Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Ashes to Ashes"

**1/2

Air date: 3/1/2000
Teleplay by Robert Doherty
Story by Ronald Wilkerson
Directed by Terry Windell

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Fun will now commence." — Seven

Nutshell: Not a bad yarn, but not a great one either. And continuity is the most lost of lost virtues.

"Ashes to Ashes" is another perfect example of the quandary that this series builds around me. How in the world can I review this episode objectively without wanting to review the series in the process? And how can I be fair to this episode for what it intends to be while also scanning my scrutinizing eye across the larger scope of the series, something that I've always considered to be part of my job?

I vote that "Ashes to Ashes" is an okay show if accepted on its terms. But what about those terms? They require complete suspension of memory of continuity, or, better yet, practically mandate that you have no idea what came before this episode. If you're a person who cares deeply about continuity, you will probably not like "Ashes to Ashes."

I certainly don't consider continuity to be the end-all-be-all of Trek. But I do appreciate continuity and I think it's an important aspect of television writing. If you're not going to use continuity, then don't use it. But don't blatantly contradict it and pretend we aren't going to notice when history is being rewritten on the fly. Maybe I'm just too close to the series; the casual viewer probably wouldn't know or care, and I'm guessing the casual viewer is the intended audience.

That said, "Ashes to Ashes" is simultaneously a stand-alone show, a reset-button show, a stew of continuity contradiction, a show that has a subplot that hints at a future evolving storyline, and a decent (albeit unrealized) human drama. What we have here is a story that works reasonably if you accept it at face value. But this is also an episode that helps the credibility of Voyager as a series cave in upon itself. If Voyager is supposed to be a believable fictional universe, this isn't helpful to the bigger cause. (What bigger cause?)

The premise is actually a pretty good science fiction concept: What if you died, but were only dead enough that you could still be revived by an alien society with the ability to reanimate the dead? If you remembered your past life, would you want to regain it?

That premise brings Ensign Lyndsay Ballard (Kim Rhodes) back to the starship Voyager, having been revived by a race called the Kobali, who subsequently transformed her into one of their own. The Kobali propagate their species by collecting and reusing the dead (or, I suppose, the just-dead-enough-to-be-revived). Ballard was killed by a Hirogen weapon three years ago on an away mission. Of course, we hadn't even met the Hirogen three years ago, but who's counting? (One might assume not the Voyager creators, but co-executive producer Joe Menosky was quoted recently as saying the writers are aware when they break continuity and do so simply to suit their needs.) Really, if you want to nitpick, there's a much bigger plausibility issue here for you: How would Ballard catch up with or even find Voyager? In the past three years, Voyager has jumped through the quadrant to the tune of 40,000 light-years. Are you telling me that Ballard took her shuttle and found Voyager half a quadrant away in only six months? Please.

Never mind. If you want this story to work, you'd better forget the past. That might also be helpful since Ballard is a character invented via "retrocontinuity"—filling in past blanks with new made-up material (played as if we had never seen Ballard because her presence was simply all off-screen). Major invented characters are a mild annoyance, but nothing I'm not willing to look past. Ballard has a history with Ensign Kim that grounds the story in terms of one of our regulars: Ballard and Kim were close friends before her death—and we sense that Harry had hoped their friendship would've been more. (More broken continuity, by the way—Harry had a girlfriend named Libby that took him the first couple seasons to get over. Knowing that, his retroscripted interest in Lyndsay as presented here seems improbable.)

Ballard's dilemma turns somewhat interesting as Doc is able to make her look more human, although he's unable to restore her DNA structure on the account it has been too extensively altered. (This is the same doctor who was able to change Janeway and Paris back into humans from salamanders? Okay, sorry I brought it up.) Much of "Ashes to Ashes" is about Lyndsay's attempt to regain her former life. We follow her through a series of little adventures as she tries to settle into her old routine. There are some nice touches, like the idea of Ballard's "list"—things she vowed to do when she finally tracked down Voyager. And the character's backstory and her friendship with Harry is sensibly written. Kim Rhodes creates a likable character in Ballard, though the actress pushes a tad hard at times.

