Episode 54: The Mirror Universe (DIS 5×05 Mirrors)

Rob: Hello and welcome.

It is me, Rob, and with me is Kevin
Yank, and we are back with Subspace

Radio because new Star Trek is out.

Out there, in the universe, and we
need to talk about it, don't we, Kevin?

Kevin: Hailing frequencies open, Rob.

We sure do.

Rob: Let's do this.

There is a new episode.

It is from Discovery.

It is its final season.

We are up to episode 5, Mirrors,
and we're here to talk about it.

And that inspires us to
talk about other topics.

That's what we do here at Subspace Radio.

We talk about the broader oeuvre, as
it were, in this wonderful franchise.

Kevin: And this week we will
be talking about the mirror

universe in all its, incarnations.

Rob: Yes, there was a bit of talk leading
up into this episode about, you know,

it's Discovery's return to the Mirror
Universe, and then you watch the episode,

Kevin: Not so much.

Rob: It's adjacent.


We don't throw ourselves heavily
into the universe like we

did in Season 1 of Discovery.

Kevin: Well, they certainly
did it in season one.

I'm not sure what's left to do.

So yeah, perhaps not surprising
that we weren't doing a full return,

but, uh, you definitely, you put the
word mirror in a Star Trek episode

title and you are making a promise.

Rob: And the fans will come.

Because there are huge fans of the
Mirror Universe episodes of Star

Trek and I'm looking forward to
finding out your opinion of it.

Because we've kind of danced around
Mirror Universe stuff, but we've

never done a deep dive, I believe.

Kevin: I don't have a whole
lot to say about this episode.

It kind of came and went.

Um, and I don't know if it was
just the promise of finding the

ISS Enterprise, Captain Kirk's ISS
Enterprise, from the original Mirror,

Mirror episode of the original series.

Finding it floating in a pocket of space.

That kind of went, whoa, okay,
we're doing something here.

And then it didn't really amount to much.

It was a place to run
around and have fights in.

And it got towed off into the
sunset at the end of the episode.

And I felt like we didn't really do much
with the platform that was created here.

How about you?

Rob: Yeah, it was, it was very
much an episode of, this was

the episode we've been, I put
in inverted commas, waiting for.

Let's find out about our
two antagonists in this,

Kevin: It was, it was mostly a
backstory episode from Moll and

L'ak and the unveiling of the Breen
as a species as well, somewhat.

Rob: Finally seeing their faces
for the first time, um, as it were.

But yeah, so it seemed a case of, um,
they've got two ideas and they've sort of

like smashed them together and they don't
gel and there's no connection at all.

So you've got this backstory of these
characters and their forbidden love

and their, and their growing connection
and their, um, their dependence

on each other, um, the revelation
of why they are doing what they're

doing, why they are on the run.

And then tying that with this connection
to Star Trek canon, um, it's to just be

the platform for them to tell this story.

There's no, for me, there was no
gelling and no blending and it didn't

really coordinate well for me, and
like, especially, it seems so much of

a case of we have to have it on the
Enterprise, but there's no crew here,

so we don't need to worry about that.

So, everything that has happened, we talk
about, and everyone's very emotional,

especially, well, Burnham's always you
know, has her emotions on her sleeve,

are talking about these mirror universe
characters and all this exciting stuff

that happened, like it happened off stage.


It's like I was watching, you know,
watching Greek theater in sci fi.

Oh, this amazing stuff
happened just over there.

Just over there.

You want to bring it on stage?

No, no, no.

No, it's just over there.

So we find out about even the
mirror verse Saru is a good guy.

there going.

Oh, come on.

Kevin: Well, yeah, and we already
knew that Captain Kirk had

managed to turn mirror Spock to
the, to the light, so to speak.

Um, and we knew from Deep Space
Nine that that had not gone so well.

Rob: Did not go well at all

Kevin: Yes.

And the fact that Spock, that mirror
Spock is kind of, you know, there's

that moment where Burnham's on the
bridge looking at Spock's station and

going, Oh, that's where my brother
would have sat on this Enterprise.

Um, kind of reflecting on this mirror
version of her brother, wistfully, and

not knowing what had become of him.

He was probably strung up for high
treason against the Terran Empire.

Rob: The only thing that would have
survived of him was his evil goatee.

Kevin: I've heard a couple of other
takes on this episode where people are

saying, if you go there, it is a clear
opportunity to give a glimpse of some

Mirror characters, even if they're not
there because it's so distant in the

past now, there's maybe a log entry
or something like that, and we see, we

see Mirror Ethan Peck with a goatee,
or we see, uh, mirror Action Saru, like

both of those characters could have
had cameos in this episode, but didn't.

And, uh, I've heard some, you know,
fan theories that that was the intent

with this episode, but the actor
scheduling didn't quite work out and

they had to, had to pivot at the last
minute, but it leaves this episode

feeling like a beautiful stage and
nothing is really played on that stage.

Rob: Yeah, very much so.

It just seemed like, you know, the old
days of, um, of Star Trek in the 90s where

they had to borrow each other's uniforms.

So, like, Riker's in, um, a Deep
Space Nine uniform, I believe.

Was that something from Generations?

Where you're just going, um, let's
just use the, you know, Strange New

Worlds set and, uh, mess it up a bit.

Kevin: So I have it straight in my head,
because the, as you most of the action

in this episode is implied off screen,
and so what I, what I understand is

that Mirror Spock, his crew of the ISS
Enterprise, which was fighting for reforms

in the Terran Empire, was driven out
by the powers that be, that it became

a ship of refugees who fled into the
Prime Universe that we know, and got

stuck somehow in this transdimensional
space, like they made it 99 percent

of the way into our universe, but not
quite and ended up kind of lodged in

this pocket from which they then fled
into our universe to take up lives, uh,

as normal people, you know, just, uh,
don't mention the war sort of thing.

Rob: Don't mention the war, yeah,
all led by the heroic Mirror Saru.

Kevin: That's right.

And Dr.

Carmen Cho, which is a name that was
dropped at the end of this episode.

