Star Trek: Enterprise

"In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"

2.5 stars

Air date: 4/29/2005
Teleplay by Mike Sussman
Story by Manny Coto

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'm surprised you aren't more exhausted from all the beds you've been jumping into recently." — T'Pol to Sato

In brief: Sort of fun in its heedless recklessness, but ultimately it's hollow, exaggerated irrelevance.

"In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" is a show about nothing, using the props of the original series. It's a cardboard farce. It's proud of the fact that it's a cardboard farce. That's its mission. Should I give it a pass because it achieves what it sets out to do? After all, the production designers, for starters, deserve high praise for recreating the original series' universe so well.

I'm a little conflicted here. As an hour of hopelessly inane mirror-evil, it's admittedly kind of fun, and I love the sets. But it goes so far over the top that it comes back around and kicks itself in its own ass. It's overplayed, overacted, and over-goofy. Is that the point? I guess. This isn't in a mirror, darkly. It's in a mirror, cartoonishly.

For me, this story peaked when the bridge of the Defiant lit up at the end of part one. My hope was that part two would be an inventive and fun revisit to TOS lore. It's something of a disappointment that the show can never really break free into something great. Oh, sure, it breaks free into something loony, but that's ultimately the problem. It's too much madness, and not enough whimsy.

The plot is simply that evil Archer now has the all-powerful Defiant at his command, and intends to put down the rebellion and take over the Terran Empire. Unlimited power and unlimited ambition is a recipe for unlimited corruption. (Wasn't that the theme of the Augments trilogy?) Since the Empire is so corrupt as it is, Archer would simply be a corruption of that corruption. My question is whether the Defiant could really be this invincible. If Starfleet sent a dozen ships after the Defiant, I don't care if it's from a century in the future; it's weapons are not so much more advanced that this one ship could go up against an army and win. If so, the engineers of the Temporal Cold War should've just sent a starship back in time and called it a day.

The closest this episode gets to character development is via Archer's review of the Defiant's historical database, which gives him insight into his counterpart's accomplishments. Evil Archer is owned by his insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, and he begins having an internal dialog with his conception of his mirror-self, which taunts his shortcomings. This drives Archer into a rage that pushes him to act on his delusions of grandeur.

But first we have the isolated and completely unrelated adventure with the Gorn, which is irrelevant to the story and exists only to channel the original series with an updated take on action and special effects. The Gorn, famous from TOS's "Arena" (a classic episode that I always felt was overrated) has been upgraded from a guy in a bad rubber suit to an animated CG creation. This lacks the charm that made the Gorn so fun to snicker at. Now instead of a cheesy rubber suit we get to watch cheesy CGI.

After the Gorn is dispatched, the Defiant comes to the rescue of the Avenger, under attack by rebel forces. It doesn't take long for Archer to decide to vaporize the Avenger's commander, Admiral Black (Gregory Itzin), and turn the Avenger over to Soval, who wears a goatee in keeping with the tradition of Vulcan males in alternate universes. Archer's lack of trust in non-humans prompts him to expel them all from the Defiant to the Avenger. This leads T'Pol, Soval, and Phlox to begin plotting against Archer out of fear that their roles in Archer's future reign will be even more bleak than they are now.

For this episode, Scott Bakula has abandoned all intentions of remaining on any level of reality whatsoever. He overacts to such heights that it becomes a parody of a self-parody. He's not the only one overacting. Jolene Blalock is almost equally bananas, turning T'Pol into a stylized caricature. Is this a bad thing? I confess that I do not know. At the very least, it's not boring. But it's extremely silly-looking. To watch "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" followed an hour later by Battlestar Galactica's "Act of Contrition" could result for the viewer in potentially fatal tone whiplash.

One thing I did like about this episode was its ruthless last act, in which the bad guys kill everybody and win. If you're going to do an evil comic book, then the least you can do is take all the respectable characters and blow them up without mercy or compassion. Poor Soval: reluctantly roped into an act of defiance in the name of freedom, and he gets blown to bits as a reward.

I was even somewhat willing to go along with the twist, in which Sato poisons Archer and announces her plans to become empress. Archer, with a boundless ego and unlimited arrogance, deserves what he gets. As for the evil, scheming version of Sato, let's put it this way: She puts the "ho" in Hoshi. It can be said that Hoshi literally sleeps her way to the top of the Terran Empire. Even T'Pol has a line acknowledging the fact. Is this female empowerment? Don't bet on it.

I'm glad they tried doing this mirror universe thing. It's a neat idea. I just think it's a shame that the show's nods to the original series run counter to the tone of the episode itself. This is a show about unadulterated anarchy and vile characters. That these people are running around the sets of the original series doesn't really fit. The people who deserve to be walking on these sets should be explorers whose attitudes are rooted in actual Star Trek, not the mirrored version.

Next week: Peter Weller guest stars in an episode that looks like it might be about actual ideas instead of just silliness.

Previous episode: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I
Next episode: Demons

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80 comments on this post

Wed, Oct 31, 2007, 3:18pm (UTC -6)
Only in the Mirror Universe is Scott Bakula's acting somehow tolerable. I still cheered when Evil Hoshi(c)(R)(TM) killed him in the end, though. Speaking of Hoshi, this whole episode reeked of Japanese cultural pollution. The producers of Enterprise should have spent less time watching anime and more time reading classic Trek novels.
Thu, Feb 12, 2009, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
IMHO the only weak spot in this 2-parter was the slow beginning of part II with the hunt for the Gorn. Otherwise it was great fun.
Until this episode, I never thought Hoshi was hot - now I do. OTOH this is beside the point, though. I really think Linda Park`s acting as "evil Hoshi" was much better than usual, so it seems her regular character simply didn't give her too much room.
Anyway, I'm glad they did these episodes before "the lights went out". :)
Ken Egervari
Tue, Feb 16, 2010, 3:20am (UTC -6)
Honestly, both of these episodes were pretty good. As said above, the hunt for the Gorn was a little pointless and could have been cut from the script... but these episodes really stood out for me. I didn't expect much, and they aren't earth-shattering pieces of television... but you can tell the writers went out of their way to go balls to the wall with these episodes. They didn't hold anything back.

