Looking into the mirror on the episodes that originally aired on April 22 and April 29, 2005. This is In A Mirror Darkly.
Captain’s Starlog January 13, 2155
After Commander Archer successfully takes control of the Enterprise from Captain Forrest, he must deal with a dangerous crew while dealing with multiple threats that could destroy their ship. After engaging with the Tholians which results in the destruction of the Enterprise and Captain Forrest (who manages to take back the ship only to threaten to destroy the futuristic ship), the remaining crew take command of a starship from an alternate time and space known as the USS Defiant.
Now in command of this futuristic ship from an alternate timeline, the evil Captain Archer is determined to restore it’s power and use it to take over the galaxy. T’Pol begins to learn more about this alternate timeline and begins to plan a revolution of her own. After an attack by a Gorn (who has hidden aboard to try to destroy the ship) and a betrayal from Dr Phlox, Archer is deposed as Captain and Hoshi Sato declares herself Empress of the Empire. With a ship more powerful than any other, she launches an attack on Earth to seal her position.
Are these ‘Good’ Episodes:
First off, we finally get a proper theme song for this series. I’m serious, after four long years of ‘faith of the heart’ they make an impactful theme for this series and it’s only used for these two episodes… I am both thrilled and dissapointed about this as it shows that they knew that it could have been better but it also implies that an instrumental intro is ‘evil’ in some way. Yeah, give me the ‘evil’ intro any day… I mean check it out!
Outside of this, this two part episode is probably the best in the entire series as it is a truly stand alone story that gives some serious implications as to where the Mirror Universe Empire is headed and where we see it again on the Original Series. I love how one of the massive turning points in the timeline was First Contact itself and instead of welcoming the Vulcan explorers, Zephram Cochrane fires first changing the dynamic between humans and Vulcans forever. This single act serves as a catalyst to Mirror Spock’s own change of heart when he encounters the Prime Universe’s Kirk and begins to second guess the Empire’s true purpose.
One of my favorite aspects of these episodes is that we finally get a chance to see a few classic alien species from the original series but done in a way that is both updated and truly impressive. Between the Tholian ‘crystalline’ being and the updated Gorn, man I really wish we had gotten a chance to see more of them in the Prime universe. Sure, these were heavily CG but still, they looked really rad. Unfortunately this would not only be the last we see of these beings but also the last we see of the Mirror Universe during this timeline. While they could never have had a crossover episode between the Mirror Universe and the Prime during this series, it would have been fun to see where they would have gone with this setup. I mean, there is a LOT of setup and development here just for a two parter…
The massive development, well, Empress Hoshi of course. Seriously, while we do see the Mirror Universe again in Discovery and TOS, we really hear nothing more about Empress Hoshi and her reign of terror over the Terran Empire. Heck, I would pay for a series that explored this even further and, since it seems like Paramount is all about Trek right now…well…I mean…this would be pretty cool.
Overall, wonderful two parter that somehow managed to make the Mirror Universe cool again. Heck, it even acts as a semi-sequel to The Tholian Web where the Enterprise 1701 meets with the Tholians and the Defiant vanishes (and is thought destroyed). This is honestly the kind of connections I was hoping for with this series, a way to bridge things left open or unexplained while establishing the foundation of the Federation itself. Well, at least we got this huh?
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Evil Reed and Phlox invent the agonizer booth.
- So Mirror Universe T’Pol weaponizes her mind melds. Interesting.
- We see both Orions and Andorians serving the Empire, it seems the Empire has really stepped up.
- The first crewmember we find aboard the Defiant is a dead ‘red shirt’. go figure huh?
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Demons
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!
Late To The Game 11/24/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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