So prominently that I thought,
surely that is meant to be someone

we knew about, but no, that was a a
character created for this episode.

Rob: Just for that?

Kevin: Yeah, never mentioned before and,
uh, we may never, uh, mention them again.

But the, this junior science officer
who came to our universe on board

this ISS Enterprise and took up
life in the Federation, became

a scientist, this researcher,
these researchers working with Dr.

Vellek on the Progenitors' tech,
decided, okay, I am going to hide one

of the clues on that ship that I was
a refugee on and so they return to the

pocket universe to drop the key on the
ship and this is meant to be a lesson

that I have already forgotten to the
who are seeking the Progenitor's tech.

This character we've never heard of
before, who is a refugee, escaped

the Mirror Universe, became a well
respected scientist in the Federation,

only to return to their wrecked
ship, to leave a clue for people

hundreds of years later to discover.

It is so convoluted, and it really
doesn't amount to anything, is the thing.

Like, I'm okay with, with canon backflips
if they are in service of something,

but there was nothing really here.

Rob: No, there was a lot of, there was
a lot of to ing and fro ing and moving

and shaking and all these big things that
they were, you know, signaling that we had

to feel connected with and feel the awe
of, because it was only half of what the

episode was about, and really that half
was kind of in the background, it didn't

really hit anything it was meant to.

Even that shot of, uh, the Enterprise
right at the end being pulled out

into, you know, a thousand years
in the future to live again, I'm

there, yeah, the Mirrorverse, uh,
Enterprise, live again, I'm there

going, is that going to come back?

If it does, it should, but will it?

I don't know, because

Kevin: It's hard to understand how
it could, like, this wrecked ancient

ship, like, what, what is it gonna
do to the story of this season?

I don't know.

Rob: Exactly, is there
going to be another Burn?

And so therefore, you know, um,
Yeah, the only thing that works

is the old analog spaceship.

I don't know.

I'm not even gonna try
and predict anymore.

I will stop there.


Kevin: But all said I think the true
tragedy of this episode is that once

they free that ISS Enterprise from the
the rift, the job of piloting it back

to Starfleet Headquarters is given to
Owosekun and Detmer and not Rhys who we

have learned, prominently, is the biggest
fan of the Constitution class starship.

Rob: Yes, so let's focus on the
main story, the finding out the,

the two star crossed lovers.

Kevin: Yeah, what did you think of
this unveil of the Breen cargo bay?

Rob: The big reveal … of a cargo bay.

Everything happens there.

A romance happens over like
many, many months or something.

Apparently, they've got like a whole
discreet suite where they can just hang

out in a cargo bay share their feelings.

Yeah, look, it was like, because we were
talking about what species is, uh, is

he from, and I was there going, he's a
little bit Klingon, he's a little bit, so

therefore, like, when it was revealed to
be the Breen, I'm there going, ah, okay.

Kevin: It there all along too.

In the very first episode, they
had the helmets on with the, with

the light, uh, the horizontal
Cylon light across their eyes.

And, that, that's a signature of the
Breen as we saw them in Deep Space Nine.

Rob: It is, I was missing the kind
of horse face metal, uh, Breen faces,

because the Breen are very uncool,

Kevin: Yeah, they're
walking tin cans, really.

Rob: Very much so.

And they do feel like they should be
coming from a different franchise.

But I always loved the fact that
they looked absolutely ridiculous.

I love their sound.

But they tried to make them too cool here.

They redesigned the heads.

I'm going no no no no no no no no no

Kevin: get away with that.

They were

Rob: never that cool.

You don't understand the Breen.

The Breen are not cool.

That's what makes them cool.

Kevin: These are the future
Breen though, you know, they've

had time to get their together.

Rob: I knew you'd use that excuse.

So many other people are
gonna use that excuse.

I'm going no, no, no.

Once you're uncool, you're always uncool.

It's cultural, it's ingrained, it's
a race of memory, um, so yes, I

mean, uh, the performance of both
actors who are playing Moll and

L'ak, they're very good performers.

I love, um, the guy playing
L'ak, he's doing quite a lot

Kevin: I agree with that, they were
doing a lot with a little in this

Rob: episode.


Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And, uh, he's doing a lot online
of sharing his experience and how,

uh, humbled he is to be doing Star
Trek and all that type of stuff.

So that's lovely to see.

Um, but it's the usual thing.

You're there going, alright, okay,
this is the episode where they

try and reason with the bad guys.

We find out more about the bad guys
and the bad guys aren't gonna reason.

Um, and so, it's a common trope, there
was no way that any ground was gonna be

made, um, they've just escaped, so if
there's gonna be any changes to their,

you know, morals, or their, or their
philosophy, it's gonna come down later

down the track, this is the episode where
they try, and there's no possible way

in hell, Kevin, that they're ever going
to be able to find any common ground.

Kevin: It reminded me a lot of what we saw
of the Orion homeworld on Lower Decks in

the most recent season where we, you know,
we learned Tendi is this crown princess.

She's part of this royal family who has,
you know, heir to some, some throne or,

or fortune, and it's, we learn here it's
the same for L'ak, like L'ak is a minor

functionary in a, in a major family who I
guess just does not have, uh, his loyalty

in the end and he ends up betraying them.

And gets a blood curse put on him of
some kind that they're going to chase

him down to the ends of the galaxy.

Uh, so yeah, I was waiting for the
moment that he did the unforgivable

thing that would earn him the blood
curse and in the end he kind of shoots

a couple people in the shoulder.

Very, very careful not to kill anybody,
and I guess that is meant to reinforce

the unreasonableness of the Breen, that,
you know, these, just shooting these

important people in the shoulder is enough
to earn you, uh, a, a death sentence.

So I wonder just how much, you know,
we, like we did in Lower Decks, we're

going to return to the Breen homeworld
and, and re meet these people and

finally talk them into some form of
reason, or talk them down from their

plan to, to kill off L'ak and Moll.

Uh, I don't know, it, it feels like
that's where this is headed, and

it's, it feels very parallel to what
we were doing in Lower Decks, to me.

Rob: Yes, it feels like a very parallel to
Lower Decks, but Lower Decks did it well.