There was supposed to be a 5 episode arc continuing this story in season 5. It's a shame we'll never get to see it.
Sat, Feb 20, 2010, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
I loved this two-parter... the triumph of evil! lol They should make a spinoff series about the Evil Empress...
Sun, May 1, 2011, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
I shared Jammer's quandary: the show may be fun, but what's the point? Why was I watching the mutiny in part 1 or the Gorn hunt in part 2 when the plot ended up exactly where it would've been without those detours? Worse, I had time to wonder, What was the point of the original "Mirror, Mirror" or "The Tholian Web"? What's the point of watching TV at all??

Then I remembered that these weren't just episodes about the Mirror Universe, they were presented as episodes *from* the Mirror Universe. Not only are the values of the characters inverted, so are the values of the intended audience. They expect their Star Trek to exalt cruelty, chauvinism, and loyalty to the emperor. Thus, T'Pol is the hero of Part 1 when she uses treachery to free Captain Forrest, but she becomes the villain of Part 2 when she rebels against the natural order.

From the mirror perspective, these episodes are a sci-fi story about the protagonists being contaminated by the twisted values of a parallel universe. T'Pol was infected by the egalitarian ideals of the Federation. Archer was plagued by his more famous alter-ego. And you better believe that in part 3 of this trilogy, "Empress Sato" received her comeuppance at the hands of the Emperor.

What does this mean for our universe? By contrast with the mirror audience, we watch Star Trek to see heroes exemplify the values of cooperation, courage, and curiosity (among others). "The Tholian Web" and "Mirror, Mirror" (and "Crossover," for that matter, to name only one more) put the protagonists in a trap to see how the application of heroic values will let them escape. The heroic values stand out against the "negative space" shown by the mirror universe. Which is what SF is supposed to do: shed light on our world and our ideals by comparing it with an imaginary world.

So maybe these episodes weren't so pointless after all.
Thu, Sep 22, 2011, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
Um...just because their starship is a century more advanced doesn't mean they can conquer the Empire...soon the Defiant would run out of torpedoes, and power cells for their phasers...then they'll need more. More immediately, a small fleet of maybe ten vessels from this time could destroy it.
Tue, Sep 4, 2012, 9:08am (UTC -6)
I may have been the only person bored by this episode. The editing was slow and the acting tepid for a mirror universe. Bakula came close, but everyone else was too mild. And as I come close to the end of this series, and possibly the franchise, I am disappointed to have this interruption to the arc. I did like seeing the TOS set and uniforms.
Tue, Sep 25, 2012, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II >> a solid 4.0 star out of 4 follow up to the 4.5 star Part I. More of the same: great effects, good story, call backs to TOS, and Gorn! I for one loved seeing our favorite old lizard man from TOS, nicely updated to actually move faster than a snail and be much smarter too. And Hoshi! Wow, if they'd let her headline more episodes ENT would have been better off. Linda Park was great in this: acting, looks, awesome anime hair, the story they wrote her, everything. Very impressive. All hail Empress Hoshi!!

I gotta say, s4 Enterprise has really impressed me. I didn't like the augments and Spiner's stock baddie plus the transporter inventor episode was a snooze and skip. But the rest have all been 3.0 stars plus, very enjoyable. I see that the show runner changed from B&B to Manny Coto, a damn pity they didn't give him the reigns from day 1. I've been very critical of some of the earlier s1 and s2 episodes and even some of the Xindi arch which I usually liked could fall flat. But s4 has been excellent! Even my angst towards T'Pol has softened as she's taken on the Trip story line away from Vulcan "massage" therapy into real Human/Vulcan drama. The show is really clicking, I look forward to the last 2 Manny Coto episodes. (I don't count the finale which I already watched/skipped through - terrible! ... and B&B of course).
Fri, Nov 2, 2012, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed this episode more than the first part. I especially liked the ending... Empress Sato!

Silly fun.
Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
The problem with Hoshi winning that way is that in a world that evil, everyone would already be prepared for such deception. The whole thing was pretty half-hearted (logically). It was fun though.
Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
Say, interesting how Phlox is wearing a Cardassian uniform.

Brilliant to see everyone on a TOS set wearing TOS uniforms... I'm surprised, they actually look really good in them and it doesn't look as cheesy as I thought. I guess the same went for the DS9 episode, but still.

No problems with it, cool episode. I'd rather it ended here instead of another cliffhanger (especially since a. the next episode is called something else not "Part III" (come on!!) and b. THE SERIES IS COMING TO AN END DAMMIT) but eh, it's not DS9 I suppose.

I didn't realise that was meant to be Gorn, will have to rewatch.
Sun, Dec 23, 2012, 10:42am (UTC -6)
*starts next episode*
Huh? What? Er..... I thought this one kind of ended in a cliffhanger. I'm confused. What?
I can only guess that when they made this episode they didn't realise Enterprise was about to end a few more episodes later and were planning to follow it up. That was the most abrupt ending ever.
Sat, Dec 29, 2012, 6:36pm (UTC -6)
Great episodes, it was quite a success to cross over not only to the mirror universe but to a TOS ship too. didn't like the gorn part, though (as i didn't really like "arena" from TOS that much, actually)

Only problem i see; what about mirror universe continuity? i know it's just a fun episode and it shouldn't be looked at that way, but keeping the defiant and bringing it back would mean a century worth leap on technology for the terran empire (so by the time "mirror mirror" occures kirk would find a TNG iss enterprise (and so on)...

anyway, it's kind of a shame we didn't get to see a show worth seeing until it was already cancelled...
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
I love your reviews but there is one thing you wrote that I strongly disagree with:
"If Starfleet sent a dozen ships after the Defiant, I don't care if it's from a century in the future; it's weapons are not so much more advanced that this one ship could go up against an army and win."

Im surprised a science fiction buff wouldnt be able to appreciate just how much technology changes in a just a 100 years...lets put this into perspective:

1) How would a single F22 Raptor (unlimited fuel and ammo) do against 100 Red Barons?

2) How bout an M1A1 Abrams (unlimited fuel and ammo) against 100 WW1 tanks?

3) How bout the Ronald Reagan Supercarrier against a fleet of WW1 warships?

The simple fact is this...I dont care how many rebel ships went to battle the Enterprise. If the rebels are getting targeted and destroyed before the Enterprise is on their sensors and even they could get in range of the Enterpise, they wouldnt have the firepower to get thru the enterprise's plating anyways.

