Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Shattered Mirror"

***1/2

Air date: 4/22/1996
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by James L. Conway

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Captain Bashir, Captain O'Brien, Captain Sisko. We may not have enough troops or ships or weapons, but we have plenty of Captains." — "Smiley" O'Brien

Nutshell: Superficial action fun taken to the most relentless of extremes—and it works.

Once again, DS9 takes us to the mirror universe where we follow the rebellion and their struggle against the evil Alliance. Two seasons ago—the first time DS9 took us to this parallel universe in "Crossover"—the premise sported a dark, somewhat brooding attitude. Last season in "Through the Looking Glass," the dark undertones were significantly reduced, and an adventurous romp took center stage. With "Shattered Mirror," DS9 takes the premise yet another step into full-blown insanity. The episode has its semi-serious moments, but for the most part it's a completely over-the-top, superficial, comic book adventure—even more so than "Looking Glass" was.

I'd be lying if I said "Shattered Mirror" is a standout accomplishment in skilled writing or character development—it's not. But I'd also be lying if I said this show isn't a gleeful diversion. It's good comic book—big, dumb, sensationally simplistic, and fun.

The premise? Well, like any comic book, it's about good versus evil. More specifically, the mirror version of Jennifer Sisko comes to "our" side and kidnaps Jake to the mirror side. Sisko crosses over to retrieve his son, and finds himself kidnapped by the rebellion and enlisted to help them. "Smiley" O'Brien brings him up to date on current events (the rebels have driven the Alliance off of Terok Nor, claimed the station for themselves, and imprisoned Intendant Kira). O'Brien insists Sisko help them put some necessary finishing touches on the Defiant they have built (courtesy of some stolen schematics from DS9 on the other side).

Time is a big factor. In a matter of days the Alliance's reinforcements will reach the station, and if the rebellion doesn't have a reasonable weapon to defend themselves by then, they will surely be recaptured.

The plot (what little bit of it there is) takes a while to get fully underway, but when dealing with mirror characters, that's all the better. In all honesty, even if this show had nothing going for it other than its reversed role-playing, it would probably still be worth watching simply because of the opportunity to see the cast in neat costumes while delivering enjoyable dialogue.

The episode's first four acts center around the Preparation for the Battle between Good and Evil. Mired in here somewhere is a somewhat interesting angle involving Jake's fascination of meeting his "mother" and his kid-like misconception of realism. He gets caught up in this fantasy-like world, and seems blind to the dangers of it.

Meanwhile, Sisko assists in preparing the Defiant for combat as we again meet the other mirror characters, many of whom are not happy with Sisko's masquerading as their leader the last time he was in their universe. Bashir hits him in the face. ("I owed you that.") Dax slaps him in the face and pulls a knife on him. ("That's for making love to me under false pretenses.") Intendant Kira is, naturally, her same libidinous self, and believes that a Ben Sisko is a Ben Sisko. She considers supplying him with information about the Alliance in exchange for...you know. ("Why don't you lower this force field and join me in here—might help stimulate my thought process.")

At the same time, the Alliance's reinforcements continue steadily on their way to Terok Nor. They are commanded by (surprise!) Regent Worf, who is quite angry with Garak for his retreat from Terok Nor. The writers' portrayal of Worf as the villain is about as unsubtle as it gets. He puts a collar around Garak and attaches it to a chain which he uses to pull Garak around like a pet on a leash. Much of the subplot has little to do with advancing the plot, but the results are so often funny (and always laughable) that they're well worth the screen time. Such scenes wisely never show any hints of taking themselves seriously. Worf has some amusingly goofy lines to Garak. ("You are not my type" and "Make it so!" come to mind.) Garak, as always, is a fountain of clever wording worthy of a chuckle in just about every scene.

And Intendant Kira is as fun as usual with some memorable sound bites like "Violence is a precision instrument—it's a scalpel, not a club," and her amusing double-entendres. And when Nog breaks her out of prison she repays him like any villain would—she kills him. Still, one of my favorite lines in the show is her deadpan, ever-so-slightly annoyed delivery of "That was unfortunate," after she accidentally phasers Jennifer while aiming for Jake. Cold, yes; but still funny.