Um, proves, it proves, um, like,
the limitless of animation.

So, like, they had, you know, if any,
if anything, Discovery had more time,

um, because not only did Lower Decks
only have half an hour, but they also

still had a split story going on.

But in Lower Decks Orions have
been kind of shown as much or as

little as the Breen, but to show
an entire culture, an entire family

structure, an entire hierarchy, about

Kevin: fly in of the shuttle over
surface of the planet, and we got a

bunch of their structures and signage
and all sorts of things, and here

we got a cargo bay with a couple of
cargo containers and a fancy backdrop.


Rob: That's all we got.

It really showed the limitations of going,
the big reveal of the Breen who have

been, who only came in during the 90s, I
think only, only through Deep Space Nine,

Kevin: were mentioned in an episode
of TNG as a, as a boogeyman sort of,

Oh, this ship is really damaged and it
looks like they encountered the Breen.

Dun, dun,

Rob: The Breen, right.

Kevin: That's, pretty
all we got of the Breen.

Rob: It should have been this
massive, big, incredible moment,

what they were trying to do.

Kevin: Maybe this was like, we don't want
to show too much this episode because

the big reveal is later in the season.

Rob: I just love your,
your optimism, Kevin.

It was a shame, especially because we've
seen it done so well in Lower Decks,

where they just go, okay, we've only got
this time, we've got, yeah, the limitless

of imagination and animation, let's
just show, everything, like you said.

Sweeping vistas, and then this intricate
structure of not only how the, their

fam, Tendi's family is structured, but
also how the society is structured,

and they did it in ten minutes.

And this was an entire, you know,
let's say, let's be generous, twenty

five minutes, and all we got was a
corridor, and a vague idea of curses

and family structure, and it's a
generic one of going, okay, this is

the, the, the young rebellious kid
who's not, who's going against the

family, that's been done 150 times, um,

Kevin: got, uh, got, some, a fair
bit of Book and Moll connection,

around their shared father figure.

Rob: Yes, and that's the thing, they spend
a lot of time talking about a character

we've never met and never seen, and not
really had any invested interest in, and

they're going, let's do an entire episode
talking about this character's past.

Like, unlike Curzon, who we had seven
seasons to find out about and then

occasionally appear in flashbacks
or, you know, taking over Odo.

Kevin: Mm.

Rob: is a character who's kind of
just rocked up and going, you need

to invest in this character now.

And I'm there going, but I don't.

I don't.

I really don't.

So, yeah, it was interesting, and
it's that case of there was no way

they were going to make common ground.

It's that, you know, because we've
been watching these shows so long,

we know how this structure is.

These are the antagonists, they will not,
you know, unless, until you get to near

the final end, where everything comes
to a head, where decisions need to be

made and twists need to be incorporated,
there was nothing going to be, nothing

was going to be achieved here, only,
you know, uh, finding a bit more about

each of the characters past and the
character that we've never met before.

Um, no, I'm not invested in the
previous Book, but, um, how about you?

Did it,

Kevin: No, I'm the same.

starting to become conspicuous that
like they've never cast that role.

Like we've never even seen
that mentor in flashback.

Uh, and when there was so many
other flashbacks this episode, um,

it's surprising that they didn't,
uh, didn't show us a little bit

of those former relationships.

Rob: Because it hasn't played
a big part in Book's character,

Kevin: No, it was really, you
know, when we first met Book, he

explained, I got my name from the
last courier that had this name.

There's always been a Book in this
sector, and that's pretty much it.

Rob: Yeah, so, yeah, the C plot was,
um, the, uh, was our new number one, and

how they take responsibility of being,
uh, the captain on, um, on Discovery.

Kevin: We got to watch Rayner work.

Uh, and he did a good job, like
it was almost an non-event, uh,

because he did a good job, I thought.

Rob: Yeah, and I mean, there's a
reason why he made it to Captain.

He was good at what he did.

He was just a, he's a,
he's a prickly bastard.

It's that, it's that episode, again,
it's that trope where you're going,

ah, the heart of gold is, the heart
of stone is starting to, to melt.

But, you know, you love,
I love seeing that stuff.

I love seeing the hard-ass going, you
know, acknowledging something good.

Kevin: is still working for the show.

Like all, uh, all the bridge crew are,
you feel like they're just slightly

on edge because the grumpy old man
is in charge, uh, this uh, and that

is a nice kind of, uh, energy shift
on that bridge, I think, still.

Rob: Yeah, yeah, the self importance of
Burnham does still shit me when she just

looks at him going, I believe you, man.

I believe in you.

I so much about you.

I believe in you.

And he's there going, well,
thank you for believing in me.

I'm going, Oh ho

Kevin: We did have a conversation about
whether this mission is too dangerous

for the captain to go on this week.

Rob: Yes!

There we go.

That's the one thing I was there,
yeah, I forgot, I can't believe I

forgot that, I've been so caught
up in non mirror universes.

Yeah, she's there going, I'm going
on it, and he literally goes, um, no?

Kevin: It's my job to
say that's a bad idea.

Ha ha ha!

And she goes, good, you did your job.

See you later.

Rob: Because you've only come into this
season, the final season, I've been

doing all the stuff here, this my show.

Kevin: But that is like, that is a true
Starfleet cliché of, uh, you know, it

goes back to Riker and Picard of Riker
saying, I wouldn't be doing my job if

I didn't try to talk you out of this.

And he said, good, you did your job.

I'm going on the mission anyway.

And it's, I, it's, it is a, um.

It is an enjoyable, um, echo through
the years in Star Trek and hearing

it again here, it was like, Ah, good,
you remember what this is meant to be.

Rob: Yes, and I definitely do
appreciate a more prickly connection

as opposed to what it was before
where it was just a love fest.

Everyone loved each other and everyone
was amazing and everything was smug.

It's like the second season of
modern Doctor Who with, uh, David

Tennant and Billy Piper, where
they, there's no conflict at all.

They the, they just, too lovey dovey, and
they're smug, and they travel through time

and space, and they think they're better
than everybody else, and it grates on me.

