Star Trek: Voyager
"Ashes to Ashes"
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
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119 comments on this post
Tue, Apr 22, 2008, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 29, 2008, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
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".
Tue, May 13, 2008, 4:31am (UTC -5)
And did that Borg baby ever reappear or get referred to again? I can't recall, but I don;'t think it did.
Sun, Oct 26, 2008, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
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.
Mon, Jan 26, 2009, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 13, 2009, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
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.
Sat, Jul 10, 2010, 9:15am (UTC -5)
:)))))))))))))))))))))))))) 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.
Sat, Jul 10, 2010, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 26, 2010, 2:02am (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 13, 2010, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
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).
Mon, Aug 23, 2010, 7:57am (UTC -5)
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.
Sun, Feb 6, 2011, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 23, 2011, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 28, 2011, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Mar 29, 2011, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
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..
Tue, Jun 21, 2011, 3:28am (UTC -5)
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.
Sun, Sep 4, 2011, 1:41am (UTC -5)
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*
Sun, Oct 9, 2011, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 28, 2011, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 16, 2012, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
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?)
Sat, Apr 21, 2012, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
@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.
Sat, Dec 29, 2012, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 3, 2013, 2:12am (UTC -5)
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.
Sun, Jan 13, 2013, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 3:26am (UTC -5)
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.
Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 3:40am (UTC -5)
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?!
Sat, Jul 13, 2013, 1:17am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 13, 2013, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 5, 2013, 11:17am (UTC -5)
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!
Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 6, 2013, 10:38am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Sep 6, 2013, 10:47am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 7, 2013, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
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%.
Thu, Jan 16, 2014, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
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.
Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 10:04am (UTC -5)
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 ...
Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
No memory of this episode but I have the box set... Will check her, I mean check it out.
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Hehe, great! Please tell us what you thought of her after re-visiting the epsiode :)
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 11:59am (UTC -5)
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?
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
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).
Fri, May 23, 2014, 12:35am (UTC -5)
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".
Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 10:09am (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
The largest drawback to this episode in my view is that it didn't go far enough with such rich conflicts. Maybe it couldn't go far enough with the love story out of reverence to Kim's past girlfriend/fiancee. But, it was hard to watch a love story with such potential only partially enunciated and truncated before it swelled to its full ripeness. Further, without a stronger love story all of the conflicts lose their edge.
I understand the nitpicks; they have merit and trek fans should be rewarded for investing in a show with continuity. But, still nothing in the show can't be explained somehow. For instance, the Kobali have some technology that is more advanced that Starfleet. (Or a wormhole is available to Kobali that others don't know about.) Two, that the woman may have been an early crush for Kim, but not a crush that prevented him from having a girlfriend at some point (with whom we was engaged). So, I don't think the nitpicks regarding logic/continuity were fatal errors in the episode.
Overall I thought the episode was very good - 3.5 stars. Could have been four with more poetic and/or dramatic touches. (And, yes some continuity errors should have been addressed.)
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Three conflicts sustain a very good episode: a character torn between two cultures, an attempt to return to the past, and a revival from life after death.
The meaning might have been clear, but the English wasn't correct.
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
I'll say that for me this episode was a combination of good ideas and questionable execution. I like the idea of a crewman coming back (though they should have picked one that died not so many light years away), and I like the Kobali culture and worldview. The ideas weren't tightened up enough, imo.
What this episode should have been, if I can rewrite it, would be to make the B-Story the A-story, and then let the Lyndsay story take two or three episodes to resolve, stretched out maybe over the course of the season. That way ideas could be fleshed out, and if they needed an action conclusion, they could have had a full episode of that instead of messing up a character study.
Huh...y'know, overall I like DS9 better than Voyager, but I've noticed that flaws in DS9 piss me off more when they happen. The flaws in Voyager usually just leave me ambivalent.
Fri, Apr 10, 2015, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 5, 2015, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Normally, in Trek it are humans who are slowly transforming into an alien who are the problem. This time, it was the other way around. I kind of liked that idea of role reversal. Here we have an alien trying to become a human again. I thought that was neat.
I also liked the subplot of the Borg children. Like Seven, they have trouble adapting to their individuality. Icheb and the twins follow Seven's rules, strictly adhering to the order and structure where as the girl exhibits a more artistic streak and asserts her individuality through that. It was enjoyable to see.
Unfortunately, I tend to be a stickler for following continuity and I could not get into the story of Ballard, simply because it breaks continuity in several places. Ignoring that, it's a decent human drama story, although I would question one thing.
Someone who spent 6 months in a spaceship trying to find their former crew again while fending off constant attacks from pursuers would have to be VERY determined to reach their goal. And yet, once she reaches that goal, she gives up after a few days and goes back to her old alien life. I get that Voyager may not have been all that she remembered it to be, but still...6 months of trying to find them would make her a fiercely determined and stubborn individual. One that would not give up after a few disappointing days.
