Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, May 5, 2014

Season 2, Episode 39 "Mirror, Mirror"

"Mirror, Mirror"
Production Number: 39
Air Order: 33
Stardate: Unknown
Original Air Date: October 6, 1967

"Geez, how often does Star Trek do episodes about parallel universes?"

Every time the transporter malfunctions, sir. Every. Fucking. Time.

We open on a alien planet planet, where an away team of Kirk, Bones, Scotty and Uhura is attempting to convince the natives to trade their dilithium crystals to the Federation. this alien race - the Halkans - are less than enthusiastic to trade, as they are thoroughly pacifistic, and fear that giving the Federation dilithium may end in violence for someone, and they would literally rather die than than allow that to happen. The Halkans have little to no bearing on this story, and it's obvious: this scene takes place in a generic garden setting, and the Halkans are dressed in a basic bohemian way. (Actually, I think these costumes may have been recycled from the "Errand of Mercy" episode. Points to you, Budget.) You know how we know that they're aliens? They have blue dots on their foreheads.

Kirk has decided to cut their talk short, due to the magnetic ion storm brewing. He assures the Halkans that he will not use force to take the crystals, then the away team gets into formation, and they beam up. There's a weird series of shots, strobe-style, where the E is facing right, then left, while lights flash. Then the away team appears on the transporter pad in altered uniforms.

There are stencils on the walls of a planet with a sword through it. And Spock is sporting a beard.

Spock asks a confused Kirk what kinds of weapons the Halkans have, and when Kirk mumbles "None", Spock contacts Sulu and orders him to train phasers on the Halkan cities, saying that it's a shame that the Halkans are choosing suicide over cooperation.
The away team looks weirded out.
"Rough beam-up?" Spock asks
"Um, yeah," says Kirk uncertainly.
Spock turns to the transporter tech, Kyle. He accuses the tech of not compensating correctly for the ion storm, and demands Kyle's "agonizer". Kyle begs for forgiveness, but gives Spock a small device from his belt. Spock then places it on Kyle's chest, which shocks him. The away team tries to hide their WTF? faces.
Dramatic music!

Kirk's Log, stardate unknown: "There was some weird shit with the beam-up process, and when we got back to the E, everything was changed. Spock is a psycho. This is bullshit."

Kyle scrapes himself off the floor and hesitantly tells Spock that there was a "jump" in power during the beaming process. It gives Kirk the opportunity to say that he feels strange, and that the away team should be checked out in sick bay.
On their way there, they encounter other crew members, who are all wearing gold sashes, daggers, and knee-high boots. They all give Kirk this sort of creepy Hitler salute, which he hesitantly returns. When they arrive in the supposedly empty sick bay, they openly discuss that some things are the same, but different. Kirk surmises that the storm must have switched them with their counterparts from a parallel universe while they were in the transporter.

You know, I didn't think that Kirk's wrap-around blouse could be anymore ridiculous, but clearly, this parallel universe has set out to prove me wrong. It's kind of obnoxious sleeveless, sparkly, and embellished like that.
And what the fuck is wrong with Uhura's boobs? She looks like a badly-drawn comic book character. I figured it would be difficult to make the female uniforms more revealing than usual, but again, I was wrong. Her ass is fully covered this time, but her skirt is really short in the front. I can live with her thigh-high boots, and her crop top isn't the worst thing that I've seen on this show. But her boobs are sitting in her throat, which is just awful.

Anyway, they try to figure out how to get back to their own Enterprise. Kirk asks Scotty to fuck up the phasers in such a way that it seems like they were damaged by the storm. He sends Uhura to the bridge to find out what his orders are from Starfleet. Then he and Bones go through some tapes to find out how this universe functions.
On the bridge, Uhura makes for her station, and is immediately accosted by the scarred Parallel Universe Sulu, who has all the charm of Khan, and you know how much I fucking love that guy. PU Sulu wants to hook up with Uhura.
"Bitch, get back to your station," she barks. She almost hits him, too.
All hail the Ship Goddess!

Kirk arrives on the bridge and Uhura whispers to him that his orders are to kill the Halkans if they don't give up the goods. Sulu already has phasers locked onto their capital city.
Scotty enters engineering, intent on screwing with the phasers, but a security Red says that the order to check the phasers has to be cleared through Sulu, who is head of security here. Scotty reports back to Kirk that the phasers sustained no damage from the storm.
Spock enters the bridge, demanding to know why the Halkans aren't dead.
"I wanna talk to them again," says Kirk. He has Uhura contact the Halkans, and he gives them 12 hours to change their mind and give them the dilithium before he destroys them. He plays the part pretty well, too, being a total dick to the Halkan leader.

"That was against Starfleet orders," says Spock. "I'll have to report you."
"Whatever, bro," says Kirk.
He asks Uhura to have Bones and Scotty meet him in his quarters, then he gets on the lift with Chekov. Because everyone in this universe is an asshole, Chekov and some cronies jump Kirk as he gets off the lift. Apparently, assassination is the way one gets promoted here. But the fight is short-lived, as one of Chekov's henchmen is a double-agent. He disintegrates Chekov's Gold friends, and when Kirk-loyal reinforcements arrive, they haul Chekov to "the booth".

