Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Emperor's New Cloak"

*

Air date: 2/1/1999
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I can't believe it ... Julian just shot Vic Fontaine!" — Quark

Nutshell: Bleah.

"Disappointing" only begins to describe "The Emperor's New Cloak." Words like "a waste," "meaningless," and "boring" also come to mind. I never would've thought DS9's final venture into the alternate universe (which has generally served the series well as good comic-book entertainment) would become the worst episode of the season. (And I hope it remains the worst of the season.) Maybe the title of the episode, a pretty bad pun, should've been a forewarning.

DS9 this season has had a tendency to wander a bit, but at least the writing has been reasonably good in most episodes. "The Emperor's New Cloak," conversely, feels like an episode written by a computer program. The input query: How many mirror-universe characters can we randomly insert into a lame-brained plot, and in what ways can we make everyone less interesting than they ever have been?

These days, a lot of people seem to be screaming "Why?" when we get an episode that doesn't advance us closer to series closure. While I've occasionally been a voice in that collective, I usually judge a show for its entertainment value, not simply its large-scale "relevance." But with "The Emperor's New Cloak," I have to ask: Why this? Why now? And why me?

Far be it for me to dislike a Ferengi episode (naw, come on), but my objection to this show isn't that it's a Ferengi episode. My objection is that everything that happens in this episode was born out of an attitude that seems to say, "We have Ferengi and evil characters; who needs a story?"

And yet it's not the Ferengi that ruined this episode (though Rom and Zek certainly didn't help the cause). What ruined this episode was a total disregard for motivation, continuity, and reasonable entertainment value. Why even use these alternate-universe characters—who have comprised a sort of mini-subplot throughout the series—if none of them are going to remain interesting?

The episode begins with Blatant Contrivance of the Week. Zek has gone missing in the alternate universe and mirror-Ezri has come through to bring Quark a message: Give the Alliance—who holds Zek captive—a cloaking device, or Zek dies. Why does the Alliance need a cloaking device? Because it would give them an advantage to help crush the Rebellion (bwahaha), and there's no cloaking technology in the alternate universe, right?

Wrong. Previous alternate universe episodes have used the cloaking device, but never mind; continuity isn't the name of the game here. I have a better question: Why did Zek even go to the mirror universe? To open new profit avenues, naturally. Yeah, right. And I'm thinking that tomorrow I'll stroll into Kosovo and set up a hot dog stand.

Once mirror-Ezri brings Quark the news, Quark decides the only way to get a hold of a cloaking device is to steal the one from Martok's ship. Quark probably deserves jail time for this little maneuver (theft of military equipment during a war?) but the episode merely treats it as a joke, and not a very good one. One of the show's funnier not-so-funny scenes is a gag where Quark and Rom carry the cloaked cloaking device through the corridors of the station. The "picture this" in question is of Shimerman and Grodenchik carrying nothing, trying really hard to look like they're carrying something heavy. Har har. In these cases, less is more: It might've been funnier if the scene were shorter.

Once we get into the alternate universe, I figured the story would get off the ground and we might be looking at some closure to the things we've seen happen in this crazy place over the past five years. Well, I figured wrong.

Simply put, very little in this plot is worthy of attention. The characterizations are aimless and confused. Everybody's appearance comes off as gratuitous and no one gets any worthwhile dialog. To say everyone in the episode is poorly motivated would be an understatement. Character reactions border on random, thanks to the confines of a shoestring plot. (Just think of all the opportunities for scheming and payback, especially given the volatile nature of the Kira/Garak/Worf alliance. All are put aside for bad comedy.)

I realize the mirror universe has been shallow ever since "Through the Looking Glass," but it always had a zany, madcap appeal. But this time there's no comic-book exhilaration like in "Shattered Mirror" or "Looking Glass," and it isn't remotely thoughtful about its characters' actions and feelings as was "Crossover." At the very least, you would think there'd be some entertaining attitude to find in the material or the performances, but, alas, that's also nowhere to be seen. The sense of omnipresent chaos that characterized previous alternate-universe shows is completely removed this time around. Now it's all routine.

As for the humor, little of it worked for me. Too much of the episode is wasted on stupid jokes; this has to be the slowest venture into the mirror universe yet. First we have to put up with several lengthy scenes of Rom trying to comprehend the nature of the alternate universe (why Behr and Beimler think Rom-the-annoyingly-verbose-idiot is funny is beyond me). Then we get extremely dull use of Zek in what I hope is his final appearance (poor Wallace Shawn; he's been such a good sport)—here he gets to engage in another iteration of the oh-so-tired lobe-fondling gag.

