Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Emperor's New Cloak"

1 star

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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107 comments on this post

Sat, Nov 3, 2007, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
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.
Sat, Dec 20, 2008, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Apr 13, 2009, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
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.
Sat, Aug 22, 2009, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
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.
Thu, Nov 5, 2009, 5:25am (UTC -6)
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
Sat, Jun 12, 2010, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
In Shattered Mirror, didn't Regent Worf's ship have a cloak?
Marco P.
Wed, Aug 25, 2010, 1:34am (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Nov 15, 2010, 10:27pm (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Dec 6, 2010, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
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!)
Mon, Apr 25, 2011, 1:38am (UTC -6)
Honestly, for me, this episode is just as bad as (if not worse than) profit and lace. UGH... No stars!
Sat, Apr 30, 2011, 3:21am (UTC -6)
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.
Thu, Oct 27, 2011, 6:54pm (UTC -6)
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. ;)
Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
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 -6)
Worst episode ever!
Wed, May 2, 2012, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
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?
Fri, May 4, 2012, 7:58am (UTC -6)
@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.
Tue, May 8, 2012, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
How can this episode receive even one star? it's the worst episode of the series imo
Thu, Jun 7, 2012, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
@ 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.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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.
Sun, Dec 2, 2012, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
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.
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 10:01am (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 10:52am (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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...".
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 8:45am (UTC -6)
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
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
Indeed, T'Paul...the Jadzias must have died's so conveeenient.
Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 6:18pm (UTC -6)
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.
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 10:48am (UTC -6)
About the standard level of sillyness and entertainment that you'd expect for a Ferengi/mirrior universe episode.

Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
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?
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
@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.
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 6:41am (UTC -6)
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.
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 11:06pm (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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?
Mon, Jun 2, 2014, 5:09pm (UTC -6)
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.
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
Ezri dressed up like a whore.


Mirror episode.

ZERO stars.
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
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).
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
^^^ EXACTLY!!!
Thu, Nov 6, 2014, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
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. ;)
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 4:03am (UTC -6)
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.
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 4:04am (UTC -6)
...And they wouldn't be able to pick up a Phasing Cloak.
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 7:48am (UTC -6)
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.
Sat, Jun 27, 2015, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
Was I the only one who like the mirror version of Ezri? She's just so much more interesting as a bad girl/lesbian.
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 11:00am (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 11:22am (UTC -6)
@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.
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
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
Sun, Nov 1, 2015, 4:07pm (UTC -6)
@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 -6)
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.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
@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?
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 9:50pm (UTC -6)
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.
Tue, Jan 5, 2016, 9:41am (UTC -6)
@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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
Oh yeah, 0.5 stars.
Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 1:29pm (UTC -6)
@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 -6)
@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.
Peter G.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 2:12am (UTC -6)
"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?"

I believe the producers mentioned at some point that the alternate universe characters are exactly the same people with the same character but with different backgrounds. I only mention this to point out *just how* useless Rom's musings are. There is nothing to figure out; it's the same people but with different experiences thus they came out differently. If alt/Kira has lesbian tendencies then so does Kira, and if she's obsessed with how others see her then we may suspect that Kira has a bit of this too (as well as the fiery moods). Right from the start I was seeing the alt crew as being basically the same dudes but put through bad times and not trusting. Smiley came out more or less the same because he was a bit privileged as a tinkerer on Terok Nor. I always saw the alt universe as an opportunity to learn about the real counterparts, such as the fact that Sisko can really be a savage when he's not controlling himself, and that Julian can be very brash and keep his own counsel about things.

All this to say - the commentary about "alternate" was ridiculous beyond even the obvious reason of it being written poorly.
William B
Thu, May 12, 2016, 10:35am (UTC -6)
@Peter G., right. Another example is the way Worf and Garak are purely villainous and apparently much dumber because they seemingly had entirely privileged lives with no periods of exile; I wonder if Worf got the Regent gig based on noble blood alone. How different life circumstances would lead Vic to be a person instead of a hologram is anyone's guess.
Peter G.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
@ William B, I think Garak has in both universes the trait of wanting to please his mentors/superiors. In the prime universe this benefited him in a bizarre way because Tain would never allow him to feel that he'd succeeded and so he had to try ever harder to measure up; to be even cleverer than Tain. Alternate Garak may well have tried to suck up early on and been given pats on the back for it, allowing him to become complacent. I also like the hint in alternate Garak that prime Garak has in him the capacity for sadistic pleasure, and that something in Garak's past may have tempered this. We know he did revel in interrogation, but it must not have been whole-hearted since he did do something to be exiled. (I don't accept the explanation given by Robinson's novel about Garak)