The show's final act is The Battle, when the Alliance fleet reaches Terok Nor and opens fire. Fortunately, the Defiant is ready just in time for the big fight (in which, naturally, they triumph, as Worf orders retreat as his ships are destroyed).

The battle supplies an absolutely beautiful special effects display featuring some very impressive motion photography work. (In fact, I bumped the rating up an extra half star because of it.) The scene uses the station as a battlefield where Birds of Prey and the Defiant weave in and out and around the architecture at breakneck speed, shooting at one another. Dan Curry and his crew have produced some of the most eye-pleasing action movements of probably any of Star Trek production. Then they outdo themselves just minutes later when the Defiant takes on Worf's battle cruiser (which is dozens of times the size of the Defiant) by getting in close to do some damage with moves surely inspired by the Millennium Falcon. In a word: Wow. These effects harbor even more speed and style than both "The Die is Cast" and "The Way of the Warrior" did.

The scene works on two levels. Aside from creating a sheer appreciation for the quality of the effects, the movements are fresh demonstrations of tactics. What should Sisko do when he's outgunned by a big ship? Why, take his little ship within inches of it and toy with their targeting, of course!

The only serious moments in "Shattered" are toward the end, where Jennifer's phaser wound results in her death, forcing Sisko and Jake to relive her death a second time. Her deathbed scene is nicely done, although it seems maybe a tad out of place considering how non-serious the rest of the episode feels. Not too bad in any case.

Between Kira's intention to "collect a debt" from Sisko for sparing his son's life, Worf's vow to return and destroy all the rebels, and Garak's plot to capture and punish Kira for her "treachery," I'd say the chances of the DS9 characters visiting the mirror universe again (or vice versa) are approximately 100 percent.

Previous episode: Hard Time
Next episode: The Muse

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27 comments on this review

Jay
Sat, Aug 22, 2009, 7:24pm (UTC -6)
We never really get that next visit to the mirror universe to carry on those stories. We did set "Resurrection" and "The Emperor's New Cloak", but they didn't really deliver.
Nic
Tue, Oct 6, 2009, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the mirror universe. I'm starting to remember that one of the reasons I put off watching DS9 for so long was because I figured "Any series that goes to the mirror universe once a season isn't one I'm interested in.
First of all, it makes no sense. How could a parallel reality with such a different history have so many similarities to our own? The same ships, the characters all look alike (which suggests they have the same DNA even though they are completely different people) and worst of all, all the series regulars just HAPPEN to have a role to play in the plot.
On a related note, since the events of these episodes generally have no bearing on the happenings of "our" universe, once again the character's actions have no consquences I can relate to because I don't give a sh_t about these pretty nasty people.
I'll grant it that the action scenes near the end were very well executed, but unlike "The Die Is Cast" and "The Way of the Warrior", where my blood was boiling because the characters I love were in danger, it really didn't matter to me who won this battle because the story knows that next week all will be forgotten. That's probably the reason they kill off so many counterpart characters just for the benefit of an action scene (remember Garak's 'death' in "The Search, Part II"? Well that kind of thing happens at least twice in every mirror universe episode). Finally, Sisko's decision to stay aboard the Defiant seems completely out of character, and is a terribly contrived way of letting us see the Fight of Evil against Evil (as I like to call it). There really should be a "parallels" Prime Directive that prevents people from disrupting the flow of events in other universes.
Chris
Thu, Oct 29, 2009, 10:37am (UTC -6)
I don't think Sisko remaining on-board came off as contrived at all. Sisko has helped the rebels in the past ("Through the Looking Glass"). Plus, the Defiant is his baby, so he'd feel a certain attachment to it; especially with the probability of it being destroyed in a battle with a superior force.

Sisko's amazing piloting skills seemed more contrived. If Tom Paris was piloting the Defiant like that, at least there would have been 30-40 episodes of Tom being praised as a pilot to back it up. But really, I thought the finale of this episode was a lot of fun and contained some of the best effects the series ever produced.

