Jill Marie Jones did a terrific job as State Trooper Amanda Fisher. It’s wonderful having her on television again in a substantive role, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I squee’d a little when she first appeared on the screen. And I had good reason.
Amanda’s introduction showed the viewers exactly what type of character we’re going to be dealing with this season. You get a sense of exactly who she is the second she and her partner roll up to a spooky, darkened house and she steps of the car. She’s confident and in charge, but rightly cautious as they enter the house, sent there by complaints of a woman’s screams.
Guns drawn, they begin to methodically search the empty, gloomy rooms until they come across someone covered with a sheet. Turns out to be a woman (the same one we’d seen with Ash in an earlier flashback), who once uncovered by Amanda, reaches up, grabs her head with both hands and twists it all the way around The Exorcist-style. As we all look on in horror, the newly transformed Deadite demon grotesquely twists her arms behind her and begins to scurry towards them. Backwards.
It’s both gross and terrifying, but after their initial shock, Amanda and John manage to take the monster out, but not before she gets a large pair of scissors through her hand for her trouble. Unfortunately, John is killed, but his body is immediately possessed by a Deadite and Amanda is forced to put him down for good. As you’d expect, killing her partner has raised some questions, and when we next see her, Amanda is sitting in a diner with a wrapped hand, out of a job and pondering her life choices. She also thinks she’s losing her mind as a cute little girl turns into a Deadite and back before her eyes.
My second squee moment of the night came when Lucy Lawless’ character Ruby popped up to tell Amanda that maybe she’s seeing exactly what she thinks she’s seeing. We only got that one line from her, but it was enough to intrigue me. How does Ruby know who Amanda is? How are they going to come together again? Is Ruby good or bad? I can’t wait to find out.
The last scene we get of Amanda is of her returning to the house where her partner was killed so she can take a look around. She seems determined to prove to herself that she wasn’t seeing things, and strikes gold when she spots a bit of John’s shirt snagged on the chandelier from where his possessed body had been crawling around on the ceiling. She's now more determined than ever to find out exactly what’s going on.
What she doesn’t know is that Ash Williams in all his frat-boy glory released the Deadites back into the world by reading out of the Necronomicon (The Book of the Dead) while he was stoned. Oops. He spent the majority of the episode cycling between denial and the urge to flee before realizing that he has to clean up the mess he’s made. He’ll be doing it with the help of Pablo and Kelly, his coworkers who proved to be badasses in their own right.
Overall, I was very pleased with the show. Naturally, I was worried about how Jill’s character would be treated. Every show that I’ve allowed myself to become invested in over the last few years have been a huge disappointment with their handling of their black female leads. Person of Interest, Twisted, The Flash, and Sleepy Hollow have all used black viewers to pad their ratings before sidelining (or outright killing) their black leads.
Ash vs. Evil Dead, however, seems to be just the cure that ails me. Amanda Fisher got to not only be a badass, but was also vulnerable, feminine, gorgeous and relatable. She was thrust into a frightening, fantastical situation, and right away we were all rooting for her to come out on top. She also looks to be an important part of the narrative as she was menacingly informed by one of the Deadites that, “We know who you are.”
Sure, there’s only been one episode, but I really think this one may be different. Here’s hoping they don’t prove me wrong.