When the evil mirror characters are allowed to talk, their dialog is surprisingly trite, even for a comic book. Andrew Robinson, in only his second appearance of the season, is completely wasted. Once a fountain of charged dialog, mirror-Garak has become such a bumbling persona that I felt sorry for Robinson, who was apparently told to overplay his part so far as to make him simply look like a fool.

Nana Visitor is not in much better a situation. I can see what they were going for with some of this; Intendant Kira's bipolar instability has her switching on a dime from sweetly condescending to violently angry. But like Garak, it's way overdone. It exists to feed itself and not any strong story direction. I'll freely admit that Nana Visitor in tight leather is always nice to look at, but that alone can't carry an hour. The reason she was so compelling in "Crossover" is because there was a tortured character underneath all the posturing. And in later episodes like "Looking Glass" and "Shattered Mirror," there was good chemistry with Sisko, Garak, and Jennifer Sisko.

Of course, there's also Regent Worf, who yells a lot, which is not interesting in and by itself unless there's good dialog behind it, which there generally isn't. (Although, the show's biggest laugh has to be when he tries on a glove, then tells one of his crewmen: "You, come here. Your regent needs you!"—and then punches the guy in the face to test his new glove. That's the sort of clever goofiness we needed more of.)

The real core of this episode, if there is one, centers on Ezri's unknown loyalties. She's in cahoots with the evil Alliance, but her business partner, Brunt, doesn't like the Alliance. There's a friendship between Brunt and Ezri that displays a promise of depth (as well as paralleling the unexplored feelings Quark has for the Ezri of his own universe). Brunt comes off as the story's most sympathetic character—which of course means he's Dead Meat. In keeping with the established tradition of Intendant Kira killing one mirror-Ferengi per mirror-universe episode, Kira stabs Brunt because she's convinced "he was going to betray me."

What's disappointing is the amount of confused uncertainty in the Ezri/Kira relationship. Ezri and Kira have apparently been lovers, but the relationship is sketchy and undefined, and at the end when they part ways with some sort of understanding, it feels flat. Of course, the relationship probably wasn't meant to be taken seriously; it all but shouts, "Look how hip we are—we have LESBIANS! Lesbians are cool!" I have nothing at all against homosexual overtones. "Rejoined," if you choose to call it a homosexual episode per se, was one of fourth season's highlights. And the Intendant's narcissism and lesbian overtones were particularly interesting in their subtle ways in previous mirror-universe shows, particularly "Crossover." Here? It's half-baked and trivialized, taking back seat to the cloaking device plot, as if we actually cared. What's worse is the pointless walk-on of mirror-Leeta at the end, which is played for a cheap laugh that seems to buy into the "lesbians for the sake of looking hip" mindset. Thanks, but I'll pass.

Another aspect of the story I found annoying was that all the villains are just so blatantly stupid. Once they get their hands on the cloaking device, what do they do? Prepare to execute the Ferengi! But, oops! They suddenly realize they can't install it without Rom's help, so the executions are delayed. Rom installs the cloaking device. What next? Prepare to execute the Ferengi! Do they suspect for a moment that Rom had the brains to sabotage the cloaking device? No, because that would require characters smarter than Rom. It's almost as if Behr and Beimler had an oversized, flashing red button on their word processor that randomly inserted [PREPARE TO EXECUTE FERENGI] into the script, and, dang it, the button was just so inviting, they couldn't help but push it a few times! Garak eventually goes to execute the Ferengi and ends up the victim of one of the most predictable and unsatisfying death scenes imaginable.

About all I can think to do here is gripe about how hollow, forced, and lifeless the characterizations were. That's a shame, because this universe has never been lifeless. Given that this was the final alternate-universe show, you'd think they'd find room for closure. They don't. All the potential was doomed from the moment the decision was made to center the plot around the Ferengi. Sisko should've been the catalyst for this story, not silly Ferengi hijinks. It's a cheat, and, frankly, I hope such cheats don't indicate a pattern for what lies ahead.

But even if I hadn't been expecting closure, this episode would still be a loser. There's not nearly enough thought invested in any aspect of the story for it to work on its own terms. Shallow is okay, but shallow still has to be done entertainingly, otherwise it's just a waste of time.

Next week: Homicide: Life on the Station.

Previous episode: Prodigal Daughter
Next episode: Field of Fire

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58 comments on this review

Ospero
Sat, Nov 3, 2007, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
This episode just triggered one reaction in me: "How could this go so utterly wrong?"

I like Ferengi episodes (kill me if you like) - they're not the cream of the crop exactly, but I don't expect anything but silliness when I tune into an episode with the inevitable "Profit" in its title. I also love the Mirror Universe. So what the heck went wrong here?