Also, this episode could have had consequences despite not being set in the regular universe. Sisko lost his wife again, and Jake happened to be there this time to witness it. Granted, nothing was done with this in later episodes, but just because there's an alternate reality episode doesn't mean it can't have consequences on the characters. I don't think these episodes were meant to be taken terribly seriously, any way. You have a lesbian Kira and a Worf who will quite happily stab someone to try and retrieve something they've eaten. I'm not going to look at this episode in the same manner as "In the Pale Moonlight".
Jack
Sun, Oct 16, 2011, 7:24pm (UTC -6)
Jake says he wanted to catch his "mom" up on the past nine years, but it hasn't even been six years since Wolf 359.
TDexter
Sat, Oct 29, 2011, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
"First of all, it makes no sense. How could a parallel reality with such a different history have so many similarities to our own?"

Star Trek works on the "infinite universes" model. That means that there is a universe for every possibility. That means that, out there, there is a universe where everything is as it is in this universe, except you happen to have an ass for a face.
Jay
Sat, Nov 24, 2012, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
And speaking of an ass for a face, the series Enterprise shows the point where this particular universe apparently tangented off...
Kotas
Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 6:10pm (UTC -6)

The mirror universe lost its charm after the first visit.

4/10
K'Elvis
Mon, Dec 2, 2013, 7:16am (UTC -6)
The Mirror Universe characters are to much like Snidely Whiplash to care much about. It seemed implausible that the rebels could build a Defiant - perhaps they could incorporate parts of technology into their own ships, but you need a shipyard to build a starship. It also seemed implausible that the rebels could hold DS9 - they couldn't keep t supplied.

The episode was irrelevant to the main story, but it would have been more enjoyable if the characters hadn't been simply evil charicatures, complete with metaphorical mustache twirling. While in the main universe, some characters are good, some are evil, with some inbetween, in the Mirror Universe, pretty much everyone is evil.

Killing off Jennifer seemed unnecessary. Seeing her die again should have given both Benjamin and Jake significant emotional distress, but it is of course forgotten by the next episode.

It may have been "big, dumb, sensationally simplistic", but that didn't make it all that much fun for me. YMMV, of course.
Jack
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 9:40am (UTC -6)
I hope that Sisko was just overreacting about suspecting that in Jake's mind they are already all living together, because if so, that's quite the slap in the face to Kassidy Yates on Jake's part...he's the one that brought them together.
Todd F.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
Don't know why Sisko doesn't call security and lock Jennifer up the minute he sees her. Would have been my first, second and third reactions. Also, don't see how he doesn't end up on charges of violating the Prime Directive.

Further, the notion that these barely literate, semi civilized rebels could somehow put together an exact duplicate of the USS Defiant in something under a millennium stretches credibility beyond reason.

A MUCH better story would have had rebels sneak aboard DS9, steal the Defiant (they would have had Smiley's DNA to get past the security, aka Tom RIker), take it to the other universe and require Sisko to go get it back. Higher stakes for the regular characters and a much more plausible story.
Todd F.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
Even better story...turns out the rebels have had the real O'Brien in custody for some time...they replaced him as a setup to get the Defiant. Then could reveal, the O'Brien who spent 20 years in a virtual prison in Hard Time, was Smiley.

Since the episode was a giant reset button anyway, no retro impact to the character.
Jack
Fri, Feb 14, 2014, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
The bit whee mirror Nog helps mirror Kira escape seems so contrived. Sure mirror Kira is indirectly responsible for mirror Nog owning the bar, but he already has it, whether he helps her or not. Mirror Nog doesn't seem the type to risk harm or capture to free mirror Kira just to show gratitude, particularly for something she didn't really give him, but rather just made possible, indirectly.