It really, really, uh, gets my hackles up.

But, and so, this has been a breath
of fresh air to bring, uh, bring

him in and show that, uh, you
know, that difference of opinion.

And conflict, not just for the sake
of it, it's been, you know, quite well

constructed how that, uh, is being done.

Kevin: I'm so torn about it though.

Like I was thinking of it this week
is how much I enjoy Rayner as an

addition to the show, but how many
times has Discovery started a new

season going, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I know we have all these characters
from previous seasons that we haven't

done anything with yet, but this

Rob: Let's bring in a new one.

Kevin: a new character.

Rob: Exactly.

Let's bring in a new guy because you sure
you don't want to, oh, and or they bring

in new people on the bridge, new ensigns
and name them like they've always been

there and they're going no no what no no
don't just bring them on and name them

and and it's sort of like gaslighting
going yeah you've always known these

people you know this character right
that's why we're focusing on you know

this brand new number one yeah they've
always been there all these wide variety

of new characters we're bringing in
they're always here they're always here

you're gonna miss us when we're gone.

And i'm there going, you can't,
you can't manipulate my emotions.

Kevin: mean like Book and Adira
when they went to the 32nd century,

like that is they're new additions
to an already bloated cast, I feel

like, that has not, uh, had its due.

So yeah, on the one hand I feel like it
is almost a shame that yet again, they

are attempting to, I'm gonna unkindly say
fix Discovery, but I, I don't know, like

find a new, uh, a new thing to do with
Discovery with a new character this season

when we, we, whenever they go back to one
of the characters that's been hovering

in the background, it is so satisfying.

Rob: Ah, just, yeah, I'm there going,
it's, we're gonna bring up an impro trope.

Everything you need to finish off
story, is already there, you know,

don't look ahead, look behind, and
yeah, it's, it's classic storytelling

that um, they've dropped the ball.

They've got so many interesting,
uh, wonderful actors

Kevin: In impro, we say, don't reach
outside the circle of expectation.

In Star Trek, it should be like,
don't break the warp bubble, you know?

Rob: Hey, nice, nice.

Look at that, blend, synergy, synergy.

Impro and Star Trek coming together.

Ooh, an improvised Star Trek
show, do you, do I hear you hmm.

ha ha ha.

Alright, so,

Kevin: The mirror universe.

Rob: yes, so, um, let's go where, um,
uh, not many people have gone before.

Well, some shows in the
franchise never went there.

I'm looking at you, TNG.

Some people went there five times!

I'm looking at you, Deep Space Nine.

Um, and uh, and then some people went
there for a two part episode and they

thought they'd do it with completely
no characters from the prime universe,

which I watched last night for the first

Kevin: Oh did you now.

Rob: I watched both episodes, so that's,

Kevin: your tone of voice isn't
speaking highly, but I look

forward to talking about it.

Let's, let's talk about these in order.

I definitely went back and rewatched
Mirror, Mirror from the original series.

Is that a show you're familiar with?

Rob: I'm aware of it, I
haven't watched Mirror, Mirror.

I know, it's like the, it's where
it all started, but I know this

is the, this is in season two?

Kevin: Uh, yes.

Season two.

Mirror, Mirror is season two,
episode 10 of the original series.

And I think we talked about it before as
one of my picks for a great Uhura episode.

Uh, not just because she's going around
in a midriff revealing uniform, but she

has these scenes on the bridge with Evil
Sulu, who is, Evil Sulu is hot for Mirror

Universe Uhura, and uh, is engaging in a
bit of workplace harassment on the bridge.

And Uhura, uh, uses that to their
advantage to distract him in an

opportune moment away from some
lights on his security panel while

they are adjusting the transporter
in order to return to their universe.

So she's, she's playing hard to get
and, uh, you know, holds a knife to

his throat and, and does a, a lot of,
um, a lot of like really cool stuff

because, they play the full richness
of that character's experience.

Not only does Uhura go and have this,
like, superhero moment on the bridge

where she's toying with, uh, evil
Sulu's emotions, but she also has the

conversation with Kirk ahead of time
going, I don't know if I can do this.

This is really freaking me out.

And, Kirk gives her a pep talk
and says, Uhura, you're the

only person that can do this.

We can't do this without you.

And, you know, um, it is a really,
I feel like inspiring, well

rounded moment for that character.

And in reality, like, Mirror, Mirror, I'm,
every time I go back and watch it, I'm

surprised by what a tight package it is.

Like the fact that all this
epic, uh, second universe stuff

grew out of it in canon makes me
think of it as more than it was.

And when I go back and watch it,
it really is a pretty, it feels

like a shorter episode than it is.

Rob: Most of the
expansion happened in DS9,

Kevin: Yeah, that's right.

So really, like, there's a transporter
accident, uh, during negotiations with

a planet for their dilithium supply,
and the planet's saying, look, we

know that the Federation is peaceful
now, but we can't give our dilithium

crystals to, you know, a Starfleet
that might misuse them someday.

So we are morally obligated
not to give you mining rights.

And then they beam up

and they find themselves on the alternate
Enterprise that is ready to blow this

planet out of the stars for refusing
to give them dilithium crystals.

And it's like this nice kind of
mirror on the same mission, even.

And Kirk, who is the captain of the ship
in both universes, he discovers he's

under orders to, to, you know, commit
genocide in order to secure the mining

rights of this planet by whatever means.

And so they are not just trying
to get back to their universe.

Kirk is also trying to avoid committing
genocide without getting himself

killed by his crew who are prepared
to murder him for advancement.

And it's just like this compounding stress
as Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura, who

are the four members of the landing party,
kind of work secretly on this ship to try

and not give themselves away and escape.

And of course, uh, Spock turns out
to be the one that can't be fooled

and, uh, he catches them in the
act of planning to leave the ship.

Uh, and Kirk gives him a talk about you,
you're a man of logic in my universe.

I bet you're the same here.

Surely you can see how all of this
evil empire stuff makes no sense.

And it takes one man to begin change.

And, and, uh, the final
line from, uh, goatee Spock

Rob: is, I am serious,
and don't call me Shirley.