Overall, it mostly just annoyed me because of the continuity errors that prevented me from enjoying the story. I found the subplot to be the most enjoyable thing and you can't really call an episode a success if its main story is its biggest weak point.
Tue, Sep 1, 2015, 2:27am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 8, 2015, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 3, 2016, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 3, 2016, 8:22am (UTC -5)
A single scene with her 4 or 5 episodes ago would have been nice to establish backstory. And killing her after all the giant jumps would make the whole thing a little less ridiculous than the fact that her shuttle can travel that fast.
I don't mind the shoehorned relationship, it's just that the details were sloppy. But I'd probably only dock them .5 stars for it. It's still a good episode if you don't focus on how sloppy the details are.
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Answer: I didn't. There seemed to be some very oddly placed scenes (eg the dinner) and the conclusion arrived and wrapped everything up neatly in a minute. And the Borg children? Nah, not getting too involved in that one either.
"Fun will now commence" indeed. 2 stars.
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Which is an apt analogy, given the nature of the A plot. Once again, someone must decide between the human culture and alien one (and once again chooses the alien culture...). I suppose Ballard's journey was acceptable, given the situation. My biggest complaint was the focus on her appearance, as others have said. The metallic taste was a good sign; something that technically shouldn't be a big deal but would be something that would be grating to her every single day. But the memory, or lack of memory, of her rel father definitely would have thrown her for a loop. Whatever she is now, she's not the same person she was three years ago. It made sense that that would provide her some introspection. Far more than some people looking at her oddly in engineering.
I wish they would have excised those two factors - the artificial problem with her appearance and slipping back into her other language - and focused more on things that had more weight, but maybe others felt otherwise. In any case, I think they did build up to some extent why she wouldn't feel comfortable returning to her old life.
But that doesn't explain why she would go back to her other life. She spent years planning her escape from them! And now, just because her first week on Voyager was a bit awkward, she goes back to a people she hates? Surely there are other alternatives? Why not find a new life out on her own? Get dropped off at a random hub of commerce like what we saw in Survival Instinct, and just forge out on her own? Or stay on Voyager, break things off with Harry, and request that she not be called Ballard anymore, request that she be able to create a new identity for herself? Can you really imagine someone who's motto is "own the day" , who is that much of an extroverted go-getter, to surrender and resign herself to life with her captors (that was clearly how she felt about her new "family") once the going got a little bit rough? I don't think so.
Meanwhile, while I'm not a huge continuity fetish guy (seriously, Trek continuity is already far too tangled a mess to be worth thinking about), the sudden appearance of a past relationship with Kim also hurt the episode. It sounds like he was infatuated with her ALL through the Academy days, even though he had to have been dating Libby long enough to become engaged. He said he dropped his infatuation when they were both assigned to Voyager (once again ignoring Libby, but whatever), suggesting he didn't like the idea of dating a coworker. But then he gets infatuated with Seven and the Delaney twin. So why didn't he ever pick up his relationship with her again, since he obviously decided that dating coworkers is ok again?
It's not just that it's silly that Kim's love life gets retconned. But shouldn't this episode, besides simply being about Ballard's decision, also say something about Kim? After all, he's the central focus of the main cast, right? But how can you say anything important about Harry if this episode contradicts everything that came before it? All we get is another heartbroken Harry, which we just saw in the Disease. In other words, by ignoring history, this episode destroyed any potential emotional impact it could have had on Harry's side of the story. And like I already said, Ballard's side is only so-so. Which makes the A plot below average, unfortunately.
As Paul said, having her have a previous relationship with Paris would have been the better choice. We know he was the ladies man back then, so nothing wrong with them casually dating for a little bit on Voyager. That's an easy retcon. Sure, we'd have to change her death to not be from the Hirogen, but still, easy enough to do. And the episode wouldn't focus on Tom trying to date her again obviously, he's obviously moved on. But it would tell us more about Tom the character: he would be forced to come face to face with his past "love 'em and leave 'em" self, and he would have been forced to look at his feelings, both for Ballard and for Torres, more deeply. Perhaps this could have, in a way, strengthened his relationship with B'Elanna, and made him realize how self-centered he could be at times. It would be an entirely different story than what we have here, and probable bumps the Tom/B'Elanna relationship up to the B plot and would relegate Seven and the Borg Brats down to a C plot, but that would be for the better I think. Especially because it would give Ballard yet another reason to feel alienated from Voyager (perhaps she had fantasized during her captivity of getting back together with Tom), making her decision to leave that much more realistic.