There's also the omnipresent sense of Second Chances and the New Lease on Life, which are filtered not only through Lyndsay's experiences but also Harry's. Harry seems to get precious few chances for good human interest stories (usually he's stuck spouting technobabble or, more rarely, having sex with the wrong aliens), but here he gets some nice scenes. Nothing remotely groundbreaking, but pleasant. He finds that his long-held feelings for Lyndsay (which go all the way back to the academy days) are suddenly no longer rendered useless by her death. She's back, and he has the rarest of second chances. Is this the newest story under the sun? No, but it works okay.

Probably the most interesting issue in "Ashes to Ashes" is the question of where Lyndsay believes she belongs. She clearly has changed. She thinks in Kobali terms and language, can't remember facts of her human life, and food doesn't taste the way she remembers. And her body doesn't take too well to the treatments Doc administers to make her look human. The issue is forced when her Kobali "father" (Kevin Lowe) comes looking for her (he too apparently crossed 40,000 light-years of space) and tries to convince her to return. He also says that he doesn't intend to give up his daughter so easily, and promises to return with reinforcements. (This will inevitably lead to the week's action quota, which exists for the sake of gratuitous phaser fire, despite characterization being what the story is about.) The father's appeal to Lyndsay works because the guest actor delivers the lines with conviction, further proving that guest actors can easily make or break scenes.

Ballard's dinner with the captain is ... kind of strange. The idea was interesting, I suppose, but it didn't seem to go anywhere with a real confidence. The sense of seeing the captain from a different perspective from a lower-ranking officer (like the central idea of TNG's "Lower Decks") is a fresh perspective, but it's hard to understand that perspective because the series on the whole completely ignores that anyone outside the regular cast even exists—and puts everyone in that regular cast (even the ensigns and cook) on virtually the same level. The dinner scene ends just when it's getting interesting, as Ballard asks Janeway why she was sent on that deadly mission. Then Ballard suddenly runs out of the room distraught and confused.

I'm a sucker for the identity crisis storyline, and I liked elements of this story, but I also think what was attempted here was carried to full realization (and with one of the regular characters) earlier this season in "Barge of the Dead." The reset-button ending where Ballard chooses her Kobali existence over her previous human life isn't handled too badly, but it's hard to get particularly excited about it. (Would someone in Ballard's position search six months for Voyager only to change her mind in the course of what seems like 15 minutes? I'm not so sure, but the treatment isn't exactly the deepest as to make me care one way or the other.)

There's also a B-story here, involving the latest adventures of the Borg children. While I'm glad to see these children will be a new evolving storyline (actual continuity?), I must also point out that this B-story is generally handled with the depth of a sitcom. I liked it—not because it was particularly interesting, but because it was often downright funny. The moments that are played for laughs work, even if some moments played for seriousness are inept. A perfect example is the scene where Seven brings all four Borg children to play a game with Naomi Wildman, and informs them with classic Seven-ness that "Fun will now commence." And when the twin kids, Azan and Rebi (Kurt and Cody Wetherill), cheat by using their neural connection, Seven orders "punishment protocol nine-alpha"—a "time-out." This is outright comedy. But when Icheb (Manu Intiraymi) rebels by dumping the game pieces to the floor, the music comes in with far too much seriousness, while the idea itself is predictable and ham-handed, hardly dramatic. (And the mystery of the week: What happened to the Borg infant from "Collective"?)

Still, this subplot is mostly enjoyable, and reveals a few interesting naunces, like the fact that the little Borg girl, Mezoti (Marley McClean), has some creative impulses. While the other kids are molding cubes and polyhedrons out of clay, she's going against her instructions and modeling Seven's face. Upon inspecting the work, Seven tells her, "Resume your disorder." Cute.

Perhaps the final scene underlines this show's overall sense of decency that doesn't add up to much of anything important: Harry, having lost Lyndsay a second time, bonds with the young Borg girl for reasons that aren't really realized to any point of viewer satisfaction. Okay, so he's a nice guy and will accompany her to play in the holodeck. So, is this telling me something relevant, or is it a desperate last-minute attempt to link the A-story and B-story in a way that pretends to add up to something greater than the sum of two parts? One could maybe argue that the characters in both plots are searching for their places in life, and that's the connection. But let's face it—that's a stretch.

Next week: More Borg. Apparently the writers' resistance of the Borg, if any, is futile.

