As of TOS, our Archer's name is among the most recognised in the Federation. Historians called him the greatest explorer of the 22nd century, and two planets were named after him. According to the viewscreen we see on Archer, he retires as Admiral and commander in chief of Starfleet and goes on to become the President of the United Federation of Planets! We also get a name for his mother - Sally Archer. I couldn't make out the text - perhaps when the DVD comes out...
The Terran Empire includes Andorians and Orions as well as Vulcans.
This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Best of Trek" award.
The actors continue to have fun with their evil alter egos, hamming it up in a most satisfactory manner. Bakula does especially well here, depicting Mirror Archer's mix of anger and paranoia perfectly. And under his public persona is pretty obviously a whole sea of self-doubt, which manifests itself nicely as our own Archer taunting him. But really everybody is on form, and it's great fun to watch them.
The story flows much as you would expect it to, with Archer taking on the rebels, then heading home to claim the throne. Both are exactly what we would expect from him, as is the counter-scheming from T'Pol, Mayweather and Hoshi. The Mirror Phlox wasn't quite as fun this episode, though his literary comparisons were enjoyable - and I just love the fact that Shakespeare is much the same in both universes! More seriously, the fact that the differences between the two universes extend to classic literature pushes any branching point between their universe and ours back far into the past - and indeed may be seen to support the idea that there is no common history at all between the two, that the Mirror universe has always been different.
Visually, you could hardly ask for more. The Defiant really feels like a Constitution class, both inside and out. The sets, the sound effects, all are just perfect. The only real variations from TOS are the updating of the vapourising effect when Archer uses his Type II on Admiral Black, and the look of the Gorn. I must confess both of these nagged at me slightly; there was no real need to update the phaser effect, and I would have preferred to see something at least somewhat more TOS-like. Perhaps if they'd used the same "consuming glow" effect but kept the bright blue TOS colour...
As for the Gorn, I'm more forgiving. This Gorn looks and acts very little like the one we see in "Arena" - but to be honest, while the Gorn we saw in "Arena" looked great for the day, it just wouldn't do now. No matter how much technology has advanced, a guy in a rubber suit moving reeeeealy slooooowly just wouldn't be credible. As it was, the CGI Gorn was very well realised, and suitably scary. But whilst it was very well implemented, this sequence felt a bit like padding, a good way to fill up ten minutes or so of the episode. The season four arcs have tended to do this, introduce a needless plot complication that really contributes nothing to the overall story and feels like it was mostly put there as a cool way to fill up the arc - the Orions in "Borderland" are the most notable example. But hey, I've been wanting Enterprise to find a way to show a Gorn for ages now so I'm not going to complain too much now that they have.
It was good to see Soval again, and nice to see the "evil Vulcan gotee" appear once more. Also, a nice little nod to TOS when he and T'Pol meet and he greets her with "it is agreeable to see you again" - the same greeting Sarek gave Spock in Star Trek IV. And the destruction of the Avenger was an especially cool bit of work by the FX crew I thought.
And the ending... I absolutely loved the ending! Empress Hoshi indeed - well the girl certainly earned it, in her own way. Some of the scenes between her and Archer were surprisingly explicit far for a Star Trek episode, but I can't say I minded because I didn't. Actually, Hoshi puts me in mind of Persis from the Augments arc - latching onto whoever was in charge and riding the wave as far as she could, then jumping to the next guy and doing the same. But where Persis eventually took a moral stand and paid for it with her life, Hoshi clearly had no such compunctions! It was an absolutely perfect way to resolve a Mirror universe episode.
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