In STNG we had how many Klingon and Federation ships face the Borg? ...Howd that battle turn out again?
Thu, Feb 21, 2013, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
The costumes, the sets, the special effects, the battle scenes, they were all very well done. But the characters and the story, it was bad. This was like fanfiction written by someone who's horny for Hoshi.
Thu, Mar 7, 2013, 9:25am (UTC -6)
This two-parter was lightweight but extremely fun, and I think expecting the Mirror Universe to make sense on its own terms is a mistake. It never made sense--from the moment TOS showed us that officers regularly advance in rank by murdering their superiors, the idea of a coherent, functional empire waas out the window. Simply put, the Terran Empire, as it has been shown to us in TOS and ENT, simply can't function. Why wouldn't "Empress" Hoshi be killed by Maywether? Why wouldn't Maywether be killed by whoever?

So, no, let's not take it seriously, but let's enjoy it for what it is. Bakula did indeed take overacting to an extreme, but it was a glorious extreme. The moment when he screamed: "Great men aren't men of peace--THEY'RE CONQUERORS!" I wanted to cheer at the screen. It was awesome. It was Neo-Shatnerian.

And to tell the truth, I prefer Mirror Archer to the normal one. After watching this entire series in order it seems to me that the one defining characteristic of Bakula's Archer is a lack of confidence. He never seems certain about his decisions, or ever about himself. He's the opposite of Kirk, who, no matter what the situation might have been, was always certain of himself. I don't know if Archer was created mostly on the page or mostly by Bakula, but whoever was responsible, they took a wrong turn somewhere and gave us a captain I for one never really had faith in. Mirror-Archer also lacks confidence, but at least he's fun to watch while he's doing it.

ENT needed more fun stories like this one and a lot less inane retreads of lousy Voyager episodes. "In A Mirror Darkly" is a cartoon, sure, but it's a brilliant one, and it's one of the highlights of season four.
John G
Tue, May 27, 2014, 3:31pm (UTC -6)
I wanted to like this episode and enjoyed the first half, but…after a while it felt like they were just plain trying too hard to pander to the fans, kinda like “Into Darkness” did. The plot ultimately seemed to have no relation to the regular ST:E timeline, and it was frustrating waiting for something, SOMETHING, to carry some meaning in the episode forward into the regular series (like DS9 did with its iteration of the Mirror Universe). So I’d give the first part four stars, but the second was a real let-down for me.

It was fun to watch and I'm sure they had a blast doing it, but in the end it seemed like so much wasted potential. I really, really, really was pulling for the writers and crew, but sadly it was not to be.

I agree with what thomsoad said about the leap in technology — 100 years is an eternity in technological development even in the 20th century, and change is accelerating. By the 23rd century, they’ll probably be developing new technology far faster than now, so 100 years at that point would mean an even greater quantum leap (oh boy, I went there). The Defiant would certainly be able to flatten anything the Empire could throw at it, even dozens of ships. That said, yeah, they’d run out of torpedoes at some point, but not before they could stage their coup and perhaps figure out how to build more using the information archives on board — and the better shields and phasers would be more than enough to hold their own in the meantime. If anything I think the bigger problem is that the Defiant would be so powerful that controlling it would be that much more critical — thus “Empress” Hoshi wouldn’t dare ever leave the ship again for fear of losing control of it, and her crew would be gunning for her for the rest of her (probably very short) life.
Sat, Jun 7, 2014, 11:57pm (UTC -6)
Soval has a BEARD!!!
Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
Dreadful. I was so bored.
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
Wow, talk about spit screaming. I could see the spittle flying out of Archer's mouth. Jammer is right -- Bakula was insane here! I have often been put off by his character yelling and getting angry all out of proportion to what the scene requires or what the other characters are doing. Now I see Archer's volatility as visible evidence of hammy, overblown, really bad acting. Where was the director to tell him to dial it down a notch? Or ten?

I rewatched TOS not long ago, and was struck by how charismatic and confident James T. Kirk is, thanks to Shatner's portrayal. We've all made fun of Kirk's hammy acting over the years, and he had a few bad moments, but Bakula gets the prize by far.
Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 12:39pm (UTC -6)
I didn't like these episodes. To me, the idealism of Star Trek is what makes it "believable" or interesting. The way our best hopes for our future are realized through new technology brings meaning to the stories. Without these ideals, Star Trek would just be a mindless action adventure, and the futuristic setting would only provide empty ambiance. I lost interest by the Gorn segment.

If there had been more humor or more satiric elements maybe it would have been more interesting to me. For instance, I was amused by evil Reed and and evil Phlox. I thought their evil snickering made the first episode watchable. It seemed every time he could suggest it, Reed wanted someone to be executed. Then he gave a delectable snarl. That was genuinely funny. Maybe they could have made Archer more like an evil Reed on steroids, and Reed could have been his assistant. The second episode wasn't funny enough.

Just my two cents.
Toph in Blacksburg
Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 10:28am (UTC -6)
I didn't have any real problem with the "Defiant is invincible" concept. First off, Starfleet at this stage probably only had a few dozen ships at most, so we're not exactly talking about Armada-size fleets Defiant would have to face.

Second, a good analogy is if you pitted a single mid-1980s M1A1 Abrams battle tank against a battalion (25) of World War II tanks. There's only about 40 years difference in the technology, yet I'd bet the money in my pockets that a single Abrams (which has depleted uranium shells, chobham armor, and twice or more the speed) would make mincemeat of its World War II predecessors. So when I see the Defiant against ST:E era ships, I can see Defiant chewing them all of them up in short order
Tue, Mar 24, 2015, 9:25am (UTC -6)
"She puts the "ho" in Hoshi."

Aaaaaahhhhahahahahaha!!! Jammer's Best. Line. Ever.

But ho or no, Empress Hoshi was hawt hawt hawt! :-)
Mon, Apr 27, 2015, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
I could take or leave these episodes. But that's the great thing about Trek, it appeals to a wide audience, and it seems to have struck a chord with so many here.

The only great thing about this alternate reality is they s#!tcanned the opening theme song.

Evidently the Evil Starfleet has better taste in music.
Wed, Jun 17, 2015, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
After seeing ST: First Contact again, I decided to re-watch these episodes for the alternate take on that ending scene.

I think I found these episodes a little jarring when I first watched them 10 years ago, as I kept expecting them to somehow cross over with the characters from 'our universe'.

