dimension with 80’s music playing eerily was awfully similar to Stranger Things?