Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Crossover   Rewatch 
September 16, 2015 12:11 PM - Season 2, Episode 23 - Subscribe

Kira and Bashir accidentally cross to the Mirror Universe, where a Klingon-Cardassian alliance rules, Terrans are enslaved, and no one has discovered the wormhole to the Gamma quadrant. A century before, James T. Kirk had made a similar crossover, affecting human and galactic history.

The Script
http://www.st-minutiae.com/academy/literature329/443.txt

Trivia
* A sequel to the iconic 1967 episode of The Original Series: "Mirror, Mirror." (Fanfare discussion.)
* Michael Piller commented: "We've been pitched "Mirror, Mirror" sequels since Star Trek: The Next Generation began, and I wasn't interested. But I couldn't get away from the fact that it would be interesting know what happened after "Mirror, Mirror" finished. I couldn't escape the idea that Kirk's influence in the world that he left might have been profound and changed history. What would be more of a gross violation of the Prime Directive? Ira [Behr] said, 'What if he actually screwed things up?' Spock listened to what he said and then they turned this evil empire into a much more gentle empire that was conquered and taken over by the Klingons, the Cardassians and others. I was watching Schindler's List and I was thinking if I were a little older, I could have been in one of those camps in Poland. If Germany had won the war, I would not be here doing what I am doing today. I guarantee you. I was very pleased with the way the script turned out".
* Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe wrote the fall of the Terran Empire into the script as an analogy for the fall of the Roman Empire to barbarians and the Chinese Dynasty to the Mongols. He also wanted to illustrate that if an Empire is as brutal as the Terran Empire was in "Mirror, Mirror", there were probably reasons why it was so brutal and he wished to convey the message that, in such circumstances, one cannot change things overnight, and even the actions of Captain Kirk can have severe consequences; "Empires aren't usually brutal unless there's a reason. There are usually external or internal pressures that cause them to be that way. So I just thought that if the parallel Earth was that brutal, there had to be a reason. And the reason was that the barbarians (the Klingons and the Cardassians) were at the gate."
* After this episode aired, there was a great deal of discussion about how sexy and alluring Nana Visitor was as the Intendant, with the costume she wore garnering a great deal of attention. According to costume designer Robert Blackman, the general consensus amongst fans was that it was the revealing costume that gave Visitor this new level of seductiveness, but Blackman disagrees; "It's not that I've exposed more of her body - it's exposed pretty much the same way it always is. What's the difference? She's the difference. It's how Nana wears it. It's what she does. She walks like a provocative woman, with her legs crossing in front. She uses her hips, and a whole other kind of body English than she normally uses."

Quotes
Intendant Kira: "Almost a century ago, a Terran starship Captain named James Kirk accidentally exchanged places with his counterpart from your side due to a transporter accident. Our Terrans were barbarians then, but their Empire was strong. While your Kirk was on this side, he met a Vulcan named Spock and somehow had a profound influence on him. Afterwards, Spock rose to commander in chief of the Empire by preaching reforms, disarmament, peace. It was a remarkable turnabout for his people. Unfortunately for them, when Spock had completed all these reforms, his empire was no longer in any position to defend itself against us."
Kira: "Us?
Intendant Kira: "The Alliance. The historic coming together of the Klingons and Cardassians."

---

"Smiley" O'Brien [to the Intendant]: "This man is a doctor where he comes from. And there's an O'Brien there, just like me... except he's some kind of high-up chief of operations. And they're Terrans. Can you believe that? Maybe it's a fairy tale he made up, but it started me thinking how each of us might have turned out had history been just a little different. I wanted him to take me with him because, whatever it's like where he's from, it's gotta be better than this. There's got to be something better than this."
posted by zarq (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I love this episode so much! It has everything! Hot Kira-on-Kira Action! Vulcan Bath Attendants! Dread Pirate Sisko! Headbands! Bashir Gets Sent to the Video for Madonna's "Express Yourself"! Garak Throws Shade! Nana Visitor CHEWS. ALL. THE. SCENERY! Trouble Oop At Mill! Terrible Evening Wear!*



OK, so the evening wear isn't that terrible. I mean, it's not the dress from Pretty In Pink, but Lord it isn't good.

