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94- In a Mirror Darkly Pt 1
95- In a Mirror Darkly Pt 2
96- Demons
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98- Trip Dies in Riker's Holodeck!

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Enterprise review: "In a Mirror Darkly, Part 1".
(Episode 94)

Reviewed by Richard Whettestone.
Mirror Spock

THE PREMISE: An illogical mess that's only entertaining by the default use of being in an alternate universe where nothing matters, allowing the writers to do things they won't do for real on the show. Also, a Wizard stopped by.

"In a Mirror Darkly, Part 1"
Written by Mike Sussman


star Gold Star Bonus!

The Tholian. I liked it.


The Default Entertainment Value:

Was this episode entertaining? Yes. But that doesn't matter. Why? Two reasons. The first, because the episode doesn't matter. It's not about any of the main characters. The second, because all alternate scenarios are by default going to be far more entertaining than the real thing. And why should we give the writers credit for a default cop-out that's 9 times out of 10 going to be better than the regular show anyway, no matter who writes it. It works like this:

The entertainment value of this episode comes from the fact that it's set in an alternate universe or an alternate timeline or a dream scenario where the writers can do anything they want to create excitement and suspense, and create the illusion that big stuff is really happening, like killing off a main character or blowing up the ship, both of which happened here. Because in the end it's a "Reset Button" episode and none of it effects our main characters on the "real" show. When you visit an alternate universe, as a writer, you have no obligation to keep everything the same and you don't have any long-term consequences to deal with if you blow everything up. So you do. And therefore it's more exciting. Even though in the end nothing happened to the main characters at all and you're back to where you started.

So when Star Trek did "Mirror, Mirror" in 1967, they killed off I don't remember who, but they did. When StarGate SG-1 visited an alternate Earth in 1998's "There But For the Grace of God", the entire planet was over-run by the Goa'uld. When StarGate revisited another alternate Earth in 1999's "Point of View", the Goa'uld over-ran yet another Earth. Alternate versions of the Sliders gang were killed all the time on that show. An alternate future on Doctor Who had the entire planet over-run by Daleks. In 2005 StarGate changed history in a two-parter and killed all four main characters - twice - before resetting history right. That same year StarGate: Atlantis learned there was an alternate timeline version where the city's shields collapsed and everybody was killed except Dr. Weir, who managed to travel back in time to stop it. An alternate future of The Next Generation's series finale "All Good Things" killed off Counslor Troi. G.I.Joe visited an alternate Earth in 1985's "Worlds without End" two-part episode, in which they actually found the skeletal remains of several dead Joes, while Cobra had taken over the world. In the mean time, one of the main Joes who had died in this universe was actually having a relationship with the Baroness!!!! You see? By default, exciting things happen when you have expendable versions of the characters who don't count.

Yeah, technically the Mirror Universe is happening, but it doesn't effect ours. We won't go there for 100 years until Kirk went there once, by accident, and left it open ended. Then 100 years after that we visit a Mirror Deep Space 9 a few times (once again killing off alternate versions of main characters almost every visit). But because in the "real" universe of the show the writers can't or won't kill off a main character or really blow up the ship, both the cast and crew get energized about these types of episodes (and it shows), when the cast and crew actually get to go somewhere and do something that the writers won't let them ever do in the regular episodes. So of course it's going to be good. No matter what show. No matter who writes it. That's why "Twilight" was so good. That's why Voyager's "Year of Hell", "Before and After" and "Timelies" were so good. But the "real" show is still boring and plodding along with nothing happening.


T'Pol A Wizard Did It.

Science-Fiction fans have a phrase they use to describe stupid plot holes that defy explanation: A Wizard Did It.

The Constitution-class starship Defiant gets pulled into an alternate universe. Yeah, okay. That was already established.

Evil Mirror Universe versions of our characters exist in an alternate Universe. Yeah, okay. That was already established.

The USS Defiant just happens to travel back in time, without any explanation, to the time period of ENT's Mirror Universe characters. Uhm... A Wizard did it.


T'Pol Yeah, a Wizard did that, too.

In "The Tholian Web", it took forever for TWO Tholian ships, one of which was damaged, to build a complete web around the completely still Defiant and Enterprise. Yet here, 100 years in the past, alternate universe Tholians can shoot a complete laser cage within seconds around a ship that has the ability to maneuvar and is firing everything it's got.

Whatever. Get back to me when you get either of the two universes consistant with what we KNOW.


T'Pol That Wizard's Everywhere. He's absolutely unstoppable!

Tucker implies to T'Pol that the reason they had sex was her Pon Farr, then asked when it was coming around again.

Besides the fact that this show is still contradicting the established history that only Vulcan males go through the Pon Farr, this episode is now implying that T'Pol had gone through the Pon Farr at some point in the past four years. If this Mirror T'Pol had gone through it, then that would mean our regular T'Pol had gone through it too - but she didn't.