Kevin: I will consider it.

Rob: See, See, I was, I was
doing an airplane reference.

So yeah, it's very much, like, any,
any time in franchises when they

introduce this new concept, it's more,
Less about the universe that they're

in, obviously, it's more the, the
containment of the adventure to get

home, so it's very much, as you were
saying, it's a tight little story with

this hint of the world around it, and
it's then when we return to it that,

um, Deep Space Nine went, let's play.

Let's not only see, let's use the gag
of seeing our well known characters

with their, with all their, you know,
prime universe restrictions off.

Um, but also expand that universe.

And they did, you know, it's
uh, it's, it's how it works.

Start with hints of it, but
focus on getting the, the

adventure of the characters home.

Kevin: that's what I feel like Deep
Space Nine really brought to the table.

Their episode is Crossover,
which is season two, episode 23.

Rob: It is.

Kevin: Um, but it's, as you said, the
first of five episodes in Deep Space Nine.

Rob: Not all of them are
gold, but they, um, they

Kevin: it mildly.

The sad for me for me, they
start strongest and end weakest.

Rob: Look, anytime when you go,
let's take the Ferengi over to the

Mirror Universe, I'm there going,
all right, I think we're out done.

I did like the introduction of, uh,
Jennifer Sisko Mirror Universe version.

That was a kind of nice addition.

I love that going, we've got this
character, we've got this actress who's

only been hinted at and played by, you
know, prophet version of her, um, to

bring the actual actress on to play
a legitimate mirror verse version.

And again, like, I will keep on saying
that one of the most cons you know,

probably the second most no, for me it's
the most consistently excellent, high

quality acting cast of Deep Space Nine.

They can jump throw them into this mirror
universe and it's not cringey at all.

They are genuinely playing mirror
characters, not just, you know,

pantomime versions of their, uh, of
their prime, uh, prime characters.

Kevin: Yeah, I think what Deep, for me,
Deep Space Nine did is they realized what

they had here in a mirror universe is
a playground where irretrievable things

can happen, like characters we know and
love can die or come back to life in


Oh yeah.

Odo takes a phaser shot, explodes
in a pile of goop and it is gone.


Rob: Like, that's in
the first one, isn't it?

That's Crossover.

Kevin: Yeah.


And, uh, the, the realization, I
think that they can take those big

swings, make those big changes.

And then the end of the episode
returned to the regular universe.

It, it, um, it both makes these
episodes extra enjoyable because

we get to see those big swings,
but it also, I think, stretches the

logic of the Mirror Universe a bit.

Because if the Mirror Universe is
this place where everyone is at each

other's throats and killing each
other for advancement at all times,

how do we end up with a universe
that is so close to the one we know

for multiple centuries at a time?

Rob: Well, that's the thing, yeah,
this universe is not sustainable.

The more you spend in there, they're
going, if everyone is so bloodthirsty and

everyone is so violent, everyone literally
will be dead by like the end of the year.

A case of their turnaround is so high
about sacrificing and backstabbing and

they're going, this ain't sustainable.

Kevin: It's kind of an anti Star Trek
in the sense that like, Star Trek

has this hopeful vision of the future
where everyone, every, like, every

individual can play a part in bringing
about this hopeful future, and it takes

all of us to get there, and the Mirror
Universe is kind of like, ah, you lose

a person here, commit a murder there.

It all works out in the end.

We still have a Terok Nor with
the same security code on it.

Rob: Yeah, it's just, it's just that
case of, like, even if you ingrain

that into a show, say, like, Game of
Thrones, where the, the, the treachery

of rulership and how, who, the game you
play to get to the top, I understand

that, but alliances and stuff, but in
this, everyone is backstabbing each other.

There's no loyalty to anybody ever, and
so I'm there going, it's not sustainable.

If you spend too much time in this
universe, the logic of it unravels.

Kevin: And it is not
sustainable for the show either.

Like, I feel five episodes is
all you could do before it falls

apart completely as a concept.

Rob: And at least with Deep Space
Nine, they spread it out over five

Kevin: They spread it out and the
later episodes take it less seriously

and are more playful with it.

That's, I think that's why we
end with a Ferengi episode.

It is It is a pure, uh, romp of
comedy, uh, by the end, where jokes

are at the expense of the premise.

Rob: It's the only, well, logically
it's the only place they could have

gone where you, you start out with
Crossover which is amazing and so

tense and it's that same thing.

They expand the universe but it's just
how do we get Bashir and Kira back?

Um, and then at the, and then the
machinations of O'Brien kidnapping

Sisko and Sisko's wife and all
that stuff and Mirror Sisko's

dead, all that type of stuff.

Then to have the last one
going, you know what, this

isn't a dangerous place anymore.

You can just slip over it and
it's now a financial opportunity.

Kevin: right.

The mirror characters are
coming to steal orbs, uh, from

the prime universe, you know?

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: our profit making plan of the week.

Rob: Insane.

Just absolutely insane.

But I do, uh, I I do love a good, uh,
Deep Space Nine, uh, mirror episode.

Kevin: Yeah, so just to run them down,
we had Crossover where Kira goes over

and, and hears the history of Spock's
reforms weakening the Terran Empire,

and the Terran Empire has now fallen in
favor of the Klingon Cardassian alliance.

That's something I, I often
forget is that there are really

two eras in the Mirror Universe.

There's the Terran Empire, and
the Klingon Cardassian alliance.

Rob: And we have, we are introduced
in Crossover to, I believe, the

greatest, uh, Mirror Universe
character, and that is, uh, Mirror Kira.

Kevin: The Intendant.

Rob: Oh, Nana Visitor
is incredible in this.

Kevin: What gets me most about The
Intendant is that by the end, she

has, we are given to believe she has
been in custody under interrogation

by Garak for a, for a year.

Um, and yet she is still wearing the same
catsuit with the same, same perfectly

coiffed hair and the same crown.

Uh, I don't, I don't get how, uh,
how The Intendant is given access

to, uh, such, um, beauty facilities.

