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Recap / Star Trek: Enterprise S04E18 "In a Mirror, Darkly"

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Long live the Empire!
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 I.S.S. 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 Universe from which they've seized the Constitution-class starship U.S.S. 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 U.S.S. 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.
    Trip: Look at the size of those coils! I bet that thing can do warp seven.
  • 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: The episode is set entirely in the Mirror Universe, with the only hint of the prime universe being the U.S.S. Defiant from "The Tholian Web" and the library files from its computer detailing the fate of the prime universe NX-01 Enterprise crew.
  • 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. After Forrest is dead, Archer ends up hallucinating his successful alternate universe counterpart even though he hates how that Archer earned his fame.
  • Ambiguous Ending:
    • The episode ends with Hoshi threatening the powers that be with the Defiant, and her declaration of herself as Empress, but it isn't made clear whether or not her attempted coup was successful given that in "Mirror, Mirror", the technology level of both Enterprises seem essentially identical. note 
    • The fate of Archer and Reed was left deliberately ambiguous as well, so they'd be available for future Mirror Universe episodes that were never made.
      • Spin-off media would establish that Reed survived with disfiguring injuries while a clone of Archer was created to exploit his tactical expertise, only for Archer's clone to defect to the Rebellion against Sato.
  • 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.
  • Arc Welding: There was no indication of any connection between the Defiant phasing into another dimension in "The Tholian Web" and the Mirror Universe of "Mirror, Mirror." The episode throws in Time Travel just to make things interesting.
  • Art Evolution: We get to see a Tholian and a Gorn rendered as detailed CGI characters. Averted with the Defiant however, which still looks straight out of TOS.
  • Artificial Gravity: Archer defeats Slar by having T'Pol increase the strength of the grav plating in a specific section to 20 G's just as he's lured Slar onto it.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership:
    T'Pol: You heard Archer's speech. He's delusional!
    Phlox: It's not a delusion if the captain has the power to do what he says. And from what I've seen, he most 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. Admiral Gardner does have a beard, as does Admiral Black.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Soval, who is a clean-shaven ambassador in the regular universe, is a bearded slave here.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zigzagged; T'Pol gets slashed across the face during her Knife Fight with Hoshi, who takes a punch to the face but doesn't have a bruise to show for it.
  • Beehive Barrier: The Tholians are able to demonstrate a complete web in this episode. Unlike in "The Tholian Web", where there were two of them forming a large web around an immobilized ship, here a half-dozen are able to assemble a complete web around a smaller ship in under a minute. Once complete, the gaps in the web fill up with energy, blocking outbound fire while allowing the Tholians to fire through it with impunity. Some of the escape pods trying to get out are sliced apart by the strands. It also collapses onto the Enterprise, destroying it. The Tholians also create a flat barrier blocking the Defiant spacedock, but Archer just blows up their ships to neutralize 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one hand, Soval and the rebels die and the Defiant makes it to Earth, ensuring another century of Terran hegemony. On the other hand, Archer is defeated, so he won't be able to wipe out Vulcan as T'Pol had feared. Only time will tell whether Empress Sato is any better than he was.
  • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kelby is abused by Trip and Killed Off for Real by the Gorn.
  • 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, a Constitution-class ship 100 years ahead of anything in this time period.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: Archer and 46 others from Enterprise take control of Defiant, which is meant for a crew of over 400.
  • 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:
    • Enterprise quickly disables a lone Tholian ship. Several more get payback by effortlessly destroying her.
    • The Defiant wrecks everything in her way, especially a rebel fleet attacking the Avenger.
    • The Avenger starts dishing one out to the Defiant, which Phlox has just sabotaged. After Tucker undoes it, however, Defiant roars back and blasts Avenger into scrap metal.
  • 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.
  • 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 an X: From the Gorn's perspective, at least, as he picks off security team members while hiding in the Jefferies tubes. 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 stratagem. I'm certain that in years to come—
    Archer: You've already got the job, Sergeant. Don't talk yourself out of it.
  • Dramatic Irony:
  • 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.
  • The Empire: The Terran Empire provides the trope image. The Tholians are also said to aggressively 'annex' star systems.
  • 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 and Avenger have Andorian, Vulcans, Tellarites and the odd Orion serving aboard along with the humans. They are still considered slaves, though, and Archer's open xenophobia makes T'Pol fearful that he'll destroy Vulcan in retaliation once the rebellion is crushed.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Forrest and Hoshi seem to genuinely be in love.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Mirror-Archer is baffled and enraged that his prime counterpart is legendary for being a peaceful explorer instead of a conqueror.
