Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"Mirror, Mirror"

****

Air date: 10/6/1967
Written by Jerome Bixby
Directed by Marc Daniels

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The embodiment of straightforward, downright entertaining TOS is supplied in "Mirror, Mirror," a high-concept outing in which Kirk, Bones, Scotty, and Uhura are beamed into a parallel universe where Starfleet is a barbaric organization in which murder is a common way of advancing in the ranks.

The mirror versions of the Enterprise characters are delightfully devious, especially a seriously deceitful Sulu. But what most shines in this episode is the brilliant way it envisions the mirror version of Spock. Aside from looking ultra-cool with a goatee, mirror-Spock's temperament is very much like that of the regular Spock. The way his intelligence and logic allow him to bring a calculated approach to volatile situations makes him every bit as fearsome as any other Starfleet barbarian ... yet he's a man who can be reasoned with when the situation warrants it.

Meanwhile, Kirk's approach to his end of the situation shows his ability to venture forward with prudent caution and a clever choice of words—although he gets to work his usual charms on the "captain's woman," Lt. Marlena Moreau (Barbara Luna). The ending highlights Kirk's adamant nature in trying to set things right by human standards—even when he's not in his own universe! Add that to a show where Scotty and Uhura are also effectively used, and you've got a classic.

Previous episode: The Changeling
Next episode: The Apple

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12 comments on this review

Strider - Fri, Jun 1, 2012 - 1:10am (USA Central)
I agree; as often happens, it's Spock who makes the episode. And I liked a Spock with a bit of an edge on him--something we only get to see rare glimpses of in TOS. He's completely bad-ass in his very calm, sensible way.
Todd - Wed, Jun 6, 2012 - 9:29pm (USA Central)
Overall great story (in unfair retrospect would have benefited from some more extreme set redressing to make the ISS Enterprise look more different from its counterpart...what are the odds two such wildly different societies would create almost identical ships, down to the control panels, signage and crews). Also, Kirk goes on a sensitive diplomatic mission and takes his doctor (in case he gets heartburn from the Halkans stubbornness); his ship's engineer (in case something needs fixing) and his comm officer (I guess to serve as a court reporter, taking notes). I guess the Federation couldn't afford diplomats...could you imagine the captain of a US battleship negotiating peace treaties with the Russians?
Todd - Mon, Jul 9, 2012 - 10:17pm (USA Central)
This was first episode I caught on TV as a kid...I thought this was the show. About a ship where the captain had to constantly keep from being killed and the Asian character was the villain (as in all the Japanese monster movies I was also watching at the same time). The next ep. I watched of course had Sulu and Kirk working together. I decided at the time the show made no sense and didn't watch again for two years.
Paul - Mon, Mar 4, 2013 - 4:12pm (USA Central)
Probably my favorite episode of TOS, though "Space Seed" and "The Enterprise Incident" are great, too. I always thought "City on the Edge of Forever" was overrated (though quite good).

Really, the only thing about this episode that doesn't work stems around the transport in and out of the universe. Why do all the characters exchange clothes? How is it that the parallel versions of Kirk et. al get back to their universe?

It also is strange that McCoy, Scotty and Uhura make up the landing party. Maybe Sootty makes sense -- could he have been checking out the dilithium cyrstals? -- but McCoy and Uhura are really out of place. Chekov or Sulu would have been more logical, though mirror Sulu is fun to watch.
mike - Thu, May 2, 2013 - 6:43am (USA Central)
in the mirror universe Sulu is straight. well, what do ya know.
Cureboy - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 9:32pm (USA Central)
This is a classic episode. But the ending I don't quite understand. Wouldn't the evil Kirk, Scotty, Bones and Uhura have to be in the transporter room of the "real" Enterprise at the same time their counterparts were being beamed from the mirror Enterprise?
mike - Fri, Feb 28, 2014 - 8:39pm (USA Central)
Mirror, Mirror excels on so many levels. It so effectively uses each character it's almost like an ensemble of equals in a smart nicely paced adventure. Uhura FINALLY gets something to do and she gets bad-ASS. Scotty is brilliant, McCoy is the compassionate ethicist. Spock's resolute logic is used to rationalize evil empire dogma. and Sulu is straight!? Wow, how can you go wrong? It builds to a truly exciting and satisfying ending.
redshirt28 - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 - 7:18am (USA Central)
Just got on this site this week n read many reviews n posts. One thing I notice about some people is they need every detail n blank filled in . I guess its good to ask questions, it makes good conversation, but sometimes ya need to do it for yourself. The writers left a lot out in TOS, if they did it under time constraint or deadline its understandable. If they did it to allow the audience a chance to think it thru 4 themselves, then those writers are geniuses.