My best guess is that the presence of Mila in Garak's life gave him a role model to balance out the influence Tain had on him. Maybe without her Garak really would have turned out to be a pure sadist.

As for Worf...yeah, I just don't like his alternate self very much. He's a comic character, which is ok, but as a study of Worf he doesn't offer much other than the fact we already know that the most important formative thing about Worf was being brought up by Humans. He does tend to verge towards simplistic ways of viewing things, and I guess a simplistic way of viewing royal station would be to...act like a tyrant? I guess.
William B
Thu, May 12, 2016, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G., I agree about Garak. I was thinking about this because I was going to (at some point) write about "When It Rains" and "Tacking Into the Wind" (I haven't rewatched "Extreme Measures" on yet). To some degree, there are two "ideal" Cardassias for Garak, which are represented by Tain and Mila, but what's interesting is that despite his obfuscation, in the first couple years Garak mostly is still trying to impress Tain, even if Tain is absent. We see indications that he is maybe sympathetic to Bajorans and dissidents, but he usually covers these up and bolsters the Cardassian state. His distaste for Dukat is not expressed morally but in terms that reflect the Obsidian Order/military divide, where Dukat preens and acts in his own self-interest and is a blunt instrument, rather than the subtlety with which the O.O. operates. I suspect that Garak's ability to function in exile is partly because he *always* had to subsume his own desires in order to be constantly trying to impress Tain while simultaneously knowing that he never can -- the "deep undercover" recognition that he can never acknowledge that he's Tain's son, that his services to Cardassia can and never will be rewarded, along with the recognition on some level that Tain/authoritarian Cardassia is actually kind of monstrous. I suspect that Garak became so good at interrogations partly because he started empathizing with his enemies, and some of that was sadism (or paying forward the treatment Tain put on him), but I think eventually it became something else. I think that it's only after Tain's death (and Garak's forcing Tain to acknowledge him) that Garak can start being a little more open -- he stops pretending he wasn't part of the Obsidian Order, but he also acknowledges working against Tain's Cardassia's interests in an effort to protect Mila's Cardassia (though he still does not frame it in those terms, exactly). It's really funny that Garak, in "Tacking," actually asks Odo, "Why the pretense?" and means it.

Which, sorry, I don't think I have sorted out what I want to say exactly. But I suspect that what made our Garak is that Tain withheld his love and forced him to jump through hoops for him, but Mila loved him (and later so did Bashir and others on DS9), which on a long enough time scale allowed Garak to hope there was a better way than the one Tain taught him. His being a spy forced him into the position of thinking like others, and his being a spy *and* an illegitimate child and finally someone in exile taught him how to live as both powerful and powerless, and to empathize with the powerless, first as a tactic and eventually as a survival skill. I agree that mirror Garak seems to have the same need to please his superiors, but a lot less subtlety in it; in this episode, we see his insecurity burst forth when he is told he can't hold a candle to our Garak. So I tend to agree he probably still has Tain's Cardassia as a value system, without much of Mila's Cardassia giving him the internal strength to weather a significant loss of status except through more sadism. So he was still, I think, raised in a system that only values the strong (and approval of one's "superiors"), but got more "approval" and less love.