I suppose they needed for mirror Kira to escape and for mirror Jennifer to die, but that's the best way they could come up with?
Dusty
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 5:45am (UTC -6)
I see the Mirror Universe is a bit controversial here. I think if you take it seriously or expect it to make sense, you're missing the point. It's all in fun. This one grabbed my attention immediately with Sisko's wife from the MU showing up. Seems odd that Sisko would take it in stride and leave Jake alone with her. Sure enough, they disappear into the MU and he has to go after them. And it's as much fun as I hoped it would be, with frequent sexual overtones and cartoonish characters who are killed off with abandon. On the other hand, it also had a certain heart and depth that was never followed up on. (Poor mirror-Jennifer.) Plus it ended with a spectacular space battle. Fun episode.
Vylora
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 11:43pm (UTC -6)
I don't mind the MU episodes at all. Especially knowing these are just further expansions on the more or less fan-loved "Mirror, Mirror" episode from TOS. Except here, because of sweeping reforms to make the Terran Empire more peaceful, they themselves have become the oppressed under the Alliance.

Admittedly though, since they've gone this far with it, it would have been nice to see an episode where the Terrans and other races involved get a chance to form a peaceful union of sorts. Maybe not necessarily like the Federation by any means but some sort of reaching a common ground. Getting a chance to learn from mistakes. The mere mention of the fact that MU Spock was able to at least start this process shows its possible. And I don't believe it was said anywhere how well these reforms worked and/or how long it was before the Alliance crashed that party so to speak. If they had at least two more episodes with that in mind they could have replaced it with the two unfortunate ones we got after this.

I also don't see anything to indicate whatsoever that this is a reset-button plot. Nothing here is "reset". The story takes place mainly in the MU. The episode ends. Lives continue in both realities.

Some explanation on how they were able to build the MU Defiant at Terok Nor would have been nice. I know that shuttlecraft can be built on a starship if needed. And I realize the station may have more raw materials readily available seeing as, in the MU, it's being utilized as the mining station that it is. But still...

On its own level, this is a wonderfully enjoyable episode with some hilarious dialogue and amazing choreography to boot. Well done.

3.5 stars.
Ospero
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 1:07am (UTC -6)
@Vylora: Since your comment is only two weeks old, it's possible you might see this. What you describe has been done in book form. There are two anthologies from the Mirror Universe by the names of "Glass Empires" and "Obsidian Alliances", followed by several more novels (these also intersect with the DS9 reboot novels). Suffice it to say, these eventually end up with something like you described.
Nonya
Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 12:39am (UTC -6)
This is the point where all the mirror universe stuff wore out its welcome. There's just too much betrayal, something there's been oodles of in every previous mirror bit, and would show up again later on. It's wearisome. Though this episode does have the one bit where the Intendant was actually intimidating: when she shot Jennifer.
Yanks
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 11:39am (UTC -6)
Some redeemable touching moments between Jake and Jennifer. I felt for both of them.

But other than that, this DS9 mirror stuff just gets old.

2.5 stars because I got to see Felicia Bell again and again I got to dream of her playing Cassidy instead of Penny Johnson.
Icarus32Soar
Tue, Mar 10, 2015, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, Nah! This parallel universe premise is as idiotic as time loops. The Jennifer-Jake sugar is nauseating. Even the glorious Garak is misplaced here and is ineffective. Sisko taking the chair of the rebel Defiant of his own accord? Where the heck is the prime directive when the plot really needs a convincing dramatic device? Thank God the parallel divinely campy Kira and over the top Bashir lend some acting integrity to this misguided mess. When ST is good it's very good indeed, when it's bad it's unbearable.
Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
The episode on its own is solid, entertaining, touching at points, and interesting given the mirror universe politics.

That being said, the mirror universe, itself, is a hard swallow for me. Even in TOS. The "butterfly effect" may be a bit exaggerated, but certainly a universe with THAT much different about it would produce entirely different people altogether. Space stations, tech advances, etc etc would be so entirely different. I guess that doesn't make good for using the same actors, though. I like the idea of a parallel universe (within the ST universe) but the idea that generations of families would still have children at the same exact points in time is just... a little much for me to my suspend disbelief for.
Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
*suspend my disbelief for.
Peremensoe
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
Remember, it is established that the "prime" Trekverse, the one where most stories of all the series take place, is one of a MULTIverse. MANY, countless, parallel universes, varying in all different ways, to greater and lesser degrees.

