Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 04 E 18 In A Mirror Darkly
In the teaser, set April 5, 2063, Zefram Cochrane greets the Vulcan emissary making First Contact
with the human race...only to draw a shotgun from under his coat and shoot him. The humans then storm the spaceship, intent on plundering its advanced technology. Yes, it's the Mirror Universe
, where Humans Are Bastards
and Might Makes Right
In the year 2155, however, things aren't going well for the Terran Empire, which is facing a successful rebellion among the alien races they've conquered. On the ISS Enterprise
, First Officer Jonathan Archer hopes to repeat history with a raid into Tholian space. The Tholians have opened a rift into a future Alternate Timeline
from which they've seized the Constitution
-class starship USS Defiant
. With speed and firepower a hundred years in advance of anything in the Quadrant, and a database full of subversive ideals, the Defiant
is a Game Breaker
that could save the Terran Empire...or bring it to its knees.
This episode has the following tropes:
- Activation Sequence: Archer and his away team are required to power-up the TOS-era USS Defiant, complete with a pan round the bridge as all the workstations light up and the familiar TOS sound effects come in one by one.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: You can judge for yourself whether the Defiant looks a century in advance of the Enterprise. Just don't debate it here.
Trip: Look at the size of those coils! I bet that thing can do Warp Seven.
- Agony Beam / Punishment Box: The Agony Booth, predecessor to the handheld agonizers used in "Mirror Mirror."
- Air Vent Escape: In Part 2, Slar the Gorn slave master hides in the Jeffries tubes, committing acts of sabotage to force the crew to give him a shuttle to escape. Instead, Archer hunts him down with a team of MACOs.
- Alien Autopsy: Phlox is shown dissecting various creatures in Sickbay.
- Aliens Speaking English: Averted; the Gorn is shown growling into his communicator, with the words converted to English by the Universal Translator.
- All Men Are Perverts: T'Pol and Soval persuade Phlox to help them stop Archer by suggesting that the emperor will reward him with concubines. It works.
- Alternate Reality Episode / Mirror Universe
- Always Someone Better: Archer has a complex about this that's well-justified. Although not lacking in ruthlessness, Captain Forrest commands respect and loyalty; people only obey Archer when it's in their interest.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Phlox notes there'll be some discreet celebrations if Reed dies from his injuries.
- Angry Guard Dog: In the Mirror Universe, Porthos is a snarling Rottweiler.
- Anti-Human Alliance: There's currently a rebellion in progress against human tyranny, and Archer hopes to use the Defiant to crush it. After he becomes paranoid and has every alien except Phlox (he still needs a doctor, and Denobulans aren't involved in the rebellion) thrown off the ship, Soval and T'Pol have to convince Phlox to help them sabotage the Defiant.
- Artificial Gravity: Archer defeats Slar by having T'Pol increase the power in a grav plating to 20 G's.
- Asskicking Equals Authority
It's not a delusion if the captain has the power to do what he says. And from what I've seen
, he certainly does.
- Bastard Understudy: Hoshi and Mayweather, the two most underutilized characters in the series, end up taking over the entire Terran Empire!
- Beard of Evil: Averted among the main cast, none of whom are bearded. Soval, who is clean-shaven in the regular universe, is bearded here, but he's not evil. Admiral Gardner does have a beard, and he is evil, though. Same with Admiral Black.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; T'Pol gets slashed across the face during her Knife Fight with Hoshi—who plays it straight, as she takes a punch to the face but doesn't have a bruise to show for it.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension
- T'Pol went to Trip to handle her pon farr problem, but sets him up to be the fall guy for her sabotage and taunts him about it afterward. In Part Two however when Archer threatens Trip, she speaks out in his defense, despite her own precarious position.
- After Archer seizes the ship, Hoshi tries to stab him while they're smooching. It doesn't stop them from ending up in bed afterward.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: The Tholian tries to blow up his own vessel rather than be captured, but is beamed out in time.
- Bizarre Alien Sexes: When Archer asks about their Tholian captive, Phlox points out that "he" or "she" could apply.