Re-watching it now, of course, I don't have that problem, and I found it a fun 2 episode storyline.
Mr Wolf
Thu, Jun 18, 2015, 2:43am (UTC -6)
I would have expected more ties in the plot to link the story to the actual ENT events.
Just an idea: a scene in which the Defiant destroys the entire future Xindi fleet. And –after the end- a Sphere Builder showing a Reptilian Xindi this fact as evidence that “Terrans” will be dangerous for them in the future (and hiding the fact that everything happened in an alternate timeline). This would connect to the premise of season 3 and justify the Xindi arc in retrospect.
W Smith
Tue, Aug 25, 2015, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
So tired of the mirror universe, it's been played out to death and is just an excuse for scenery chewing and showing off female midriff.
The one cool thing was the Defiant bridge being lit up in the last episode. Otherwise, the story was plodding and pointless.
Mallory R.
Fri, Sep 11, 2015, 8:12am (UTC -6)
"Sort of fun in its heedless recklessness, but ultimately it's hollow, exaggerated irrelevance."
Funny, I was just going to say that about your review.
Tim J
Sat, Sep 26, 2015, 1:04am (UTC -6)
If the entirety of "Star Trek: Enterprise" had instead taken place in the alternate universe displayed within these two episodes, the series would have been way, way, way better off. These were the most fun two episodes of what has otherwise been a dull, unoriginal, and uninspired sprawl of four plodding seasons. I was supremely disappointed when the episode after Part II was not a continuation.
Mon, Oct 19, 2015, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
I imagine that one TOS cruiser could manage a number of 22nd century vessels but I guess the program makers were making an analogy with one borg cube versus a federation task force.

Still-that is all baloney as these things do not ,and probably never can, exist.

I don't have a huge problem with the pantomime acting in the story. Bakula ,in particular, is channeling Shatner from the original mirror episode who we saw ranting in a brig on our Enterprise.

I do have trouble with the lack of prime universe characters to act as controls. Their lack means the story has no effective protagonists to identify with.
Certainly we don't identify with Archer who is just a loony psycho nutjob. Had this been a one-off episode it might have worked but as a two parter is ends up being a bore.
Mr Waffle
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
Regarding the Defiant, I think a fleet of 22nd century ships could beat it. But why would they? The ship is probably powerful enough to overwhelm any defences the Emperor has, kill him, and call herself Empress. In this sort of society you follow who has the most power, so people would immediately get in line- there would be no reason for the weaker forces to rally together and beat her, since there would be no individual gain for the people involved. It's much more likely everyone would immediately bow to her and then start grovelling to try and get a piece of the pie in her service.
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:55am (UTC -6)
Who wouldn't grovel to get some Hoshi pie??
Diamond Dave
Mon, May 16, 2016, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Ah, such a shame. On the plus side, as a love letter to TOS this is spectacular. After the Tholians last time out, the production design on the Defiant, the wardrobe, the sound, all recreate TOS perfectly. And the updated special effects add an entirely new dimension of fun. (Well, apart from the Gorn, which was pretty ropey - although kudos for having the Gorn in there at all.)

But really, where did the plot go here? It basically resulted in bad people betraying worse people in the midst of a lot a shouting. Yes, the concluding Empress Sato moment was a nice wrap up but overall this was something less than the sum of its parts. 2 stars.
James Ford
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
Did no one notice the glaring issue - that the Empire just got a 100 year leap in tech, when they were already progressing at a much quicker speed? Yet in the other Mirror Universe episodes the Empire is somehow magically the same as each respective timeline...

These episodes were probably my least favourite of the series as a whole. Terrible acting (in a non-ironic way), with the exception of Dominic Keating, and equally terrible script-writing; absent of any discernible plot; wasted and massively bloated budget; and hamfisted and hollow references to TOS and the universe in general, with results that ride roughshod over the continuity of later series.

Truly awful.
Tue, Oct 18, 2016, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
The whole technology jump doesn't bother me. If I were a paranoid dictator who came to power due to a unique and all powerful warship, I wouldn't equip my rivals with similar ships.

This two parter made me sad enterprise was cancelled, something I thought impossible. Terrific fun!
Vulcan Logick
Tue, Oct 18, 2016, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
I really like what Grumpy (2011) said about this episode and why it resonates.

What does this mean for our universe? By contrast with the mirror audience, we watch Star Trek to see heroes exemplify the values of cooperation, courage, and curiosity (among others). "The Tholian Web" and "Mirror, Mirror" (and "Crossover," for that matter, to name only one more) put the protagonists in a trap to see how the application of heroic values will let them escape. The heroic values stand out against the "negative space" shown by the mirror universe. Which is what SF is supposed to do: shed light on our world and our ideals by comparing it with an imaginary world.

Well said sir. That last sentence is exactly something I would say as an artist describing the nature of surrealism.
Jack Bauer
Thu, Dec 1, 2016, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
" If Starfleet sent a dozen ships after the Defiant, I don't care if it's from a century in the future; it's weapons are not so much more advanced that this one ship could go up against an army and win."

Nero sends his regards.
Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 9:14am (UTC -6)
I loved this two-parter mirror universe story. Just a riot. Suspend disbelief, grab some popcorn, and hang on for the ride. Sometimes I think Jammer takes things way too seriously. (Bound, Mirror Universe part 1--come on, Jammer, lighten up!)
Fri, Feb 17, 2017, 10:32am (UTC -6)
The mirror universe episodes were some of the best of ENT. Yes, there wasn't have any influence on the main plot, so what? Most chapters don't have any. Besides, I think a long-running series can allow itself a few lighthearted chapters.

As for this episode, it's obvious half the ship read the ship's library, and watching the way they get 'corrupted' differently by the Federation's universe was great.

P.S. There's no reason to be worried about the "100 year technology headstart" the mirror universe gets. In all likelihood, Empire scientists get ahead by whacking their seniors and not teaching anyone too intelligent or threatening. Regular scientific progress must be slower then in the Federation Universe, progressing by fits and starts. So it's not a contradiction to find that by TOS the universes are about equal, and by DS9 the Federation universe is a bit ahead.
Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 12:18am (UTC -6)
This is the kind of review I expected from part one. In neither parts is there any reason to care about what happens to anyone or anything. It's especially a waste since it got canceled after this season. I loved the sets and scenes of the old constellation class ship flying. That's only value this two-part story contains for me. Other than that, it's a complete waste.
Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
Sorry, but apart from not liking mirror universe episodes anyway, this one is just impossible for me to get interested in. The only potentially interesting development was the alien rebellion, but that went nowhere.

