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Best of ENT

Nominees

Title Disc
Number
Episode
Number
Airdate Stardate Season Year Rating
Twilight 3.2 60 5 Nov 2003 Unknown 3 2153 4
Similitude 3.3 62 19 Nov 2003 Unknown 3 2153 4
Zero Hour 3.6 76 26 May 2004 14 Feb 2154 3 2154 4
In A Mirror, Darkly 4.5 94 22 Apr 2005 13 Jan 2155 4 2155 5
In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2 4.5 95 29 Apr 2005 18 Jan 2155 4 2155 5

Best

Title :  In A Mirror, Darkly
Director : 
James L. Conway
Writer(s) :  Michael Sussman

Plotline

In the Mirror universe, the Admiral Forrest of the NX-01 is busy fighting one of the Empire's wars - one that the Humans are losing. Archer has heard rumours of an advanced Earth ship which has emerged through an interphasic rift in Tholians space, and he is determined to cross into Tholian space and claim the ship for the Empire. When Forrest demurs, Archer stages a mutiny and heads there anyway. With T'Pol's help Forrest regains command - but Archer has set the ship on autopilot and locked out all interference. Arriving at the destination they find none other than the USS Defiant, and a boarding party begins to search for intelligence information aboard. Unfortunately the NX-01 is discovered by the Tholians...

Analysis

In my humble opinion, this is the single best episode that Enterprise has aired so far. I liked everything about it. I several times complained about Deep Space Nine's use of the Mirror universe; the DS9 writers didn't seem to get the point of the MU, or chose to ignore it. The MU is supposed to be a moral inversion of the Federation, with Humans who are amoral at least, and often actively evil. DS9 never really showed that side of Humans, but this episode captures it perfectly. The teaser is a brilliant example; Cochrane firing on the Vulcans and claiming their ship is a perfect way to illustrate the differences between our universe and the Mirror one. I wonder what the present day is like in the Mirror universe?

Bringing the Defiant in is a clever and sensible thing to do. We've seen many times in Enterprise that Humans are not the big guys on the block; even with Vulcan technology it's hard to believe that the Humans of 2155 could be out conquering the Klingons, Romulans, Tholians, etc. By giving the Terran Empire TOS technology in the form of a real live working Constitution class starship, Humanity is gaining a massive leg-up that serves to explain perfectly how they ended up so powerful.

It's always great fun to see our characters ham things up for the MU episodes - one of the few things DS9 did right in this regard was Intendant Kira, who was superb as the MU version of our own Kira. Here all the characters are just perfect. You could go on for hours, but to touch on just a few of the nice moments - the idea of Forrest claiming command of the NX-01 for himself, which is exactly what you would expect inthe MU. Archer is good as the Mirror universe equivalent of himself, though he is surprisingly similar to our own Archer in character. Why not just throw Forrest out of an airlock as Reed suggested? It was a nice touch to have Porthos still there but as a much larger, much nastier rottweiler. And I love that he has a collection of guns on the wall where the pictures of previous Enterprises are in our universe. Hoshi is great as the "Captain's Woman", still somewhat loyal to Forrest but also perfectly willing to go along with the top dog. In that respect she's very similar to Persis from the Augments arc. Trip is excellent as the Chief Engineer, with his facial disfigurement from Delta ray exposure being a nice reference to "The Menagerie". T'Pol is interesting in how she parallels Mirror Spock - she's loyal to her Captain, a valued crewmember but apparently a second class citizen in the Empire, and more than willing to use her Vulcan abilities to further her cause when necessary. Reed gets less time than most, but he's good fun as the ship's enforcer. Phlox doesn't get a whole lot of screen time but he surely makes the most of it, whether displaying his evident pride at inventing the agony booth or urging the Tholian to hurry up and die. It's also a nice touch that his sickbay animals are still there, but now they're experimental test subjects.

Of course there was all the usual little changes to look for. Different ship's patches for the Starfleet and MACO crew, Terran Empire sword-and-planet logos everywhere, skimpier uniforms for the women - the MU Humans apparently stayed sexist a long time after our own did!

One of the great things about the episode was getting to see a Tholian in the "skin". We saw a Tholian in The Tholian Web, but it was a simple drawing of a crystalline shape. The non-canon Trek novels suggested that the Tholians were indeed crystalline life forms, even suggesting that their bodies could be carved into different shapes so as to fulfil a specific function. Even so, there was some fan speculation that what we saw in TOS was actually just a helmet, with Tholians themselves looking utterly different. This episode gave us a "head" shape pretty much identical to what we saw in TOS, but puts arms and legs onto it. A nice way to build on the appearance of the original without contradicting what we saw in TOS in any way.

The re-use of the Tholian Web was also pleasing, especially as it was done in a far superior way. The original conception of the web was rather absurd; it took literally hours to deploy, and given that the Enterprise could disable a Tholian ship in a matter of seconds then you could comfortably pick off whole fleets while they tried to encompass you in the web. This version is deployed in seconds, trapping the NX-01 effectively. It may seem odd that an earlier version of the weapon was more advanced, but then the Tholians did have far more than two ships working together this time, so perhaps that makes the difference?

The ending surprised me a little. I didn't expect to see the NX-01 get blown away by the Tholians, certainly not with virtually the whole crew. I actually wondered if Archer would destroy the NX-01 with the Defiant, or if Forrest would voluntarily abandon it in favour of the Defiant.

My only gripe for the whole episode was that we got to see so little of the Defiant in action. I found myself a little impatient for them to get there; perhaps I would have skipped the sequence where the Tholian was captured and have them go straight to the ship. Show the NX-01 destroyed and then have Archer come out in the Defiant to give the Tholians a pasting, ending the episode with the Defiant heading out into space. But that's just me. Whatever, no doubt the Defiant will be strutting her stuff satisfactorily in the next episode.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 10,078 Last updated : 24 Apr 2005