- Booby Trap: Slar takes out Reed's MACO team this way, leaving a communicator to emit a false signal. When the communicator is turned off after it's discovered, he sets off a remote-controlled bomb planted nearby.
- Brick Joke: Trip says he never told anyone about sleeping with T'Pol during her pon farr, but during their Cat Fight, Hoshi drops a snide comment that shows he did tell her.
- Call Back: To several TOS episodes.
- The Defiant and the Tholians from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Tholian Web" make an unexpected re-appearance 37 years after that episode aired.
- The horror of the Mirror Universe was first demonstrated when Mirror!Spock used an agonizer on a crewman. Likewise, the Agony Booth is used to introduce this one. Also the Terran Empire's standard tactic of forcing compliance from a planet by threatening to destroy their cities from orbit is used by Hoshi at the end of this episode.
- The computer reveals in a barely visible text blurb that the 'normal universe' Hoshi ends up marrying, leaving Starfleet, and settling on Tarsus IV, where she is executed by Governor Kodos along with 4000 others in the event mentioned in "The Conscience of the King."
- The Gorn, encountered in "Arena."
- Trip's scarring from delta radiation, a reference to Captain Pike in "The Menagerie."
- Call Forward: "It may take centuries, but humanity will pay for its arrogance."
- Cat Fight: Hoshi and T'Pol go at it with fists and knives while making snarky comments about each other's sex lives.
- Chick Magnet: Captain Forrest has Hoshi as his lover, and it's implied Archer doesn't kill Forrest because he's worried the act would turn Hoshi against him. Both Hoshi and T'Pol show more loyalty to Forrest than Archer — Hoshi's first response is to try stabbing their new captain, while T'Pol helps Forrest re-take the ship.
- Cliffhanger: The Boarding Party seizes the Defiant, but the Enterprise is destroyed. In the teaser of Part Two, the Tholians block the Defiant from leaving the spacedock with their energy web.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Trip gets shoved in the Agony Booth for a good several hours by Archer, after T'Pol sets him up. And Reed, the one operating the device, is enjoying every minute of it.
- Cool Chair: Archer takes a moment to enjoy the feeling of sitting in the captain's chair after his mutiny.
- Cool Starship: The Defiant.
- Corpsing: A Deleted Scene shows Jolene Blalock breaking down in nervous giggles when Scott Bakula advances on her with his Death Glare on full power.
- Cross-Referenced Titles
- Crossover: Though no actual characters crossed over, this episode is a sequel to an Original Series episode, and featured a TOS-era Federation Constitution-class starship, fully stocked with uniforms and quite operational.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The Tholians thoroughly trash Enterprise. The Defiant wrecks everything in her way.
- Custom Uniform of Sexy: The crew still wear the standard Starfleet jumpsuits (with added Bling of War) but, in homage to Uhura's outfit in "Mirror Mirror," the women wear a two-piece, including a high-cut shirt that shows off their taut abs and is kept permanently unzipped to show the cleavage. Given the blatant use of sex by the female characters to advance their interests, you could say this is a Justified Trope.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: In the DVD Commentary, it's mentioned that they had to keep telling the actress playing a dead Original Series yeoman: "Yes, the skirt really IS supposed to be that short."
- Darker and Edgier: After the comic shenanigans of the final Star Trek: Deep Space Nine MU episodes, the Mirror Universe returns to being a genuinely scary place.
- Deadly Hug: Hoshi tries to stab Archer while snogging him. Archer grabs the knife before it descends without breaking liplock.
- Death from Above: After taking the Defiant for herself, Hoshi threatens to destroy Earth's cities if Starfleet doesn't surrender immediately.
- Die Hard on the Defiant: From the Gorn's perspective, at least. However, it doesn't end as well for him as it usually does for the hero.
- Disintegrator Ray: Archer uses a TOS phaser to disintegrate Admiral Black.
- Dispense with the Pleasantries: When Archer makes Mayweather his bodyguard after ousting Forrest:
Mayweather: And Captain...I'd like to be the first to congratulate you on a brilliant strategem. I'm certain that in years to come—
Archer: You've already got the job, Sergeant. Don't talk yourself out of it.