So yet another "wasted potential" episode. Unique idea, but the focus just seemed wrong.
Tue, Jun 14, 2016, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 21, 2012, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
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.
Seriously, I went "Lyndsay who" .. and just as quickly forgot it.
I agree with Skeptical though, the past relationship probably should have been with Tom. With B'Elanna in the picture it could have been good.
But, the "relationship" wasn't the story, she was. Everything else was there to help tell her story.
Great new concept here. Reanimated the dead to procreate your species. Interesting.
I too truly wish Doc's treatment would have held and she made the choice for the right reason(s). She's no longer human. The grass always seems greener on the other side until you have to mow it.
Kim Rhodes was awesome and believable.
The borg kiddies / Seven exchanges were side-splittingly hilarious!! Glad to see Seven having some issues and Janeway making her stick with it.
The 40000 light year thing could easily have been explained by a simple exchange from Janeway question how they kept up/found Voyager. Then they could have came back with some technobabble speak and said "we don't share technology with living species" or something to that affect. I'm a little disappointed they didn't think to address it.
Not a classic, but not a bad episode either. Enjoyable. 3 stars from me.
Mon, Aug 1, 2016, 2:05am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 1:17am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 9, 2016, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 17, 2016, 3:16am (UTC -5)
Honestly, what were the writers thinking?
" 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." (Quoted from Jammers review).
Why? Who's in charge anyway? Who makes the decision to run a story with such ridiculous discrepancies? This is utter rubbish, and it only escapes the scorn that it deserves because Trekkies (and particularly voyager fans) have learned to accept it.
I'll admit that for the most part I can overlook some continuity issues (else I wouldn't be here) . Maybe I'm just not feeling very patient today, or maybe this episode just pushes the boundaries too far, but I am not willing to overlook them in this case.
The stupid thing is that the distance problem could have been overcome very easily. Why can't the Komari just have faster than warp technology? There are any number of other ideas they could have used to overcome the issue. I can only come to one conclusion: they simply didn't care. They knew that most of their viewers would overlook the issue, so it wasn't worth their time. I find that insulting.
A big Fuck You to the writers, editors, director and producers.
Wed, Jan 25, 2017, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 1:03am (UTC -5)
This Kim Rhoades was just sexy as the alien.. I was thinking "Harry, tell her to stay that way you fool"... the outfit and the boots... wow... and she had a great charisma to her.. she would have been a fine recurring character if they kept her around.
Moving on to more serious points..
Damn, how many times do we need to see people from the past "catch up" to Voyager and all their long distance jumps.... I understand there are good stories to tell from past episodes and encounters, but this distance is an anchor they did not want to accept.
Where did all this bigotry come from? They come from the Federation with so many aliens, skin colors, foreheads, etc and they are uncomfortable with her appearance? And what the hell was that nonsense in engineering? She speaks another language and not only Torres is freaked out, but the extras they show are acting all awkward.... what is this? Small town Trumpville?
And on a language note.. the universal translator worked for her father when he shows up, yet whenever she speaks the language it does not.
Putting that nonsense aside, I liked the story itself. To have a 2nd life, remember the 1st one, and then face a choice of where to continue your journey is great. However, they made it too easy of a choice by having her appearance pushed back to the "alien" way and making her feel she didn't fit. I would have much rather it been a love for her father and a realization that she was dead as a human and that life is over. This is a new one. It was not believable to me that she had no feelings for this father.
Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
I cant feel much sorry for him though. Getting paired with Kim Rhodes who put an excellent performance here, Wang looks terrible. One has to wonder how Wang can keep his role as maincast for full seven years with mostly mediocre to bad performance.
Ballard shows enthusiasm and full energic to finally comeback on Voyager, but Harry Kim just as bland as on usual day.. Didn't look happy, not overly concern either, worry or anything....
Just bland, like nothing is happened even though his suppose love-lost is now infront of him.
The premise is good, it's intriguing and has potential to become great episodes.
But Alas, i dont think it live to it's full potential here.
The unique race culture of procreating from corpse bring some intriguing question. But this never being explored further.
Why they need to reanimate? Why they can't procreate with 'normal species' way? What did they do to their own race after died? Why they didn't just reanimate their own race after they dead?
How did they define their people died if they can reanimate it?
How this 'grave robber' deal with other race who may accuse them being disrespect for disturb the dead?
It has potential for deep social and moral question. But instead, I only get a feeling of 'mistaken identity' episodes. Much of it because of poor plot
How come someone who's trying hard to comeback to her people by deceive his parents for 2 years, than proceeds to 6 months travel on space just abandon it at the first sign of trouble? Dont make sense. If her desire not that strong, surely the plan will be abandoned in the first place eh?