Sorry folks, but a worthy goodbye to DS9's Mirror Universe this wasn't. "Resurrection" at least had the merit that it was just bland and boring - this one is downright unwatchable. This looks as though it had been written by some kind of ScriptBot - and the cheap variety, too. Except for The Episode That Must Not Be Named (read my comment on the one before "Profit and Lace" for more on that), this is probably the worst episode of the series.

A clunker like that, and in the final season too. Nice work, guys. Not. Yuck.
Straha
Sat, Dec 20, 2008, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
It all depends on how high your expectations were. If you were hoping for a dramatic closure to the mirror universe arc with Sisko in it, then this episode is of course disappointing.
I however think it was a fun episode (quite good for a Ferengi outing too) which got more and more entertaining as it went. It also kinda served the goal to bring the mirror universe arc to an end.
So maybe this was not a great episode, but it was ok. I'd give it 2 1/2 stars.
Packa
Mon, Apr 13, 2009, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed it, But I enjoy Ferengi epps usually. The only unbelievable things I suppose is that what are the chances of A- Zek even being there. B- So many DS9 stars on the same battle cruiser.... Oh well, Just a show I suppose.
Jay
Sat, Aug 22, 2009, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
This could have been anotherwise 4 star outing, and iut would lose three starts just for the insult of making Vic Fontaine "real" for a cheap gag.
Will
Thu, Nov 5, 2009, 5:25am (UTC -5)
I like Ferengi episodes, and I like the Ferengi, they're hilarious, but this episode was let down considering that it's the last venture into the Mirror Universe
Jared
Sat, Jun 12, 2010, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
In Shattered Mirror, didn't Regent Worf's ship have a cloak?

Marco P.
Wed, Aug 25, 2010, 1:34am (UTC -5)
Agree with most of what Jammer said. It wasn't THAT bad for me, but a largely forgettable episode. I for one find the premise of an "alternate" universe rather unnecessary. A good gimmick for ONE episode, but as far as I'm concerned it outstayed its welcome immediately after.

And I also agree with Jay: the Vic Fontaine gag was quite lame.
Nic
Mon, Nov 15, 2010, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
What do you get when you combine the two things I hate about this series, that being the Mirror Universe and the Ferengi? The biggest LOSER since "Profit and Lace". PLUS Ezri/Kira is an insult to homosexuals and bisexuals everywhere.
Cloudane
Mon, Dec 6, 2010, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Don't think I'd even grace this with 1 star. I guess it wasn't completely offensive, but aside from Nicole deBoer making for brilliant eye candy I can't think of anything positive to say about this episode!

I have never particularly cared about the mirror universe (all my investment has gone into the "real" one) so that just leaves general entertainment and I'm afraid I was yawning through most of it (when not shaking my head at convenient coincidences like Mirror Ezri, Vic and the death of Mirror Jadzia). Dull, and a waste of precious time better spent wrapping up the series.

(Ideally they should've blown up Terok Nor, the Defiant and maybe set auto destruct on the Klingon ship. Give that silly mirror universe the send-off it deserves. No objection to the idea of leaving a Ferengi or 3 on board either!)
Carbetarian
Mon, Apr 25, 2011, 1:38am (UTC -5)
Honestly, for me, this episode is just as bad as (if not worse than) profit and lace. UGH... No stars!
InAUGral
Sat, Apr 30, 2011, 3:21am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode and nearly skipped it because you gave it one star, although i enjoyed it i did think hang on doesnt the mirror universe have cloaking devices already? like im sure it was mentioned in an episode a while back( maybe not DS9) that the federation had cloaks too after they aquired it during a TOS episode(S3E1-The Enterprise Incident),in the mirror universe they keep the device.
Fortyseven
Thu, Oct 27, 2011, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
I'm going back and checking out some of the episodes I skipped over (between Jammer's star rating and my eagerness to only watch plot-advancing episodes).

I expected bad. Had fun. I acknowledge (and damn) it's flaws, but it wasn't *quite* as awful as I'd anticipated.

Not even close to as bad as that Risan weather episode. Ungh. ;)
Jay
Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
I never did get why the Federation borrowed a Romulan cloaking device along with the strict conditions that came with it, when they could have borrowed a Klingon one with little to no strings attached. And now we discover that Klingon devices are smaller (the first contradiction to Riker's "you Klingons never do anything small" comment I've seen), yet another reason to use it on the cramped for space Defiant.
Mr X
Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Worst episode ever!
Justin
Wed, May 2, 2012, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
Now here's a perfect example of the writers automatically assuming that Ferengi = Funny. Although in this case it's an even worse assumption on the writers' part. They think that Ferengi + Mirror Universe + Lesbians = Everything the viewers want. I mean c'mon guys, like Jammer said: LESBIANS!!! Howard Stern fans take note!