This is what happens when the best tailor on the station is trying to assassinate you and take your job.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:19 PM on September 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


This was pretty great, if for no other reason than that it didn't go the same route that so many other would-be "Mirror, Mirror" sequels did. There had been a bunch of books and comics and fanfics featuring the Mirror Universe, but most of them (at least the ones I saw) seemed to be more concerned with what the new uniforms (for the TOS movie era and TNG) would look like "mirrorized" than with anything really interesting regarding the basic premise. Even Diane Duane, whose other Trek novels I've admired (especially Spock's World, which tells all of Vulcan history), wrote Dark Mirror, which basically just mapped the mirror TNG crew to the same sort of roles as the mirror TOS crew (the ruthless security chief, the non-human urged by the prime-universe captain to throw off his shackles, the vengeful younger crew member, etc.). Part of what I like about the DS9 creative team is that, while they obviously appreciated existing canon, particularly TOS (see "Blood Oath"), they didn't feel bound to do the obvious things with it, so no, you don't get Jean-Luc Picard in a sleeveless jerkin and a gold sash, you get humans working in the space mines and Bajorans gleefully being dicks literally right alongside the Cardassians.

And, wow, did Nana Visitor obviously have fun with the part. One of the interesting things about the mirror counterparts is that it's suggested that they're really not all that different from their prime-universe doubles, save for the difference in history; thus, the Intendant is who Kira might have become, if she'd been raised under the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance rather than the Bajoran Occupation; mirror-Sisko a result of his not having had the disciplining influence of Starfleet on his life; mirror-Garak if he hadn't been exiled from Cardassia; etc.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:16 PM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yet another example of DS9 diving into TOS canon in a way the TNG producers seemed practically afraid to touch and doing it really well.

Visitor is incredible. I'm pretty sure Intendent Kira would bone her mirror universe self if the opportunity presented itself.

I also enjoyed seeing Odo explode like pudding.
posted by dry white toast at 6:24 AM on September 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull, I gasped in horror when I saw the evening wear pantsuits.

One of the interesting things about the mirror counterparts is that it's suggested that they're really not all that different from their prime-universe doubles, save for the difference in history; thus, the Intendant is who Kira might have become, if she'd been raised under the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance rather than the Bajoran Occupation; mirror-Sisko a result of his not having had the disciplining influence of Starfleet on his life; mirror-Garak if he hadn't been exiled from Cardassia; etc.

I really don't see that, and that's exactly what I don't love about the mirror universe. What evidence do we have that Kira would be a cruel despot in any circumstances? Or that she would prefer showing off power to actually being a good ruler? Or that she's narcissistic? I love watching the actors in their new roles but I don't really buy that the characters as we know them would ever act like this, or I guess, if they would, the reality is so removed from the one we know that the fact that they look the same as our DS9 crew is a total coincidence. I prefer an AU where the split from reality is a little more recent so the characters are not utterly different people. I get that this is all baggage from the original TOS episode, but I'd actually love to see an episode that addressed, say, what if Sisko never lost his wife? or what if Kira had been adopted by Cardassians? It feels like a missed opportunity to just make everyone evil and kinda gay.

I can never get enough of Avery Brooks' scenery chewing, though.
posted by chaiminda at 12:23 PM on September 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think in terms of Intendant Kira's narcissism/grandiosity, it's probably related to Major Kira being a very charismatic person as well (to the point where she is sidelined by the provisional government as a potential challenge to their leadership). Certainly they are equally as ruthless, but for different reasons. think the Indendant is Kira without the focus given to her by the occupation and a leadership role in the resistance (presumably Bajor joined the Alliance when she was much younger), and without the stabilizing aspect of her spirituality. I recall that in a later crossover episode, it is indicated that religion did not play nearly as strong a role in Bajoran society on that side, even during the Terran occupation.


I do like that, as in the Buffyverse, everyone in the DS9 mirror universe is just a bit more kinky. I could easily picture the Indendant saying "Bored now."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's a bit of an interesting piece of trivia that the actor who played Dr. Bashir and the actress who played Major Kira were married for awhile a few years after this episode.