Bones and Scotty meet Kirk in his quarters. They ask the computer if it was possible for them to have switched with parallel universe dopplegangers during a beam-up with a bonus ion storm. The computer agrees that it is possible, and they ask it to provide instructions on how to replicate the condition to switch back. While Scotty goes over the instructions, Kirk Googles himself. It seems he murdered Pike to get the captaincy. It's then followed by a list of murders and genocides committed in the name of the Federation.
"Wow, you're a douchecanoe," Bones tells Kirk.
"Wonder what our copies are doing in our Enterprise?" muses Kirk.
They're in the brig, that's what.

Because Spock is fucking smarter than everyone, he figured it out right away and tossed the Evil Away Team behind a force field. Evil Kirk screams like an animal and tries to bribe Spock.
"Bitch, please," scoffs the Vulcan before walking away.

Goatee Spock catches up with Kirk in the corridor.
"Heard about Chekov, glad you're not dead. I like you, and I don't want your damn job."
They pass Chekov, who is in the Agony Booth, which is pretty much an all-over agonizer. Kirk hides his "so, that sucks" face.

"You're acting weird," says Spock. "I don't really want to report you to Starfleet, but you didn't kill the Halkans. You have to do that to maintain control."
"I'll do what I want," says Kirk. "Also, I could beat your ass."
"Yeah, ditto," says Spock, and he walks away.

Meanwhile, Scotty and Bones break into engineering to recreate the ion storm conditions.
Kirk ventures back to his quarters. There's a girl in his bed who turns out to be the Captain's Ho. She's clearly part of the crew, but pursuing advancement through the vajayjay rather than murder. Marlena has hair of Rand caliber, if less ridiculous.

They discuss power plays and make out a bit before Spock calls to cockblock Kirk. Spock has gotten a secret message from Starfleet saying that if Kirk doesn't kill the Halkans, then Spock must kill Kirk, take over as captain, and kill the Halkans himself.

Kirk's Log, stardate unknown: "............. fuck."

Marlena asks Kirk if she should turn on the Tantalus field to monitor Spock. He agrees and Spock appears on a screen behind a sliding panel. This is the thing that gives Evil Kirk his power. If he presses a button on the Tantalus field, Spock will disappear without a trace. Kirk tells her not to pres the button. He says he intends to find a way that he and Spock can both live, and escape the wrath of Starfleet command. She drifts off into another room, and Scotty calls.
"Scotty, I'm screwed," says Kirk. "I have to kill the Halkans within three hours, or Spock will kill me."
"Forget that shit," replies Scotty. "We have a 30-minute window to get the hell out of Dodge, or we're stuck here permanently."

This shot is awesome. They added some kind of platform
high up in front of the engineering set. It's totally believable,
and I bet it didn't cost that much to frame it up.

Meanwhile, Spock has noticed a lot of extra computer activity going on in engineering. He asks the computer about it, and the computer replies that it's a project involving Kirk and Scotty, and that it's blocked from outsiders. Spock catches on to the fact that Sulu has been listening to his communications, and he calls the security lead.
"You got a message from Starfleet," oozes Sulu. "I can guess what it says. I'm excited. You kill Kirk, and then I become second in command. You're pretty weak. I could take you out."
"Listen, you evil little fuck," says Spock. "I have friends. Some are Vulcans. And they will rain the pain on your skinny ass."

In Kirk's quarters, Marlena comes out of the back room, and Star Trek once again tries to convince us that floaty, shapeless, and oddly patterned equals sexy. It doesn't. Stop it, Star Trek.


They make out. He says he has to go. She gets angry and assumes that they're breaking up, insisting that she'll pack her things and ride another man to promotion. He tells her that he's not ditching her, and then kisses her again. She says he seems different. He leaves her to ponder on that.
In the corridor, Kirk relays the plan to Uhura through a scrambled comm. She has to keep Sulu distracted so he won't notice the extra activity in engineering being reported on his security board.

There's a brief, awesome shot here of Scotty working in the Jeffries tube.

Uhura approaches Sulu and flirts with him. He gladly slides back into Khan mode until she notices that a certain light on his board is no longer blinking, then she backhands him, keeping him away with the dagger that appears to be a standard-issue Starfleet uniform accessory. She backs into the lift, barking at some random Red to take her place at the comm before the lift doors close. Uhura is a badass.

Oddly, the Reds in the background of this scene just sort of lounge throughout the whole thing. Apparently, sex and violence is a spectator sport on the bridge.

Bearded Spock catches Kirk in the transporter room, screwing with the equipment. Pulling a phaser on him, he accuses Kirk of acting weird since the beam-up, and that he will now be escorting Kirk to his rendezvous in sick bay.

Almost as soon as they get in the door, a four-on-one fight breaks out. There's another cool overhead shot of sick bay and the fight. They finally win when Kirk brains Spock with a skull. Heh.

Helloooo, obvious stunt doubles!