Rob: Oh, it's mirror universe,
quantum mechanics stuff, uh, Kevin.

It's, you know, it's, it's, it's
way, way beyond our pay grade.

Um, but yeah, that whole
very 90s sci fi thing.

It happened in Red Dwarf as well
when we have, you know, dark versions

of our characters that we love.

They tend into, they're, not only are
they evil, but they're bloodthirsty,

but also they are sexually liberated,
and they are possibly on the, on

the queer, on the queer spectrum.

They are evil!

They are, they, and so go, alright, okay.

So this is the mirror, this is, this
is the 90s version of sort of like,

if you're going full evil, let's just,
let's just make 'em queer as well.

Kevin: Odo dies at the end of
Crossover as they escape the station.

Um, the next episode is Through the
Looking Glass, where as you said,

Mirror Sisko is dead and Jennifer
Sisko comes to the Prime Universe

looking for our Sisko's help.

Um, he is lured into the,
the Mirror Universe station.

to rescue his son who has been taken,
uh, sort of gently hostage by his mother.

Rob: That's, that's Shattered Mirror.

The one before is O'Brien
comes and takes Sisko.

Kevin: Thats right!

Rob: There's Through the
Looking Glass in season three,

Shattered Mirror in season four.

Kevin: That's right.

So it happens twice that Sisko
reluctantly has to go to the mirror

universe to sort something out.

Rob: saying they're repeating?

we are.

Running out of ideas?


Kevin: gets to meet the rebels, the
crew that is mostly his friends from

the station in the prime universe.

Rob: Because we did, meet Mirror Sisko
in Crossover, because he was having,

he was having a thing with Kira.

Kevin: They rescue Jennifer,
Rom is killed by Garak.

So it feels like in each one of
these episodes, someone dies.

Uh, they, they hold the entire station
hostage by activating the self destruct

using the same code that, uh, that
the, um, Sisko says a line like, let's

hope your Terok Nor was created by the
same, uh, Cardassian designer mine was.

Rob: That's justification,
that's good justification, right?

That's, that's waving.

Kevin: Absolutely.

So yes, Shattered Mirror, you're right.

Jennifer lures Jake into the
Mirror Universe and Sisko has

to follow him, where they have
built a Defiant, of course, using

stolen plans that Smiley took from

Rob: I forgot Smiley.

They call him Smiley
in the Mirror Universe.

Kevin: Yes, we'll come back to Smiley.

Enjoyable character in
both universes, O'Brien.

Rob: Love Colm Meaney.

Kevin: Um, this is the one where
we have Mirror Worf, uh, who is the

Regent, and he's a, he is a bumbling
king sort of, uh, archetype, I think.

Everyone's afraid of him, but
he's got no idea what he's doing.

Uh, Nog dies in this one.

Uh, Nog, uh, Nog is running the bar and
is shot by the Intendant in the corridor.

And also Jennifer dies,
uh, defending Jake from the

Rob: That's right.

That's right.


Not sustainable.

Kevin: Yeah, and then Resurrection, uh,
Bareil, who in the Prime Universe has

tragically died and left Kira heartbroken.

Bareil comes back as a thief, who
is here to steal an orb, uh, in

cahoots with the Intendant, and, uh,
sort of, yeah, leads, leads Kira on.

Kira allows herself to start to fall
back in love with this man, and then, and

then discovers he's up to no good, and,

Rob: And much like, much like Kirk does
with Mirror Universe Spock, Kira is

able to, uh, uh, help, uh, Vedek Bareil,
Mirror Vedek Bareil, uh, have a change of

heart and a change of, uh, consciousness.

Kevin: Yes, I guess we'll we'll see
what the future holds for, for the

Mirror Universe with Bareil's influence.

final one is The Emperor's New Cloak,
which is the Ferengi comedy in which, um,

a favorite line of mine is, uh, someone
says to Quark, well the smart thing to do

would be to go back to your universe now,
and Quark goes, Do we look smart to you?

Rom spends most of this episode musing
at all of the things that don't make

sense about the mirror universe concept.

He remarks several times that
O'Brien is kind of the same in

both universes, and why is that?

And we have Mirror Ezri, who is, uh,
who is the eyeshadowed, cat suited,

Um, kind of semi evil version who is
kind of in love with the Intendant

and kind of doubting whether that's
a good thing to be and I don't know.

Ezri is I think a bit of Ill considered
eye candy in this episode, for me.

She's kind of a, a stereotype
of, of male gaze, I think.

Rob: Yeah, it does become a, uh,
a reoccurring thing within the

mirror universes as we go forward
in to the franchise when we return.

It becomes the traditional
heterosexual male eye candy,

uh, how the women are portrayed.

Which you can justify within how this
society is and how evil it is, but you're

kind of leaning into it and, uh, yeah.

So, it's, it, this is where it gets
a bit messy, cause the great thing

about, like, you know, sexy evil Kira,
she was in the full body suit, and her

characterization was so grandiose and
so theatrical and so, so grande dame.

Uh, the sexuality comes without having
it to be, uh, um, really in the gutter,

if, if it were, if that makes sense.

Kevin: With Ezri here, like
every, every male character

around her is in love with her.

And then it turns out she's
actually sleeping with the Intendant

and it's like, Ooh, there's a

Rob: Evil lesbians,

Kevin: lesbian about it.

Yeah, absolutely.

Rob: Yeah.

I like, I like you saying
it very resigned as well.


We're both tired of it going.


Well, right.

Evil lesbians.


Kevin: We do get, uh, we
do get nice Brunt though.

I enjoyed, uh, I enjoyed

Rob: That's right.

Kevin: Coombs as good Brunt.


Rob: ha ha, any, any, look, any time
with Jeffrey Coombs is good time, I say.

Kevin: And then the, the Mirror
Universe is not seen again until

Enterprise, which is in the past.

So actually this, the Emperor's
New Cloak is the furthest in Mirror

Universe history that we have traveled.

We don't know what has happened after the
Regent Worf fails to get a cloaking device

for the Alliance in the Mirror Universe.

And so it would be nice to kind of
know how the political forces of the

Mirror Universe change after that.