- Doomed by Canon: The rebellion against the Terran Empire will inevitably fail, as it's still going strong a hundred years later.
- Dramatic Irony: Archer proudly shows off the shotgun Cochrane used to kill the first Vulcan who stepped onto human soil.
I wonder how history would have played out if Cochrane hadn't turned the tables on your invasion force
. Humans might be your slaves instead of the other way around.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Part of Archer's motivation is to get the recognition he feels he truly deserves. And he's willing to do an awful lot to get it.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Empire may be hideously unpleasant conquerors, but they still let those they've conquered serve on their ships, meaning by the end of the episode the Defiant has Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites and the odd Orion serving aboard along with the humans.
- Evil Empire: The Terran Empire. The Tholians are also said to aggressively 'annex' star systems.
- Evil Is Hammy: Archer spits out every word and openly rants at several points, while Phlox and Reed walk round with a permanent smirk over their sheer evilness.
- Evil Wears Black: Phlox wears a black leather outfit. Plus all the MACO personnel (which includes Lieutenant Reed and Sergeant Mayweather) wear black assault vests over their camouflage uniforms.
- Exact Words: After taking over the Enterprise, Archer wants to know if he has T'Pol's loyalty. She replies, "You're in command." Then she helps Forrest regain command.
- Face, Nod, Action: Archer exchanges a Meaningful Look with Mayweather, who karate-kicks Admiral Black's bodyguard in the head while Archer disintegrates the admiral.
- Femme Fatalons: T'Pol has fingernail extensions as per Uhura (but not Hoshi interestingly enough, despite being Communications Officer).
- Fanservice: Has both the sexual kind and fanservice for actual fans. It brings back the evil Terran Empire from the TOS episode "Mirror Mirror," the USS Defiant is back ("The Tholian Web"), all the women have Bare Your Midriff outfits (and later the 1960s-style miniskirt), Hoshi sleeps around and gets into a Cat Fight with T'Pol, and a Gorn is bought back and made into a credible threat.
- Fantastic Racism: Archer still has a grudge against Vulcans, but this time it's because they've rebelled against the Empire. When Archer goes Drunk with Power, T'Pol is convinced he'll raze their planet in retaliation.
- Mirror!Reed uses a Tellarite to demonstrate the Agony Booth, on the grounds that he must have done something wrong. "Aren't all Tellarites guilty of something?"
- Feet-First Introduction: Hoshi (in a see-through black dress and lingerie) in Captain Forrest's quarters.
- Femme Fatale
- T'Pol: She lures Trip to her quarters under pretext of having sex, then turns him into a Manchurian Agent who sabotages the ship. Then after he's been put in the Agony Booth for four hours, she tells him exactly what she did.
- Hoshi: Archer and Forrest fight for her affections, she tries to stab Archer while smooching him, eventually poisoning him and taking over the whole damn Terran Empire!
- Going Down with the Ship: Even in the amoral Mirror Universe this trope applies. Captain Forrest stays on board I.S.S Enterprise to give his crew time to escape, in particular his lover Hoshi Sato.
- Good Is Not Nice: T'Pol is the least evil main character, but that doesn't stop her from brainwashing Trip to commit sabotage so he gets tortured in her place. Shouldn't have made that pon farr quip, Trip.
- Good Old Ways: Forrest and Archer are unimpressed by the Agony Booth.
Forrest: There's something to be said for a good old-fashioned flogging.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: There's an Orion woman as a Bridge Bunny on the Avenger (which leads to a Fridge Logic moment after "Bound"—how come she's not controlling the ship with her pheromones?)
- Gunship Rescue: The Defiant saving the Avenger from the rebels.
- Harem Seeker: Soval convinces Phlox to join him with this argument, saying the Emperor will reward him with his pick of concubines if he stops Archer's attempt to seize power.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Captain Forrest stays on the bridge to give his crew a chance to escape, in particular his lover Hoshi.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: The oft-mentioned Admiral Gardner finally makes an appearance. So it's He Who Must Not Be Seen In This Timeline.