Not to mention the other stupid hole that broke continuity, when they can easily rectify it by changing Kim for Paris, changing the time of her death, etc.. etc..
Where was this Kabali Race home anyway? 6 months journey eh? But the father can retreat and ask for reinforcement and right away catch up to Voyager. That's not even count all the casual jump Voyager made so far! Sigh.. Show that the writer just dont care to much!
I dont like Seven as character, it has built-in deus ex machine with 'assimilation knowledge' and 'nanoprobe magic'. Personality and skill wise also in direct clash with Doctor and Torres.
It's good thing that Jery Ryan can actually act and put up a good show, not just being another 'eye-candy'.
The Plot-B is quite entertaining, and her one-liner in this episodes is hillarious :
"Fun will now comence"
"You will excercise punishment protocol 9-alpha"
"Resume your disorder"
Quite enjoyable episodes. But nowhere near great or very good with the obvious hole and poor plot
2.5 stars seems on the spot
Tue, Aug 22, 2017, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Kim Rhodes does a give a good performance, but even ignoring the continuity errors or the questionable backstory, the story is just incredibly forced and predictable. Ballard never being mentioned before wouldn't that much of a problem-although I still don't get why they couldn't just make her the woman from Latent Image (who would have an actual reason to not be mentioned) or set it up with making her a goldshirt in some episode-if it wasn't for the forced Romance of the Week with Harry. As I said, since we know it's not gonna workout at the end, you need to either tell it in an interesting way or make it about more than just that. This doesn't do it. It doesn't say anything about Harry, nor does it change him in some way. And taken on its own, while the idea of getting a second chance is at least something and their interactions aren't really bad, it really does feel forced to say she has all that history with Harry. It's especially weird how the episode doesn't at all mention his fiance and it makes Harry look like bit of a douchebag. Okay, I guess maybe he fell for her before he got together with Libby, but he says to Tom he still considered pursuing her and stopped once they got on Voyager. Uhm, why? He would consider getting together while his FIANCE was around, but when he's unlikely to ever see her again, or at least in years, then he musts stay faithful? But he still went after Seven?
You know, people talk about "O'Brien must suffer" episodes, but those are at least about something happening outside the norm and getting back to his loving family, while Harry's episodes are about something good happening him, only to go LOL NOPE at the end.
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
In some respects, the episode is a little more competent in execution than TNG's sort of schizophrenic The Bonding, which fumbles a lot of the Marla stuff with poor guest acting and weird, inconsistent direction. But that episode's intentions are clearer, and the focus on death, duty, guilt, illusion versus reality, the importance of confronting death etc. are all fresher and more important and relevant; Worf, Wesley, Troi, Riker, Data, Picard, Crusher etc. all have moments in that episode reflecting on what it means to lose a crew member, and what her return could mean.
(I guess the episode could have gone the other way and really seriously examined what it would mean, as a sci-fi crazy concept, for there to be a species which "reproduces" by harvesting the dead, but the episode doesn't seem that interested in the idea, or what it would mean. How exactly does it work that a reanimated twentysomething corpse is supposed to have normal childlike love for their randomly assigned foster ghoul family after a year or two, and why are we supposed to buy that this is somehow the real truth of Ballard's condition?)
The subplot with the Borg kids is alternatively annoying and amiable. It's, I guess, in character for Seven not to have good child rearing strategies, but the obviousness of her failures make it not *that* interesting to watch. The real problem is that obviously Seven shouldn't be left to raise four children by herself with little help just because they're also ex-Borg refugees, and Janeway/Chakotay's insistence that Seven "volunteer" and then not be able to be relieved of this responsibility is played as a joke but is really pretty bad. I get that Voyager's in a special situation, but how can a captain/first officer order someone to parent rescued children just because they judge them best for the job, even if there is evidence to the contrary? Even having Chakotay say, "Stick with it for another week and we'll see, but I think you're the best for them" would have made the command structure less overtly despotic. I guess there is a mild tie in with the main plot, not with the weird Harry and Mezoti ending, but with showing how foster families are real families, but this makes more sense with Seven's dynamic with the actual-children than the adult dead Ballard's relationship with her new "parents."
Why the hell would a replicator burn a pot roast? (I guess it's thematically on point. A burned pot roast is no longer a pot roast, just as a dead ensign is no longer an ensign.)
Despite my negativity, I think there are a few good scenes here and Rhodes' performance is good, so I'll go with a marginal 2 stars.
Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Neat idea these Kobali who procreate by salvaging the dead. What's the probability that they'd come across Ballard's body in space -- and what's the probability that Kobali Ballard would find Voyager 6 month's later? Absolutely minuscule -- another minor nitpick.
