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|Index||21 reviews in total|
When the bearded Spock says 'Your Agonizer, Please,' you know you're in
for some great science fiction, Trek style. If I was under threat of an
Agony Booth to make a choice, I'd have to go with this episode as my
all-time favorite of the original series. Not an easy choice, of
course. "The City on the Edge of Forever" is more literate and "The
Trouble With Tribbles" may get by better on sheer entertainment value,
but there's something about tapping into the dark side of all our
beloved characters here which makes this an irresistible mix of tension
and adventure - an ultimate Trek, if you will. For you see, it's not
just the depiction of the alternate versions of Spock, Sulu and Chekov
in this violent, parallel universe that's so intriguing. There's also
the thrill of observing our Kirk swiftly adapt to his new environment:
sure, he gets caught off-guard by the evil Chekov early on, but in the
next minute he's knocking out his supposed savior - see, that's what
the evil Kirk would do and our Kirk has already figured it all out.
It's tantalizing, no pun intended, to surmise just how our good Kirk
would have survived in this universe of the evil Empire had he been
stuck there for the rest of his life; personally, I think he would've
taken over the whole galaxy within the next decade - he's just that
quick on his feet. Witness the scene of him and the bearded Spock as
they stroll down the ship's corridor, their personal bodyguards
following; Kirk's in complete control. I think part of him was looking
forward to the prospect of remaining in this savage universe when it
looked like he'd have to operate the transporter to send the others
back near the end.
And it's not just Kirk - wonder of wonders, could this be our Uhura - taunting the evil Sulu, slapping him and stopping just short of sticking a little blade between his ribs? Looks to me like she was trained for a lot more than just communications - yes, she had that little scene of fright overcoming her before Kirk's pep talk, but after that, there was no stopping her. In a way, this episode is mesmerizing: you wonder what our intrepid foursome of cosmic castaways will run into next in every scene and how they'll handle it. The scripting doesn't disappoint: there are creative innovations to this strangely atmospheric Enterprise around every corner, subtle or jarring. The new gadgets are interesting but my favorite innovation is the entire concept of special bodyguards shadowing their superiors - that twist just spells Empire not Federation. Of course, the whole assassination angle is a dead giveaway. Plotwise, it's an excellent tightrope, and we get to see some of the best action scenes towards the climax. And then we have the evil, yet not so evil Spock. When Spock puts his mind to it, he can be pretty scary; it's hard to forget his sinister threat to Sulu. But, speaking of Sulu, strange as it may seem after all the great stuff just described, Takei as Sulu ends up with the greatest single scene of the episode. His bid to take over the ship, as he describes his plan to get rid of both Kirk & Spock, takes it all to yet another level. Dripping with slimy intensity, twirling his knife, a gleam of manic nastiness in his eyes, Takei just nails it. He should have played villains for the rest of his career.
The potency of this episode is reflected in the fact that the later Trek series, Deep Space Nine, featured several episodes as sequels to this one. However, good as they were for a DS9 series, they paled in comparison to this original wonder.
Despite some gnawing scientific inconsistencies, "Mirror, Mirror" is
one of the best of the original "Star Trek" episodes, a triumph of
A landing party of Kirk, McCoy, Scottie and Uhura is beaming back up from negotiations with the Halkans for dilithium-crystal mining rights when an ion storm opens a porthole between two parallel universes, and the landing party ends up on an "Enterprise" in the other universe -- a ship, crew and reality they barely recognize.
In this universe, Star Fleet is the military arm of an evil Empire which, as Kirk warns the parallel Halkan commissioner, "will level your planet and TAKE what we want -- that is destruction: you will die as a race." The crew of this "Enterprise" is a bloodthirsty band of pirates and evil opportunists. The writers had a marvelous opportunity to examine the negative side of the show's characters, and they didn't waste it. While Spock (sporting a very-complimentary mustache and goatee) remains mostly true to the unemotional, logical Federation Spock, Sulu proves to be a cunning plotter and schemer (and, late in the episode, a scene-stealer), while young Checkov turns out to be an impetuous risk-taker who nearly pays the ultimate price for attempting to assassinate what he believes to be a suddenly-traitorous Kirk. In short, the parallel main characters are exactly what someone familiar with "Star Trek" would expect knowing their normal personalities.
While trying to figure out how to get back to their own universe, Kirk also must avoid destroying the peace-loving Halkans, who refuse to deal with the Empire because of the power for killing and destruction that their dilithium crystals would give them. When he delays by giving the Halkans a twelve-hour ultimatum to consider their position, he is in violation of standard Empire procedure...and the Empire orders Spock to kill Kirk and assume command of the ship, in which case all other officers would move up one step in rank. Unbeknownst to anyone, the cunning Sulu plans to do away with both Kirk AND Spock, contriving to make it appear that they've killed each other when Spock set out to assassinate Kirk -- "after a fierce battle."