Let's be honest here. The lesbian Kira, Ezri, and Leeta aren't there because it's "hip." That motivation would be bad enough in and of itself. No, they're there because it's HOT! Why else, but to to appeal to the stereotypical puerile, basement-dwelling, convention-attending demographic?
Nick
Fri, May 4, 2012, 7:58am (UTC -5)
@Jay They had to make a deal with the Romulans to use the cloak because of the treaty between the Federation and the Romulans that says the Federation can't use cloaking technology.
nuPike
Tue, May 8, 2012, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
How can this episode receive even one star? it's the worst episode of the series imo
Jay
Thu, Jun 7, 2012, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
@ Nick...the Treaty Of Algeron, I believe, involved forbidding the Federation fropm "developing" cloaking technology (my opinion of the ridiculousness of the Federation signing such a treaty is covered in the comments under "The Pegasus" (or perhaps "These Are The Voyages", I forget now)...not merely using it. The Klingon Empire loaning a cloaking device to a single Starfleet vessel is none of the Romulans' business.
Ryan
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
I would rate this episode with zero stars. It's the worst episode of the series in my opinion and terribly misplaced in the last season.
Jock Strapp
Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
1 star seems about right. For all the things this episode d wrong, it still provided some(not many) laughs therefore it wasn't a complete waste.
Arachnea
Sun, Dec 2, 2012, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
I have to say what's always bothered me is that in the whole Star Trek Franchise, we've never seen a true subtle man/man or woman/woman love relationship.

So, the writers insult the LGBT by authorizing pseudo-lesbianism in the mirror-universe. It rings like only an evil universe can have homosexuals... Moreover, the use of Quark to become a ridiculous female ferengi in the most mysoginistic episode of all time (profit and lace).

I never really cared for mirror universes, but this one is certainly the worst.
Aliem
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Rewatching this episode, and speaking as a queer woman, I'm not sure why Mirror Ezri and Mirror Kira getting together is somehow wrong but literally any other, more heterosexual, relationship isn't. The Intendant had a lot of sexual liaisons with men that were played to establish her character as wantonly sexual. None of those get nearly the same sort of fan backlash in the comments, well-intentioned or not.

So what if AltKira/AltEzri was played for titillation? AltKira/anyone played the same. Frankly, the only difference is that Nana Visitor and Nicole de Boer made a cute not-really-couple.
Will
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 10:52am (UTC -5)
One thing I didn't understand about this episode and a few of the other mirror universe episodes, is if it's so easy to travel between the universes for the alternate-characters (who seem to have a plethora of technology to due so), why don't we see a constant influx of rebel refugees?
The Sisko
Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
I think one star is just about right. Obviously this episode is completely silly, but I didn't think it was unwatchable at all. For whatever reason, there's still enough entertainment value in it for me to not feel like I've totally wasted my time - which would be the requirement for a zero star rating in my book. Even though the jokes were bad, the characterizations ridiculous - for some reason I was still mildly entertained. I guess it must have been Nicole DeBoer's outfit or something. Awww..... so cute.
The Sisko
Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Come to think of it, this episode might actually be a fully intended self-parody. The Vic Fontaine scene seems to be pretty clear evidence of that. I can't help but feel that at least some of the actors interpreted the script that way. It's either that, or it's the dumbest episode since "Let He Who Is Without Sin...".
T'Paul
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Interesting how Ezri just happens to appear at this point in the mirror universe...

I do enjoy Worf as Regent though, and I think he enjoys it too
Jay
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Indeed, T'Paul...the Jadzias must have died simultaneously...it's so conveeenient.
kkt
Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
I'm surprised James Darren agreed to be in this episode. Three lines and 25 seconds of screen time are not worth bringing in a special guest star.
Kotas
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 10:48am (UTC -5)

About the standard level of sillyness and entertainment that you'd expect for a Ferengi/mirrior universe episode.

5/10
K'Elvis
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
I just watched it last night, and I think they said that Ezri was not "Ezri Dax", in other words, she's either not a joined Trill, or is not joined to a symbiont other that Dax. This would have left things open to have brought back the alternate Jadzia Dax if they had wanted to do so.

I got very sick of Rom continually trying to figure out the mirror universe, he seems to think that everyone should be the exact opposite in all things of their regular universe counterparts. If that was the case, then because the characters in the regular universe are alive, the characters in the alternate universe should be dead. Even Rom should be able to figure this out: many things, but not all, are different.