Previous episode: Spirit Folk
Next episode: Child's Play

Season Index

51 comments on this review

Bob - Tue, Apr 22, 2008 - 4:59pm (USA Central)
Boy, the humans in Star Trek sure are racist (or is that "speciesist"?). "Oh no, she is speaking a different language!" (What was wrong with the universal translator, by the way?)
EightofNine - Tue, Apr 29, 2008 - 6:09pm (USA Central)
I guess it was just too alien for the translator, Bob! Besides, I think Kim Rhodes looked hotter as a Kobali... those 24th century rednecks could learn from me.

Some fun Seven quotes this episode: "Wrong, I've scheduled fun for an entire hour" to Chakotay and "Fun will now commence". Reminds me of a line B'elanna uttered a few episodes ago: "The Borg wouldn't know fun if they assimilated an amusement park".
tonyinjapan - Tue, May 13, 2008 - 4:31am (USA Central)
"(And the mystery of the week: What happened to the Borg infant from "Collective"?)"

And did that Borg baby ever reappear or get referred to again? I can't recall, but I don;'t think it did.
Rob in Michigan - Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - 8:49pm (USA Central)
ARRRGGGHHHH... the lost potential! How many characters have we seen get killed on this series? They couldn't just bring back one 'background' actor and describe the episode's scene where they'd been killed? LAZY, LAME, and INFURIATING.

How's about this... remember the 'original' Harry being lost in "Deadlock"? What if he'd come back to Voyager (since we're ignoring the spatial distances covered anyway)? Wouldn't that have been far more intriguing... to have Harry dealing with Harry's return?

But no. We get "You never saw me before and I'll never be mentioned again" Ballard instead.
Jonathan - Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 10:04am (USA Central)
Did anyone else think it a bit strange that Ensign Kim has just lost his primary love interest, then asks a little girl to do the same activity with which he had just asked his love interest to do as a date? Modifying the holodeck...not inherently romantic, but in context, it really seemed creepy to me. Anyone else get that?
Jay - Sat, Sep 5, 2009 - 11:34am (USA Central)
Stardate 51563 would be mid-4rth season, so there seems to be no continuity error with the Hirogen per se, but the 40,000 light year problem is still front and center.
Ken Egervari - Sun, Dec 13, 2009 - 11:38pm (USA Central)
I'm 28 minutes into the show... but who the hell was Lindsey? I don't remember her on the show... I don't remember the away mission... I don't remember any of it.

The actor who plays Lindsay is really cute... love the hair and her alien form isn't bad either.

Still, the show's premise... once again as far as voyager premises go... doesn't hold up. And it ruins an otherwise okay but not great episode.
Michael - Sat, Jul 10, 2010 - 9:15am (USA Central)
Ken: "I'm 28 minutes into the show... but who the hell was Lindsey? I don't remember her on the show... I don't remember the away mission... I don't remember any of it."

:)))))))))))))))))))))))))) What, you want logic, continuity and sense?! You're watching the wrong show, buddy! I do vaguely recall an episode where at the beginning two crew members - one an officer and one a "redshirt" - went poking around some caves on some planet, a couple of Hirogens ambushing them, canceling the "redshirt" while the other (if it was Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim, it may as well have been a redshirt for all the memorability factor he has) escapes.

Anyway, who cares! The girl is WAAAAAAY too bubbly, and I could've used much less of her and Harry "No-Lock" Kim reminiscing and "connecting" (although he finally gets some booty even if it is with a weird cryptoalien - I hope he knew how to do everything!) but, hey, she's got a nice little caboose and at the end of the day THAT's what it's all about :D ;)

Plus the actual basis of the story is quite clever and provides food for thought. There are only two mistakes with this show:
(1) Letting DNA resolve the dilemma. Rather than The Doc's DNA therapy working, they should've had Ballard forced to make the decision and/or should've had a more involved showdown with her adopted species*/**. But no; instead, we have her DNA treatment failing and her reverting to the alien form in addition to some weirdass alien behavior thrown in for measure. So, by default she returns to the alien fold. Gee, never saw THAT coming.
(2) Giving such a prominent part to "No-Lock" Kim. Absolutely NOTHING would've been lost from the episode if he had not been featured at all.

*BTW, the three alien vessels kick Voyager's ass within seconds; whatever happened to Tuvok's 56 or whatever ways to overpower them?!?

**BTW2, is the moment of impending hull breach and ship's destruction REALLY the best time to get into the arguments of who loves whom and who belongs where and who really wants what!? And what the hell was she doing on the Bridge anyway??