Kirk is faced with a further complication when he discovers a knock-out gorgeous mistress waiting for him in his cabin. Barbara Luna guest-stars as Lt. Marlena Moreau...without question, the sexiest woman ever to appear in the series. A sizzling seductress -- oozing "come-hither" sexuality one moment and with a knee-buckling fire in her eyes the next -- the clever, opportunistic and spirited Marlena has hitched her wagon to the parallel Kirk because she desires to be "the woman of a Caesar", and finds that THIS Kirk is a lot less brutal and insensitive than the one she's used to. One sees her sexual excitement stirred to a torrent when she believes that Kirk has some secret plot to reach unprecedented heights -- power is clearly an all-consuming aphrodisiac with her.
Yet, Marlena also seems to be the only one outside of Spock smart enough to be perplexed by Kirk's behavior; stunned by his compassion, she tells him in wonder, "You're a stranger." And she's apparently not displeased by this, either, because she then asks him, "Am I your woman?", clearly not caring whether he's the Kirk she knows or not because she wants this man. Unbeknownst to Kirk, she uses a secret device known as the Tantalus Field -- a spying device plundered by the parallel Kirk during one of his previous missions -- to monitor this "stranger" Kirk's actions, and will soon come to realize that she was more right than she knew.
Meanwhile, Kirk and Scottie find a way to create an artificial field wherein they can all transport back to their own universe...but clandestine maneuvering is next to impossible in this paranoid environment. And the clock is ticking -- within no time, the field density between the two universes will close, and the landing party will be stuck forever in this brutal new life.
Among the inconsistencies is the notion that none of these ultra-suspicious and treacherous Empire crewmen seem to realize that the landing-party personnel have undergone serious personality changes. In a Nazi-like police state, even the most-minor of behavioral changes is generally viewed as proof that the person is involved in traitorous activities. No explanation is offered as to why or how the parallel, Empire landing party would be transported back to their home at the same time as "the good guys" would return themselves to the benevolent Federation. And, although his parallel character has some surprising self-interest to him, a logical, emotionless Spock would never agree that "Terror must be maintained" as this Spock does. On the theatrical front, Shatner lives up to some of his hammiest moments as the evil Kirk shouting after a departing Spock on the real "Enterprise." And the viewer has to force him- or herself to ignore the blatant use of stunt doubles in one fight sequence -- characters who, but for their uniforms, look nothing at all like Kirk, Spock or Scottie.
Still, these are easy notions to put aside, because "Mirror, Mirror" is one of "Star Trek"'s best examples of the provocative "what-if" nature of science fiction (second only to "City on the Edge of Forever.") In its character examinations, it's also without peer in the show's history. One of the highlights is watching Uhura, needing to create a diversion on the bridge, tap into her own suppressed sexuality to lure Sulu's eyes from his security board. It's the only chance in the entire series for Uhura to play "hot"...and she's scorching. One has to assume that the parallel Uhura is exactly this kind of woman, because no one on the Empire "Enterprise" bridge -- least of all the happy beneficiary, Sulu -- is the least bit surprised at the sight of Uhura the seductress. All in all, a highly-worthwhile viewing experience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is my vote for the all-time coolest episode ever--perhaps not the
best, but definitely the coolest.
The landing party beams back on the ship, but through an impossible to believe coincidence, the exact same members from a parallel universe do the same thing at the same time and are switched! The nice Star Trek crew members now find themselves in an evil bizarro world where the ship and crew are ultra-militaristic and cruel. In this parallel world, decency is despised and people get ahead by killing their superior officers! So, Kirk being at the top of the evil pecking order is open to a series of attempts on his life. This is made worse by the fact that Kirk won't obliterate a peaceful planet when the Evil Federation orders him. So, the crew must keep who they really are a secret and find a way to return home.
Now, for the cool factor, the episode is chock full of it. Evil Spock looks and acts a lot like our good buddy Spock except he sports the neatest evil goatee AND he uses torture on poor old Evil Lt. Kyle when he thinks this crewman made a mistake (which he didn't!). Then, Evil Mr. Sulu is possibly even more cool because he sports a nifty scar on his face and is a homicidal maniac and sex pervert!! Then, Chekov tries to kill the Captain but when he fails he's placed in a horrible torture device! And, Kirk finds that in this world he not only has a sexy main squeeze but a secret device that makes his enemies vanish into thin air!!! The bottom line is that this episode is so much fun to watch. Instead of the usual prime directive and the overriding desire to do good, this anti-Enterprise world is just plain awful and a great counter-point to the sometimes saccharine-like world of Star Trek where everyone gets along a bit too often! It's a wonderful break from the usual and an episode you just can't miss.
