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In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2

Series : Enterprise Rating : 5
Disc No : 4.5 Episode : 95
First Aired : 29 Apr 2005 Stardate : 18 Jan 2155
Director : Marvin V. Rush Year : 2155
Writers : Manny Coto, Michael Sussman Season : 4
Guest Cast :
Anthony Montgomery as Mirror Mayweather
Connor Trinneer as Mirror Tucker
Derek Magyar as Mirror Kelby
Dominic Keating as Mirror Reed
Gary Graham as Mirror Soval
Gregory Itzin as Admiral Black
John Billingsley as Mirror Phlox
John Mahon as Fleet Admiral Gardner
Jolene Blalock as Mirror T'Pol
Linda Park as Mirror Hoshi
Majel Barrett as Computer Voice
Pat Healy as Alien
Scott Bakula as Mirror Archer
Guest Reviews :
Rating : 5.0000 for 1 reviewsView existing reviewsAdd your own review
YATI : When the Defiant loses shields the Avenger blasts away at the primary hull, causing several explosions. Yet when we see the area clearly later on, there's not a single sign of damage.
Great Moment : Defiant strutting her stuff.
Body Count : A slave worker is tortured for information. The Gorn kills or injures at least eight people, and is itself shot repeatedly by Archer. Defiant destroys or badly damages two Andorian, one Tellarite and one Vulcan ship. The latter should have a crew of 147 if it's the same as our universe's version. Archer kills Admiral Black with a phaser, and destroys the ISS Avenger. He is himself posioned by Hoshi.
Factoid : Our universe version of Hoshi created the "linguacode translation matrix" in her late 30s. She married, and eventually died. (Okay, the last was pretty much a given.)

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.

Quote : "I skimmed a few of the more celebrated narratives. The stories were similar in some respects but their characters were weak and compassionate. With the exception of Shakespeare, of course. From what I could tell his plays were equally grim in both universes." - Phlox on the differences in literature.

"That ship out there is the key to our victory. With the Defiant on our side there will be nothing to stop us!" - Archer to crew.

"You're speaking with Empress Sato. Prepare to recieve instructions." - Sato to Gardiner, claiming the throne.


Plotline

Archer blasts out of the Tholian spacedock with the Defiant, picking up Enterprise surviviors on the way. Unfortunately a Gorn employed by the Tholians has sabotaged the ship, leading to a dangerous hunt through the engineering spaces. Ultimately successful, Archer gets Defiant fully online and uses it to smash a rebel fleet - before setting course for Earth to claim the position of Emperor for himself.

Analysis

There's been a tendancy in the season four arcs for the second and/or third episode to drop off in quality slightly from the opening one. Not so here - this episode is every bit as good as the first.

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.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 4,521 Last updated : 4 Dec 2005