While I'm at it, do I have the premise of this two-parter right? The. Vulcams land on Earth, get shot by hillbillies, and the whole Vulcan empire collapses to humans?
Tue, Jun 27, 2017, 9:10pm (UTC -6)
The Gorn was awful. The old CGI looks worse than the guy in the rubber suit. They may as well have had a Hanna Barbara Cartoon Gorn. And suddenly Gorn's can move fast? The fact they were so slow moving was how Kirk managed to stay alive against one.

The big problem with all the later Star Trek post TNG series is how derivative and unoriginal they are. The original Mirror Mirror was a brilliant premise and well written. This is just a weak copy of something great. The sad thing is that Enterprise could have been such a brilliant series. This is why I have strong doubts about Discovery. Hopefully they won't screw that up.
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
Like almost all of the "Mirror" episodes, this was just too cute for it's own good and not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. Hated it. Between these two and the Orion episode this season has really gone off the rails.
Weyoun Zero
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 7:05am (UTC -6)
Thing about the Defiant and the supposed plothole with the jump on technology.....Defiant may or may not have been able to take on a fleet of nx's, but that's not really the point. Archer continuously refused suggestions of taking it to Starfleet and letting them try to reverse engineering it. As someone noted above, why would Archer/Sato want their potential rivals to have one? Also, doing that means keeping everybody else's eyes off the Defiant's schematics, so they know your ship is from 100 yrs in the future, but that's all. Enough into the future to make people's imaginations run wild, therefore, they wouldn't even need to take it into battle....just threatening their enemies with some outrageously powerful, but nonexistent weapons would be enough to rule through fear. For a little while, anyway. Until Mayweather or somebody comes to the realization that she's lying, at which point it's probably game over for everyone on the ship. Either that or the dumbfounded chief engineer would accidently set off a warp core breach. There is a novel, the rise and fall of empress Sato. Haven't read it but I bet it's interesting. I'm gonna go look it up on wiki and see how close I am lol
Sat, Aug 26, 2017, 3:02pm (UTC -6)
Oh, Hoshi! You minx, you!
Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 4:07pm (UTC -6)
Disappointing Part II. It just got plain stupid. Agree with Jammer's review here that the peak of "In a Mirror, Darkly" came near the end of the 1st episode where we get the recreations of the 60s ships and the realization of an interesting plot. But the plot for Part II is basically Archer's overarching (see what I did there?) greed. I guess T'Pol sort of sees the light of what the Federation in the alternate (good) universe became and given how Vulcans are treated in the bad universe, pushes for a rebellion.

And who are these rebels that the empire is fighting against? No idea.

To throw in the Gorn was dumb. Isn't this supposed to be Tholian territory and aren't they supposed to be trying to take over the Defiant? So what's a Gorn doing here? This kind of nonsense can't go uncriticized for Trek.

At least in this episode we get to see more of the recreated 60s ship, the old Federation uniforms, but that's about all this episode has going for it. But in the end, we're left with Hoshi in charge and the mirror universe has the future Defiant. Ultimately a pointless ending that has no tie-in with TOS.

Can only give 2 stars for Part II. "In a Mirror, Darkly" should really have been a 1-hour episode -- get the feeling ENT just dragged it out over 2 episodes given all the work they did on the sets etc. but didn't have the story to go with it.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
I just don't see how this empire can survive with everyone killing each other to get to the top.
Sat, Sep 2, 2017, 4:32am (UTC -6)
I have always liked the character of Hoshi, also the acting. A shy but clever hard working "Good Girl". Mostly giving support and solving problems. Even if she on several occasions have shown that she does not back out of a physical fight her lesser weight is a disadvantage. By adapting her role to being a member for the galactic "light brigade" she skilfully uses her female influence on her male surrounding and takes the chans when she gets it. Good and funny eve if her last line sounds very silly.

Flox complete lack of moral and his joyful participation in all kind of experiments is also enjoyably. in fact all the others also get a very god possibility to explore the dark side. Significant is that the dark side of ensign Mayweather is as pale in the normal universe. It is a pity and to me a puzzle why this character was not used more.
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 10:57am (UTC -6)
Not quite as good as part 1, but still pretty awesome.

3 stars.
Thu, Jan 11, 2018, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Wow, what a terrible way to conclude this. So, there was a bit of promise when Archer was haunted by the ghost of his successful Prime Universe counterpart. It was also interesting that stories from "The Defiant" would incite revolution among the non-humans and force a sort of revolt. So I guess the show's message is that the Prime Universe's values are so strong that they could overpower the mindset of the entire MU.

Unfortunately the execution of this idea was somewhat lacking. Are we really to believe a couple ship logs and an encyclopedia would be that persuasive to a group of people who seemed fairly comfortable in their evil ways?

I enjoyed the performances, nonetheless, and I think the ENT cast did a good job of being believably evil characters with greedy motivation which is in deep contrast to Federation values.

But, I think this episode really missed out on an opportunity to tie this in somehow with the Prime Universe in a way that had consequences. Does it really matter how the Terran Empire came to power in "Mirror, Mirror"? It's an interesting footnote sure, but it's already a forgone conclusion by the beginning of this episode, so it would have been nice if they tried to give us more meat. The fact that the Prime ENT cast never finds out about this universe seems like a big loss of possible insight. I guess only the audience is on the joke, or whatever.

Another thing that bothers me was Hoshi Sato killing Archer and proclaiming herself Empress by the end of this. Okay, I mean for one thing, we have a few Japanese historical parallels being shoehorned on an obviously Korean woman (admittedly not a Star Trek first, as TNG/DS9 use Rosalind Chao, a Chinese American portraying a Japanese person). But also, what was the point of dragging us into Archer's story just so he could get usurped by the end of it? If you want the audience to root for the bad guys, fine, but at least don't kill off the bad guy protagonist after you've invested us in his struggle. Sure, Archer had it coming, but you could make an argument that just about everyone in the MU "has it coming" according to our values, so why try to give us poetic justice that isn't justice at all.

