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The Twilight Zone: The Mirror (1961)
A Lesson on the Pitfalls of Power... and Fake Mustaches
As a story, this episode doesn't seem to go anywhere. It's predictable and the Castro comparisons and Sterling's prediction of his demise did not age as well as Castro himself, who showed us that dictators indeed can hold onto power for a very long time.
As a Latino, the dirty make-up, fake beards, and crappy accents are hard to overlook. But the mirror that shows one's would-be assassins and feeds the paranoia of the powerful is a great science fiction concept, one that--in my opinion--saves this episode.
In short, this is not Sterling's best, but I like that he appears to be using current events to spice up these episodes. At the time, audiences probably really enjoyed this condemnation of Castro (that reinforced all of their stereotypes about Latino politics). In our time, we can appreciate it as a reflection of the fears of the past, fears that turned out to be well-founded.
SGU Stargate Universe: Space (2010)
SGU, Now with Aliens!
This episode has its plot holes (especially, the heavy-handed use of coincidence), but it still stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable from the first season. I agree with the previous post in that aliens shouldn't all speak English. So, the miscommunication presented here shows some progress (No one really explained why every species in SG1 spoke or understood English). In short, this is a tense and popcorn-worthy episode. I especially liked the scenes with a desperate and violent Rush. It seems he finds his inner badass in captivity and ends up beating an alien to death with a piece of tubing torn from the wall.
SGU Stargate Universe: Justice (2009)
It seems that die-hard Stargate fans hate this show because it violates the tone and feel of the original. I trudged through the entire Stargate catalog, and although there were definitely some great episodes buried in there, most of the series came across as being Sci-fi light with all of the space travel, evil monsters, and imaginary problems caused by imaginary technology and solved by even more unlikely and imaginary tech, it lacked the depth, social commentary, and transcendence that great fiction needs. Don't get me wrong, SG1 is great if you are looking for something to watch with your kids, something entertaining but superficial. In contrast, SGU seems to have copied the tone of Battlestar and the result is a darker, grittier, and more mature show than previous Stargate offerings, as evidenced by this episode.