They only have 15 minutes left to get on the transporter pads, but Bones insists that they treat Spock, or he'll die. He says that it should only take a minute. This Spock is much like their own Spock (despite using an agonizer on Kyle earlier), so Kirk agrees.
Marlena watches them on the Tantalus field screen from Kirk's quarters. But uh, oh. Here comes Evil Sulu and a trio of Reds. Sulu's new plan is to kill Kirk and make it look as though Kirk and Spock killed each other in a fight. Then Sulu can take control of the ship.

Marlena aims the Tantalus at each of Sulu's back-up singers, and one by one, they disappear. Ooh, game changer! The away team easily takes down Evil Sulu. Bones sends the others up to the transporter room while he finishes up with Spock.
Spock is up within moments, and performs a mind meld on Bones to try to find out why Kirk let him live. Shit, dude. Spock didn't even ask. You couldn't even take him out to dinner before probing him, Spock? Damn, that's cold.

The others rush down to the transporter room, where they encounter Marlena. She wants Kirk to take her along. But he refuses, as the system was only set for four. She pulls a phaser on him. Uhura quickly disarms her, and everyone who was hoping for a drawn-out Dallas-caliber cat fight sighs in disappointment.

The power is cut. Scotty can bypass to auxiliary power, but then they won't be able to use the neat little delay that Scotty set up. Of course someone will now have to stay behind to work the transporter. (Seriously, Star Trek. That plot device is getting old.) Kirk volunteers. Because of course he does. Scotty tries to get away with calling him "Jim!", but he walks away, knowing that shouting that is something that's only allowed to the captain's boyfriends.
Bones enters at Spock's phaser-point. He had switched off the power, which he now switches back on. He will work the transporter, and send the others back. Kirk attempts to talk him into taking over the ship and sparing the Halkans.
"Maybe," says Bearded Spock.
The beaming process goes smoothly this time, and the away team returns to their ship in their regular uniforms.
Back on the bridge, Kirk and Bones trade their usual racist barbs with Spock.

The lift doors open, and guess who? It's Marlena, and her giant hair has now become a giant beehive. She's only been on board about a week. She gets Kirk's signature and moves on.
"Do you know her?" asks Spock. 
Yeah, he almost did her.
"No," says Kirk. "She just seems nice. I think we could be ...friends."
With benefits.
And he moves off to hit on her.


Some thoughts:
- Kirk has worn that green wrap-around blouse pretty much every episode this season. Were these all filmed on Casual Fridays, or have they decided to switch him over to that shirt permanently? They seem to have made it slightly more official by putting black piping along the inside edge of that neckline. The funny thing is, in all of the official promos for the franchise, not once is he ever shown in that green shirt. It's always the plain gold.

- When the away teams switched places, the correct uniforms stayed in the correct universes. Since I kind of doubt that it was a special thing where only the clothes were not affected, it seems like their consciousness was switched over rather than their physical bodies. Let's imagine that. You switch over to the physical body of someone who is essentially you, but who has lived a different life. Maybe that body is slightly different. I can imagine that at least one person on that away team said at one point, "Hey, where did this scar come from?" or  "What the -? I was circumcised! How did that grow back?"

- I've never actually talked about Kyle, but he's kind of been there in the background since last season, showing up rather randomly. He has an accent that I've been unable to place, but the actor is British. Here's the thing about Kyle: he just kind of fits in wherever. He's been filmed in all three tunic colors, on the bridge, in sick bay, in engineering, and as a transporter tech. Kyle is a Fill In The Blank.

And now, awesome things I found out about this episode, from imdb:
In the wake of this episode, a group of child fans started a neighborhood-wide letter campaign suggesting that the concept of a "Captain's Woman" be carried over into the series as a whole, and requesting that Stefanie Powers be cast in that role. Eventually Gene Roddenberry's assistant had to write to the group's two "ringleaders", telling them to ask their parents exactly what a "Captain's Woman" was. 
That, my friends, is the sound of parents exclaiming, "You're never watching Star Trek again!"

It has been said that Star Trek was not allowed to show women's navels, but Uhura's navel is visible in the mirror universe. Reportedly, this was accomplished by filming while a PA took the Standards representative to lunch.
Not just Star Trek - it was every show. Watch all the "I Dream of Jeannie" you like. You'll never see Barbara Eden's bellybutton. Maybe the standards guy ate at the kraft services table on that show. Or maybe those guys were warned about that ploy, because Star Trek is sneaky as hell.

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 3
Red deaths this season: 9
Gold deaths this episode: 2
Gold deaths this season: 4
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 17
Total crew deaths thus far: 33

I'm totally counting the people who died on on the Evil Enterprise in this count, because, parallel universe or not, taking a commission with Kirk is dangerous as hell.

1 comment:

  1. In all fairness, this is the only time Star Trek actually did the mirror universe. The Animated Series did it once and Enterprise did it once, but it was really Deep Space Nine that drove it into the ground. It's neat to see for the novelty but, much like the Borg showing up too much in Voyager, it grates on your nerves after a while.