Personally, I thought "the" mirror universe worked well as a one-off, when it was just a chance 'closeness' between it and the Prime that allowed Kirk, Spock, et al., to get traded over. It never made much sense that Sisko, Kira & co. should routinely transition to *that same* alternate reality. If that is what's happening.
Easter
Mon, Sep 28, 2015, 12:36am (UTC -6)
There's lots of logistical problems with this setup. Bajor was never mirror occupied so the rebels are on a base orbitting a planet that is the homeworld of part of the alliance. Why is it taking them so long to get attacked? How did they build the fucking defiant with a crew of mine workers? but whatever. It's mirror world. Comic book rules. I don't really care and can hapily suspend my disbelief for some popcorn action if instead of Sisko they stole Julian. Him I can buy staying behind and helping people who kidnapped him. He's done it before. But Sisko is way too chill that these people used a duplicate of his dead wife to KIDNAP HIS SON. THEY KIDNAPPED HIS SON AND FORCED HIM TO HELP THEM UNDER THREAT OF HIM AND HIS ONLY CHILD DYING. And he's just like "Yeah, ok. I respect you plucky little guys fightin' the big bad alliance." I needed Sisko to be far more begrudging in his willingness to help and unpleasant towards the people who kidnapped him and held him hostage to buy into this story. Hell, they could have just done a mirror universe episode with nobody from the "main" universe and I'd have watched it. It would be fun. Mirror Bashir (Bashirror?) is an absolute blast and Alexander Siddig is clearly having an absolute blast playing him and with it being mirror world there was legitimate risk he might die on his glory run. Terrok Knor (biggest missed opportunity by the way was NOT renaming the station Terran Knor) as the gloomy mirror version of DS9 is visually enjoyable... I could sit down and watch a full episode of that. But Sisko just sitting there all friendly with the people who kidnapped him and his son just ruined the whole thing for me.
Wester
Tue, Oct 6, 2015, 5:04am (UTC -6)
Count me in as one of the haters.

Mirror Universe episodes - just like Holodeck episodes and Dream Sequence episodes and Travel To The 20th century episodes - are basically an admittance that the writers don't want to deal with the limitations set up by the actual established universe and just wanna have some fun. It's a cop out.

If I wanted a cartoonish Sci-Fi show, I'd watch one.
If I wanted to see everybody out of make-up working at a newspaper, I'd watch a show like this.

I'm watching DS9 precisely for everything they chose to cast aside and trample on here.
methane
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
For a series that puts out over 20 episodes a year, I certainly don't mind diversions to tell stories like the mirror universe episodes. That said, I do want them to be good stories. The first one was quite good and the second one was fun.

This one just dragged. I think I enjoyed it a bit more the first time I saw it (when I was less jaded by modern special effects), but I'm pretty sure I never thought it was a great episode. Mirror-Bashir & Mirror-Kira were somewhat fun, but this episode kept losing my attention on this re-watch. It's mostly just a long set up for the battle at the end.

The only real character notes to make concern Jake. Here he's trying to turn back time. We see him trying to recreate his previous relationships with both his mother & Nog with their mirror universe counterparts, hoping to go back to the way things were.

This is not a new characterization for Jake, as it's exactly what the character was doing in "The Visitor" early this season. Our Jake wouldn't remember that, although his father may have told him what happened. This also relates to his academic career; he's accepted into a prestigious academy, but delays his entry to stay on DS9 longer.

This isn't a consistent characterization for Jake, as he was the one who introduced his father to his new girlfriend. It's certainly believable that a person that age flip-flops between wanting change and fearing it.

I'm unsure if the writer's wanted this to be a defining characteristic for Jake; I'll have to see if I notice anything else in later episodes.
William B
Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, Sisko does indeed adjust pretty easily to Smiley and Jennifer kidnapping Jake to get his attention. Of course, part of that is because Jake is completely unaware he was kidnapped...right? Because Jake went willingly and is unaware there is a problem? Which, uh...Sisko initially believed that Jake would not leave the universe without letting him know first, but that seems to have been false. Of course, for Jake to leave without telling Sisko he's universe-hopping strains credibility, but I guess we are to assume that Jennifer bowled him over and he went anyway. Regardless, whether Jake went willingly or not, the intent was there to kidnap him to get to Sisko, and the implicit threat that they will not return Jake until Sisko has helped them, and that Jake will die on the station if Sisko does not help them defend it. That is pretty beyond the pale; for Sisko to agree to this hostage situation is one thing, but for him to stay and command the Defiant again because he just can't help loving this plucky band is another.

