November 21st, 2015, 9PM, Starz
The Idiot Ball – (Slang) A term coined by Hank Azaria on the set of Herman’s Head for any time in which a canon character is forced to behave in a way that’s dumber than usual for them in order to advance the plot of the story.
This week, Pablo’s the one stuck holding the ball even as he shows some kind of unexpected technical prowess as a guy who knows something about robotics as Kelly and Ash end up on painful trips of their own. Ash’s is drug-laced journey encouraged by Pablo’s ethnic stereotype car-crash of an uncle that is supposed to give him a firm guiding hand as to how to dispose of the book, and ends up leading him through a hallucinogenic trip through his very soul, ending up in both the darkest nightmare but ultimately gives him something of a firmer grip over his fear. Kelly’s is a journey through pure pain as the obvious Eligos demon infestation takes hold of her soul and leaves her a super-strong, super-sly killing machine.
The best parts of the episode revolve around Ruby’s saving Amanda from the wrath of the demonic storekeeper from the previous adventure. Ruby is interesting as a character because she is marked by her drive; driven by vengeance in a way that makes her compelling. Lucy Lawless projects the coolness of the character effortlessly, even as everything around her threatens to undo that poise through try-hard visuals and poses. Amanda and Ruby might indeed make a fine team down the line, through it would be nice to see Amanda develop a sense of strength that doesn’t involve her being pitched head-first into boxes and conveniently knocked out cold so nothing is really required of her but to be attacked by the evil and rescued by fate.
Visually interesting, intense and well-shot as his hallucination may be (the show should keep director David Frazee on tap for next season, as he’s the only one so far who’s been able to deliver on the illusory, cartoonish promise Raimi gave the world those many years ago when he conceived this franchise). Ash’s trip is bizarre, and only half of it really works for the character. The complete randomness of the notion that Ash and Linda were going to take off to Florida at some point and that Ash has been holding on to that fantasy ever since that weekend at the cabin is completely out of the blue – the idea is sweet but it suffers from the fact that Linda is nowhere to be seen.
And then there’s Pablo, who manages to sprout completely inexplicable skills with robotics out of the blue, all the better to distract him as Kelly is slowly (so, so slowly – PAINFULLY slowly) possessed by Elligos. The process takes forever and we get not enough of the twosome bonding, nor of this new demonic version of Kelly: it’s mostly Kelly getting sicker and sicker while the show desperately tries to obfuscate the long-foregone conclusion that she’s been possessed. It wastes our time with a sense of suspense that it unfortunately never earns.
Still a frustrating experience, “Brujo” continues Ash vs Evil Dead’s tendency to slalom between being wonderful…and being about as tough to swallow as pure acid.
- This episode was directed by David Frazee, who is generally known for his cinematography work.
- It was written by James E. Egan, who is better known as an SNL staff writer.
- Nitpick of the Night: Deadite flesh melts when the Evil is dispelled. How the hell hasn’t Ash’s hand melted in the past thirty years?
- Your jukebox soundtrack: “Midnight Rider” by Bob Seger; “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake; “Free Your Mind And Your A** Will Follow” by Funkadelic.
- Kelly’s rings say “help” in this episode. Just a bit on the nose, wardrobe.
- Next Week: Pablo must step up and claim his brujo roots in an attempt at exorcising Elligos from the wrong body in “The Host”!
Points up for the hallucination, points off for the obvious, slow slog toward the revelation.