Sep 18, 2020
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Shattered Mirror”
Welcome back to the Agony Booth’s ongoing look at the Star Trek episodes that gave the site its name! We’ve now come to Deep Space Nine’s third annual Mirror Universe outing, “Shattered Mirror”. Our story so far: James T. Kirk crossed over into a parallel universe and totally interfered in a society he had very little knowledge or understanding of (as Kirk tends to do), which led to the Terran Empire being conquered decades later by a Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. But now the Terrans are fighting back, and they forced our Sisko to impersonate Mirror Sisko to convince a scientist (the Mirror version of his dead wife Jennifer) to defect to the rebellion. And with that, this Mirror Universe series of reviews has arrived at season four of Deep Space Nine, where Worf is now a regular, the cold war with the Dominion is heating up, Sisko is now a captain, and Siddig El Fadil is now “Alexander”.
The episode opens with Sisko’s son Jake looking down upon the station’s promenade. Odo happens by, and we find out Jake is just reminiscing about all the times he hung out here with his old pal Nog, which according to Odo involved “flicking sand peas at the passing throng”. Darn those two rapscallion delinquent ne’er-do-wells!
For those not in the know, Nog is Rom’s son, and Quark’s nephew, and he and Jake bonded early on over being the only two recurring kid characters on the show. And at this point in the series, Nog has left the station to become the first Ferengi to ever sign up for Starfleet Academy. And considering that Academy cadets who cheat on their exams get immediately promoted to starship captains, Nog should do just fine.
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Jake heads on home, and when he gets there, he discovers his dad sitting on the couch with a woman who appears to be his mother who died nine years ago.
Obviously, this is Mirror Jennifer Sisko, last seen in “Through the Looking Glass”, and weirdly, Jake is mostly just giddy at seeing her. Is there anyone on this station who actually gets disturbed or freaked out or overcome with emotion upon seeing their dead spouse/parent suddenly come back to life? Though, I suppose I should take into account that this is the Star Trek universe, where people come back from the dead every other Wednesday.
Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Sisko to go find Jake, and walk him back home while saying, “There’s someone I want you meet, so brace yourself,” or words to that effect, at least? That might have been a bit less odd than what we get here, which is basically, “Oh hi, Jake! You remember your dead mom?”
Regardless, Jake is ecstatic to see her. It seems she dropped in to share the good news: over in the Mirror Universe, the Terrans have gotten the upper hand in their rebellion against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Not only that, but they’ve taken back control of the Terek Nor station from the Alliance.
And also, I’m assuming, jumping back and forth between the main universe and the Mirror Universe has now become as easy as taking a trip down the block to the 7-Eleven. You’d think a parallel universe being this easily accessible would have major repercussions for both universes, but it never becomes anything more than a device to set the current plot in motion.
In another obvious plot point, Sisko gets called away for a meeting with some random Bajoran dignitary. Jake decides to stay and hang out with Jennifer, wanting to spend some time with her before she heads back to her own universe. After his dad leaves, Jake starts getting obsessive over how much Jennifer looks and feels and (presumably) smells just like his mom. At one point, he holds her hands and says that they “feel just like my mother’s!” I assume that when we come back from commercial, he’ll be wearing her skin as a suit.
When Sisko returns from his meeting, he finds them both gone, and the computer informs him that they’ve left the station. It’s pretty obvious where they went, given they left behind a device that looks just like Mirror O’Brien’s interdimensional transport magic wand thingie from the previous MU episode.
Sisko intends to head over to the Mirror Universe and bring back Jake. Kira and O’Brien step onto the transporter pad to accompany him, but when the transporter engages, only Sisko beams over, and Kira and O’Brien are left standing there like chumps.
On the other side, Mirror O’Brien greets Sisko, and simply says that the other O’Brien and Kira “weren’t invited”. Translation: There wasn’t enough budget to do split-screen Kira or split-screen O’Brien this time around.
O’Brien explains that the last time he was in the main universe, he tapped into their computer systems and stole the plans for the Defiant, Deep Space Nine’s new heavy duty warship (which Worf would later use in a failed attempt to go kamikaze on a Borg cube). The rebels have been building their own version of the Defiant, but now they need Sisko’s help to get it functional, which is why they used Jake as bait to lure him back over. They only have a few days to get the Defiant up and running, because the “Regent” of the Alliance is on his way to Terek Nor to take back the station. And if you’re wondering what a “Regent” is, exactly, it’s apparently someone higher in rank than an “Intendant”, but that’s only an educated guess.
And then we pay a visit to the Regent, who turns out to be Mirror Worf. Which makes sense, given this is the season where Worf joined the cast. Though word is they wanted to have Mirror Worf randomly show up in the first Mirror Universe episode “Crossover”, before he was a regular, but Michael Dorn was too busy filming Generations at the time. And now they’ve finally got their Mirror Worf, and frankly, his entire appearance is pretty lame.
When the rebels took back the station, Mirror Garak was the first to escape, and Regent Worf now has Garak in chains, right there on the bridge, with an actual shackle around his neck, and for the remainder of the episode he’ll be finding different ways to torment him. And that’s about all Worf does in this episode. He tortures and chastises Garak, and never interacts with anyone else in the cast. Most of these interludes aren’t even worth describing, and it seems the only goal here was to shove Worf into the story by any means necessary. Much like Worf’s appearances in every TNG movie.