  • 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 Versus Evil: Mirror Archer has to contend with a Gorn slave-master who stowed away on the Defiant when his crew took it over.
  • Evil Wears Black: Phlox wears a black leather outfit. Plus all the MACO personnel (which includes Major 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 are 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.
  • Fake Shemp: The new footage shot for the Mirror Universe reimagining of First Contact's ending features an obvious stand-in for James Cromwell as Mirror-Cochrane, whose face is carefully never shown to the camera in the clips not lifted directly from the film. The order to board the Vulcans' ship and take everything is also bellowed by one of the mob, and not Cochrane.
  • 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 U.S.S. Defiant is back ("The Tholian Web"), all the women have midriff-baring 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?"
  • A Father to His Men: When faced with a Sinking Ship Scenario in part 1, Captain Forrest wastes no time ordering his crew to the escape pods and even stays behind to buy them time.
  • 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!
  • Femme Fatalons: T'Pol has fingernail extensions as per Uhura (but not Hoshi interestingly enough, despite being Communications Officer).
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: Partially to maintain continuity with "Mirror, Mirror," but the entirety of the episodes take place in the Mirror Universe and there is no crossover with the actual main characters. The closest is Mirror Archer hallucinating an interaction the normal Archer and being self-conscious over the differences and similarities between them. Half the mirror characters die and even gets a Special Edition Title as though this is an episode of a mirror universe show.
  • 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.
  • 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?)
    • The Empire would know about the pheromones and have countermeasures (surgical removal of the glands that produce them, perhaps).
  • 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 Our Timeline.
  • Hope Spot: The alien rebels were this close to defeating the Terrans for good ... and then the Defiant comes along.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Ball: Soval grabs this during the climax when he targets the Defiant's primary hull (i.e. the saucer section) instead of critical systems like the nacelles, weapons, or warp core. Somewhat Justified since he wasn't familiar with the ship's design and T'Pol got busted trying to smuggle the plans to him.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Archer realizes that Trip wasn't the saboteur, because with his engineering skills he could have done a much better job of it. He figures out the rest when Hoshi comments that T'Pol was looking over his shoulder during the installation of the cloak.
  • I'll Kill You!: Trip being tortured in the Agony Booth.
    Trip: Reed, I'll kill you when I get out of this!
    Reed: (Psychotic Smirk) I'd like to see you try.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: 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, Archer initially being the XO, and Reed and Mayweather being MACOs.
  • 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 and he genuinely doesn't know it.
  • Interquel: Played With. Due to the time-travelling and universe-crossing nature of the U.S.S. Defiant, this episode serves as both a prequel to the TOS episode "Mirror Mirror", as well as a sequel to the (later) TOS episode "The Tholian Web".
  • Invisibility Cloak: Mirror Enterprise has one, stolen from the Suliban.
  • Irrevocable Order: Archer locks the ship's course in before his mutiny is foiled, forcing Forrest to go along with Archer's plan against his better judgement. Circumstances roll in Archer's favor to get him back in command for the second half.
  • 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!"
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Archer succumbs to Hoshi's drug in the middle of gloating about his glory to come.
  • 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 (though he stops short of actually killing Forrest), 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, and wears a Beard of Sorrow.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Forrest is one of the more honorable Terran Empire officers seen, even pulling a Heroic Sacrifice by staying behind on Enterprise to distract the Tholians and buy the rest of the crew enough time to escape.
  • Literary Allusion Title: References 1 Corinthians 13:12 in The Bible.
  • 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. One unfortunate Vulcan ship gets bombarded by a torpedo barrage, as does Avenger at the end.
  • 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. However, he leaves Forrest alive, which gives him an opportunity to stage a counter-mutiny against Archer with the help of those loyal to him such as T'Pol.
    • Later, after using the Defiant to save the Terran Fleet, Admiral Black thanks Archer for his service and declares that he'll take the ship to personally present it the Emperor. Realizing that the Admiral is just a Glory Hound, Archer straight-up vaporizes him and takes over the rest of the fleet.
  • 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 the Terran Empire doesn't have moral qualms about acquiring and exploiting alien technology.