The only time T'Pol went through the Pon Farr was prematurely triggered due to some kind of alien radiation ("Bounty"), so that wasn't it. And they never had her go through regular Pon Farr. If they're now trying to claim T'Pol has sex with Trip because of Pon Farr, that was never stated, nor was it even implied before. On screen she said it was only an "experiment." So are the writers now saying that was T'Pol's Pon Farr? Because they didn't say it a year ago when it happened.

I remember when Voyager dragged on and on the question of Tuvok's Pon Farr, as curious fans anxiously waited for years to watch Tuvok and Janeway go at it, only to have it thrown into the background of a last season episode, in which Tuvok overcame it with the help of meditation and Tom Paris. The only legitimate excuse the Producers had to bring sex into the show, and they only had one good shot every seven years, and they now messed up both.

So did T'Pol already go through her Pon Farr? Sadly, it's clear the writers don't even know and it's clear they'll just change it again to suit their writing needs.


Reed A Wizard made us Evil!

Apparently, if you're in an evil alternate universe, you lack common sense and the ability to reason. Archer gave Captain Forest a plan to go into Tholian space to check something out. Forest then said that Archer just wanted his own ship and the Emperor to pin a medal on him, followed by some pointless evil threats. It's already established that Archer is incompetant in our universe, and now we know Archer is incompetant in their universe, too. Because it never occurred to Archer to point out to Forest that as Captain of the Enterprise, Forest would be getting the medals pinned to his chest first. Nor did it occur to Forest either. Just because a character is evil, doesn't automatically make him stupid. That's bad writing. Or a 1980's cartoon villian. And that's exactly what happened here.

Forest had good reason to head back to Earth - the fleet and the war. But good writing wouldn't have conveniently had Forest forget, overlook or not realise these opportunities Archer was bringing to him. Having a character who only sees one way is boring. Having the same character realise there's two options and having him come to that conclusion is another. His decision isn't the point. The point is the writers never gave the character the opportunity to make that decision. The writers purposely wrote Forest to not see any options, and the writers purposely wrote Archer to not be able to reason or make his point. Then they spend the next half an episode shooting each other's men in pointless back and forth attempts to take over the ship, which only ends the way it started: Forest is still Captain and Archer is still Commander. Killing anybody who walks through the corridor was the writers attempt at making the characters look evil. It only worked to make them look stupid. Especially when you consider that they are willing to kill nameless crewmembers, yet never their own enemies.

Then after the Captain and Commander end up killing a dozen bystanders among their own crew, only then do the writers bother to have the characters use their brains to reason, think, explore, question, etc. The decisions they come to should have been the revelation to the viewers that they are evil, not the fact that they never got a chance to make any decisions due to really bad writing. Then half the episode goes by.


Admiral Forrest Why didn't the Wizard put me in the Opening Credits? I was the Captain after all. I hate that Wizard.

You redo the entire opening credits sequence to give the impression that this is a whole new show, to give the feeling that it's happening somewhere else for real, then go and lists the CAPTAIN OF THE ENTERPRISE for the last four Mirror-Universe years as a guest-star? Giving the Commander top billing?

Yeah, you had contracts with Bakula and stuff that says he's the star. But the actor wouldn't take a backseat for ONE episode for Vaughn Armstrong can be listed before him? Unfortunately it either never occured to the Producers, or it did but they were cowards and wouldn't bring it up to Bakula, or they did but greedy Bakula said no, and I'm pretty sure it was one of the first two explanations involving the Producers and Writers lacking imagination or bravery.

If this was a real television series set in the Mirror Universe like they tried to create the feel and illusion of, Vaughn Armstrong would have been credited in the opening - and credited first.


Reed and Archer I'm sorry Captain. We searched every deck. We can't find the Wizard. But Mayweather found a wand with a gold star on the end, so we know he was here. I suggest we go to tactical alert.

The best chance you have of revealing what caused the Mirror Universe to branch off from our own, and you don't? Yeah it opened with Zephram Cochrane shooting a Vulcan. But then what made Zephram Cochrane already evil before this event took place? Then Archer says the Vulcans had an invasion party. If that's true, then whatever made this universe branch off of our own had already occured some time before First Contact even took place.


Tucker God Damn Wizard!!!

Daniels spends three years whining about the Temporal Cold War and how big bad Future Guy, who the writers wrote away without ever revealing his identity, controlled and manipulated the Suliban as his army. Then earlier this season the writers made the Temporal Cold War "go away" by having last-minute aliens-of-the-weeks show up for Archer to stop, followed by Daniels telling us that the whole war "never happened".

We also learned in "Azati Prime" that the Sphere Builders had the ability to scan alternate universes/timelines and only found one in which they were destroyed, our universe. Which is why they tricked the Xindi into attacking Earth.

Yet here we learned the Temporal Cold War must still be happening, and is happening in the Mirror Universe, because THIS Enterprise has the Suliban Cell Ship with cloaking technology, something Future Guy gave them the ability to build. And thanks to the opening credits where we saw THIS Enterprise fighting off the Xindi and Sphere Builders, somehow the Sphere Builders decided to try to use the Xindi to attack Earth in a universe in which they WEREN'T destroyed.

And this incredible gap in logic and common sense all occurs in the opening credits sequence.


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