- High Collar of Doom: A subtle version — Archer wears his collar buttoned up, unlike in the normal universe, to show his more uptight nature.
- Hot Consort: Hoshi as the Captain's Woman.
- Humans Are Warriors: Humans seized the Vulcan starship making First Contact and adapted its technology to their own use, creating an Evil Empire that includes Vulcan, which had never been conquered in the 'normal' universe.
- I'll Kill You!: Trip being tortured in the Agony Booth.
Trip: Reed, I'll kill you when I get out of this!
- Impending Doom P.O.V. / Vertical Kidnapping: Slar killing Kelby.
- In Spite of a Nail: Zigzagged. Despite the different history, most of the Enterprise's crew are where they are in the regular universe, aside from Admiral Forrest now being the captain, and Mayweather being a marine.
- Interrogated for Nothing: Trip is stuck in the Agony Booth, on the suspicion he's a traitor. He is, but only because T'Pol's been playing with his mind.
- Invisibility Cloak: Mirror Enterprise has one, most likely stolen from the Suliban.
- Just Think of the Potential: Archer re the Defiant (though everyone else clearly thinks he's nuts).
"Imagine the technology we can find on that ship. New tactical systems, advanced bio-weapons
. Engines that can reach speeds we can only dream of. All of it ours for the taking!"
- Kill It with Ice: Phlox tortures a Tholian by reducing the temperature in its cell. When it drops low enough, the poor Tholian shatters.
- Klingon Promotion: Much like "Mirror, Mirror" in TOS, assassinating your superiors seems like an accepted way to advance yourself. Archer does it to Forrest to become Captain, and then it turns Up to Eleven when Hoshi Sato poisons him and uses the Defiant to become Empress!
- Knight in Sour Armor: Soval is a former idealist beaten down by the brutal Terran Empire. As with Mirror Spock, he has a Beard of Evil but is not evil himself.
- Macross Missile Massacre: After nearly forty years, we finally get a full look at the combat abilities of the Constitution-class, beyond what even the remastered TOS episodes can provide.
- Ms. Fanservice: T'Pol has her hair down past her shoulders and wears a TOS miniskirt, while Hoshi lounges about in black lingerie. Both women wear Excessive Evil Eyeshadow and Custom Uniform of Sexy. And they Cat Fight.
- Multi-Part Episode: Type I.
- The Multiverse: The Tholians have opened a space-time rift to the 'normal' universe, seizing the Defiant and bringing it back to their own universe.
- The Mutiny: When Forrest refuses the idea of a mission into Tholian space, Archer takes over the ship in cahoots with Reed and Mayweather.
- New Era Speech: Archer gives one from the top of a shuttle after he decides to take over the Terran Empire. A Deleted Scene has him telling his guards to shoot the first person who stops applauding.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: The I.S.S Enterprise has a Suliban Cloaking Device, a Tractor Beam and Escape Pods, all required by the plot. Presumably because the Terran Empire doesn't have moral qualms about acquiring and exploiting alien technology.
- No MacGuffin, No Winner: T'Pol, Soval, and Phlox conspire to sabotage and destroy the Defiant.
- No OSHA Compliance: Trip insists T'Pol wear a radiation badge near the warp core, as the MU Starfleet is apparently not concerned with Occupational Health & Safety.
"You want to look like me, do ya? I've absorbed enough Delta radiation to make my grandchildren glow in the dark."
- Not Quite Dead: We don't actually see Reed and Archer dead; this was so they could be brought back in future Mirror Universe episodes if required.
- Oh, Crap!: Archer's reaction when told there's a Gorn hiding on board.
- Other Me Annoys Me: Archer's reaction to his alternate universe self.
Archer: Great men are not peacemakers; great men are conquerors!
- Pants-Positive Safety: Archer shoves a TOS phaser in the belt of his spacesuit, wisely not trusting Reed to hold it on his behalf.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Hoshi wears her hair over one eye, as befits her sexy yet deceptive nature. Also T'Pol after she's captured by Hoshi, presumably to show vulnerability (she brushes it aside when giving a Badass Boast).