The B-plot with 7 taking charge of the Borg kids was also predictable and uninspiring -- so she finally lets up on being a hard-ass after Chakotay denies her request to stop having to supervise the kids. No big deal here. But I like her line: "Fun will now commence." And the kids are lousy actors -- like when Icheb swipes the tokens off the table...so stiff.
Paris had a good line about the women Harry Kim tries to hook up with -- this time with the "dearly departed". Kim's growing love for Ballard was supposed to be one theme of this episode but it wasn't compelling and Kim's always going to be at best a mediocre character that never "achieves" anything.
It would have been good to see a returning character that we knew instead of Ballard who we didn't know so that we could feel more implicated in the conflict in the mind of the transformed individual -- like why not the Federation engineer who became subordinate to Torres for example? Here, Ballard lashing out, talking weird etc. was just mostly frustrating to watch.
2 stars for "Ashes to Ashes" -- the whole idea of Kim's lost love and more importantly the inner struggle of Ballard -- the wrong characters/actors for an episode that could have been emotionally riveting. Maybe the Kobali father potentially losing a daughter was the most moving, albeit not very. Pretty lame/tame stuff from a decent idea, just not executed well.
Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
I kind of wish that the resurrected now-alien was Samantha Wildman, who'd have fought tooth and nail to come back for Naomi's sake. This would allow the A and B plots to interact, making the whole motherhood thing less shoehorned-in. And I wish the reset button hadn't been pressed at the end of the episode because apparently humans are racists now, the universal translator is broken, and Kobali can't work for Starfleet.
Sat, Jul 28, 2018, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 29, 2018, 12:25am (UTC -5)
I guess the episode is about being authentic, knowing yourself, being who you are meant to be, adapting like the Borg kiddies, not like Lindsay.
Too tired and still a little discombobulated from Spirit Folk for any more comment. But basically, I enjoyed it. Nice performance by our guest star.
Mon, Oct 29, 2018, 10:35am (UTC -5)
--I didn't have any problem believing Harry had a crush on Lindsay at the Academy that started to reassert itself on Voyager. So what that he had a girlfriend, that he was genuinely upset about leaving, at home? If anything, that could be seen as making him more vulnerable. And it's not as if he actually started a relationship with her during the early years on Voyager.
--Yes, I can believe Lindsay searched six months for something and the reality of it didn't match her dreams of it. That was part of the theme of learning and growing and becoming ourselves. People do worse than that in real life.
--No A&B story link? Stretching to link them through the theme? Not at all. This is no coincidence and is almost always (actually, I'd go so far as to say always) the case: the A &B stories are linked through the theme.
--I didn't find it hard to accept that some aliens can travel faster than, or as fast as, Voyager, who knows how. Voyager did it. So can others. Now finding Voyager so far away, yeah, that's some trick, but again, I'm willing to forego the technobabble they could have inserted as explanation.
--Good ep, great acting from our guest star. I thought the sort of "forced, trying too hard" stuff workedreally well. I mean, she was uncomfortable, she was a square peg trying to force herself into a round hole.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 2:14am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 20, 2019, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Blatant rejection of continuity to serve the plot? -- I don't care.
Focusing this episode on a guest character we've never seen before (who apparently had an important friendship with Kim, who's never mentioned her), instead of an already-established redshirt that we actually have seen? -- I don't care.
"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?" -- That's a good point, but I still don't care. The Delta Quadrant is shown to be littered with spatial anomalies and wormholes anyway.
An alien race that "reproduces" by reanimating the corpses of other races? -- Now *that* is an appallingly stupid idea, even for science fiction, even in a universe with warp drive, transporters, and plenty of extraterrestrials that look just like humans.
Even if you grant that the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode "The Chase" [SPOILERS!!!!!!!]
offered the explanation that one alien race millions of years ago seeded their DNA throughout the galaxy, and that's why humanoid species always seem so "compatible," [END SPOILER]
changing a corpse's DNA and physiology at the molecular level to make them look like you, and then reanimating said corpse, in order to "reproduce" is ridiculous.
OK, such a species wouldn't have always reproduced that way. Something had to have happened on their planet--a disaster that caused mass sterilization. (Otherwise, a species that "reproduces" in this manner would have had to instantly be aware that there is intelligent life in the galaxy and have immediate access to their corpses. ) They're obviously gifted scientists/doctors.
But how could their population be possibly sustainable for even a few years by using this method? Just how many people of all these different neighboring species launch their dead into space pods, that just "happen" to enter Kobaldy space? Those are some great odds. Do the Kobaldy enter orbit around neighboring planets and beam up the recently deceased from their graves? That strikes me as woefully inefficient to say the least, and what about another species that is wise to them? They'd probably make sure their dead are cremated or vaporized on the spot.
