The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Ashes to Ashes"

by David E. Sluss

4 March 2000

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: A largely predictable and by-the-numbers outing, with the usual liabilities like mediocre acting, continuity gaffes, and lapses of logic and good taste.


RETROCONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: Yet another redshirt gets retroactively plugged into Voyager's "continuity" this week, just like in last year's "Latent Image." It's hard to buy that Larry Kim's best friend and secret crush was on board for Voyager's first three years in the Delta Quadrant and that this is the first we've heard about it. The back story about the academy also seems to contradict or at least call into question Larry's relationship with his girlfriend Libby, who was mentioned a few times in Voyager's early years and actually appeared in "Non Sequitur." It's bad enough to blow the continuity of new episodes week after week, but it's even worse to go back and wreck the continuity of past episodes too.

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: It's hardly new anymore, considering that just about every third episode this season flies in the face of all of Voyager's transwarp and other big-ticket jumps in the last three years. But for completeness' sake, we'll run it down again. Given that Voyager is at least 20,000 light years past where Ballard got plugged, it is pretty much impossible to accept that Ballard caught up with Voyager using a dinky shuttle. There's no indication that the Kobaldy ships have transwarp drive or other hoohah, and yet Daddy Dearest is able to go home and get reinforcements. This is getting ridiculous. Why not reanimate Seska and Maje Cullah while you're at it?

NEW ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE WEEK: The notion of a race that "reproduces" by reanimating the dead of other species and altering them is one of those ideas that seems like a good one for about five seconds, after which a minimal amount of thought pretty much sinks it. But Voyager's writers, not known as thinkers, went ahead with it anyway. Leaving aside the questionable DNA pranks, a society like that wouldn't really need to reproduce, would they? When a Kobaldy died, he or she could simply be reanimated. Besides, the Kobaldy would be considered graverobbers in their area of the galaxy and would have a hell of a time finding bodies, since most neighboring species would do whatever it took (cremation, phaser on disintegrate, whatever) to keep their dearly-departed out of the Kobaldy's hands. Might it not also be that a Kobaldy family wanting a child might actually kill an alien in order to have one? Ballard's "father" seemed like a nice enough fellow, but you never know. No, this race wasn't well-conceived, I'm afraid. The makeup was respectable for a change, though, in contrast to the Borg kids, whose nose ridges all look the same even though they're from three different species.

NEW MEDICINE OF THE WEEK: Okay, we all know that you have to suspend your disbelief by one of the Petronas Towers in order to buy Star Trek's medical miracles, but this week's cosmetic surgery by injection was still over the top and worth a giggle or two. It also occurred to me that since what seemed to get Ballard down the most was the notion of going to sickbay twice a day, and since a trained chimpanzee can inject a hypospray, wouldn't it have made sense to let her do it herself?

BABY (NOT) ON BOARD OF THE WEEK: As I mentioned two weeks ago, about halfway into "Collective," everyone seemed to have forgotten about the Borg infant beamed to Voyager, and there's no indication that she's been remembered here either. Maybe Ensign Wildman is taking care of her...

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Whatever Ballard said in engineering when she was speaking Kobaldy. Despite Torres' puzzled look, it really wasn't any more incomprehensible than the technobabble normally heard in engineering, or anywhere else on the ship for that matter.

QUESTIONABLE TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Let's see, we've got replicators that burn food, a comm system that allows any punk on the ship to receive a transmission without the bridge even knowing about it, and 37 technobabble procedures to protect the ship against the Kobaldy, none of which works even slightly. Maybe this is a bone being tossed to those critics who say the ship should be showing more wear and tear...

PEDOPHILE OF THE WEEK: I have to say that the closing scene was a bit unsettling. Larry's sitting there pining for the girl of his dreams whom he has just lost and then accepts an eight-year-old girl's invitation to the holodeck, and they walk there hand in hand. In other contexts, the scene might have been okay, but given the events of this episode it seemed downright creepy.

Cheryl M. Capezzuti contributed to this review.

Previous: "Spirit Folk"
Next: "Child's Play"
NEXT WEEK: Another Borg episode; is it still February?



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