2.5 stars is about right.
Michael - Sat, Jul 10, 2010 - 9:17am (USA Central)
I meant: "Rather than The Doc's DNA therapy STOPPING working..."
Jacobian "Teetertotter" Taylor - Mon, Jul 26, 2010 - 2:02am (USA Central)
My only questions were after the obvious did they just make this character and her backstory up? yes. I didn't quite understand why Janeway invited Lindsay to dinner. I thought it was cause she thought she was bsing her. I thought that was dropped kinda quickly, i kept screaming man if she was left behind 3 yrs ago of course shes phony! but no VGR makes no sense so...whatever 2 popcorns
Niall - Fri, Aug 13, 2010 - 4:26pm (USA Central)
The dilemma this episode presents is entirely artificial. Lyndsay doesn't have to choose between being human and being Kobali - she's both. Take Seven of Nine: she's a unique individual, neither human nor Borg but a melange of the two. The same logic applies to Lyndsay. She needs to learn to accept both sides of herself equally and move on.

And the lack of distance continuity didn't bother me so much in this particular episode, because there were far worse instances earlier in the season. Arguably, glaring distance errors undermined Pathfinder and Equinox, Part II far more severely than this episode. It's a real shame that as of season 5, the Voyager writers decided to continuity out of the window and ignore the jumps (which are, for the record, 10 years forward in "The Gift", 2 years forward in "Night", another 10 years forward in "Timeless", 15 years forward in "Dark Frontier" and 3 years forward in "The Voyager Conspiracy" - a total leap forward of 40 years or around 40,000 light years in just over two seasons).
navamske - Mon, Aug 23, 2010 - 7:57am (USA Central)
While watching the Kobali ships attack Voyager, I thought, "Don't they realize they might kill Ballard, thereby defeating their purpose?" Then I wondered what the concept of death means in Kobali society or physiology. Can they "reanimate" their own stiffs?

Did someone on the writing or production staff like "Jet" names? "Jetrel" had Jetrel, "Latent Image" had Ani Jetal, and this one had Jet-leyah.
Jay - Sun, Feb 6, 2011 - 1:05pm (USA Central)
No way does Doc reverse the DNA calamity in "Threshhold" (not to mention what Crusher was able to do in "Genesis", but then only be able to make "cosmetic" changes here.

Absurd.
scifiaddict86 - Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - 4:49pm (USA Central)
Actually Ensign Ballard existed before this she was the Ensign the doctor couldn't save in Latent Image. She was also mentioned off hand in a couple of other episodes. Of course the Alien who shot her looked nothing like a Hirogen but I suppose that doesn't mean he couldn't have been using a Hirogen weapon( Latent Image mentions it was a weapon they hadn't seen before so its almost plausible).
Cloudane - Mon, Mar 28, 2011 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
She was quite fascinating, the way she managed to act human but with a very subtle sense of alienness. Top notch acting I thought.. YMMV.

As for the episode itself, a fascinating concept ruined by the usual lack of care that surrounds Voyager's writing. The biggest flaw being that it was some random redshirt that nobody had heard of who suddenly had a retconned past with our resident locksmith. (Poor Libby). Bring back someone we've heard of.. even Seska will do.

I share the concern about having to take into account the quality of the series as a whole when reviewing episodes. It's the same old story of a potentially brilliant premise falling into the wrong hands. Voyager's writing staff very often being "the wrong hands". Sadly, this lack of passion or attention to quality/detail demonstrate why Trek basically writhed around in agony and eventually died after DS9 ended.
Cloudane - Tue, Mar 29, 2011 - 5:03pm (USA Central)
Forgot to add, I guess I owe an apology to those I said were kidding themselves with the thought that the Borg children would reappear. And it looks like again next episode! Continuity - wow.

Some continuity other than Seven and other Borg would be nice, but it's better than nothing.

Of course I also have a feeling I'll end up wishing they hadn't been make permanent after all..
Elliott - Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 3:28am (USA Central)
@Rob : Having Harry come back would have been as awful as the whole Tom Riker nonsense on TNG and DS9 (well, on DS9 it was really just a cameo and could have been anyone, so it doesn't really count as nonsense, just gratuitous continuity).