The big emotional core of this episode is Jake and how the Mirror Universe taps into his nostalgia and grief. The episode opens with Jake missing Nog, only for have an even more importnt person who is even more permanently gone from his life reenter it through the mirorr. I like how his eventual encounter with Mirror Nog is unpleasant and Mirror-Nog is absolutely insistent on breaking any of Jake's sentimental desire to recreate his friendship with the real Nog with this guy. Depending on one's perspective, this could either establish the way in which Jake's close bond with Jennifer really is a Real Thing, since it is not automatically true that Jake will get along with mirror versions of his loved ones; or it could be the commentary on what the truth of Jake and Jennifer is, under it all, and Jake is able to see clearly how Mirror-Nog is *not* Nog because Mirror-Nog, unlike (Mirror) Jennifer, has no interest in deceiving him. The parallel between M-Nog and M-Jennifer is strengthened by having these be the (only) two people gunned down by the Intendant in this episode, as if the Intendant were intent on, ahem, shattering Jake's illusions, whether they are idealized or not. It's something of a statement against the MU as a place for wish fulfillment, which plays in with Jake's material in "The Visitor" (as methane pointed out) where Jake destroys himself to restore his father, as well as commenting on Sisko's fantasy role-playing his dead wife as alive again in "Through the Looking Glass." The death of Nog is mostly a comic beat, playing off Quark and Rom's deaths in the last two MU eps (I'm surprised Ishka or Gaila weren't offed next to ensure that the one-Quark-family-member-dies-per-episode pattern remained), but Jennifer's death is played out as tragedy. To some degree, it feels like inevitable quasi-punishment for the Siskos for wanting to play house with her; their wanting to slot Jennifer in to where our universe's Jennifer had been, and MU Jennifer wanting to slip into another convenient identity, leads directly to the encounter with the Intendant and her recognition that Jennifer's death can be a message to Sisko, though what that message is who can say. ("I'm evil," presumably.)

The episode feels a little more honest than "Through the Looking Glass," then, in suggesting that there are negative consequences to this kind of role playing. In both episodes Sisko plays pirate and gets to cozy up to a woman who looks just like his ex-wife, and here Sisko goes as far as to command the Defiant on a probably suicidal mission because, um, well, I guess he likes their cause, but I can't help but feel that Sisko could only possibly think he should risk his life for this MU Terran cause without even bothering to tell his son (who is right there) if on some level he accepts the MU is some sort of wacky fantasy land, as if Sisko actually has the metaknowledge that of course nothing bad is going to happen to him over there. That does hurt the tension in the episode and also hits the internal integrity of the story, when we know that Sisko is probably not actually behaving like he gets that this is ostensibly real, just in another universe. But the turnaround that Jennifer dies to teach Sisko (and Jake) a lesson somehow earns the episode's previous bloodlessness. The further you delve into fantasy, the worse the consequences emotionally; even if Sisko and Jake come away undamaged physically, they are hurt to the degree that they had invested in that world. The payback Sisko gets for punching Bashir and sleeping with Dax on his last visit is effective as foreshadowing of the final result (though Sisko's weird statement to Dax is pretty inappropriate; he should have been apologetic, or at least said that he had no choice as Smiley had kidnapped him).