    • The Tholians also gain the ability to spin a web around a ship in moments, whereas two of their vessels had to take their time constructing one around the Enterprise in the Original Series. The method is also different, with the vessels firing the energy threads between the noses of their ships instead of the spider-like spinning from their engines in TOS. The speed at least is justified because the Tholians both have more ships to make the web and a much smaller ship to encase, where as the TOS Tholians had to weave the web with just two ships and do so out of weapons range, increasing the overall size.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: T'Pol, Soval, and Phlox conspire to sabotage and destroy the Defiant, while bringing technical schematics of its technology to the Vulcans.
  • 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."
    "They say for every year you spend next to one of these things, you lost a decade off your life expectancy. Which means I'll probably be dead by the end of the week."
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The U.S.S. Defiant in its own time and universe is just one of several Constitution-class ships. In the 22nd-century Mirror Universe, though, it's a unique superweapon capable of curb-stomping an entire Empire into submission, and a prize worth killing for.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Archer loves to get up in people's grills when he's snarling threats.
  • 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. The series got Cut Short before that could happen.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Archer uses a TOS era phaser recovered from the Defiant, which was a licensed replica. That particular phaser, being screen used, fetched a nice price at auction.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Forrest when he realized the Tholians know exactly where Enterprise is hiding.
    • Archer's reaction when told there's a Gorn hiding on board.
    • Soval panics when the Defiant suddenly powers up and starts shooting back at Avenger.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Archer's reaction to his alternate universe self is one of utter disdain, though at the same time he is deeply envious of the success his counterpart enjoyed.
    Archer: Great men are not peacemakers. Great men are CONQUERORS !
  • Out of Focus: Happens to all the regular characters of the show, as none of them appear in these two episodes. Unlike in all mirror universe episodes before or since, no one crosses over between the Prime Universe and the MU, so the show focuses entirely on the Mirror counterparts of the regular cast. The reason for this is that the original series episode "Mirror, Mirror" was clearly meant to be first time Starfleet became aware of the Mirror Universe, so the Enterprise writers couldn't introduce the MU to the timeline a hundred years earlier without needing some convoluted explanation for why it would've been forgotten by Captain Kirk's era. However it has the added benefit of adding to the sense of claustrophobic horror, as this time there is no possible escape from the Mirror Universe.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Defiant quickly proves itself as one to the rebels when it effortlessly destroys three of their ships without taking any damage whatsoever. It halts the rebellion in its tracks, and presumably keeps the Terran Empire in power for the next hundred years.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Archer shoves a TOS phaser in the belt of his spacesuit, wisely not trusting Reed to hold it on his behalf.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Scowling appears to be Archer's default expression, in contrast to his more amiable Alternate Self.
  • Plot Armor: Zig-zagged. At the end of Part 1, with the I.S.S. Enterprise being destroyed, the Tholians resort to shooting the escape pods (along with a couple more crashing into their energy web), but all of the main characters survive to take control of the Defiant. On the other hand, as Part 2 proceeds, first Mirror-Reed and later Mirror-Archer face likely deaths, and Mirror-T'Pol and Mirror-Phlox end up slated for execution. They are ultimately left in a state of Uncertain Doom, as the series was cancelled and Cut Short before any other Mirror Universe episodes could continue the story.
  • Punch a Wall: After T'Pol tells Trip how she set him up, he slams his hand into the wall next to her. Turns out he's activating the intercom to let the Captain know the repairs have been completed.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Commander Archer utters one to the Admiral before vaporizing him to usurp control of (what's left of) the Terran fleet.
    Archer: That's Captain. You're relieved, Admiral!
  • 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?"
  • Punishment Box: The Agony Booth, predecessor to the handheld agonizers used in "Mirror Mirror".
  • 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 original crew.
    Phlox: Unless one of them owned a Velociraptor, I find that extremely 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.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Averted; Archer wears his collar buttoned up (unlike in the normal universe) to show his more uptight nature. However he does do the requisite Slouch of Villainy in the captain's chair.
  • Red Right Hand: Trip is Two-Faced due to scarring from Delta radiation, with a skunk stripe and yellow eye.
  • Red Shirt: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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. It's also possible that ten hours straight in an agony booth played a role in this, along with him not being particularly stable to begin with.
  • Saved by Canon: Obviously the Terran Empire won't be overthrown (yet), as it's still going strong, despite sporadic rebellions, in Star Trek: The Original Series. That said, by the 24th century, it will have long since collapsed and been conquered.
  • 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 on 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.