- Perpetual Frowner / Perma-Stubble: Archer
- Psychotic Smirk: Reed's default expression, most notably on watching the Enterprise get destroyed. Phlox too when torturing someone.
- Punctuated Pounding: Archer bouncing Forrest off the walls of his cell in retaliation for his "The Reason You Suck" Speech. "Then why — are you — in the brig?"
- Raptor Attack: Mentioned when Kelby is found killed by what Phlox describes as "a particularly large reptile" that turns out to be a Gorn:
Reed: Perhaps it was a pet owned by one of the crew.
Phlox: Unless one of them owned a Velociraptor, I find it highly unlikely.
- Really Gets Around: The producers talked of "putting the Ho back in Hoshi". She seduces Forrest, Archer, Trip and Mayweather, and boasts that her bedroom prowess is better than T'Pol in sexual heat.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: After this episode rolled out its special Title Sequence, a number of Trekkies and other fans came up with Mirror Universe openings for other Star Trek shows.
- Red Right Hand: Trip is Two-Faced due to scarring from Delta radiation, with a Skunk Stripe and yellow eye.
- Red Shirt / Mythology Gag: The first corpse we see on the Defiant is a redshirt, and when the main characters start dressing in the Original Series uniforms, it's no surprise that Reed is a fatality when he puts one on before hunting for the Gorn. Trip and Mayweather however avoid these consequences, despite their own red shirts.
- Revenge: After Forrest retakes the Enterprise, Archer gets thrown in the Agony Booth for ten hours. Forrest then orders Reed thrown in (and presumably Mayweather after him).
- The Resenter: Archer, still only Number Two on Enterprise, is furious to discover his alternate universe self is already captain and will eventually become the most famous explorer of the century. In Part 2 he's taunted by a hallucination of this other Archer, who plays on his fears that he'll by denied credit for his actions, driving him to murder his superior and seize power himself.
- Rousing Speech: Archer gives one to the Avenger crew, urging them to join him.
- Running Gag:
- The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that (you guessed it) alternate universes are impossible.
- Phlox says Shakespeare is equally grim in both universes (as it is in both English and the original Klingon no doubt).
- Sanity Slippage: After reading of his more successful alternate universe self, Archer is goaded by hallucinations of this other Archer into increasingly reckless actions.
- Scenery Porn: When the boarding party enter the Defiant bridge and boot up the computer, the camera pans lovingly over every station as they power up and all the TOS bridge sound effects come in one-by-one.
- Scotty Time: Trip says it'll take a day to repair the cloaking device. Archer tells him he has six hours. In "Part Two" Trip tells Archer he'll need two or three days to reassemble the warp engine the Tholian's have stripped.
Trip: Sir, I don't even know what some of these systems are supposed to do. It's like I'm an engineer on a steamship, coming across the first interplanetary transport.
- Sexy Walk: Thanks to T'Pol's Bare Your Midriff outfit, her hip movements have a lot of emphasis.
- Shirtless Scene: Archer post-coitus with Hoshi.
- Sink The Life Boats: The Tholians fire on the escape pods as they break through their energy web. There are only 47 survivors, but that's enough to allow a Part Two.
- Slouch of Villainy: Archer does this in the command chair of the Defiant as he demands Starfleet's surrender. As does T'Pol when we first see her in the captain's chair on Enterprise. Thanks to her outfit, she looks a good deal hotter doing so.
- Smooch of Victory: Archer falls to the floor groaning after drinking a glass of champagne. Hoshi calls in Sgt Mayweather and the last thing Archer sees is them snogging.
- So Much for Stealth: The Tholian prisoner transmits a Distress Call using its exoskeleton as an antennae. The Tholians create an energy web around the area and fire torpedoes into it until the cloaked Enterprise is revealed.
- Spare a Messenger: Archer allows a rebel starship to escape after destroying all the others, in order to spread fear. He destroys a crippled Vulcan ship first just to Kick the Dog.