If the Intendent had not escaped, the episode might have been a little bit better; with the capture Mirror Worf, Mirror Garak and Mirror Kira, the mirror universe arc could have been wrapped up. The rebels get a significant enough victory that the Alliance leaves them alone. Instead, the MU arc doesn't have an ending, it just - mercifully - stops.

The characters behavior is just... silly. They don't behave like alternate versions, they behave like a gross parody. It makes no sense for Worf to execute Quark and Rom. The two Ferengi delivered on their promise. No matter how evil you are, if you punish those who do what you want, you get a bad reputation, and no one will want to work with you. Also, since they have shown themselves to be useful, they might continue to be useful in the future. Quark and Rom could obtain things the Alliance needed. This brings us back to the premise: why kidnap Zek? It makes more sense to do business with him. Zek could deliver a whole lot more than a cloaking device.

And how does Quark get away with stealing a cloaking device from a Klingon ship? They could have just had Quark use his black market contacts to obtain a cloaking device, this would have avoided this awkward plot hole. It also seemed un-Ferengi to rescue Zek out of loyalty - where's the profit in that?
Paul
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
@K'Elvis: This episode just makes no sense at all, really.

First of all, we've seen Quark procure a cloaking device before, in the second season (I can't remember the episode name). Beyond that, his actions in this episode harken back to the first couple seasons when he'd flagrantly break the law and apparently pay no penalty.

Also, the mirror characters lose all of what made them interesting (or simply flat line). Regent Worf if particularly bad.

But the WORST part is that apparently nothing has happened since "Shattered Mirror". The cool part about the mirror universe in seasons 2-4 was that it was advancing, and every time we got an episode there, we found out what had been going on.

Clearly, the creators wanted another Quark episode and another mirror universe episode and mashed the two together for this unsightly mess. Yuck.
Dusty
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 6:41am (UTC -5)
Sorry, I don't get the hate. I had a ball with this one. Sure it doesn't make much sense, but neither does the idea of a mirror universe in the first place. It's just an excuse for the writers to play around with canon and say all bets are off. Brunt and Ezri were cool, and the latter seems incapable of complete evil, as even her mirror self is just a mercenary with a cute outfit and a grudging sense of morality.

This is all one-note silliness and the mirror universe is way too easy to get into, but it's a harmless diversion from the serious tone of the other episodes.
Ric
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
In what regards plot, this has to be one of the worst Trek episodes of all time. In what regards execution, well, not much better. Horrible television.

By the bad acting delivered here even by some who are usually interesting, one can almost bet that even the actors couldn't afford the script they were given.
Nick P.
Thu, May 15, 2014, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Yeah this is bad. I am a huge fan of the ferengi episodes, and I normally love the mirror universe episodes, but this one really made both look really bad. Although I wasn't too annoyed by the Rom universe non-sense, funny though, as soon as he did it the 3rd time, I knew this message board would hate it!

But Man, could we have 1 episode that doesn't focus on Ezri?
eastwest101
Mon, Jun 2, 2014, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Boy - Jammer and some people sure need to find a sense of humour! News flash - it was meant to be funny and irreverant! Like a Gazoo solo in the middle of an orchestral movement this was a little silly but it was also a whole lot of fun, I only groaned at a couple of Rom lines, but otherwise I enjoyed this derailed demented but entertaining and slightly bonkers mess a whole lot.

For people whom can deal with the fact that sci fi is allowed to be funny sometimes - I recommend this. 3.5 stars out of five for me.
Yanks
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Ezri dressed up like a whore.

Zek.

Mirror episode.

ZERO stars.
$G
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Terrible from beginning to end. Not a single redeemable moment. This doesn't have any of the charm previous MU episodes had. Everyone is just a colossal moron, especially Worf, and all for the sake of nothing. Jammer's right - it wasn't even Zek who ruined this one this time.

Garak's death was absolutely the laziest kill I've ever seen on this show. He might as well have been hyposprayed. Not that I want to see someone's insides melt, but they already established how painful it would have been. Just... why to any of it?

An absolute waste of an hour. Zero stars. The only solace from this one is that it has no consequences or worthwhile character moments whatsoever so it's totally skippable. You won't even need to hit up a wiki (unless you need to know about Julian and Ezri holding hands).
Yanks
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
^^^ EXACTLY!!!
Nick
Thu, Nov 6, 2014, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Alternate Ezri's costume was svelte and HOT. Lesbianism was indeed used as a circus gimmick to bring in the horny 16 year olds. - Indeed, were I to have seen this episode during its first run, I admit, I'd have been gawking. But did they have to be so crude about it I wonder?