I, I hope we will get to hear some
version of that story someday.

But yeah, Enterprise is, as all
of Enterprise is, a prequel.

And we to see how the, a small
piece of how the Terran Empire came

to be the powerful force in the
galaxy that, uh, that we learn it

is, uh, way back in Mirror, Mirror.

And so, having just watched this
for the first time, I am dying

to hear what you made of it.

Rob: Look, uh, it's always a tricky
thing when you get to the final season

of Enterprise where they made the bold
decision of doing nothing but two parters.

Um, and so sometimes it works,
and sometimes it doesn't, and

with a very promising start.

I love that return to the first contact
moment, yeah, and all the music kicks

in, the, the, you know, the same shots,
you've got, they must have got permission

from James Cromwell to have him, but
he didn't want to come back and he was

probably looking too old anyway, so they
have a double stand in for any of the

physical action, and then instead of the
handshake, he pulls a gun, blows away

the Vulcan and they all storm the ship.

Kevin: It sets a tone, Rob.

It sets a tone that I think is, is,
um, don't take this too seriously.

Rob: Yeah, yeah.

And then we go into, um, you
know, no, It's been a long road.

Yeah, we go into, you know, dark,
ominous mu music, and instead of, um,

snapshots and footage of great moments
in discovery, we have pirate ships, and

warplanes, and marching soldiers, and
we have the very, very dated graphic of

the, of the Terran Empire logo come up.

Kevin: Oh yeah, it's
very clip art, isn't it?

Rob: It's very clip art.

Kevin: I love the shot in there where
the, the, the ship that we see every

week in the Enterprise credits, it's
kind of like an unnamed prototype ship,

but it's got two nacelles and it kind of
whooshes down from the top of the screen.

And this week it shoots a bunch
of photon torpedoes on a planet

that explodes in a bunch of fire.

Rob: Ha

Kevin: it's just so, so nice how
they echo this beautiful, hopeful,

swooshing starship and turn it into
this instrument of death unexpectedly.

I really enjoy it.

Rob: The whole thing about the
Mirror Universe is that it only

works if you have people from
the prime universe within there.

So you see that balance of
the good and the evil lesbian.

With this they make the decision of
going, we are going to set two episodes

entirely in the Mirror Universe and you
have no real, you, you have a hint of

Archer as a spirit or a voice in Mirror
Archer's head near the end of episode

two, but you are in this universe with
nobody to anchor you, and so you have

to invest yourself for 90 minutes with
evil versions of characters that you've

been watching for three years and

Kevin: Right.

Rob: It takes a remarkable achievement
to take a solidly good actor a

legitimately good award winning award
nominated actor of Scott Bakula and

and give him 90 minutes where he
comes across as one of the worst

actors in the history of the world.

Kevin: I don't know, Rob.

I am not Scott Bacula's biggest fan.

I enjoyed watching a lot of Quantum
Leap as a kid, but I have to say

it was never for his acting chops.

I think he, he has done a lot of
admirable work, but I don't count

him as one of my favorite actors.

I don't know if you feel that differently.

Rob: Ah, well, I feel differently
now after watching this episode where

it relies on him playing a different
version of Archer and there were so

many moments where I'm going, I mean,
I'm not a big fan of a lot of the cast

as actors on, on, on, um, Enterprise,
uh, the only person who steps out,

hammer and tong, miles above anybody
else, and we've said his name many, many

times, John Billingsley is incredible.

He is absolutely incredible.

And I'm there going, he, he should be in
Deep Space Nine hamming it up with all

the others, because he didn't ham it up.

He was friggin amazing.

His mirror universe of
the Doctor was amazing.


Every, every, yeah, chilling, and
subtle, and menacing, and beautiful.

He played his character, he, he was, he
wasn't acting, he was being, everyone

else was acting evil, and I hated it.

I absolutely hated it.

It was so disappointing.

There's some lovely tidbits there of
sort of like, you know, connecting

it back to The Tholian Web.

Kevin: Yeah, so yeah, this is the mission
of, it ends up being Captain Archer, but

at the start of this episode, Archer is,
is not in command of the Enterprise, but

he, he takes control of it in order to
go into Tholian space and investigate

this report that they have, the Tholians
have stolen a starship from the future

prime universe, from their perspective.

Uh, and it turns out to be the
USS Defiant, we met, we learned

in the original series episode,
the Tholian Web was kind of

blinking in and out of existence
and nearly took, uh, Kirk with it.

Um, and now we know where that ship went
and it was a, an amazing excuse to see

some awesome recreations of not just
the bridge, but a bunch of other sets

of, uh, the original Constitution class.

Rob: That, that, look,
the sets are incredible.

Kevin: So much money on
screen for this episode, Rob.

Rob: So much money.

Um, uh, they should have put some
more money into acting classes.

Um, uh, the, the shots of like, for
Enterprise, you know, is, is notorious

for its, uh, dated CGI stuff, but the,
the, um, the Defiant looked beautiful.

The, the, you know, yeah, hold up, and
in, having it in that space dock on the

side of an asteroid, uh, was amazing,
and having it escape, and how, like, how

it fired its photon torpedoes and all
that type of stuff looked beautiful, and

yep, the, the replicas of the costumes
from that time, they never, I guess they

justified it because they came over and
their only outfits they had left were the,

Kevin: Yeah, there's this moment where,
uh, where, um, Archer has dressed himself

in the uniform and he kind of goes,
look what I found in the computer banks.

And, and the other one goes,
wow, that's a lame costume.

And he goes, don't say it's lame.

And pretty soon they're all wearing it.

So yeah, it's, uh, it.

It feels like they have all
dressed themselves in those

classic uniforms on a lark.

It's like this weird, unserious
beat in a very serious situation.

Rob: So weird.

And we see the, and it's a Tholian, right?

The Tholian is the full, uh, CGI
creature that looks just like it's,

Kevin: That's right.

And don't forget about the Gorn.

Rob: I was gonna get to the Gorn.

I was gonna get to the Gorn, so it
was like It was that evolution from

the Gorn from the original series.