Nothing in this show reveals that the Kobaldy are acting out of existential desperation--in fact, if they had been shown to be an endangered race, it may have been easier for the crew to empathize with their eerie way of doing things. But no, reanimating the dead is treated as "well, this how we've always done it." That is just painfully ill-conceived fantasy.
"Ashes to Ashes" is dumb simply because its plot conceits are so laughable. That it features Garrett Wang and Kim Rhodes, two of the worst actors to ever darken STAR TREK: VOYAGER's doorstep, doesn't help. But if the main character had been Torres or the Doctor, this episode would still be ridiculous. There are far better ways to tell "second chance," "Fish out of water" and "caught between two cultures" stories. With far superior ones out there, this is just a waste of time. Skip it!
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
“Fun will now commence” (though I’m not sure if it’s the first time that was used)
“Resume your disorder”
Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
What? Was she going off and stinking up the shuttle? You didn't have some means of putting her in stasis, or behind a force-field in an airtight or refrigerated state or any number of other possibilities that would have allowed her a normal funeral back on Voyager (which Janeway seems to imply is what happened near the end of the episode)?
The writing for this episode just seemed atrociously sloppy. I lost count of the number of silly moments in the script. I genuinely enjoyed Spirit Folk' more (and I wasn't exactly crazy about tha5 one either) but It wasn't pitched as serious SF, and this was.
Tue, Nov 26, 2019, 1:24am (UTC -5)
Another thought I had was Kes (again if they had killed her in The Gift). It would have been a better return than "Fury" a few episodes later. Obviously you replace Kim with Neelix and you have a relationship that we at least saw for three seasons.
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
What the HELL is wrong with a person speaking their native* language?!?!?! Who cares, as long as she can do the job?! I get that they're used to the universal translator making alien languages irrelevant, but ... seriously!! Maybe a quick glance would have been fine as it's something they're not used to, but staring is just ridiculous and unnecessary.
The Borg kids were fun; I really like the girl's feistiness.
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
*it practically was her native language after being reanimated and completely immersed, living as a Kobali.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:12am (UTC -5)
As much as I like Collective and Child's Play, the Borg children storyline suffers here - again from the same lack of nuance. Mezoti is well-developed here, but Seven, who was so dextrous in her dealings with the children in Collective, is suddenly written as much more inflexible and disciplinarian than usual (as if she's channeling Captain von Trapp), leading to the contrived scenes where the children rebel over the game. Like the "red alert" scene in Virtuoso, it forces Seven into a shallower characterization than usual for the purposes of low comedy.
I did think the ending was a bit weird, the awkwardness arising unintentionally from a haphazard "well, we have to try to tie the A- and B-story together somehow".
I agree with all the other criticisms on distance, continuity, and as William B put it, "why would a replicator burn a pot roast?"
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 4:48am (UTC -5)
All the complaints about continuity are absurd. Star Trek is infamous for shoehorning in unknown characters and relationships.
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:53am (UTC -5)
The Kobali look to be of the same species that the Borg Queen originates from (Species 125)!!
Even if somehow it was merely some look-alike species (the way many aliens look human in the Star Trek universe) surely Seven and the Captain should have immediately made not of this—perhaps also the Borg kids there (though who knows if the Queens visual image is known/shared with all drones, especially not-yet-mature ones, or not.) I mean... an alien shows up looking like the leader or epicenter of Borgdom, and it's not worth even a comment from anyone?
If true, it's fascinating to contemplate the layers in all this. How did someone (a Kabali) even get to be a Borg Queen? Is it because a select former-individual is found upon assimilation to have a superior brain? Or were the Kobal a very old space-faring civilization, and perhaps it was their skill at reanimating/re-engineering corpses into a distinct new entity that radically impacted the "perfection" of the Borg by adding this as their "distinctiveness" to the Borg Collective.
Maybe, prior to assimilating Species 125, the Borg as entities were more biological OR more tech. Perhaps assimilation as a process killed many many captives, but the Kabali "re-animation" process changed all that. Perhaps the Borg aren't so much continually living beings, enslaved by tech. What if, instead, they do die (physiologically) at the moment of assimilation, then the re-animation happens to transform new assimilates into what we know as Borg, reborn.
Why would they bother to make elaborate alien makeup and prosthetics so that this character looked like a Borg Queen, for nothing? It seems as if, in fact, they did. Which is not just bizarre, but such a waste!
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
As for the B-plot, well it's pretty funny but I'm disappointed this storyline has already gone from Seven rehabilitating former Borg to her babysitting some bratty kids. Doesn't her relationship with Naomi already perform this exact function? Can't say I'm that enthused to see more of this.