Grand Negas was double plus annoying - near unwatchable. 'Angry' Worf was a caricature of his inner self. The Ferengi shenanigans gave me pause to consider just how this supposedly financially savvy species managed to create a galaxy spanning financial empire.

One half of one star - for Ezri's costume. ;)
Moegreen
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 4:03am (UTC -5)
Lazy episode.

I appreciate the mime-acting but the concept was stupid. A ship-specific cloaking device wouldn't cloak itself. It cloaks the ship's hull, not everything within it, including itself. That would be something like Pressman's Phasing Cloak.
Moegreen
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 4:04am (UTC -5)
...And they wouldn't be able to pick up a Phasing Cloak.
Del_Duio
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 7:48am (UTC -5)
There were really only a couple of mirror episodes that I really liked, and this was just plain terrible I'm afraid. If they were ever planning on making another crossover after this no doubt the fan backlash would have stopped that cold.
Darknet
Sat, Jun 27, 2015, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Was I the only one who like the mirror version of Ezri? She's just so much more interesting as a bad girl/lesbian.
Aine
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 11:00am (UTC -5)
I don't get how in the same review you can say that you appreciated AltKira's outfit, but had a problem with the lesbianism since it was so obviously meant as a cheap way to get ratings up etc.

This ALWAYS comes up whenever there is any portrayal of same-sex ANYTHING. Afer the Rejoined episode, we had a TON of really awkward Worf/Dax (including some horribly sexist stuff), we've seen workplace sexual harassment endorsed, we've seen TONS of heterosexual 'cheap' scenes.

I can't even express what it's like to watch episode after episode with heterosexual characters almost every single time, till even my pretty tuned-in radar only slightly beeped when the 'I'm not her type' conversation happened - because frankly, I had given up on seeing ANY LGBT representation on here.

If the problem is that it caters to horny 16-year olds, do remember that most of the romance scenes do precisely that. The difference with the few seconds of having on-screen same-sex romance of any kind is that it happens to cater to a large number of people who almost NEVER see any of that.

I certainly don't have any standards or expectations of some great relationship portrayal out there - this is to the comment that it's an insult to lesbians and bisexuals. No, it's not. It's great to have ANY representation, and the fact that it was not the main focus of the story, slipped in as something as normal as Quark appreciating Ezri in the opening scene - THAT was refreshing.

I hope at least some people get this point. Every single episode you have some kind of heterosexual interaction that is often WAY more than what was shown between women in this episode. Before jumping on pulling that stuff down, do consider what that means. Imagine you had EVERY episode with that, and 2 episodes in 7 seasons showing ANY scenes with an opposite-sex pairing of ANY intensity/depth.

And then all the gay people saying, oh but that's insulting to straight people. Or that's just thrown in for the ratings. Heh.
Robert
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 11:22am (UTC -5)
@Aine - I'll start by saying I'm straight, so if I think something is insulting to gay people I may be wrong.

Also, I do understand what you're saying. It's great to have any representation out there. I grew up thinking it was ok to be gay because I watched 2 men get married on Roseanne. That's powerful stuff right there. Watching something on TV normalizes it. It really does.

That said... I loved Rejoined because it DIDN'T seem like a rating grab. I mean... I'm sure the trailer made it look that way, but the trailers often made heterosexual things seem like ratings grabs too (see Seven of Nine). But the Rejoined STORY just was so un-sensational, and completely normalizing (nobody even mentions the same sex attraction being an issue... and likewise the Risa episode has Worf jealous of a woman... I'd say Jadzia is canonically bi-sexual).

But this episode. It just felt like... the mirror versions of all the characters are more twisted/amoral than our regulars. So the twister/amoral guys get to be gay. Yay? I just don't know if that's something to celebrate. I appreciate the gay friendly tone of a lot of Trek, especially the "under the radar-blink and you'll miss it stuff" like Whoopi's "when 2 PEOPLE love each other", the non-issue made of the SSA with Khan/Dax and even mention of somebody's co-husband at some point. The show just glosses over it like the non-issue it should be in the future.

This just felt like a step backwards. And a step backward done for ratings. I didn't care for it... but that's just my 2 cents.
Cloudane
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
I was looking out for LGBT in Trek and never saw any except, as you say Robert, in "kind of evil/sketchy parallel universe"... Or "sort of hinted at or taken that way by viewers" (Guinan's wording), "indirectly alluded to due to biological circumstances" (the androgynous species and Riker, Dax and her previous host's partner, the sort of sexual undertones of changelings merging and I think at one point Odo merged with another guy etc) and other such methods. And I think an off screen reference, perhaps it was that "co-husband" bit. I never noticed it happening directly and in the main universe.