Yeah, I mean, I think Worf is meant to be something like a TOS-style Klingon version of Worf, with Worf's tendency toward melodrama, flashes of anger, and somewhat royal sense of entitlement, without the various things that keep those in check in our Worf. In season four, Worf's decision to break with the Empire is a moral decision but it also demonstrates his willingness to basically decide that he himself can make that magnitude of decision, and some of that maybe comes from his sense of entitlement as being of noble blood and the head of a prestigious house (along those lines, his not bothering to think of how this would affect Kurn is there too). But yeah, it's kind of thin.
Peter G.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
@ William B, well-put about the two different Cardassias that Garak was loyal to. I always saw him as a 'true Cardassian' patriot, but a nice way to look at it is that he's not quite sure which Cardassia it is he's patriotic towards. I always enjoy rewatching his conversation with the younger Julian about The Never-Ending Sacrifice, and how it's the pinnacle of Cardassian literature. I always felt that Garak can't be understood unless one realizes that he meant what he said wholeheartedly.
Fri, May 13, 2016, 11:12am (UTC -6)
More great comments - one of the things Trek does best, in the form of characters like Worf, Nog and Garak, is explore what it means to negotiate life between two cultures, something a lot of people can relate to. (This obviously overlaps with the classic "outsider" characters like Spock, Data, Odo and the Doc.) I think this is a big part of what makes Star Trek what it is, the fact it explores society and culture from within and without, and how it's not always easy to navigate and negotiate things when you're (for instance) a Klingon who's grown up among humans, a Cardassian exiled from your people, or a young Ferengi becoming alienated from your own culture after living with and befriending people from other races and seeing how they do things differently. I think Worf's arc is one of 90s Trek's biggest achievements, and Nog's arc one of DS9's biggest achievements. The writers allowed Nog to grow and develop so much, allowed him to make mistakes and experience trauma but always ultimately pick himself back up again and come through the other side thanks to his own conviction and determination as well as the friendship, help and love of those around him. And at the end of the day he was still able to enjoy a good relationship with his father and uncle (who took pride in him) and be accepted and valued by his Starfleet colleagues without rejecting his own heritage or being uncomfortably caught between two worlds. He's a great role model, and Aron Eisenberg a great actor.
dave johnson
Sun, Nov 13, 2016, 3:00am (UTC -6)
Even when this episode first came out so long ago.. the best part was knowing Leeta and Ezri get it on.

Watching it now, I still feel that is the best part.
Sun, Jan 15, 2017, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
The Mirror Universe got a cloak waaaaayyyyyy "back" in ENT's "In A Mirror Darkly".
William H
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
The Intendant is such a crappy character by this point. I mean, I'm not a big fan of hers in her original appearance but there's at least some sort of sense of an actual character. Here she's just a crappy trope personified.

Without her, this would be a pretty OK episode in a switch your brain off kind of way. As long as this didn't result in more of Zek, anyway.
Thu, Feb 16, 2017, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Bashir-Ezri romance in the very beginning is your emblematic plot device. Out of nowhere, they are flirting, and leaving the table holding hands (according to Odo who has no reason to lie obviously, so it must be true).. The romance feels rushed, artificial.

Disappointing that it's Ira Behr and Hans Beimler who wrote this episode.

Kira asking Ezri if she would ever betray her and then hugging her and saying "Oh... oh, oh, oh" was a low point for both actresses.

Another accurate review by Jammer..
Paul Allen
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 6:55am (UTC -6)
Not a great episode.

Leeta and Ezri's "debriefing" conversation was unashamedly played for cheap titillation. And I appreciated it. :)
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
1 star - given everything apparently going on in this episode, it's really boring and joyless. Rom provides what little value there is (plus Michael Dorn), not even Quark gets much chance to be typically funny or clever.
Sun, Jun 25, 2017, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
I think people here have a sense of humour bypass.

It's Ferengi silliness, it's Mirror Universe silliness, cast get to have fun in different characters.

It's not a work of art, it's not high drama. It's just a bit of fun.

2 stars, pushing 3. For me, because it's watchable and fun.
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
I would have liked Rom's musings on the mirror universe if they had lasted for no more than one minute. Then they would have been a funny breaking of the 4th wall instead of just Rom being stupid.

Yup, you knew that Ezri would be evil the second she showed up wearing a lot of eye shadow, because only bad girls wear make up.
Peter Swinkels
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
To me this episode isn't nearly as bad as the review makes it out to be. I saw it years ago and thought it was entertaining. Just saw it again and still feel the same way. And yes, the story probably has a few holes and some things could have been done better. Not the best or most intelligent episode but not awful. At least to me. I would probably give this two stars instead of one.
Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 10:45am (UTC -6)
Mister Experientiality here...

