‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Raises the Stakes with ‘Confinement’

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Ash vs. Evil Dead Confinement

Last week’s episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, “DUI,” represented the turning point for Season 2. Ruby (Lucy Lawless) with Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) had successfully killed Ruby’s hellspawn children before they could summon the demon Baal. On the other side of town, Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Ash (Bruce Campbell) had saved the Delta 88 from its demonic possession as well as having gotten rid of the Necronomicon, sending the book through a portal hell out of the trunk of the beat up car. Thinking that everything is wrapped up with a pretty little red bow, Ash prepares to make his way back to his new life in Jacksonville, Florida. Of course, things aren’t that easy for Ash Williams.

This week’s episode, “Confinement,” raises the stakes and ramps up the tension in what is likely the most suspenseful episode of the entire series’ run. It sets up the conflicts that will drive the final half of Season 2, not to mention the manner with which it expands its characters each and every week. As much as Ash vs. Evil Dead is a show that very much stays in its comfort zone, focusing on extremely gory splatstick comedy, the show is expanding its world and scope without sacrificing its personality. There’s a confidence coming through in this increasingly absurd and fun series that is getting better week after week.

Thinking the evil of the Deadites is behind him, Ash is strutting down the street when he’s arrested by his old rival Sheriff Thomas Emery (Stephen Lovat) for the bloody scene he left behind in the bar (which occurred in “Last Call”). In his holding cell, Ash isn’t far from his drunken friend Chet (Ted Raimi), who has been picked up on DUI charges. Meanwhile, the nefarious demon Baal (Joel Tobeck) has been summoned, his powers include that of persuasion and he is able to inhabit the skin of his victims, making it easy for this demon to blend in. Ruby, Kelly, and Pablo rush to the station in the hopes of securing Ash’s release, and are met by the Sheriff’s wife Linda (Michelle Hurd) and daughter Lacey (Pepi Sonuga), who are seeking information about the madness that has gripped their quaint Midwest town. Linda knows Ash from high school and used to have a romantic relationship with the gunslinger and Lacey was just held captive in the possessed Delta 88 before being rescued by Pablo.

When met with the intransigent Sheriff, Kelly and Ruby take up arms and hold the entire station hostage. Ruby’s reasoning is that anyone in the Sheriff’s office might be possessed by Baal, and the demon has a history of sowing the seeds of distrust and getting his enemies to tear each other apart. Judging by the way things unfold in “Confinement,” it seems that he’s quite good at that, as paranoia seeps through the pores of everyone in the confined spaces.

As usual, Ash is the lone constant among the characters. He just doesn’t change. He’s brash and arrogant even when it isn’t earned. Every other main character, though, is going through progressive changes this season that wildly diverge from where we initially saw them. Pablo is finding himself more and more heroic, even as he’s finding himself afflicted with some mysterious side effects from the events of last season’s finale. At one point in the episode, Lacey proclaims that only one man is able to fight the undead spirits plaguing our heroes. Ash looks over and thanks her before she clarifies that she’s referring to Pablo. Also coming into her own as a character is Kelly, whose dissatisfaction in “Last Call” has led her to become a full-fledged badass, a no nonsense ass-kicker. Even the mysterious Ruby is having the layers of her backstory slowly revealed, making her a complex character without having fully revealed all of her motivations.

“Confinement” introduces a number of threads that have a lot of promise as we barrel down to the final half of Ash vs. Evil Dead’s second season. While just introduced and a lot more to learn about, Baal is going to be the big bad for the latter half of the season and is a major step up in terms of villainy than the faceless hellspawn of Ruby’s. The character’s deceitful ways give “Confinement” more tension and suspense than in a typical episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead and I sincerely hope that they’re able to retain this tension in future episodes. This episode also introduces romantic interests for both Ash and Pablo, with Jenny leaving her stubborn Sheriff husband and Lacey becoming infatuated with Pablo. It’s also a wise decision to abandon Pablo’s infatuation with Kelly as she’s no longer a romantic interest but a complete self-sufficient badass.

Directed by Michael J. Bassett and written by William Bromell, “Confinement” is one of the best episodes of Ash vs. Evil Dead this season, and for the second week in a row the series is expanding the universe while still giving fans of the show exactly what they want in humor and excessive gore. “Confinement” also concludes with a good cliffhanger ending that leaves you wanting more immediately. With five episodes left this season, Ash vs. Evil Dead is setting the stage for a bizarre and bloody conclusion perfectly in line with tradition Sam Raimi created decades ago. It continues to be, you know, groovy.

Ash vs. Evil Dead airs Sundays at 8pm only on Starz.

Ash vs. Evil Dead
  • Confinement
4

Summary

A suspenseful episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, “Confinement” builds the tension while setting the stage for the season’s bloody second half resolution.

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