Makes sense in a way for it to be glossed over as a non issue, but if so it's amazingly subtle compared to the hetero stuff. Or in the TOS era, they'd have just directly placed a gay person on the bridge (which had its share of skirt chasers at times) had it been on their radar at the time. Perhaps they just weren't feeling quite as bold and as willing to fight conservative TV networks by the TNG era onwards
Ben
Sun, Nov 1, 2015, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
@Aine: good point. Now that I think about it, was there any gay relationship, in any of the shows, that lasted longer than an episode.
More LGBT would have been nice although thinking about sex change Quark really makes me cringe (Men wearing female clothing acting super girly is like black face in my opinion but I admit that I have a very special view on that topic)
Nevertheles, what I liked about trek was that changing your body or being with the same sex is mostly treated as something normal.
Nathan B.
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
I've hated every mirror episode universe I've seen...and this one was no exception. That said, at least it had some humour, and at least it leaves the Terrans better off.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
I think this is a good show, but you really have to enjoy the Ferengi for it to work.

So, Grand Negas Zek is involved in yet another zany scheme messing with supernatural powers (see also "Prophet Motive"). Unlike "The Magnificent Ferengi", we're given a reluctant Quark who is half-motivated by his desire to be with Ezri. Some of the best scenes come from the Mirror Universe being completely genre-blind and playing into Ferengi tricks. It might make you wonder how much different Ferengi are in the mirror universe, since people in that universe continually underestimate them.

Now, there are some really silly bits to this episode. Ezri's randomly a lesbian (or bi-sexual, who knows), Zek is flirting with random women when at this point in his characterization he really shouldn't be, and Rom rambles too much about things we already observed in previous "Mirror" installments.

But there's also a lot going on, and it's fun to revisit the Terrans as they seem to have successfully beaten back The Alliance. I would consider this a better bottle episode than the finale to end all Mirror episodes, and judged and that light it's a fun romp with characters and conflicts that are otherwise missing from season 7.
Jack
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Quark: "You're not my Dax, you're from over there"
Ezri:"You're catching on."

Sure seems like the Mirror Ezri is not just Ezri but also Dax, so Jadzia seems to have died in both universes pretty much simultaneously. As someone mentioned above, rather convenient.
Robert
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
@Jack - It is established that mirror Jadzia died (which sucks because Terry's "return" would have improved this travesty of an episode).

That said no line of dialogue (yours included) has me convinced that EITHER of them were joined to mirror Dax. Anyone else want to weigh in?
Chrome
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Sure, Robert.

Act 1 Scene 2:

"QUARK: Good, because I'd rather talk about us. Dax, Dax, you're the most fascinating woman I've ever met. I love you. There. I said it!
EZRI: My name's not Dax."

This Ezri isn't Dax. She's still a trill, just an unjoined trill.
Robert
Tue, Jan 5, 2016, 9:41am (UTC -5)
@Chrome - Excellent point, I was pretty sure I remembered that she wasn't joined. What about Jadzia, anybody get the impression that she was joined? I did not.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Because a Ferengi/Mirror Universe mash-up will take the best of both worlds and deliver a full and satisfying conclusion in the final series, right? Um... no.

Possibly the most self-aware moment in the whole series comes when Rom is trying to reason his way through how the Mirror Universe works - by this point in time, it just doesn't. How else do you explain how Vic frickin' Fontaine turns up? I was a big fan of the earlier MU episodes, and some of the Ferengi episodes have been great, but this is just a mess.

I will just say that I will applaud forever the choice of whoever came up with Leather Ezri, however. "Call me Shmun" indeed. 1.5 stars.
William B
Sun, Apr 3, 2016, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
So, what's annoying about the MU by this point is that virtually every character is 1 dimensional. They really have only one mode, and their behaviour is dictated by that mode in every situation, with little ability to make other choices. The same can be said of Zek (and Rom, often) in Ferengi episodes. It is a shame when you have performers as talented as Andrew Robinson and Wallace Shawn and only have them rarely and then *this* is the role you get them to play. Worf is angry, Kira is seductive and narcissistic, Garak is sniveling and wants revenge, Bashir is thuggish. Brunt manages to have two-dimensions, in that he is really nice, but he also likes Ezri, which provides enough room for at some point his character's choices to change when the Ezri-liking is no longer enough to bear the horrors around him, and so he promptly gets killed. Quark is ostensibly the episode's protagonist, but he does not really do very much of anything; about the only play he actually makes is to tell Garak that he's not as cool as our universe's Garak, which, yes. Rom sabotages, so he makes his own choice, I guess, though it hardly makes up for scene after scene of Rom misunderstanding what the world "alternate" means. My girlfriend laughed a lot at the beginning of that dubious subplot though, and I admit that it is a pretty good/weird line:

QUARK: I can't believe it. Julian just shot Vic Fontaine.
ROM: I thought Vic was his favourite singer. No wonder they call it the alternate universe.