    Archer: If we don't have warp capability in 12 hours, I'm going to find a new Chief Engineer.
  • Series Continuity Error: Back in "The Omega Glory", costumer William Theiss gave crew members of the U.S.S. Exeter their own uniform patch instead of the chevron worn by the Enterprise crew, under the mistaken impression that every starship had its own insignia. He was corrected on this point by Robert Justman, who explained that the chevron didn't denote the Enterprise but rather was branch insignia for personnel assigned to starships. Theiss didn't make the mistake again, but the error spawned a fan theory that in this episode evidently led the costumers to give dead Defiant crew members their own unit patch... despite them having worn the chevron when they disappeared from the prime universe in "The Tholian Web".
  • Shirtless Scene: Archer post-coitus with Hoshi.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God says the I.S.S. Avenger is named after the Imperial Star Destroyer from The Empire Strikes Back. Speaking of which, what does Reed shout when he realizes that the Gorn set him and his men up? "IT'S A TRAP!"
  • Sigil Spam: The Empire's "Earth-with-a-dagger-through-it" logo is everywhere.
  • 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.
  • Skyward Scream: Soval does this as Avenger is destroyed.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Hoshi Sato starts out as Captain Forrest's mistress, then jumps back into bed with Commander Archer (whom she previously used in the same manner), then later seduces Sergeant Mayweather to help her in her murder of Archer to take over the ship.
  • 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 Andorian 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 Mirror Zefram 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 make that gesture even behind closed doors."
  • Sultry 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).
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Archer despises T'Pol, especially after she double-crosses him to break Forrest out of the brig, but needs to keep her around because her expertise makes her invaluable.
  • Tested on Humans: Or in this case, aliens.
    • 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 new TOS-era 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.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • When the slave Archer is torturing tells him that the saboteur is a Gorn, Archer's expression clearly emotes his worry. Even in the Mirror Universe, they are notorious for their ferociousness.
    • T'Pol realizes Archer is Drunk with Power during his speech aboard the Avenger, and that he'll likely destroy Vulcan if he becomes Emperor.
  • Time for Plan B: After the Gorn takes out Reed and his security team, Archer uses the grav plating as an Improvised Weapon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Archer, for not learning his lesson the first time Hoshi tries to assassinate him.
  • 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.
  • Torture for Fun and Information: Archer orders one of the alien slaves that his crew captured on the Defiant to be tortured so they can get information on the Gorn stowaway that has sabotaged the ship. Archer and Mayweather look like they're having a great time, while T'Pol just rolls her eyes and calls Reed to bring in another prisoner when Archer prepares to incinerate their captive with his new phaser.
  • Tuckerization: According to Mike Sussman, Admiral Black gets his name from Chris Black (a writer and producer during the show's first three seasons).
  • Two-Faced: One half of Tucker's face is heavily scarred due to radiation exposure from working around Terran Empire warp drives.
  • 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, to which Forrest himself points out the problem:
    Forrest: You really think the Admiral would place a spy on my ship, and then tell me who it is?
  • Villain Episode: One that focuses entirely on the MU characters.
  • Villainous Valour: Forrest stays behind on Enterprise, fighting the Tholians to the bitter end in order to provide what cover he can for the crew's escape.
  • 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 Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The teaser has the Vulcan expedition that lands on Earth fall victims to this at the hands of Cochrane and his cronies.
  • 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 it’s 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."
  • Wham Shot: The Teaser features that heartwarming scene from the end of Star Trek: First Contact. The Vulcan ship lands in Montana, the captain greets Zefram Cochrane with a salute and "Live long and prosper", Cochrane tries but fails to return the salute ... and then he pulls out a gun and shoots the Vulcan. Welcome to the Mirror Universe!
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Reed regarding Forrest after Archer takes the ship, and T'Pol regarding Archer after Forrest takes it back. Both turn out to be aware of this.
      • It's implied that Archer is worried that killing Forrest will turn Hoshi against him, while Forrest can't kill Archer because the Emperor has already endorsed The Plan that Archer proposed (he does try to arrange Archer's death during a combat mission however).
    • 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.


Video Example(s):


In a Mirror, Darkly

The opening of the "Star Trek: Enterprise" episodes "In a Mirror, Darkly" (Parts I and II), set in the mirror universe, feature a militaristic theme instead of the normal "Where My Heart Will Take Me" ballad and scenes of military triumph instead of the usual scenes of triumphs of exploration.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpecialEditionTitle

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