- Special Edition Title: Even the song changed.
- The Starscream: Pretty much everyone, but especially Archer and Hoshi.
- Stock Footage from Star Trek: First Contact is cleverly intercut with episode footage in the teaser when Zephram Cochrane murders the Vulcan emissary. Also used in the special Title Sequence with news footage and scenes from movies and other Trek episodes are used to show that Humans Are Warriors.
- Strange Salute: The clenched fist MU salute is given, but when T'Pol gives the Vulcan salute to Soval, he refuses to return it.
"It's unwise to give that salute even behind closed doors."
- Tested on Tellarites: A Tellarite crewman is used to demonstrate the Agony Booth. And why not? He probably did something wrong anyway.
- In Part Two, Archer threatens to try out the maximum setting of his phaser on an alien's head if he doesn't start talking.
- That's an Order!: To Archer's fury, Forrest orders him to destroy the Defiant once he's downloaded its database. Events make the orders moot.
- Time for Plan B: After the Gorn takes out Reed and his security team, Archer uses the grav plating as an Improvised Weapon.
- Torture Technician: Phlox invents the Agony Booth, and works out how to make the Tholian more cooperative. Reed, meanwhile, enjoys operating it way too much.
- Uriah Gambit: Forrest sends Archer on the Boarding Party to the Defiant and orders T'Pol to go with him, making it clear Archer isn't to come back alive. When Enterprise is destroyed a short time later Archer becomes The Captain by default, so T'Pol never carries out these orders.
- Vehicular Turnabout: The Tholians steal the Defiant, only to have it stolen again by the Terran Empire.
- Villain Ball: Archer is heavily prone to this. For instance, he tries to torture the identity of Admiral Black's spy aboard Enterprise out of Forrest...even though the spy would have been assigned to report on Forrest and thus Forrest wouldn't know who the spy is.
- Villain Episode: One that focuses entirely on the MU characters.
- Wall of Weapons: Antique weapons line the wall of the captain's cabin. Archer is seen admiring one of them, the shotgun used to kill the first Vulcan to step onto Terran soil.
- We Need a Distraction: An EPS overload knocks out the cloaking device and several other systems. With all the focus on the cloak being sabotaged (as they're inside Tholian space) Archer realizes almost too late that itís a diversion. The internal sensors were the target, so T'Pol can launch an Anti-Mutiny.
- Wham Line: The final line is Hoshi's Moment of Awesome for the entire series.
"You're speaking with Empress Sato. Prepare to receive instructions."
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Reed re. Forrest after Archer takes the ship, and T'Pol re. Archer after Forrest takes it back. Both turn out to be aware of this. In "Part 2" Archer says he'd airlock T'Pol for her 'betrayal', but as he's suffering from Critical Staffing Shortage (47 to run a ship that needs 400) he can't afford to.
- Why Won't You Die?: Killing the Tholian takes longer than either Phlox or Forrest would like.
Phlox: Will you kindly die?
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: At first Archer just wants credit for seizing the Defiant, but fearful that even this will be denied him, lapses into hallucinations and paranoia, eventually deciding to take over the Terran Empire.
- You Fight Like a Cow: Hoshi and T'Pol during their Knife Fight.
T'Pol: I'm surprised you're not exhausted from all the beds you've jumped into recently.
Hoshi: Commander Tucker told me I should give you a few pointers in that area.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Hoshi points out that as Archer is now in command, according to tradition everything the previous captain had belongs to him. Including her.
Archer: I've never been one to argue with tradition. (grabs her for a passionate kiss)
- Your Mom: During the interrogation of the Tholian, Hoshi interprets one of its defiant remarks as "something about your maternal ancestor".
- Zeerust Canon: The Defiant is accurate to the old Enterprise sets, and Archer is marveled at how advanced it all looks. He even takes to wearing a standard-issue TOS captain uniform. The original series sets make such a stark contrast from all of the other sets on the series that they're surprisingly effective at looking like mysterious future technology from a parallel universe.