I personally vote that it should have been Anni Jetal from Season 5's "Latent Image" (one of Trek's best episodes). The choice for the sudden addition of Lindsay here seems to me to stem from a misguided attempt to give Kim the spotlight. Good intentions I guess, but it really diluted the episode's power. Kim Rhodes does a really fine job in the rôle, but as others have stated, it can't navigate its way to meaning anything beyond the superficial themes of loss and no-return.

2.5 stars seems about right.
Iceblink - Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 1:41am (USA Central)
A really neat premise and a botched execution, par for the course for so many Voyager eps.

This could have been a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be human, exploring issues of race, identity and belonging. But what we had was a lame, two-dimensional and completely uninspired by-the-numbers script that strictly goes through the motions, with an inevitable reset button ending.

I can accept there are Voyager characters we've never heard of, but as Jammer pointed out, the fact this episode completely p***es all over continuity is pretty insulting. The Harry relationship was shoe-horned in simply to involve one of the regular cast, as otherwise it's an episode about a random guest character (and y'know, who cares?), but I kept thinking "what about Libby?" All we needed was a single reference to the fact she existed. Blatant rewriting of history. Never cheat your audience...it's kind of like biting the hand that feeds you.

Similarly, the (apparent non-) issue of Voyager's progress toward the Alpha Quadrant is just another indication that the writers, in their utter disregard for the story they were telling, had no real love for this show. It seems clear that Ron Moore was right - there was no love or passion for Voyager on the part of the writers/producers. This series was about the paycheques alone, and that's really sad.

I remember now why I gave up on Voyager first time around and I'm struggling to find the motivation to keep watching this time. I don't like bashing the show...it actually makes me sad. *sigh*
Louis - Sun, Oct 9, 2011 - 5:15pm (USA Central)
So Harry is dating a little girl now?
Anthony - Wed, Dec 28, 2011 - 2:19pm (USA Central)
Weird thought: How do you burn dinner in a replicator?
Cappo - Fri, Mar 16, 2012 - 2:53pm (USA Central)
I think the writers have forgotten how the ship works and that's another sign. Burning food in a replicator? And why not put it back in, recycle it, and replicate another? A replicator is not a stove.

As for the story... there's a somewhat false choice at work. Try to pick up exactly where you left off or go live with aliens. What? Why not just rejoin the crew as what you are now if you wanted a real choice... but then we couldn't have the reset ending. (And what was the moral of this story, btw? Don't accept who you are, accept what other people want you to be?)

Captain Jim - Sat, Apr 21, 2012 - 9:49pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed the show quite a bit and would have given it a solid three stars. I actually think Jammer was nitpicking a lot in this review. We've never seen her before? So what? There are a lot of the crew we know nothing about. And the Libby thing is not even an issue. Harry said he had feelings for Lyndsay in his academy days, but never acted on them. No reason he couldn't have moved on to someone else.
Justin - Tue, Jun 12, 2012 - 9:17pm (USA Central)
@Elliott, I thought the same thing about Jetal. Bringing her "back" would have been far more interesting and there would have been no need for a B-Story, because it would have revived the Doc's moral dilemma. A missed opportunity.
Justin - Tue, Jun 12, 2012 - 9:22pm (USA Central)
Not that this particular B-plot was unwelcome. "Fun will now commence," is one of my favorite lines in all of Trek.

@Jonathan, no I thought the scene with Harry and Mezoti (or whatever her name is) was as sweet and innocent as it was intended to be.
Billy - Sat, Dec 29, 2012 - 2:17pm (USA Central)
This episode would have worked so much better if a known character had been brought back.
Take it easy - Thu, Jan 3, 2013 - 2:12am (USA Central)
I totally agree with Justin about Harry and Mezoti. In fact I found it creepy when I read comments perverting that scene.

If Harry was planning to go on a romantic boat ride and then took Mezoti instead, I agree. This is some prank he wanted to play with Vulcan priests.
Chris - Sun, Jan 13, 2013 - 9:42pm (USA Central)
Harry says "Maybe there wasa time when I thought of pursuing Lindsey but I closed the door on that when we were both assigned to Voyager"? But what about Libby? He's thinking about pursuing other women even while he's already involved with one? What a cad!
ProgHead777 - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 3:07am (USA Central)
@Jonathan That thought did not occur to me, so therefore I did not find it "creepy". However, the fact that it occurred to YOU I find deeply, deeply creepy.
ProgHead777 - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 3:26am (USA Central)
I did not enjoy this episode very much, but I cannot put my finger on exactly why. The continuity "error" of the existence of Lyndsay Ballard can't be it because continuity isn't something I've come to expect a great deal of from Voyager... or, to be perfectly honest, most Star Trek in general.