I literally, honestly, and thankfully FELL ASLEEP during this episode. Enough said.
I got about as far as the demand for a cloaking device.

(Yawn) Nodding off just typing about this o...n...e....

Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
3 stars. I loved it. I thought it was fun and a decent wrap up for the mirror universe
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 2:43pm (UTC -6)
If this was just another mirror episode, I would propably like it fine, but as the finale for the whole thing? Meh. I did enjoy it more than Ressurection, which I found predictable and boring. This is just predictable. I don't think it's TERRIBLE, but it only really works if you look at it as a comedy-and it's still not a great one at that.
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Oh yeah, I do give one point for Ezri and Leeta ending. Say what you want about DS9, it's the least heteronormative of all Trek till then as remained until Discovery.
Daniel B
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 3:34am (UTC -6)
IMO, they should just never have tried to make DS9 sequels to Mirror Mirror at all, ever.

{ Say what you want about DS9, it's the least heteronormative of all Trek }

1. The episode Rejoined
2. In the alternate universe, evil woman = lesbian or bisexual

So ... I guess?
Sun, Apr 22, 2018, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
Why does the Mirror Universe even have Ezri? So whenever someone new appears on DS9 in "our" world, their alternate "has to" be there in the alt-verse?

And Vic Fontaine is suddenly a real person. Whatever.

Ferengi + Mirror mashup. Ugh, no.
Sun, Jun 3, 2018, 2:20am (UTC -6)
Not the best episode, but I'd still give it two stars. I liked the dynamic between Brunt and the Ferengi in the mirror universe. Also, Fontaine appearind in those clownish clothes made me laugh.
Sun, Sep 9, 2018, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
As much as I love and appreciate Jammer's site, there are quite a few times when we have very different opinions. This is one of those times. This is the first DS9 Ferengi episode that I've actually really liked a lot. I liked the heist episode on TNG, and I thought this was just a blast. I didn't take it seriously and just sat back and enjoyed it. It's so far-fetched as to not even be thought of in terms of the actual story arc. There are a few episodes equally as far-fetched - and I've enjoyed them immensely for the element of humor. I expect that episodes like this were being filmed while the final episodes of the series were being filmed elsewhere with Sisko, Odo, et al. So possibly it's just a budget issue. I would like nothing more than a three-part episode about Odo and Kira's blossoming love, or many more Sisko episodes (I feel like he got the most screen time when the writing was the worst, in the early seasons). I just don't think the time or money was there.
Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
Just terrible -- combine the weak elements of DS9 into 1 stupid episode: the Mirror Universe, the Ferengi and a focus on Mirror Ezri. What does DS9 want to even accomplish with the Mirror Universe? For me, it's just been an excuse for outlandish, mindless nonsense. Prior outings have had far better plots as this one brings in the element of dumb Ferengi comedy (Zek/Rom), but have never been good enough for even 3 stars.

If this episode tried to do something, it's maybe to show how Mirror Ezri develops something of a conscience. But that falls flat in a scene where she just lets Mirror Kira (who I've always found annoying) go. The bit of a lesbian vibe was just gratuitous crap.

Other than Mirror Ezri, nothing even close to being notable in this outing character-wise. And who even gives AF about Mirror Ezri anyway. Quark isn't going to score with her either.

Mirror Garak was particularly stupid -- the whole "inquisition" scene was just so dumb. Mirror Brunt being a nice guy was odd. I did find the part where Mirror Worf punches some nameless Klingon funny -- but that was about it. Rom going on about poisonous tube grubs and trying to rationalize the alternate universe was tedious to get through.

Anyhow, so much is ridiculous here -- Quark/Rom stealing the cloaking device from Martok's ship -- give me a break, Zek figuring out how to get to the Mirror Universe, the fact that the Mirror Universe doesn't have a cloaking device so they have to get it from the Prime Universe -- the whole premise of the episode is so bad.