On the whole, I just found it hard to get past the elephant in the room when everyone's talking about their old pal Lyndsay, who's known Harry since the Academy and whose existence seems to wipe poor Libby from existence. Add to that a completely pointless action climax, which feels like a poor substitute for actual drama, and you have yourself a pretty forgettable episode.
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 2, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
One writer who still has a little hope left: Couldn't we tie this in better with previous episodes?
The rest: Resistance is futile. Caring would be illogical. Paychecks will come.
When I watched "Year of Hell" back when it originally aired, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was absolutely fantastic. I remember thinking, "Wow. I am so glad they finally figured out that some ongoing consequences from being stranded are GOOD things! I can't wait to see how they go onward from this terrible experience!"
And then the ending came and I picked up a book and threw it at the wall. Or the TV, I forget which. Anyway, nothing was harmed. I have never watched that episode again.
This show has my favorite collective of characters--I love almost everybody. I HATE that they didn't get a better show.
I loved the concept of this episode and thought the idea had so much potential and Kim Rhodes did a wonderful job--it just makes me angry as it (again!) represents everything that was wrong with this show.
Tue, Jan 19, 2021, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Thu, May 27, 2021, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Overall score: 4/10
Wed, Aug 18, 2021, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 3, 2021, 5:14am (UTC -5)
I agree that the episode had a strange quality...In view of the reanimation/return of the dead themes wrapped up within it, a definite oddness pervades many scenes. The metaphysical aspect of the episode, and a menacing one at that, especially emerges in the dinner scene with Janeway.
Ruined pot roast (symbolic)....the pb & j replacement suggests possible light-heartedness, even friendliness will come next, but its chemistry begins to sour when Lindsey (responding to the captain's comment about Tuvok analyzing 37 different ways to repel a Kobali attack) makes a rather sly insinuation about Janeway's abilities "Did he include your pot roast?"
It doesn't go better for Janeway, either.
LINDSEY: "There is something I've wanted to ask you for a long time... Why me? "
JANEWAY: (taken aback) "I'm sorry?"
LINDSEY: "Why did you choose me for that away mission?"
JANEWAY: (recovering) "Well, I suppose I thought that you were best suited for the job"
LINDSEY: " No I wasn't."
Leave it at that....this is angry, powerful stuff.
It's something that could have been followed-up better, IMO. Nevertheless, this one scene seemed like something out of Poe, and I liked it, particularly when the character says: "Never harbour anger to those brought you death." That's one I'll be sure to remember.
Sun, Oct 3, 2021, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 3, 2021, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
For me, a second viewing a day after my first, shows that the episode was stronger than many earlier comments implied. 3 stars certainly can be applied.
Correction of quotation appearing with an 'early morning error' in my previous post:
"Never harbour anger *toward* those who brought you death." - Lyndsay Ballard (reciting old Kobali proverb).
Mon, Oct 4, 2021, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
The cynical (and sadly, probably correct) take is that they didn't want to pay residual character fees to whoever created Ensign Kaplan's character. That's why Tom Paris isn't Nick Locarno after all.
I wonder if perhaps this is a script they'd been sitting on for a while, and maybe it was even written for Ensign Kaplan, but then they needed a bottle episode in season 6 and dusted this one off, just ignoring the fact that Voyager had traveled tens of thousands of light years since season 3.
Wed, Oct 6, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
I am largely naive to the complexities of WGA agreements, but I think what you suggest was at work here, might explain many other crazy retcons we have all endured.
I also think that your notion of 'Ashes' having been a script (or even a treatment) held in some type of reserve until 'a bottle episode' was needed (in Season 6) is very instructive. Interesting thoughts. Thanks!
Fri, Dec 3, 2021, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
The ending was stupid in my opinion. She was obviously brainwashed by those ignorant aliens. They should have destroyed the ships. Also if she was just "raw materials" after dying, it would be a genetic clone, not actually resurrecting from the dead. The doctor was able to cure the warp 10 induced salermanderism, fight off giant germs, and create chroniton serums to treat temporal problems...but couldn't fight off that stupid pathogen? Besides can't they revive recently dead persons as long as it's within 18 hours (according to the Nelix episode) so what was that BS about the shuttlecraft accident explanation? Good episode, bit sad ending, weak science, and faulty premise, 2 stars.
Fri, Dec 3, 2021, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 6, 2021, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Isn't it actually a lot worse than that? If the models are cubes with side lengths of 10 centimeters, a real Borg cube with 1000x the volume would have side lengths of 1 meter. That's more than half the height of the average person!
Sat, Dec 11, 2021, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
"Does anyone else think Ensign Kim is violating protocol by asking the captain to give him and Ensign Ballard a minute? As soon as the captain agrees to accept Ballard as telling the truth, Ensign Kim almost dismisses the captain! Seems to me an ensign would keep his mouth shut until a private moment presented itself."