That line is kind of delightfully loopy and nonsensical: as if Vic being Julian's favourite singer is the most relevant bit of data on evaluating whether or not Julian would shoot the guy, and, of course, as if "alternate" automatically means that everything in the universe will be "alternate." It is kind of funny to presume that the opposite of Vic being Julian's favourite singer is for Julian to kill Vic. I mean, funny once, for one line, not for a whole episode.

The cloaking plot really goes nowhere slowly, except that it leads to the Regent et al. being captured and Garak dying, which I guess is a major Terran victory, but wow does it just make the Regent and Garak et al. look stupid. So mostly the two stories that actually carry through are emotional subplots. The main one is Mirror-Ezri's, who has the main arc in this episode, the Han Solo renegade decides she has a heart, which in her case also means that she's a renegade who realizes that she has a conscience and so won't carry out the Intendant's evil schemes no matter how much she seduces her. This actually means Mirror Ezri also has the same arc as Mirror Bareil in "Resurrection." It is disinterestedly told, with no indication of why Ezri has the set of values she does or how she survived being a solo renegade when the galaxy seems to have picked sides pretty ferociously, etc. It is also really a major indicator of what has been wrong with all the MU episodes post-"Crossover," though it is obviously at its worst here. In "Crossover," there was some novelty in some of the alternate characters who didn't get much to do (especially Odo), but mostly what worked was that the key players in the MU -- Kira, Sisko, O'Brien, to some extent Garak -- made choices, had feelings (multiple -- not just one feeling repeated over and over again), had worldviews that could change as the episode went on. Since then, with each episode the focus seems to have narrowed; in "TTLG" and "Shattered Mirror" it's *mostly* Jennifer who is allowed the possibility of changing sides, with most of the other characters settling into familiar routines, and then in "Resurrection" Bareil is the main focus with the Intendant as background. Here it really is *just* Ezri who makes a choice, which, really, is the same choice that was made before by Bareil, and to a lesser extent by Jennifer, and by Sisko and Smiley in "Crossover." The MU episodes basically just tell the same story, over and over again, of someone caught between possible lives and deciding they have a conscience. And that would be fine, sort of, if there were other stories as well. "TTLG" and "SM" imperfectly put the emphasis on Sisko, and "Resurrection" kind of put some focus on our Kira, but this one *mostly* jettisons arcs for any characters other than Ezri (and, I guess, Brunt, who is mostly a tool to further her arc). It's particularly annoying in a season that has spontaneously decided to give Ezri all the stories for a few weeks. While Quark has more screen time, he is *mostly* static which means that this is one of three consecutive episodes in which Ezri is the main mover and shaker of the plot, although of course in "Prodigal Daughter," with its shoestring plot, that didn't mean that much moving and shaking.

The other story here is: will Quark get to date Ezri? This universe's Ezri is into Bashir. What about the MU one? And the answer is no. Glad we have that settled. I guess having Brunt there as an honourable Just Friends guy who is willing to stand up for what is right after being led astray by his powerful love for Ezri maybe has some Quark significance. Or not.

The other running element here is Rom's commentary on the alternate universe, which, as I said above, is very annoying, but in particular it also shows the writers really running out of anything to say about the MU besides, hey, isn't it crazy how some things are opposite but others aren't? It's Rom doing meta-commentary but pretty dull, uninspired, and annoying meta-commentary, which it seems is all there is left in this series of MU episodes.

Anyway, yeah, this episode is very bad for many reasons mentioned above, and the only thing I find worth talking about is larger patterns and themes in the series, and in the MU episodes in particular.
William B
Sun, Apr 3, 2016, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Oh yeah, 0.5 stars.
Chrome
Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
@William B.

Good analysis. I still believe this show is better viewed as a "Ferengi Show" than as a "Mirror Show", because, like you said, all the non-Ferengi characters are incredibly one-dimensional this time around.

As for broad messages from this episode? Don't underestimate Quark, I suppose. It also gives us a chance to see how Quark and Rom have grown over seasons. Yet Rom ends up detracting from the episode with his meta-criticism that adding to it.
William B
Tue, Apr 5, 2016, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, thanks. I like the idea of the ep showing how Quark and Rom have grown. It adds a kick to Quark saying he's rescuing the Nagus out of loyalty rather than for a reward... Though he also says it's just what one does, as if he were operating under an unchanging code he doesn't understand. Hm.

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