0.5 stars for "The Emperor's New Cloak" -- this episode is in memory of Jerome Bixby who wrote "Mirror, Mirror". He'd be turning in his grave at this pile of dogshit. The worst episode of DS9 S7 kills 2 terrible birds with 1 stone: gets the token Ferengi episode and Mirror Universe episode out of the way so the series can get on to stuff that matters.
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Visitor, de Boer and Robinson had way too little belief in the material, Visitor (rightfully) pretty embarrassed. The Ferengi actors (particularly Shimerman) were uneven but they and Dorn did have moments, Dorn was pretty enjoyable.

There was a speck of an interesting idea, that both version of O'Brien were pretty good guys so would mirror Brunt end up being bad in both-and kind of interesting that, against what you would expect, he (pretty much) didn't. But that's not nearly enough, too much else was too dumb. Particularly bad were the scenes where Ezri re-meets the Intendant (as if the Ferengi know that means they won't have their deal honored) and when Rom and Zek just stay on the floor until Ezri tells them they'll escape so come on.

The ending particularly admitted this is just for dumb fun, just for weirdness and overdone pandering and reversals, what you wouldn't and couldn't do in the standard series/franchise. The basic point also seemed to be don't take the Mirror Universe seriously, both factions are both pretty bad and they'll probably just continue in a pretty-much stalemate indefinitely. "Shattered Mirror" and then "Resurrection" were much better conclusions to the Mirror Universe, this episode was unnecessary and a little damaging but it seemed to be its goal to outright undo the previous sense of conclusiveness.

I think 2 stars, a miss with some annoyances but not particularly unenjoyable overall.
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 3:05pm (UTC -6)
While this episode was more blatantly outright comical and the only-alternate/amoral-characters can be lesbian/bi idea did feel particularly sleazy (although a little less so as with previous episode "Rejoined" Jadzia Dax was already bi although mainly straight), all of the DS9 MU episodes, aside from probably "Crossover", had elements of self-parody, at least that you were supposed to accept the amorality or at least not take it seriously because the writers were deliberately overdoing and not taking seriously the whole reversed universe concept.
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 10:28am (UTC -6)
Watching and commenting:

--Two eps in a row about someone missing. And the Grand Negus, blech. This can't be good, can it? This Quark prayer is pretty fun, though.

--"Call me Shmun." I would have preferred "Call me Ishma-shmun."

--OMG, Mirror Universe combined with Grand Negus??? Is Meridian finally going to have some competition for DS9 worst ep ever?

--The invisible things you carry sure can weigh you down.

--LOL. Alternate Universe Vic. This episode gets points already, so it's ahead of Meridian. Up from -1,000 stars to -900.

--"It's the smart move." "Do we look smart to you?" -800

--AU Kira with the Negus. -900

--Garak and Worf. -800

--Sabotage!! Good work, Rom. Not a bad resolution. -700

--Eh. -700 stars. Better than Meridian by 300 stars. Had the advantage of not taking itself seriously, and some good lines.

Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -6)
This one's certainly leagues ahead of Meridian in terms of pure entertainment. Although you need to divorce yourself from the concept that the MU has deep insights into the original Trekverse, as here it's more of a magical door to a Trek funhouse.
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
I think I'm the only one on this board that likes this episode...
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Having read the commentary:

Was I the only one that thought Alt Vic was a robot? When he's lying there dead, I remember the impression of . . . wires or something, sticking up from his wound. I assumed, "Oh, in this world he's an android instead of a hologram."

@Peter G


I confess I exaggerated my dislike just to be silly - it's definitely better than the total, total waste that is Meridian. Though, Peter, yes, you may be the only one that actually liked it, on the board. You've got the ears of a Ferenghi to be able to hear that distant drummer drumming. :)

I can see the fun of the ep and it did keep me engaged. For me, it's more the MU than the Ferenghi that I don't like.
Thu, Aug 29, 2019, 5:59pm (UTC -6)
Terrible script
Nonsense plot
Garbage episode
Mirror worf
Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
"Your Intendent needs you."
Thu, Sep 26, 2019, 9:53am (UTC -6)
Really strange to focus on Ezri so much. I actually quite like her but shes being over used in this final season. Also Im sorry but I totally can't buy her acting turn as a "badass". We also simply haven't seen her on the show enough to care about an "alternate" version.

Really strange episode that dips into Discovery or Nemesis territory of badness.... simply on the basis of how lazy the writing became about hoping between the different universes. Its boring and lazy and starts to destroy the fabric of the setting and the show.
Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
Worf was funny.