I kinda liked that Dr. Bashir was a bore before they landed in the mirror universe. I like seeing the development of a character who is kinda unlikable, but in a way that relates to ordinary lived experience.

I could believe Nana Visitor as evil Kira. At times it verged a bit too much into caricature (as opposed to mere flamboyance), but overall she was as believable as regular Kira. One thing I have discussed with a fellow Trek friend, as this is my first watching of DS9, is how I actually am not a huge fan of Sisko. I like the character fine and Avery Brooks is a great actor, but he often seems to be acting on a different show. He has a certain paused, stagey breathy way of speaking that doesn't always seem to be parallel to the people he is talking to. He also often opts out of making believable direct eye contact.

So, this episode was quite interesting in that Avery Brooks seemed much, MUCH more natural as pirate Sisko. Some of it was a more relaxed posture, but he also did a more natural job of talking to Kira during the scene where she tried to guilt him into helping her.
posted by Slothrop at 3:57 PM on September 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sisko doesn't really seem comfortable in his own skin until the shaved head and the goatee. It's like Riker's beard.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:38 PM on September 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I remember thinking Sisko was kind of an elusive presence in the early years of the show. He could be great, but sometimes he did seem kind of odd and remote. But yeah, around the time Brooks shaves his head it's like everything clicks into place. He becomes so good that his early episodes get better in hindsight, just because I like the character so much.

I loved the Mirror Universe episodes, but I thought it was a shame they blew up evil Odo. I mean, an evil Odo could have REALLY been scary as hell.

I was always under the impression that the Mirror Universe people are like the worst tendencies of the regular characters, taken to extremes. So it's not that Kira herself could have become this madwoman, it's more like Intendant Kira is our Kira's id run amok. Some characters do seem to just be straightforward reversals, though. (MU Quark is a nice guy, and I suppose it makes sense that that's Quark's id. Helping people selflessly would be shameful to him!)

It is really unfortunate that these evil counterpart stories in various franchises so often become "everybody is kinky and kind of gay" (and I think DS9 may have blazed that particular trail) but it is so much FUN when it's done well. Seeing evil bisexual Kira vamp it up and Garak and Worf doing their freaky leash games is just. so. fun. It feels genuinely subversive, because oh my God it's Star Trek... but everybody is kinky and kind of gay! On Star Trek!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:23 AM on September 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Makes me wish they'd done an AU Farscape episode where everyone is sane and vanilla!
posted by chaiminda at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd actually love to see an episode that addressed, say, what if Sisko never lost his wife? or what if Kira had been adopted by Cardassians?

Well, the second may very well be true--the Cardassians and Bajorans certainly aren't enemies here, and the Intendant is wearing a uniform with the combined Klingon and Cardassian insignia; I can just imagine what must have been going through prime-Kira's mind when she saw that. As for the former, well, even though this isn't spoiler-free space... well, let's just say that this isn't the last mirror-universe episode of DS9. (AFAWK, the Borg never visited the Alpha Quadrant in the mirror universe.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:41 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


(AFAWK, the Borg never visited the Alpha Quadrant in the mirror universe.)

Maybe in the MU they were extreme isolationists. "We are the Borg. We want nothing to do with your biological and technological distinctiveness and we are going away now. You have been rejected. Any attempts to be friendly are futile."

Either that, or they were like a friendly commune of peace and love space hippies, and their first contact with the Terran Empire ended with them being brutally slaughtered.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:33 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


what if Kira had been adopted by Cardassians?

In a way she is adopted by a Cardassian, namely by Tekeny Ghemor in Second Skin.
posted by juiceCake at 7:41 AM on September 20, 2015


they were like a friendly commune of peace and love space hippies

"Hey, we're, like, the Borg? And we like to just sort of hang around and groove with each other in a freaky common-consciousness kind of thing. You can jam with us or just do your own thing, whatever, it's all groovy. Peace out, brother."
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:00 AM on September 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


« Older The Mindy Project: While I Was...   |  America's Next Top Model: The ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments