"Out of the Ashes" Review

by Mike Helba

Is it just my imagination, or is "Out of the Ashes" not the first time that one of the lead characters takes off for personal reasons and leaves the other one behind to take a beating?

This time Jeremiah takes off to visit an old friend, Red, who lives in Denver where Jeremiah and Kurdy are on a mission. Red's girlfriend, Maggie, is a talented artist who is confined to a wheelchair since being hit by a car years earlier. Maggie's injury occurred after the Big Death, so there were no doctors to treat her, and her legs healed poorly. There are several scenes in which Jeremiah seems to be uncomfortable dealing with Maggie's condition. I'm not sure whether or not I feel this is realistic. On the one hand, I will accept that there are not as many people in wheelchairs after the Big Death, since most people without the ability to walk would likely die in the unforgiving world. On the other hand, the same lack of medical care would likely increase the number of people with less serious but still maiming injuries. Surely Jeremiah would have plenty of experience dealing with handicapped people.

The self-consciousness brought about by Maggie's condition is mirrored by Edgar the Librarian, who feels less than perfect in his own way. Edgar has dedicated his life to preserving a library and protecting its books against religious fundamentalists who believe that knowledge is the root of all evil and is responsible for the Big Death. Ironically, Edgar can not read. Left behind to help defend the library (and collect the books Thunder Mountain needs), Kurdy takes it upon himself to confront Edgar about his problem and begin teaching him how to read. Reading has always been and important pastime for Kurdy, whose gruff exterior belies an intellectual core. Some of the speeches given by Kurdy and others in these scenes, like all good science fiction, are just as applicable to situations in our own world today.

Overall, "Out of the Ashes" was a decent stand-alone episode with good character development for Jeremiah and something relevant to think about from Kurdy.