The whole MU arc is just a writers' fantasy land with little for the audience to chew on, except scenery. I'll give this 1.5 stars for the TOS references and acting, but it's otherwise just an evil plotline that's a big letdown no matter who you root for.
Thu, Jan 11, 2018, 11:54am (UTC -6)
I just wanted to add as a follow up, that the Mirror Universe set in this time is really an interesting concept, if explored well. It seems like there are a lot of rich stories that could be told of this period and of this universe (which is probably why the DSC writers want to revisit it). I think DSC has a better setup for an MU plotline than ENT did, but let's all hope it pays off.
Jason R.
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
Just on the tech issue, I note in the TNG episode Conundrum the Enterprise is stated to be 100 years ahead of the Lysicans (or whatever they were called) and it single handedly trashes their fleet and nearly blows up their headquarters.
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R.

I think that point makes complete sense. Can you imagine biplanes, zeppelins and shoddy tanks from 1918 trying to combat aircraft carriers with radar, stealth bombers and drones? A modern 2018 military wouldn't even send out troops except to occupy and give aid, if needed.
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 11:04pm (UTC -6)
Cool but kinda clumsy as well. Maybe because the lighting and the comic book script.

Sincerely the best thing was the CGI Defiant.

The episode had the potential for something much better. At the end, the taste in the mouth is bittersweet.

Of topic question: are Emperor Sato and Emperor Gergiou related? Does it matter?
Dark Kirk
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 6:41am (UTC -6)
At least two elements look like they were inspired by Diane Duane's TNG novel Dark Mirror. The captain's chair on ISS Enterprise was large and plush, more like a throne. And Phlox compared the literature between the two universes, but noted how Shakespeare seemed the same, like Duane's book.
Thu, Nov 15, 2018, 3:03am (UTC -6)
I found parts 1&2 fun romps in an alternate universe. I’m going to search for interviews with Hoshi actress to see if she had as much fun as it would appear.
Steve McCullagh
Fri, Nov 30, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
I absolutely *hate* the Mirror episodes regardless of which Trek show they're in, so this makes three stinkers in a row for me.
Steve McCullagh
Sat, Dec 1, 2018, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
"At the very least, it's not boring."

I dunno, it bored the arse off me...

On rewatch, both parts of this episode could be in the top 5 of worst Star Trek ever for me.
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 5:31am (UTC -6)
Wow... there sure do seem to be an awful lot of Mirror Universe haters here. Seriously, people, criticizing Star Trek Mirror Universe episodes because you hate Star Trek's Mirror Universe is kind of like criticizing westerns because you hate horses or criticizing fairy tales when you hate children's literature (for being too formulaic and boring) and fantasy in general (for being unscientific); if you don't even like the concept, you're not really among the target audience anyway and none of us in the target audience has any reason to take your complaints seriously. The Mirror Universe is a favorite feature of a lot of Trekkies specifically because the original Star Trek series is the one that introduced it, and numerous other franchises (from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to South Park) have since followed its lead.

As to why we in the target audience like those Mirror Universe episodes, I'd generally say the fan base is actually somewhat split over it in the same way they're split over Deep Space Nine's "In the Pale Moonlight" episode, because it basically walks back a lot of Gene Roddenberry's overly optimistic views of humanity to show us behaving more the way we do in real life: sometimes nobly and altruistically, but more often proudly and selfishly. I mean, if things like phasers and photon torpedoes and anti-matter charges and cloaking devices and projective medicine and transporters and replicators and holodecks and warp engines actually existed, do you really think we'd all set out to be ambassadors of peace and love and equality and fraternity and liberty and all that noble stuff, or would we be our usual self-serving selves and use it to conquer, rape, murder, loot, and torture?

What makes these particular two Enterprise episodes a lot of fun is how they affirm the more cynical answer to that question. Of course reality itself would still occasionally limit our worst impulses: for all the sexual misbehavior (e.g. Hoshi sleeping her way to the top and her superiors willingly helping her do this each step of the way), you'll notice the ship isn't a perpetual rape-fest with all the women being sex slaves to the men. While I certainly wouldn't say the Mirror Universe (with its Imperial consorts and "Captain's women") is incredibly friendly to feminism, therefore, I'd say the women are exploiting what advantages they do have to the maximum; like pretty much all other Mirror Universe women, Hoshi Sato isn't working to empower all women, just *herself*, and is willing to step on men (Forrest and Archer) and women (T'Pol) alike to get her way. Archer, likewise, isn't really plotting to keep all the women subjugated to some male-dominated power structure like the "patriarchy" bogeyman of paranoid misandrist feminists' mythology; he's just plotting to get as much sex and power for *himself* as he can, to which end you may notice he's also perfectly willing to use men (Reed and Mayweather) and women (Sato) alike as his stepping stones.

As for the Gorn, I think in part the writers threw him in just to show that here, traits we would consider rather villainous in the prime universe are actually rather justifiable. In the original series, the Gorn were indicated to be pointlessly cruel and ruthless (refusing to accept the humans' offers to surrender or listen to any of their pleas for mercy), whereas here the one Gorn we see is just doing whatever he deems necessary to save his own skin, the same as pretty much everybody else. Of course, the writers also threw him in along with the Tholians (one of whom we got to see up close) to justify the characters' making good use of technology that was too often neglected in the prime universe ("enhancing" the artificial gravity to pin down that Gorn so Archer could kill him, and installing that Suliban cloaking device to hide the Enterprise from the Tholians while sneaking into their base; imagine how a number of episodes in this series and throughout the rest of the franchise might have been different if their respective Captains had thought to do things like that).

So yes, count me among the fans who rather like Mirror Universe episodes in general and *really* liked these two in particular. Count me also among fans who'd like to have seen more heroic and villainous characters alike make better and more realistic use of the technology; here we get to see some of the obvious uses for technology in war (Hoshi's not bluffing when she threatens to destroy Earth's cities with photon torpedoes if Starfleet doesn't surrender, you know; those things pack a real punch), but I'd also like to see more exploration of less violent but still rather morally dubious uses of the technology. We've seen in several episodes of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine and Voyager that holodecks can be rather addictive, for instance, but what about those replicators? If people could have a machine that could produce any material good they needed or wanted in virtually unlimited quantities at little to no cost, am I to believe some people wouldn't just lock themselves away in a tiny apartment somewhere and spend all day surfing the internet (or playing around in a holosuite once those were invented) while ordering up snacks whenever they got hungry or thirsty?

