Seriously, people. Who is Ruby Knowby? Answering this question requires spoilers, so proceed with caution if you haven’t kept up with Ash vs. Evil Dead.
At the beginning of the fourth episode, “Brujo,” Lucy Lawless’ character tells Michigan state trooper Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) who she is. Her name is Ruby, and she is the daughter of Evil Dead II‘s Raymond and Henrietta Knowby. Knowby was the archaeologist who discovered the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, otherwise known as the Book of the Dead, and his recorded translations were what summoned the evil that plagued the first two films. Fans of Evil Dead II know what really happened to the Knowbys, as well as their oldest daughter, Annie. However, Ruby seems to blame Ash (Bruce Campbell) for their deaths.
That a show like Ash vs. Evil Dead would expand the movies’ mythology should come as no surprise. After all, simply doing another Evil Dead film would be too predictable. As for adapting it for the small screen, another oh-crap-we-summoned-demons-again story stretched across 10 episodes would be a bit much. Television requires variety for longevity, hence the addition of brand new protagonists, antagonists and an apparent* second Knowby daughter.
The thing is, Ruby is no ordinary woman. She might not even be human. How many normal people can come back to life after being thrown into a funeral pyre by the possessed, burnt body of its original occupant? Hell, not just thrown, but exploded. If she was just another deadite, then her resurrection in “Fire in the Hole” would make sense. But she isn’t just any old possessed corpse, and being that Ash vs. Evil Dead already expanded the Book of the Dead‘s canon of demons in “Books from Beyond,” perhaps Ruby is another one of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis‘ subjects. Or maybe not. Maybe she is something else entirely.
Fisher’s explanation of how she met Ruby, and who she thinks she
is was, are beautifully contrasted in the latest episode. For while the state trooper tells Ash about her, Ruby’s naked, coal-covered body rises from the fire’s remnants.
“She spent her whole life fighting those freaks, but it finally caught up to her. Just a normal person. Got tangled up into something that was so much bigger. Something beyond her control. I will always be thankful she was honest with me. She taught me there is more out there than any of us realize.”
False, false, falsity-false false.
Assuming Ruby was telling the truth about her parentage, the scene suggests “those freaks” have not caught up with her. Nor does it lend credence to her being “just a normal person.” Normal people don’t go all Khaleesi from Game of Thrones and rise unperturbed from the remnants of a f*cking fire. Hence the final lie Ruby’s story suggested to Fisher, that she was “honest” in what she said and what she taught the state trooper. Turns out she wasn’t all that truthful in what she said.
Then again, maybe Ruby was telling the truth about everything when she told Fisher about herself. Perhaps she really is the second daughter of the Knowby family, who has “spent her whole life fighting those freaks” while in pursuit of Ash and the book. Perhaps what Ruby didn’t tell the trooper was that the evil did catch up with her, and when that happened, something terrible happened. Some kind of deal was struck, granting her some kind of life in exchange for the chainsaw-wielding hero’s pristine dentures, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis or both.
Whoever or whatever Ruby is, Ash vs. Evil Dead‘s audience knows she wants the book. This was established in the opening scene of “Books from Beyond,” when she visited the graves of Kelly’s parents, pulled her deadite father out of the grave and tortured him with a special blade of some kind — something that caused the demon pain that neither a chainsaw nor a boom stick has ever mustered. Beyond that, at this point, it’s anyone’s guess.
*Strong emphasis on “apparent.”