As far as the episode's overall value, I agree with Easter's point that it's particularly ridiculous that the Terrans have taken over Terok Nor which is *still orbiting Alliance world Bajor* and holding it for who knows what reason; it is an illogical base, because the main strategic advantage to the station in the main universe is its proximity to the wormhole, and before that its main value was either in helping rebuild Bajor or in ore processing, neither of which are going on. The episode is a bit tedious, and the Jake-Jennifer stuff is sappy in practice even if there are some interesting things about the idea. What I do enjoy in this episode are the energetic performances on the Klingon ship, with a particularly great chemistry between Robinson and Dorn (the first Worf-Garak material is in the MU, huh?) and with a pretty good handling of The Intendant Mark 3. While the complex character from "Crossover" is basically gone, Visitor hits a better mixture of camp with seductiveness with glee to make the Intendant amusing while in her cage and believably dangerous when out. So overall I am not sold on this episode, but I like it better than "Through the Looking Glass," which makes it (to me) the only exception to the monotonic decrease in quality in MU stories from "Mirror, Mirror" through "The Emperor's New Cloak." 2.5 stars.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Jan 3, 2016, 8:48am (UTC -6)
I've been a big fan of the mirror universe episodes but this one doesn't really match up. Watching the cast chew the scenery again starts to lose its appeal a little - although the Worf/Garak match up is a fun new twist. And the emotional core of the Sisko/Jake/Jennifer triangle doesn't really resonate.

On the other hand, the SFX work is marvellous and it never makes any real pretence to be anything other than big dumb fun. It's just not that good at it. "You are not my type" indeed. 2 stars.
Luke
Thu, Apr 14, 2016, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
And so we take another trip into the Mirror Universe. You know, the MU is rather shockingly narrow in scope, isn't it? Here we have an entire universe full of doppelgangers and yet they keep telling the same story over and over with it - resistance against an evil empire. How about throwing some other stuff into the mix every once in a while. Things like - a.) how do people in the non-Mirror Universe react to the knowledge that there are copies of them doing evil in their names, b.) how does this knowledge affect religious Bajorans - do they think the Prophets have duel plans?, c.) have a refugee program with inhabitants of the MU seeking refuge and safety in the non-MU, etc. But no, we'll just tell the same story for a third time. And whereas "Crossover" was great with it's brooding and foreboding atmosphere, "Shattered Mirror" just doesn't live up to that standard.

The episode's plot doesn't really make that much sense either. Apparently the Terran rebels were able to (not only) go on a massive offensive, push the Alliance out of the Bajoran system, claim the station for their own and find the time to build a perfect replica of the Defiant from scratch, but they still need Sisko's help because.... .... .... .... reasons. So, they sort of kidnap his son - which doesn't end up being that big a deal since Sisko just shrugs it off after a few conversations with the evil doppelgangers. Yeah, this doesn't make much sense. Also, just what in the hell were the non-MU characters doing back on DS9 while their commanding officer was gone for four days? Do they mount some kind of rescue attempt? Are they even concerned that Sisko basically goes M.I.A.? Who cares?! We have the actors doing things differently than they usually do!

Speaking of the characters, I mentioned in "Through the Looking Glass" that the "good guys" are rather unlikable, and that continues apace. None of these characters are particularly praiseworthy. I mean, we've got one literally torturing a person and another kidnapping someone (apparently with every one else's consent)! And I said before, but I'll say it again - Mirror Bashir is just not an enjoyable character in any way. He's little more than a petty, vile, little tyrant - exactly what he accuses the Intendant of being. I honestly get the impression that if the rebels won he would be more than happy to simply reconstitute the Terran Empire and start enslaving people himself. So why should I root for these people? And the villains - well, they're all so absurdly over-the-top that, again, they just aren't enjoyable. Am I supposed to take these characters even remotely seriously? Good grief, they have Mirrors Garak and Worf literally engaging in homoerotic BDSM submission play, complete with a dog collar and chain around Mirror Garak's neck!

The only good thing about "Shattered Mirror" are the special effects. Jammer is absolutely right that they are amazing! So, I'll add a +1 bonus point to my score for that alone. But, even that speaks to one of the weaknesses of the episode. The battle around the station and the Regent's ship, while visually exciting, means exactly fuck all in the non-MU. I would have much rather they spent all that production money on something of more weight for the more important arcs of series - something involving the Klingons or the Dominion.

And, by the way, did the producers simply forget that in the MU the station is still orbiting Bajor? Because the planet appears a grand total of zero times in this episode. If I'm not mistaken when we return to the MU in "The Emperor's New Cloak" Bajor reappears. Talk about a huge continuity error!

3/10

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