Ferengis carrying a heavy nothing was funny precisely until the invisibility spell machine flickered into visibility (I suppose because we're stupid), and from there on went from dopey to dopier.

I liked how BIG the Worfship was, that's worth half a snicker. (I can't even tell you which side he was on, or I would have identified the ship that way.)

Kira and Ezri looked great; Visitor does Entertaining Psychotic Hot Bitch better than Boer. Their kiss was a major so-what now - but bold for prime time in '99. (And they probably thought they could get away with it in an "alternate" universe.

Which universe, in this ep, makes no sense of any kind, even in the context of previous alt-uni episodes, some of which have at least had dramatic weight - and most of which have been visually and "characterfully" entertaining. This one, not at all. No motivation, no plot logic, nothing. I couldn't follow the shifting purposeless loyalties - and I didn't care.

Bad. Horribly bad. It's not that they were going for something (even something stupid) and missed it. It's that they weren't shooting for anything at all, and achieved less.

HOWEVER. Quark's prayer to his Ferengi idol was as smart an exposition/commentary as Trek has ever done in such a short scene. That might have been worth the free price of admission -

but not quite the time I spent watching what I must consider The Worst Trek Ever - or, in the MU, the best Star Drek Episode of All Time.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -6)
Emporers new cloak

I love to point out star trek hypocrisy and inconsistency but i find none worth mentioning in this episode. War is bad. money is bad. Men serve the women who merely tolerate their existence. As leta and Dax demonstrate they do not need men for anything. Women are stronger(no matter how much smaller and less muscular they may be), craftier, more intelligent and command the obedience of men either through blind loyalty or fear and intimidation - even after they are dead or in another universe! Kudos!
Jamie Mann
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
Oh goody, a mirror-universe episode. With Ferengi.

To be fair, this is an episode which isn’t designed to take itself seriously, and after the darker tone of the more recent episodes, it was arguably time for something a bit lighter.

And as far as it goes, this episode is just as campy as the rest of the MU episodes - and sadly, it still carries the same slightly disappointing overtones, as pretty much all of the morally dubious, PVC-clad inhabitants of the MU are linked to BDSM tendencies and LGBT sexual preferences. It’s unfortunate that DS9 decided to keep traveling down this overly cliched “bad guys are sexual deviants” path, given how it dealt with many other prejudices and historical injustices in a more balanced way.

Still, it offers some closure on the MU, and Worf gets to chew the scenery, the furniture and pretty much everything on screen as he froths his way to an inevitable defeat.

It’s just a shame they decided to return the Grand Nagus back to the normal DS9 universe...
Fri, Sep 25, 2020, 5:13am (UTC -6)
I disliked every mirror universe story, some more than others. I like Kira, but Evil Kira is galaxies away from secy. Watching her vamp is more cringe making than watching her cry.
Sun, Feb 28, 2021, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
Godawful waste of time. This is the first season where I've been skipping episodes.
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 10:57am (UTC -6)
It’s always fun to observe that Jeffrey Combs gets to stretch himself more than any actor in the series. This is a terrific Combs role, and I wish Ezri wore leather more often. Other than that, agree that it’s a disappointing final journey to the alt-u.
Sat, May 15, 2021, 9:45pm (UTC -6)
Summing up my views about "Emperor's New Cloak" as follows: Can't defend it, but can't hate it. I almost skipped it based on Jammer's 1-star review, but I must confess that I am happy I chose to watch it, for it made me smile at many points. Quark's prayer was memorable and the sacred idol piggy bank was not only a cute touch, it captured the whole votive mind-set rather eloquently, expressing the quaint human notion that if 'I contribute just one more time, I might get what I want'.

At this point in the series, I have completely given up on the writers advancing the Dominion War plotlines, and accept that DS9 has become a shell game. For example, The audience wants to see Weyoun 7 reopen the wormhole so the War can resume in earnest, but what it gets is the Intendant kissing alternate Ezri.

So I sit back and enjoy the succession of disconnected episodes, several of which have actually be darned good.

