Ash Has Spent The Last 30 Years Avoiding Deadites… And Responsibility
Michael J. Basset directs Books from Beyond with style and speedy substance. While the episode isn’t nearly as well directed at Sam Raimi’s season opener, El Jefe, or as quickly paced as last week’s Bait (also helmed By Basset), it’s still an impressively fun episode the filmmaker should be proud of.
Opening with a few crane shots towards the first seven minutes of Ash Vs. Evil Dead’s third outing, Books from Beyond is a solid continuations of the Deadite adventures of “cool guy” Ashley Williams— even if there are slight moments of unnecessary (parts that explore the inner workings of a few characters’ brains) computer-generated effects. While the direction isn’t anywhere near epic, something that’s more forgivable in a half-hour comedy than, say, a feature film, it’s a sharply written episode (penned by Sean Clements) that tones down the comedy and ups the suspenseful spat, and overall plot momentum, of the freshman Starz series.
Of the many things Books from Beyond gets right at the script stage, the episode does two things extremely well:
For starters, the episode expands the lore, mighty myth, and the sinister possibilities of the Necronomicon. Throughout Raimi’s iconic Evil Dead series, the book bound in human flesh has only summoned Deadites, but this may (or may not) be the case now. Even featuring an awesome montage to inform those new to the series of what the book does and what it means, Books from Beyond live up to it’s title.
The episode also throws a curve ball in the classic manhunt mantra of television shows. In any other show, the cop character (incorrectly investigating the action of our heroes) would be chasing our rag tag group for a huge amount of the season, and finally comforting our heroes towards end. Books from Beyond mixes this up substantially and the results are bloody great.
As for the acting, it’s still as solid as ever in the latest Ash vs. Evil Dead entry. Bruce Campbell shouldn’t even be brought up at this point, the actor has never been better here and is always bringing solid A-game. On top of that, Ray Santiago continues to show his amazing comedic timing, and honestly, I could watch this without Ash being in it; Santiago is that good.
The supporting cast is also solid, with a brief appearance by Lucy Lawless (who was absent in last week’s stellar Bait), and Kelson Henderson turns in great working his first, and possible last, episode of the Deadite series.
Books from Beyond is an amazing edition to the already solid first season of Starz’s Ash Vs. Evil Dead. While the episode’s not as entertaining at last week’s Bait, it’s still solid in other interesting ways and helps strengthen the overall season. If you haven’t started the show, change that, and for everyone else, I’ll see you next week Deadites. Stay bloody.
THE GRADE: A-
Join 1428 next week as I take a look at next week’s Ash vs. Evil Dead episode, Brujo, directed by David Frazee. Check out a preview of next week’s episode below, courtesy of Starz.