Also, I just like Mirror Universe episodes in general for throwing off all the franchise's far-too-common stupid politically correct moralizing in favor of having the actors ham it up and behave like unregenerate jerks and take verbal potshots at each other. Watching Picard moralize about how "woke" the future supposedly is gets annoying awfully fast. Watching the Tholian demonstrate that the Mirror Universe still has "Yo Mama" jokes ("Something about... 'your maternal ancestor!'"), hearing Archer alternately growl and spit his way through every line, and seeing Trip ribbing T'Pol about how he "helped" her with her Pon Farr that one time and then T'Pol getting her revenge by telling him exactly how she brainwashed him into sabotaging the ship and thereby getting himself tortured in the new agony booth for four hours... now *that* is entertainment!

My rating is four out of four stars for these episodes combined.
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
3 stars

Unlike the first part this episode was more entertaining and didn’t feel so recycled. It was fun spending the hour on the Defiant, seeing the crew in TOS uniforms, dealing with a Gorm(but I would have preferred an actual actor as opposed to the CGI), T’Pol working to undermine Archer, phlox double crossing, the crew on the Avenger and Archer struggling with a sense of inferiority because of what he learns of his counterpart
Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
I know, I know, this is in many ways a pretty stupid story... But damn it, this is just so much fun. Parody may be a strong word, but I absolutely think the story is meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek, from the amazing First Contact intro, through Archer doing an evil version of his season 1 scenes with T'Pol (with evil Porthos present) to crew wearing TOS uniforms for no reason (I guess Archer ordered them to do it). And it ended the best way it could have.

And maybe it's a stretch, but I would argue the two-parter might have a larger purpose. Afterall, this is right before Terra Prime two-parter, where the xenophobic villain tries to end interplanetary co-operation and make humans explore the galaxy by themselves. What we are seeing here might not be too different what the future would look like, would they succeed.
Josh D
Wed, May 6, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
I thought these episodes were fun if not spectacular. I did have a problem with the portrayal of the Gorn. Making the Gorn so quick moving doesn't seem like paying tribute to TOS (in which their slow movement is an essential plot point). It seems instead like messing with continuity just for the sake of throwing a Gorn in the episode. Which, I might add, did nothing for the plot. I wish they would have used some other species for the stowaway on this episode and then used the Gorn in a different one where they actually were essential to the story (and possibly some explanation could be given as to why they slow down so dramatically in the next century).

On the other hand, I had no problem with the gripe that having the Defiant should have meant the mirror universe tech would have been far more advanced in Kirk's time. Since we never see what happens to it, I simply assumed that the ship and the crew on it were destroyed somehow before the technology was able to be examined and/or reproduced. That doesn't seem at all like a stretch, given how much aggression and ship destruction we saw in this universe. Would have made for a great episode, though!
Toph in Blacksburg
Sun, May 10, 2020, 4:57pm (UTC -6)
“My question is whether the Defiant could really be this invincible. If Starfleet sent a dozen ships after the Defiant, I don't care if it's from a century in the future; it's weapons are not so much more advanced that this one ship could go up against an army and win.”

Viewing from history, I can definitely see how the Defiant would be virtually invincible against any counterpart that the 22nd century could offer.

Take a look back at the history of battleship development from the start of the 20th century to 1944. Until the advent of the Dreadnought very early in the 20th, battleships were a mixed armament that at the time was deemed the cusp of military naval technology.

Once the Dreadnought came along, or previous vessels were relegated to the status of obsolete, so much so that any vessel predicting the Dreadnought was labeled a pre-Dreadnought.

Size also matters. The average battleship even in the early dreadnought era was around 20,000 tons, mounting guns in the 12 to 14 inch range with relatively slow reload times and weak optical targeting methods. The Iowa, by comparison, was nearly 50,000 tons, mounted 16 inch guns, and enough speed to steam circles around it’s aged compatriots. Iowa also mounted far better targeting and rangefinder technology compared to battleships only 20 to 30 years older than she.

So I have no problem seeing how Defiant could slice and dice the very best that the 22nd century had to offer in the mirror universe
Wed, May 20, 2020, 3:23am (UTC -6)
< < Simply put, the Terran Empire, as it has been shown to us in TOS and ENT, simply can't function. Why wouldn't "Empress" Hoshi be killed by Maywether? Why wouldn't Maywether be killed by whoever? > >

Indeed. The way those fascistoid evil societies are portrayed, with their ambition-kills-for-career-advancement, they can never function. Hoshi would soon be replaced by the next aspirant, the moment she steps off the ship or even sooner, once turning the back to somebody.

I understand however this was meant as a retro fest to TOS with references to several of their episodes combined, just for reassuring the audience what the roots of all this are.
Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 11:16pm (UTC -6)
This was my favorite mirror universe episode since TOS. Sure, it was pointless. But considering what a slog some of the DS9 mirror adventures turned out to be, this was a breath of fresh air. Fan service is at its best when its contained to a bottle (like DS9’s wonderful Tribble outing). Keeping the plot relatively light and inconsequential is actually a good thing. Considering other (read: later) series infatuation with the overly serious Mirror stories, relegating this camp romp to its own, independent tale was smart. Plus we get a gorn, a fun twist, and lots of hammy invocations of Kirk through Archer’s overacting. This two-parter is a winner in my book.
Some Commenter
Sun, Aug 2, 2020, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
This two-parter is actually pretty interesting, considering what we know of the Mirror Universe. It puts later (earlier?) instances of it in perspective: the Terran subjugation of later centuries didn't come about as evil aliens conquering Earth: it HAD been Earth that had originally conquered them; and they eventually retaliated.

Better still, Earth's fall doesn't even come from this united Rebellion (even though the REbellion is already winning): it's humanity's own arrogance, greed and ambition that puts down the last nail in the proverbial coffin, turning the Terrans against eachother, even as the enemy's knocking on the door.

They COULD have hurried on up to reverse engineer the Defiant and upgrade part of their fleet with its technology while the rest just focus on buying time- little by little retrofitting their older models to a point where they can take on two enemy ships each; then start building up brand new Defiants to finish quelling the rebellion... But that, that'd require a selflessness and will to do what's best for the Empire while passing up a chance at a great personal advancement- every step of the way. Something Mirror Humans just don't do: that belongs to the normal universe.