"Emperor's" was, in many spots, thoroughly enjoyable. The Klingon hitting the floor was great (well-timed at least) and Quark's visual reactions to some of Rom's conjectures were fun to watch. Brunt's gratuitous death went entirely too far, but while Vic's death clearly jumped-the-shark, it was so iconoclastic and unexpected that I can't completely condemn the writers for that one. I like Vic a great deal, in all his appearances, but I can understand the deep animus many may harbour toward lounge lizards and grant them their need to see one 86'd once in a while.
Solid 2 stars to me, and I would watch it again.
Peter G.
Sat, May 15, 2021, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
@ Sigh2000,

I sympathize to an extent with the complaint that the war arc wasn't advanced in even intervals in S7. In fact the same sort of issue could be raised with certain arcs in S1-4 as well, such as the Bajoran stories or the Klingon/Cardassian problems. I think it's helpful to keep in mind that the showrunners had multiple plates spinning at once with this series, and getting some of them into the forefront was probably like pulling teeth. They weren't really allowed to do long-form arcs (which really only happened for the 1st time with the start of S6), and I expect they were even discouraged from too much serialization as an overall rule. They were trying to get traction with their desire for continuing storylines, but had to watch out, as the execs didn't like it. And on top of all that, there was also the idea that Trek should have numerous script ideas in the air, be creative about what each week's adventure would be, and entertain original concepts put forward by writers. So the objective of furthering an arc was apparently very important to Behr in particular, but that was probably not the chief consideration of what would make airtime even by S7.

Put that together with the fact that they did, in fact, get license to go on to do an unprecedented series of connected episodes (SPOILER, it's later in S7), and you get a situation where they had a batch of episodes mid-season that had to fill the mandate of (a) adventures of the week, (b) variety in both style and story type, and (c) giving unique stories to particular characters. That's a lot of boxes to check off, so I would not personally agree that they were playing a shell game with audience expectations. I think maybe a more charitable interpretation of the strange series of random episodes mid-S7 is that it was the price that had to be paid for what came later. It's sort of like seeing Shades of Grey as being an installment plan on Q Who, which if seen in that light makes it much more sympathetic as something that got greenlighted.
Sun, May 16, 2021, 5:03am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.
"I think that a more charitable interpretation of the strange series of random episodes mid-S7 is that it was the price that had to be paid for what came later".

Nicely encapsulized. I agree that it must have been a crazy environment for the DS9 writers in S7 particularly. I know almost nothing of the backstory, so I find your comments educational. I am glad that the issue of "audience expectation" was part of that whole.

The term "shell game" was uncharitable to be sure, and not the best word choice. What I hope came through in my earlier post is that I have liked a lot of the standalone episodes. That is to say, I often like what the writers give me, even when I started out wanting something different. I think DS9 somehow tests one's internal preference/tolerance system on a show-by-show basis. The scenario is as follows: you are itching for an installment of The Main Arc, you sit down with your favorite ice cream and it's "uh oh--Ferengi" or even worse "uh oh--the Nagus". However, I have found that if I get through the first scene, I'm generally satisfied. If someone asked me to write down what general 'DS9 resonant frequency' I am, I would say "Sisko-serious, and battle-oriented" . That being said however, I have grown to actually like many of the less Armageddon-esque shows. Nog and Vic were great together, and light Ferengi shenanigans sometimes hit the spot after a long day. One does not live by Jem'Hadar alone, and I respect what the writers managed to create in the whirlwind of the show's last season. Thanks!
Thu, May 27, 2021, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
I hate Ferengi episodes but this wasn't as bad as others. I'll take this over a Lwaxana Troi episode any day.
Fri, Oct 29, 2021, 10:20am (UTC -6)
I could see where the actors were trying to go in this episode. Everyone was supposed to go full ham and it certainly looked like they were having fun. And I actually like Ferengi episodes. The problem as noted in Jammers original review was it just wasn't a good script. It was like the producers thought they could take a bad script, cover it in bacon, and it would be ok to serve. It wasn't.
Sat, Feb 19, 2022, 3:50am (UTC -6)
While I agree with the many others who have said that this was a particularly lackluster episode, when it comes to the "mirror episodes" in general, I would go a step farther:

I have always disliked what DS9 did with the idea of the Mirror Universe. The TOS epiosde "Mirror, Mirror" ended on a note of hope that the mirror version of Spock, a man of integrity, might summon a better future in light of his conversation with "our" Kirk. There was not really a need to revisit it; TNG as a series never did any kind of follow-up on it. We were permitted to live in the hope that something positive grew from the seed Kirk had planted.