After a storm causes a transporter malfunction, Kirk, Uhura, Scotty, and McCoy are sent to an Enterprise in a parallel, but opposite, universe. They comes to find out that they are serving a new StarFleet which goes against everything their old StarFleet stands for. The ship is filled with brutality, lust, and the drive for power. You can feel the tension as they try to get to their own universe before the rest of the "evil" crew discovers the truth. The only thing that remains constant is a logical Spock, which shows logic stays the same whether good or evil. Also check out Spock sporting a little goatee for this one. The plot idea was a very good concept and it turned out to be one of the better episodes of the second season.
Kirk, McCoy, Scott, and Uhura get thrust into an alternate reality
where the Federation is an evil empire and their shipmates and friends
are now malicious, dangerous adversaries. Now the four have to find a
way to get back to their own reality without being discovered and
This is one of the best-written, best-acted TOS episodes ever. Ordinarily there is some aspect of the writing to nitpick about. Not here. Every action anybody takes makes sense, the characters are developed superbly, and the pacing is swift and invigorating. This is quality TV writing, and if every script had been this good the series would have lasted a lot longer, I think. One moment I'd like to point out especially: early on Kirk proposed to disable the phasers so they can avoid phaser-bombing a helpless planet, but Scottie subtly reports to Kirk he cannot because the phaser banks are being guarded. This is good writing: the good guys had a sensible (not contrived) solution to a problem, and the obstacle to that solution also made perfect sense (and was not contrived). That makes the tension feel very real.
The acting takes it over the top. William Shatner's Kirk displays the quick wits and cleverness that make the character so interesting. And notice how our good guy Kirk is not entirely uncomfortable in his new, dangerous environment. Sure, he's disgusted by all the cruelty around him, but you can sense he gets a thrill out of navigating all the treachery. Leonard Nimoy's evil version of Spock is genuinely menacing in a cool, calculating way. Nichelle Nichols' Uhura shows us a cunning, wily side of her we have only ever seen suggested before (and check her out in that revealing outfit.) But the acting prize goes to George Takei. In this episode, his evil Sulu is slimy, sleazy, scary, and wonderfully despicable. As another reviewer suggested, Takei should have played more villains.
Overall, Mirror, Mirror is a ten.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Mirror, Mirror," is possibly the single most influential episode in
the entire "Star Trek" catalog. Its tale of a parallel universe was
explored no less than four times on "Deep Space Nine" and "Enterprise."
The story is simple: a transporter malfunction transports Kirk (William
Shatner), McCoy (Deforest Kelly), Scotty (James Doohan), and Uhura
(Nichelle Nichols) to a totalitarian version of The Federation, where
assassination is the common means of advancement. In this universe,
Spock (Leonard Nimoy) sports a beard, Sulu (George Takei) has a
menacing scar, and a very seductive yeoman (Barbara Luna) is the
"captain's woman" and she intends to keep the title.
Luna ranks as one of the most attractive women to ever grace the sound stage of a "Trek" show. Her multi-ethnicity made her suitable to assay many exotic roles during the 60's and 70's. Like fellow actor, Frank Silvera, she was a trailblazer and deserves recognition for this.
By the way, she speaks the above line in the title when she appears to Captain Kirk in a provocative stance and outfit!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many starships of fans have said it but I'll join them; Mirror Mirror
is arguably the best Star Trek ep ever made, and I'd say it's also one
of the ten best single television broadcasts I've ever seen.
Amazing work, seemingly born of the team taking an amazing TV show they had 100% confidence in and, can only guess but... on a specific edition (consciously intended or did it just happen?) deciding to push to make something about 100x better than even the excellent standard show they were already transmitting each week...?
The Simpsons achieved similar with Last Exit to Springfield in 1993; a single episode from a (then) blisteringly outstanding stable that is outlandishly better than the pipingly strong pack around it, with observation, complexity and inspired touches almost every ten seconds or so;a Star Trek TOS episode is 50 min not 22, yet Mirror Mirror's pace, with the exception of perhaps and only the first sick bay scene, is almost as intense.
Other reviewers have covered Mirror Mirror's plot and most points have been made, esp on the swift adaptation by all (except by perhaps McCoy) to realities in the Galactic Empire, but special mention has to go to both BarBara Luna and the writers for her character, Marlena Moreau.
Marlena is likely the very best of Star Trek characters/guest leads ever. Probably only on screen for 10, max 15, of the full 50 mins, she adds an irreplaceable dimension of human ambition, frustration, amorality and yearning for a better life that none of the regulars, breath-taking though they are, ever match.