This is a CGI Gorn kind of looked like the
original series, but kind of looked, you

know, had more articulation, obviously,
before we go full Strange New Worlds,

and have the, you know, the Gorn look
absolutely nothing like what they did

in the original series, and with tails!

Kevin: Yeah it's a nice midpoint.

It makes it feel like an organic

Rob: But yeah, but it's there, and
then it's gone, um, you're going,

Alright, okay, that was a thing, um.

And so, there's like 90 minutes of,
of, of torture and ham acting and,

uh, sexualization and objectification
of only the female characters.

Kevin: Okay, Hoshi becomes Empress at
the end, Rob, so it's all justified.

Rob: Um, yeah.

Yeah, but you know what we were lacking?

Evil lesbian action.

Kevin: Yeah, that's true.

Rob: Yes, and it just showed how, um,
uh, look, there's been a lot of flack

given to the actress who plays T'Pol,
and I do not want to add to that, but

Kevin: She does well with what
she's given in this episode, and

in the series in general, I feel.

Rob: Yeah, there were some moments
near the end when she was trying

to be passionate and trying to be,
we need to do this and have, have

an almost change of heart type of
stuff that didn't really work for me.

Um, but, uh, yes, it, I think
Discovery proved it as well.

If you spend too much time, In the
Mirror Universe, without a break,

um, it gets way too much, and yeah,
uh, this, it was a chore by the

end, Kevin Yank, it was a chore.

Kevin: Yeah, the, I think for me,
the most interesting bit of Mirror

Universe lore we get from this is just
this idea that Vulcans were seen as

a lesser species within the Terran
Empire, they were like this conquered

race and, and kind of served at the
pleasure of their human masters.

Uh, that, that is, that is interesting
and shines a new light on Spock's

role aboard the Enterprise in Mirror,
Mirror um, in an interesting way.

But it is one small element of what is
quite a mess of like, let's throw every

idea we can into a two parter episode
and somehow try and make it fit together.

Rob: Yeah, look, there's some ideas
in there that I liked, and it's

just, it was just all too much.

We needed that balance.

Just, if we brought in Archer
from the Prime universe into

it, how would they cope?

Um, you know, the, you know, uh,
Prime Doctor going up against,

um, you know, Mirror Doctor.

That type of stuff.

That's what we love about the mirror
universe, it only, you know, the dark

only exists, you know, the light can
only be seen in the dark or the dark

only, uh, has its power if there's
a light to, to be balanced off.

This was just all dark and I'm
I don't care for, I don't, I'm

not rooting for anybody here.

Are we meant to root for anybody here?

Are we meant to support anybody here?

Or is this just a bunch of
stuff that happens that we're

watching from the outside?

So we have gone from Mirrors, where there
is just a whiff of Mirror Universe, to

finishing off with Enterprise, where there
is, you know, let's just go the whole hog.

Um, and we haven't even talked about
Discovery's Mirror Universe episodes

where, uh, they lean heavily into the
violence and the blood and the gore

uh, and evil, and evil leader Tilly.

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely.

I, I did not.

I don't mind so much the
mirror stuff in Discovery.

I mean, my, my greatest reservation
with it is that in the first season

of a show in which we are still
getting to know the characters, they

spent multiple episodes in a mirror
universe where we're getting to meet

alternate versions of the characters.

And it almost spoke of this insecurity
or, or, or unwillingness to invest

in creating the platform of strong
characters at the start of Discovery.

That, yeah, like by spending those
several episodes in the Mirror Universe,

it robbed us of time getting to know,
as we've said again and again in this

podcast, Rob, getting to know the
characters that would enable us to care

for what happened in these stories.

Um, so I feel like it, it was
well executed, but a well executed

misstep in the creation of a
new Star Trek series and cast.

Rob: Like I remember watching it going
because it flips about halfway through

the season or even a bit later and
then they just stay there and I'm just

there going this is that you're gonna
see if you can actually keep this

going and it kind of runs out of steam

Kevin: It was part of the original
conception for this season, for

the series, as I understand it.

Like, that was, Lorca from the beginning
was is secretly from the Mirror Universe,

Rob: a mirror Lorca.

Kevin: unravel that.

Mystery in the first season of this
show, but I feel like would have been

stronger, you know, pay Jason Isaacs
for another season, save that for season

two, um, and, and let us get to know this
crew a little better before you start

subverting them with alternate versions.

Rob: God yeah, let's, yeah, um,
and it's, give us at least some

hint of Prime Universe Lorca.

Like, I would have loved to
have seen Jason Isaacs play

the nice version of Lorca.

Kevin: I know, I'm still, I'm still
hoping somehow, some way they manage

to squeeze that into this last season.

I don't see anymore, but it'd
be nice to, to find a way.

Rob: Look, when it comes to being
hopeful about more Jason Isaacs,

then I will always join you on
that more hopeful bandwagon.

Kevin: I mean, I think the reason I hope
for it is he seems like a Star Trek fan.

He seems like he'd do it as a favor.

Rob: Yeah, he, he, he's a big old
nerd when you see him at, you know,

he's a, he's a, he's a big old acting
nerd, he loves acting, he's a, you

know, he loves the process of, you
know, meeting people and hanging out

and getting into franchises, you know,
he loved being in the Harry Potter

franchise, he loved being in Star
Trek, so, I love that type of stuff.

Kevin: Yeah.

All right.

Well, that is, that is the Mirror Universe
as it has existed in Star Trek so far.

Next week, we're, uh, we're into,
uh, an episode entitled Whistlespeak

that I've already watched.

Have you already watched it, Rob?

Rob: I have not, that is
my mission to catch up,

Kevin: Well, I won't spoil it for
you, but, uh, I look forward to

discussing with you when we're back
for the next episode of Subspace Radio.

Rob: Always a pleasure.

Cannot wait to do this again.

I cannot wait to have everyone
listening in on what we have

to say about the world of Trek.

Kevin: All right.

Until next time, Rob.

See you around the galaxy.

Episode 54: The Mirror Universe (DIS 5×05 Mirrors)
Broadcast by