I think it must have to do with the fact that Harry Kim is one of the Voyager characters that I actively disliked in the beginning of the series (but eventually warmed up to, to the point that I was merely slightly-more-than-ambivalent to his existence). I think there's a bit more to it than that but the Kim/Ballard relationship was the emotional fulcrum of the episode so that's probably a big part of it. In the end, all I can say is that I've seen much better Trek and I've seen much worse Trek, so I'll go ahead and agree with Jammer and call it 2½ stars.
Leah - Mon, Jul 8, 2013 - 3:40am (USA Central)
I can't believe no one has mentioned this because it hit me over the head like a sledge hammer. Why the hell weren't they MOVING?!

Lyndsay: "The Kobali are coming to take me back!"
Voyager's just sitting around...hanging out

Alien dad: "I'm not giving up! I won't be alone when I come back."
Voyager's STILL sitting still when the 3 ships show up!

Never mind the fact that they're trying to get home and should always be on the move anyway, but you get threatened with an attack and still don't bother to vacate the vicinity...or move at all?!

O_o
Ian - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 1:17am (USA Central)
I felt that a missed opportunity was during the confrontation with janeway as to why she was sent out. It almost played like the situation in Latent Image...but of course they simply dropped it...
Ian - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 1:23am (USA Central)
Additionally, the entire episode is rather gross and more unbelievable than usual. Sad in that why not erase all the old memories? either way this is going to end badly...
tlb - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 7:57am (USA Central)
From the second Lyndsay said the captain was a "sight for sore eyes", I though "Mary Sue". She solves the engineering problem Torres can't. She has dinner with the captain. She makes a sarcastic comment about the captain's cooking. ::sigh::
Jo Jo Meastro - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 11:17am (USA Central)
Damn, my ps3 crashed and I lost my comment. I'll just summarise in a sentence: a 2 star show that is in parts decent, but there's not enough merit to overcome the storys' shaky foundations and I for one cringed at how bad and misplaced the silly Borg children scenes. Not an episode I hated waching, but also not a one I'd particularly want to revisit either.

Also, people saying Harry Kim was creepy in that end scene are being silly. Even if they somehow imagined that creepy subtext, its obviously its not the intention. I doubt Star Trek writers would even go there with a evil villain, never mind with Ensign Kim!
azcats - Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - 3:23pm (USA Central)
um..why does 7 of 9 look perfect and the kids have all these borg scars? why cant he doctor fix up the scars?
Lt. Yarko - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 10:38am (USA Central)
Yeah. Putting the kid and Harry together at the end was a really weird forced thing. I suddenly felt like I was in the twilight zone. I didn't know what I was watching.

And other comments covered the rest of my complaints well. I knew things were not going to work out well when they brought in Harry to be the potential love interest.

I just watched the food-burning replicator scene again. Ballard comes in just as Janeway's burnt roast appears in the replicator. So Janeway goes with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead - man that replicator must be really broken. It can't make ANYTHING? They have to resort to stored food Janeway apparently keeps around just in case? The funniest part of it all is that they sit down and Janeway opens a plastic container already on the table that has a big stack of bread in it! Good thing that was there so that they could have the sandwiches without too much hassle! Did Janeway plan on the replicator producing burnt food? Does Janeway always keep a stack of sliced bread in a container on her table in her quarters? I've never seen it before when she would eat with Chuckles. Very strange stuff.
Lt. Yarko - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 10:47am (USA Central)
Oh, and to those people who get creeped out by seeing an adult male and a young female doing things together: Grow up. Sheesh.
SpiceRak2 - Sat, Sep 7, 2013 - 9:52pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed a Harry Kim storyline. I like his character.

These shows are intended to entertain, make money and spark the imagination...sometimes I think Jammer and some followers are taking this show WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.