I noticed that too and thought it was something that probably wouldn’t happen, or wouldn’t happen too often, in the military (or in "the service"), not that I know anything about the military or the service. But Kim did *ask* Janeway. It’s not like he said, "Captain, please get your ass out of here so I can canoodle with this hot alien chick who used to be — in my dreams — my girlfriend." (Then he could have added "Do it.")
After (Harry) Kim and Kim (Rhodes) kissed, there was a commercial. After the commercial, Harry was asleep and Lyndsay was sitting somewhere not on the bed thinking deep thoughts. Did they have sex? If they didn’t, it seems odd that Harry would go to sleep while he still had a visitor in his quarters. Also, they were both fully (as much as they had been before the commercial) dressed, but that doesn’t necessarily suggest one thing or the other.
Sat, Dec 11, 2021, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
"A single scene with [pre-Kobali Lyndsay Ballard] 4 or 5 episodes ago would have been nice to establish backstory."
Maybe Mulgrew could have put her hair up and they could have filmed a brief scene from "Caretaker" that never happened. With Lyndsay in it. Now, that would be impressive retconning.
Sat, Dec 11, 2021, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 11, 2021, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
"The Kobali coming back with reinforcements sounds plausible if their technology was far greater then Voyager. I mean really they are able to raise the dead. That's way far advanced then technology on Voyager."
Well, no. Seven of Nine used magic nanoprobes to (regrettably) bring Neelix back from the dead in "Mortal Coil."
Sat, Dec 11, 2021, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
"And even ignoring Libby, why would being on Voyager make [Harry] not pursue [Lyndsay Ballard]?"
Because it’s a bad idea, as I know from personal experience, to date someone you work with and have to continue to look at her every day for three years after she dumps you. In my case, at least she finally left for another job. Harry and Lyndsay would have been facing the prospect of having to be on the same ship together for 75 years.
Sat, Dec 11, 2021, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
I have never once used the acronym for "laughing out loud," but I might make an exception for that.
Wed, Jun 29, 2022, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 4, 2022, 9:44am (UTC -5)
I don’t see Octavia Butler credited anywhere. For two species to have so many similarities and not be acknowledged feels icky. At min, it’s inspired by, at most it’s a copy with minor modifications.
I’m sure it’s tough being a writer for a revered show. But they can’t be so out of ideas that they are snatching storylines from an award winning sci-fi author, right?
Should have just expanded on the Seven of Nine/mom/teacher/etc episode. Glad for the continuity there.
Wed, May 3, 2023, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
I think the reason this episode rubs so many people the wrong way is just how unnecessary the mistakes are. The whole episode gives me the impression that the writers had a general contempt for their audience. That, or the writers/show runners were base level incompetent and had no business producing a television show.
There are two basic screw ups that hurt this episode:
1) character integrity, or lack thereof. The crazy retconning of Harry Kim is just so over the top that it’s actively distracting to the story. This episode wants us to believe that Harry kim’s best friend/unrequited love was on voyager for years and was murdered right in front of his eyes, but that never impacted his character development? We as the audience were never shown any hint of such an important character or any of Harry’s emotional journey? That’s a seriously massive character beat, even a character defining event, that we’re supposed to figure happened entirely off camera? This is bad character work and as a result bad story telling. But worst of all it’s totally unnecessary. The backstory between Ballard and Kim wasn’t important, the same effect could have been achieved by having Harry and Ballard not really having been that close before, but Harry simply still harbors some trauma from seeing Ballard killed, that unresolved emotional stress that they share could have functioned as a catalyst for them to grow closer or even become romantically involved, thus creating a dilemma for Lindsay. No need for some bizarre history rewrite. The way they chose to concoct things was just so lazy.
2) internal story logic.
How did Ballard catch up to voyager? A common question from many a commenter. Well here’s an idea:
Janeway: we traveled a long way since losing you. How’d you find us?
Ballard: while searching for you, I heard about your run ins with the Borg. So I (insert techno-space magic) in order to use a trans warp conduit to catch up to you, and with a little luck picked up voyager’s warp trail.
See how easy that was? Inside of ten seconds a simple bit of exposition would suffice to create a rough enough internal story logic that would allow the episode to stand on its own merit.
Additionally the core conflict at the heart of things was under-baked. Why couldn’t Ballard stay on voyager after coming to terms with her kobali identity? As far as I can tell she’s an adult, I’m not sure why her “dad” is so gung-ho about getting her back, that he’d risk attacking voyager and possibly killing his “daughter”. Once again the lack of internal logic undercuts the story. Very frustrating.
Lastly, how is Janeway going to explain this whole situation to Lindsay ballard’s family?
“How did(sniff) Lindsay die(sniff sniff)?”
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