It may be that all great shows, and all great writing and production teams, and indeed almost everyone who has passion for their work or any venture, find a time in his/her/its life when all's done, nothing hindered nothing feared and everything achieved; for original Star Trek this was it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's this planet rich in dilithium crystals, but the people (a
pacifist society that do not believe in violence, but they also refrain
from dealing with others because of the potential in this philosophy
suffering when in relation with other beings) aren't interested in
partnering with others, even though Kirk promises only amicable
relations with them. When returning to the Enterprise, a lightning
storm of considerable magnitude causes a transporter malfunction that
sends the away team (Kirk, Uhura, Bones, and Scotty) into an alternate
universe where the ship's crew is savage, treacherously calculating,
self-absorbed, inhumane, and sadistic. The desire for power, status,
position, and rank is of the utmost importance and to attain what they
want the Federation of this universe are conquerers, concerned with
what their conquests bring "The Empire". Consider this the Mr. Hyde
Enterprise crew. Sufficed to say, Kirk and company want to return to
their proper universe which will require some ingenuity, savvy, and
more than a little luck. How to avoid constant attack for his rank of
Captain, Kirk will have to survive the best he can until Scotty can
arrange for them to transport all proper to their true Enterprise.
Mirror, Mirror is a treat if just because it allows the cast to find their inner barbarian and play around with a darker side of human nature where reward comes with taking what you want through chicanery, deceit, and murder. Through his short time on the Enterprise from the Darkside, Kirk learns that his mirror evil self has used a device to make his superiors and enemies "disappear" in order to achieve his rank of Captain. Spock, even if a more savage Vulcan version, still operates under the logic of the orders demanded of the Empire, pressuring Kirk to execute the people on the planet below so they can take the dilithium crystals from them without their permission. Sure they give them a chance to just hand over the crystals despite their principles, but ultimately, the Empire will take them with or without their okay. Kirk delays the orders, which earns Spock's suspicions. Takei and Koenig both seem to be having a ton of fun in their parts as devious monsters (Takei even has a long scar down his face and constantly harasses Uhura) after Kirk's spot of Captain. The major developments that take precedence over even the vies for power are Spock's inquisitive pursuit of Kirk's motives behind his seemingly humanistic delays in conquering the people on the planet and trying to circumvent his efforts to stall until Scotty gets everything under operation for transport, and "the Captain's lady", Marlena (the stunning beauty BarBara Luna) awaiting Kirk in his quarters, finding him quizzically affectionate and his halting the use of the "death ray" to kill Spock further gives her pause to question his behavior. That's all part of detaining our heroes and keeping them from successfully hopping the first transport out of these dangerous new environs that offer constant threats of death and peril. The way the bearded, forward Spock continues to throw a monkey wrench in their plans, only to *assist* them at the end is a really cool development, as is the way he damn near overpowers Kirk, Scotty, Bones, and Uhura (he tosses her to the side in a heap and it is startling to see that against a woman in '67) by himself during a major scuffle in the Sick Bay. The dynamic between nervous Uhura and malcontent Sulu offers a good bit of tension, and Chekov nearly taking out Kirk, only to be treated to the pain box (a torture chamber that causes intense agony when officers attempt to kill their commanding officers), gives us a disturbing look into how violence is used so importantly in this universe. There's even a small agony box that is used when officers make minor mistakes, happening when Kirk and company first arrive in this mirror universe. Just a masterfully rendered episode that is proof positive of just how damn good the show could be when firing creatively on all cylinders.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ST:TOS:39 - "Mirror, Mirror" (Stardate: Unknown) - this 39th episode in production, this is another episode in which this specific parallel universe would later spawn future episodes in the succeeding sequel series (5 Deep Space Nine episodes starting with "Crossover", and more recently the 2 part Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" which 'precedes' and establishes how this "Mirror, Mirror" episode universe came to be.) This episode also has another mention of Christopher Pike. Suffice it to say, by itself, this is a very interesting and unique episode that should definitely be watched by any Original Series buff. It is also the episode where you get to see a bearded Spock!
I recently watched an old episode of The Twilight Zone where an astronaut returns to Earth and to a family that isn't quite right. The concept of a parallel universe has been a part of scifi for a long time. In this episode, after negotiating with a planet to gain dilithium crystals, Kirk beams up. At that very time, something happens, sending him into another universe. it contains similar characters though they are beset with avarice and evil. Even Spock has accepted the fact that maintain discipline he must inflict pain on people, even kill them. Of course, if good Kirk is on this starship, his counterpart is on the Enterprise we know. Of course, here comes the fun. The good Kirk must figure out what happened and find some way to turn things back. The other Kirk sticks out like a sore thumb but has the power of his position. So things aren't so easy to remedy. This is a wonderful use of a unique situation and the writers don't waste it. What's neat is that the good Kirk tries to initiate change on the new ship, so he isn't just single minded in his efforts.
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