Back on Terek Nor, Sisko has agreed to work on the Mirror Defiant. He again meets the whole rebel gang from his previous adventure: Mirror Dax is back, and so is Mirror Bashir, and he’s still got Uncle Jesse’s hair! However, it seems neither of them are all that happy about him impersonating “their” Benjamin Sisko in that episode. Bashir punches him in the jaw, and Dax gives him a good hard slap for, in her words, “making love to me under false pretenses,” and I wouldn’t really describe what happened there as “making love”, but this is a family show, and what else is she going to say? Dax then suggests she might stab him in the neck if he tries it again.
The rebels also captured Intendant Kira, and are now holding her prisoner. And in the first nod to the original TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror” in a long time, Bashir has a pain-inducing device that he uses on the Intendant. It seems to be a more advanced version of an agonizer, in that it’s small and handheld, but you don’t actually have to press it against the person’s body. It’s a nice, though fleeting callback to the original episode, if that was actually the intention here.
Sisko eventually finds his son Jake having a grand old time here on Terek Nor, hanging out with his dead mom, and also meeting the Mirror Universe version of Nog. Mirror Nog is here to take over the bar, now that both Rom and Quark are dead. Jake tries to buddy up to him, only to find out that this Nog is not so lovable. Because this is the Mirror Universe, where basically, everyone’s meaner, except for Jennifer Sisko, who from what little I have to go on seems to be just as pleasant in both realities.
Meanwhile, Intendant Kira is vamping it up in various ways in her prison cell. Sisko probes her for information about weaknesses in the Regent’s fleet, and she keeps coming onto him. You know, I stayed quiet about this for the first couple of MU episodes, but I cannot think of anything less arousing than the thought of Sisko and Kira getting it on. It’s only slightly less uncomfortable than thinking about my aunt and uncle doing it.
Later, Jennifer helps Sisko work on the Defiant, but Sisko is disgusted by the whole situation, particularly with how it’s playing on his son’s emotions. “In his mind, the three of us are already living together!” It seems this idea actually appeals to Jennifer, because when she looks at Jake, she sees “the son that I’ll never have.”
But Sisko’s still pissed off over the whole child abduction thing, so Jennifer decides to take Jake back to Deep Space Nine, trusting Sisko enough to follow through on his promise to get the Defiant running. She starts to talk about the “connection” she feels with Benjamin, but he coldly rebuffs her.
Back at the Intendant’s prison cell, Nog shows up to take out the guards and engineer her escape. Apparently, he’s doing this purely out of gratitude for Kira killing his father and uncle. “Thanks to you, I own the bar!” But on her way out, she shoots and kills Nog to ensure that he won’t tell anyone she escaped. Which means Kira has now singlehandedly wiped out all the Ferengi on the station. Can she come to the main universe and do the same thing, please?
Kira just happens to cross paths with Jennifer, on her way to take Jake back to the main universe. Kira shoots at Jake, but Jennifer jumps in front of the disruptor blast. Jennifer’s dying, and Kira turns her weapon on Jake, but she spares his life when she finds out he’s Sisko’s son. For some reason, she thinks this means Sisko will owe her a favor at some unspecified future date.
Meanwhile, the Regent’s fleet arrives at Terek Nor, and it’s time for the Defiant to show its stuff. Sisko pilots the Defiant and takes on the Regent’s ship, while Bashir and Dax (who seem to have hooked up at some point) pilot a smaller ship and provide backup. A big space battle breaks out, which must have necessitated at least one or two bottle/elevator shows later in the season. At one point, the Defiant swoops from side to side and strafes the underbelly of the Regent’s much larger ship, which is pretty impressive when you consider there was no CGI involved and they were still using models at the time.
Eventually, Regent Worf gives up the fight. He warps away, somehow knowing his defeat is due to the Intendant betraying him, and he vows to have his revenge on her.
Sisko has saved the station, but he finds out Jennifer has been wounded and he hurries to the Infirmary. Her last words to him are, “I knew we were still connected.” She dies, and the two Sisko men have a tearful hug. Well, at least we finally got some sort of emotional payoff to bringing back Jennifer Sisko. Too bad it involved her dying all over again.
Overall, “Shattered Mirror” was about on par with “Through the Looking Glass”. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, it’s just kind of there. Frankly, every trip to the Mirror Universe so far has evoked more apathy than the last. It’s not the “real” characters, so there are no consequences to anything. Kill off Sisko, Quark, Odo, Nog, why not? Blow up the whole damn station! Who cares? Just imagine if they had used the Mirror Universe to do something with real consequences, like having the Alliance find out about the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, leading to the Dominion teaming up with their Mirror counterparts to deal some serious blows to the Federation. Alas, nothing that interesting is in the cards for the remaining two MU episodes on Deep Space Nine.
The next Mirror Universe outing is probably the most inconsequential of all, and it happens in season six. That’s right—the Mirror Universe episodes were so awesome that they completely forgot about them for an entire year. And it’s not like season five was so overflowing with quality episodes that they didn’t have time to spare; it’s the same season where they hit rock bottom with a Risa episode. And even worse, we’re about to endure a Mirror Universe episode that does not contain any scenes actually taking place in the Mirror Universe. Get ready for the hopelessly dull “Resurrection”.