138 – Ashes to Ashes

Grade: D+

Ashes To Ashes (2000) on IMDb


An alien spacecraft is under attack. The pilot makes some interesting maneuvers and is able to barely escape. Then she scans the area for Voyager. This alien claims to be a former Voyager crewman named Lyndsey Ballard. She apparently died during an away mission, but now she’s back to life and wants to return to Voyager.


Well, so much for continuity. Here’s an episode about a character we’ve never met before. She apparently had some kind of relationship with Harry Kim, even though when the series started, we knew Harry had a fiancĂ©e named Libby. In fact, he says the whole reason he’s on Voyager in the first place was so that he could be with Lyndsey. Really? Did Voyager’s writers even watch the series? Do they think all of us would have forgotten about Libby?

Not only that, but right in the middle of this episode, Tom Paris reminds Harry (and the rest of us) of several of Harry’s previous love interests, including a holographic character, some alien, and “the wrong twin” – in reference to the Delaney sister he liked who didn’t like him. Harry has had plenty of relationships in this series, but never once has a girl named “Lyndsey” been mentioned.

When Lyndsey asks Harry how he is doing on the clarinet, he says he gave it up so he could pick up the saxophone. Really? Just 5 episodes ago, we saw him playing the clarinet while the Doctor was singing in “Virtuoso”. That seems like a pretty inconsistent thing to say about something that happened a little over a month ago.

Lyndsey says she was killed during an attack by a Hirogen hunting party, “3 years ago.” Well, the Hirogen episodes were only 2 seasons before. I suppose it could have been 3 years if you were rounding up.

An even bigger problem, however, is the fact that when Voyager was dealing with the Hirogen, it was about 40,000 LY ago. In those 3 years, Voyager has made a huge leap towards home, and yet here Lyndsey says it took her 6 months to find Voyager. So in 6 months, she was able to cover the same distance that Voyager would have covered in 40 years. That’s a really powerful warp drive she has there. Now THAT’s the bigger story, not the fact that these aliens re-animate dead aliens.

At the end of the episode, Lyndsey’s new “father” finds her and threatens Voyager by saying he’ll come back with reinforcements to forcibly take back his “daughter.” So he leaves and then comes back within minutes with several more ships. We’ve already established the fact that Voyager is 40k LY away from when the aliens found the dead crewman. So we’re now supposed to believe that this ship instantly covered 80k LY worth of distance in less than a week? That’s just beyond silly.

These writers are getting very lazy. They’re telling us that this series is supposed to be episodic and continuity doesn’t matter. But a story like this that deals with Voyager’s history should be all about continuity. If they didn’t want us to question its authenticity, then the writers shouldn’t be bringing up stories that deal with Voyager’s past. There has to be some kind of continuity, otherwise Voyager becomes an anthology series like the Twilight Zone where every individual episode is an entirely new entity.

I also have several other problems with this episode. I’ve already seen a Harry Love Interest story – it happened last week in Spirit Folk. But just when the episode convinces us finally that this person really could have existed and that they really could have had a relationship before her death, then the episode pulls the rug out from under our feet with this nonsense that she wants to go back to her alien father because she can’t get her human form back. That seems ridiculous. I don’t see this as realistic in any way at all.

So I’m not complaining that the Doctor can’t revert her back to 100% human, because I think the “Fun with DNA” stories happen far too often in this series. But it seems to me that if the Doctor can convert Tom and Janeway back from salamanders into humans, he should be able to return a former human back to herself. Besides, isn’t that what he’s doing for Seven?

So here’s an idea – we already know of a female character who died during an away mission. It was Ensign Jetal, in the episode “Latent Image.” Why couldn’t they have made this episode about her? At least then we would have already seen her and it would have carried more weight when she decided on her own to leave the ship. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again – Voyager’s writers worked really hard to set up something compelling but they just didn’t have the courage to see it through to a satisfying conclusion.

Whatever. I’ve already commented far too much about this useless episode. I think I will have completely forgotten about this one in about a week – and I suggest the same for you.

Of Note

So when Lyndsey gets back to Voyager, she speaks in Kobali sometimes. Apparently, the universal translator doesn’t work for her. But later, it does work for her “father.” Oops.

The actress playing Lyndsey Ballard has appeared several other times in other Star Trek productions – but it seems like it’s mostly voice talent.

Something really stupid happens in this episode. Janeway invites Lyndsey to her quarters for dinner. The scene starts with Janeway pulling a completely charred pot roast out of the replicator. OK, so I know this is for comedic effect, but come on. The replicator is a computer. It does whatever it has been programmed to do. Did she walk up to the replicator and say “Pot Roast – Black!” I know it’s supposed to show that she’s a horrible cook, but this just doesn’t make any sense. Whatever. Then the episode actually insults our intelligence further by suggesting that they can’t eat anything else but peanut butter. Why can’t they put the roast back into the replicator and just re-program it? Stupid.