Speaking of the objectives of this franchise, I am starting to think that the Borg children were brought into the show to give additional life to the Seven storyline. Clearly, she became the money maker of Voyager. When she first appeared, the ratings increased by 60%.
K'Elvis - Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - 12:28pm (USA Central)
Star Trek has a number of episodes that are about characters that straddle two worlds, and most of the time the message is "You can't be both. Pick one. Now." We have a conflict between her and her father, who will not allow her too choose. Who hunts their children down if they don't like the life choices they make? That's the kind of parent that people change their names to avoid.

Her decision that she isn't Ballard at all seems forced. Deciding to go back with her Koblai father doesn't mean that she isn't Ballard and isn't Koblai. Her father may not accept that she is also Ballard, but that doesn't mean she has to accept it. In real life, people do straddle two different cultures. It isn't always easy, but people don't have to deny half of themselves.
Caine - Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - 10:04am (USA Central)
Wow - was I the only one who fell in love with Kim Rodes?

Forget the fact that she's good looking (especially as an alien) - it's her presence on the screen that really got my atention. In my eyes a briliant actress with buckets of charisma - why isn't she a big shot movie or TV star?

Excuse me, I'll have to go track down Kim Rhodes so I can send her a really creepy fan letter about us being together forever ...
Latex Zebra - Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - 1:50pm (USA Central)
She is still extremely hot!

No memory of this episode but I have the box set... Will check her, I mean check it out.

Caine - Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - 7:03pm (USA Central)
@Latex Zebra:

Hehe, great! Please tell us what you thought of her after re-visiting the epsiode :)
Nic - Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - 11:59am (USA Central)
I’d like to say this in favour of the episode: it does have a pretty good character focus, which on this series is worth pointing out. That saves it from being a spectacular failure, but doesn’t justify all the plotting and continuity errors required to get us there.

First of all, though Jammer didn’t mention it, this is a Fun with DNA [TM] episode… The Kobali take a dead human body and somehow not only bring it back to life but transform it into one of their species in the process. Thankfully, the explanation is short on technobabble and the Doctor is not able to magically reverse the effects, so it’s not the worst Fun with DNA episode. But that is not high praise. Though if you accept that the Kobali can do this kind of work, it’s easy to also accept that they have very fast engines and advanced sensor technology.

I was irked by the way the crew reacts to Lindsay’s return (especially the looks she gets in engineering). How could they expect her to be exactly as she was before after all that’s happened to her?

I also found the dinner scene strange, but not for the same reasons. It’s been well-established that matter can be recycled into the replicator, so why doesn’t Janeway just but the pot roast back in and try again? And why would a peanut butter sandwich require less energy to replicate than a real meal?
Amanda - Fri, Feb 28, 2014 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
It's a shame Hogan was eaten because I liked him and would have liked to see his jaded alien self return to say "Why did you put me on team neelix?! I'd be alive!" hehehe, I am not serious, but at least choose Carey who we assumed was killed off off screen years ago instead of pointlessly killing him in friendship one.

Amanda - Thu, Mar 6, 2014 - 9:28pm (USA Central)
I change my mind. Rewrite this with Harry Kim dying back in Scorpion and returning as the reanimated alien. :-) I would have loved to see his character interactions with Paris and Janeway. We'd have no Timeless but if done well he'd rock this episode. Or stay on as the alien and attempt timeless in another season and kill everyone and debate reanimating (lol) but ultimately going back in time. Then they could have got around that awkward "We can't fire him he was the token asian dude for People's beautiful people!"

DLPB - Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - 5:51pm (USA Central)
Lazy writers strike again. Trek just doesn't even try, and Voyager is the very worst.

This woman has spent 2 years "pretending" to have accepted a family from a race that resurrects people (lmao). That's absurd enough, but then she somehow manages to catch up with voyager which would have been way too out to ever catch after a 2 year period using Warp technology (which is also bogus by the way).
Ric - Fri, May 23, 2014 - 12:35am (USA Central)
A lot of potential. Mostly wasted.

The overall idea of plot A was good. The "I can't adapt" thing was, in this context, fairly dumb. It was like she has lived a whole life with the aliens (like Picard in TNG:"Inner Light" or O'Brien in DS9:"Hard Time"). Except that she didn't. She was there for three years (really, that's less than most bachelor degrees). Imagine someone three years abroad, who comes back and can't even speak in the mother language anymore when pissed off. Yeah yeah I know, there's the memory affected and stuff. You know, the magic beans to serve as an excuse.