Ah, but DS9 is where hopes go to die, and we had to be shown a mirror universe as dark as the one Kirk had visited.
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 10:58am (UTC -6)
Mirror-Dax v.8.0 holds a knife under Quark's throat and he says: "Is this some kind of a new therapy? Am I supposed to start talking about my childhood or something?"
Mirror-Dax v.8.0: "My name's not Dax."
Quark [terrified]: "OOOOOh, I get it. Those clothes, the knife, the aggressive attitude. It's all role-playing. Er... Call me Shmunn!"


Come on, dude, that alone is worth a couple shiny 'uns, and there's plenty of nuggets like that throughout the ep.!

What we have here is the tried-and-tested problem-story-solution episode pattern. It's not a "heavy" episode, with any serious consequences, a profound message or (*dry heave*) "social commentary." There's no ten-minute, dry heart-to-heart narcoses about "my mommy didn't hug me enough when I was little," "the prophets want us to do X," or "according to ancient Blahblahdian tradition..." Yes, the story is meandering at times and kinda ridiculous in parts (aren't most of them though!) but it's done pretty humorously and has you wondering how the gang's going to get out of the pickle.

The resolution, too, isn't *quite* the criminally overdone eleventh-hour deus ex machina, so this gets a solid three stars from me.

On another note, Dax v.8.0 is SUCH an implausible character. She looks too jejune and acts too immature--or is it the other way around?--to be on Melrose Place, let alone be taken seriously as a Starfleet officer. I liked her in this edition though!
Gilligan’s Starship
Mon, Nov 21, 2022, 1:19am (UTC -6)
When it comes to Ferengi episodes, I can take them or leave them: some are ok & others I find a slog to get through. Although I feel the Mirror Universe plots in this series have really run dry, this one wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be after reading Jammer’s review. Shimerman does a good job keeping his performance grounded, which works to balance out Rom & Zek & there was some good humor sprinkled throughout the episode.
Tue, Jun 20, 2023, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
I am surprised to see other queer women like @Aliem defend this episode's portrayal of women's sexuality. "Rejoined" made me feel seen in Star Trek like I had never felt seen before. "Emperor's New Cloak" made me feel objectified. It was not a step forward for representation for LGBT people.

"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."

The problem is that other than "Rejoined", the only queer woman we see on DS9 is evil Kira. There is a huge variety of heterosexuality in display in DS9, from the schlocky and shallow Risa to the depths of Ben's mourning for Jennifer. MU Kira's liasons with men aren't particularly offensive because we aren't left with the impression that the showrunners see heterosexuality only through that one lens. But with the exception of "Rejoined", all we see of female queerness in DS9 is its association with evil and the male gaze.

Furthermore, if the MU really changes the sexualities of the characters (eg turning Ezri from straight into a lesbian), then why are none of the MEN in the MU gay? It's because the point isn't to make us question the fluidity of one's sexuality or further LGBT representation, but "hur hur lesbians hot and bisexuals are evil/deceptive", which only serves the straight male gaze.

This is solidifed in the final scene of the episode, where Zek comments lecherously on the pairing between Leeta and Ezri. That scene made me feel like such an outsider in Trek, like the love between women is nothing more than cheap titillation for men. Since this is such a common and damaging trope, it's regressive of DS9 to lean into it so much, even if I will say that having Ezri and Kira kiss was probably pushing the envelope of the 90s. Even in the 90s, these were terrible tropes that only harmed queer women, especially bisexual women.

Anyway, this episode was terrible except for watching Jeremy Combs play Brunt as a sweetheart. He's holding that single star up all by himself in this one.
Bok R'Mor
Tue, Aug 8, 2023, 2:32pm (UTC -6)

Yes, I thought Mirror Vic was an android as well.

(I still can't understand how we could even have a 'real' 'Mirror Vic' to start with. It's a serious stretch.)

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