A very different take on Trek history that is seen not only in the character's behaviour and reaction to the Defiant's historical files... But also in the very much adequate choice for intro- both song and visual clip. It sets the tone in the Mirror Universe's history previous to this episode, with a chilling warning: just as we are curious to a fault and consumate explorers who have ventured to and past every frontier we've met... Every single of those explorations was coupled up with equally devastating conflict every step of the way: Earth may yet just as easily sway toward the History of the one Universe, or the other.
Gail NYC
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
Good point, Some Commenter. We are not explorers--we are conquerors. Everywhere we go, we want to conquer. If we don't change that mindset, I hope humans DON'T ever get to explore space. We would only ruin it.
Thu, Mar 11, 2021, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
The thing I just couldn't fathom from these two mirror episodes was why almost everybody changed into the TOS uniforms. Sure, Archer wearing the green Kirk uniform made some comic sense, but everybody else? It was cartoonishly funny but nothing else. How did they even now which color uniforms to wear since Starfleet changed it's color schemes over time.
Thu, Mar 11, 2021, 6:14pm (UTC -6)

A) The uniformn division colors in Enterprise are the same as they were on TOS, just less noticable because they were mere shoulder stripes.

B) The crew that boarded the Defiant did so with EVA suits on and wore the TOS style uniforms as they had to take their outer regular duty jumpsuits off to put on the EVA suits, meaning they didn't have their regular uniforms on hand.
Fri, May 7, 2021, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
@Cetric - You underestimate the power of Empress Hoshi Sato. Not entirely sure why she didn't just ally herself with Archer and rule the galaxy together. But either way, humanity has shown its loyalty to dynasties and capable and persuasive leadership before.

@SomeCommentator - I got the impression that the Defiant would be a decisive factor in the war and that Earth would now prevail given it was vastly superior to any ship of that era - human, or otherwise. I guess, once some "new" government was created/imposed, they would indeed go about reverse engineering the ship to upgrade others, and go on a major offensive and crush the "insignificant rebellion."

I don't subscribe that humanity would just be totally pure evil though. Indeed the episodes did hint at some humans (not all) not having a problem with aliens per se. Just that they wanted the Earth Empire to govern the planets in question. Instead of a voluntary Federation.

From what I understand, given these episodes didn't link with the main series, there were some novels of some sort that showed Hoshi's line continuing until we eventually reach the 24th century and the Earth Empire encounters the main universe we know and the Enterprise E crew?

Enjoyable two parter. Maybe it relating to the main show might have helped. I also would have preferred at least SOME loyalty to their Captain, than a constant set of characters throwing punches.
Frake's Nightmare
Sat, May 29, 2021, 3:02pm (UTC -6)
Star Trek: Stupidly Pointless.
Jeffery's Tube
Sat, Jun 26, 2021, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
For what it's worth, mirror Archer and Hoshi making out on the bed in silhouette was sexier than every single "decontamination gel rubbing" and "Vulcan neuropressure" scene. See, Enterprise? It's perfectly possible to do sexy without resorting to insulting cheesecake and borderline softcore porn.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 3:00pm (UTC -6)
Mirror Archer is just regular Archer from about a season back. Nice.
Mon, Aug 30, 2021, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
Part one was like a sugary dessert and made me smile.
Part two was the head and toothache from the excess.
There are no words to convey my disappointment that mirror and normal crews didn't collide.
Mon, Aug 30, 2021, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
At least Evil Travis got plenty of camera time!
Mon, Aug 30, 2021, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
@ZeroDave that's because at this point in the franchise, they wanted to preserve the idea that "Mirror, Mirror" was the first documented crossover between the two, and the idea that "no body talk about this, EVER." was percieved by most writers back then as a lazy cop-out that only 3rd graders would think was clever writing. And that's from a show where one of the character grew an extra nipple on their arm to suppliment the forced male pregnancy they were going through.
Tue, Feb 22, 2022, 9:04am (UTC -6)
T'Pol wasn't kidding with that comment about how many beds Hoshi was jumping into. I bet everybody on that bridge at the end, including that com officer, got some of that Sato saki. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 4:07pm (UTC -6)
Really fun two-parter. I enjoyed this story much more than I did DS9's Mirror episodes. Tying the story to the "real" universe would have been a mistake, imo. If I had watched these episodes as they aired my opinion might have been different. I think of this two-parter in much the same way as I do Trials and Tribble-ations; both are love letters to TOS.

Here's an animated gif of Archer fragging Admiral Black:
Fri, Feb 24, 2023, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
The opening. Best/most imaginative Trek opening since TOS.

Great fun all around. Anyone who doesn't like the MU needs a session in the Booth. OK. Admittedly, some DS9 eps were dull. But the concept, starting with "Mirror, Mirror" was brilliant.

The downside is that, as Jammer and others point out, by the end I just don't care. Does Archer become emperor? Does Sato? Who cares? I'm not invested in either of their characters. I did like Reed and Phlox right to the end (though Reed gets sidelined early) -- they are more deliciously evil. But ultimately one-dimensional.

As for the technology jump. Yes, the MU gets a 100 year jump in technology. Likely followed by a 20 year civil war, more rebellions, and the loss of the Defiant -- likely via sabotage. Which puts them right back on par with the PU by the time of "Mirror, Mirror".

I think about the MU using the concept of Lawful Evil vs Chaotic Evil from D&D. A Lawful Evil empire can be stable (Cardassia comes to mind, with Garak talking about some Cardassian novel which is all about the sacrifice of the individual to the state), but you don't advance through the ranks via assassination. A Chaotic Evil Army is a contradiction, it's a bunch of pirates sometimes cooperating for mutual gain on a specific task -- I imagine a lot of Klingons are like that (e.g., the Duras family), with personal glory and personal honor taking priority.
The MU Empire seems waaay too Chaotic to have sustained progress, and likely advances by stealing technologies from others -- recall the assassination device in Kirk's cabin in "Mirror, Mirror", plundered from some unknown alien engineer.

Yeah, it's a pity they couldn't have made the plot in Pt. II more interesting, but I don't know how they could have done that while remaining faithful to the logic of the plot and ST continuity.

And, oh, lose the Gorn. DId nothing for me.
4 stars for Pt 1, 3 for Pt 2.
Fri, Oct 6, 2023, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
Too bad they didn’t make it a three-parter!

I would gladly bend the knee to Empress Hoshi!

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