But it was not only that. The overall execution of the "I am an outsider" drama was very poor. It felt like forcing us to care or think about a drama that was not built or organically delivered. Actually, this is only one of the many instances where drama, questioning, apparently philosophical issues, are so forced to be/look smart in Voyager, that they start to annoy due to artificiality.

More: following Jammer's initial comments, I am one of those who can get over plot holes, scientific non-senses, small breaks in continuity, etc. But I don't like being intellectually insulted by lazy writing to the point that a shuttle-craft can reach Voyager in six months, from a place Voyager has left 3 years ago and after jumping thousands o light-years more then once. Worse, we have to swallow the alien announcing: I will be back, and next time not alone. Think of it for a second. It means he is going back to the planet left by Voyager 3 years ago and from where they reached Voyager in 6 months without having how to know where Voyager was. Then, he is going come back again to somewhere Voyager will be!

Oh, common. This is the epitome of bad fiction, i.e. when writers start using the liberty given by fiction to not having to explain or develop an idea merely on the basis of "incredible things are possible in this universe". This is offensive if we do not turn off our brains in advance. I don't like to do that with mine to watch Trek. There are other shows out there for me to do so. And what to say about the convenient "body that is changing back just to remind the lady she is not 100% human anymore"?

My gosh. Really? The artificial conflict needed this artificial push to be solved? When she went to Voyager she was not even thinking of having a fully human appearance, as it is shown by her surprise when Doc says he could do so for aesthetics reasons. Yes, someone can say "a nice moral issue about the important of appearance". Huh-huh.

All that writing laziness distracts from the show. It remembers us we are being made fools - and thus destroys suspension of disbelief. Worse: it makes we realize how the writers can give a damn.

Lastly, there is the plot B. Granted, here we have the so much asked/welcome continuity, showing the (silly characters from a silly episode) Borg kids. Sure, this is continuity. But I am sorry to say: what a bad executed one. What a meaningless, flat one.

Season 6, despite of a few good moments, is nothing compared to 5. Many episodes ago I got that feeling of "yeah, the show is over".
The Professor - Thu, Jun 5, 2014 - 2:25am (USA Central)
By season 6 I find Jammer's commitment to continuity above story telling to be... tiresome.
Paul - Tue, Jun 10, 2014 - 10:09am (USA Central)
@The Professor: I don't totally disagree with that position, but this is just a crazy example of Voyager pissing all over its own history.

Ideally, the Ballard character would have been developed before her death and brought back here. The DS9 episode with Kira's adopted Cardassian father is a good example of doing that right.

However, using Harry as the love interest was probably the other misfire. Paris probably would have been the better choice, but that would have presented issues with Torres (which might have made for a better episode, actually). Chakotay wouldn't have worked as it would have been too similar to what happened with Seska.

But using Harry disregards the entire Libby stuff from the first couple of seasons -- and that was one of the big character items for Harry.

Lastly, the fact that Ballard died 40,000 light years from Voyager's position in this episode doesn't make much sense -- but it could have been explained if the Kibali had some fancy technology. Of course, the Voyager creators failed to do that.
Robert - Tue, Jun 10, 2014 - 12:50pm (USA Central)
@The Professor - At least Jammer's review have continuity...

But seriously, as Paul said... if you want to complain that Jammer is too continuity fixated go complain on whatever episode he mentions that they've now blown up enough shuttles to remake VOY 10 times over, as opposed to an episode like this where the continuity issues are so bad I could have scraped something that makes more sense off my shoe.
Robert - Tue, Jun 10, 2014 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
Side note, I actually remember enjoying this episode before I thought about it for a minute.

Anytime VOY takes huge leaps forward they should stop encountering stuff they left 20k+ light years behind.

My ending for Ashes to Ashes.

KIM: Vien'ke debala, Jhet'leya. I taught myself to say a few words in Kobali.
BALLARD: That's very sweet of you, but you just told me the comets are tiresome.
KIM: I guess I'd better work on my pronunciation. I'm sorry you didn't get to finish everything on your list.
BALLARD: I only have one more thing that I think really matters.

Kobali ship locks tractor beams on Voyager and they go warp 47. Earth pulls into focus.

KIM: But how?
BALLARD: My gift to you. Don't look so surprised, I made it 40k light years in a Kobali shuttle, we obviously have better engines than you. ::gives him a kiss:: Enjoy life Harry, for both you and Lyndsay.

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