Heres my take on mirrorx2;
Everything that happens there happens here. Enterprise goes to same places with same crew, different mission and different attitude but same outcome. Everyone who dies there dies here, just differently.

case in point; where no man has gone before... we know what happened here, but over in that universe there was a love triangle. Kirk n sally kellerman (kel) were getting it on way back when,.. remember that blond gary said he fixed kirk up with in academy? Yup thats kel.(dr dehner) Kirk almost married her but he didnt, she secretly resented his spurning. She knew gary from way back n they both had the commonality of being espers. Notice how she showed up on bridge just b4 hitting that electrical nebula? With kirk as capt n guess who as navigator? Gary. Yup the same guy that flew them to the place where only two espers would know to get godlike powers. Strange there were 7 other espers on the ship but they all died in the nebula storm. Coincidence? Nope. It was a setup by gary. Ni

just a reminder, were in the alternate universe here. Gary allows himself to get taken to planet vega#? He strangles kirks henchman kelso, unsuccessfuly elecrocutes kirk n spock, then bags ass. Notice how gary was 3d in command? Takes out 2 top dogs at same time? Kirk catches him but kel remembers love 4 kirk and zaps gary instead. Kirk kills kel cuz he loves power n green women.
redshirt28 - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 - 8:30am (USA Central)
Need another example?
Here pike burns in training accident, there kirk tries to torch pike, doesnt kill him but goal is achieved. Meanwhile spock whacks #1 chapels sister and moves up to 2d in command. See how this works?

now I am going to prove my theory once n4 all;
Notice how so many redshirts die on away missions while main cast always lives? Biggest cliche huh?
Check this out...

in any drug gang, who dies, the top dog or his street dealers?
In the military who dies, the generals or the foot soldiers?
In a jihad, who dies, the mastermind or the volunteer suicide bomber?

Like I said; whatever happens in that universe happens here. Theirs die defending tyranny, ours die on away missions. Either universe views their deaths as valiant, yet serving the mission.

redshirt28 - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 - 9:08am (USA Central)
Now lets get back to mirrorx2;
Our kirk is kind and benevolent towards a race that refuses to give starfleet (it wasnt a peace mission) a resource they needed from the hulkans.

the other universe needed same,.. that kirk was willing to deal at first but in the end would use military technology and might to take it.

the two main antagonists in the absence of bad kirk was a very bad asian and Russian, this was 1966 people. A bit of expose' ?

Now lets down to nitty grit;

An imperial fleet that takes what it wants thru military might, leaders who employ bodyguards, use of torture, backstabbing, subterfuge, even goatees,..

the million dollar question is this;...

Which one of these universes really is ours?
redshirt28 - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 - 9:19am (USA Central)
Given everything I have seen and learned about us and the leaders we have always chosen, I know where I stand. Look at our world today.

btw this is a 4 star episode. :)
William - Mon, Sep 8, 2014 - 11:59pm (USA Central)
Love this episode for a lot of reasons, and the biggest one is what Mike mentioned: FINALLY, Sulu and Uhura and Chekov get some meaty lines.

When they saw how well that worked, I don't know why the writers didn't throw those three (and the audience) a few more bones.

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