Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Shattered Mirror”

“Shattered Mirror”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 4, Episode 19
Production episode 40514-492
Original air date: April 22, 1996
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Jake is standing in his and Nog’s old spot overlooking the Promenade, attracting the attention of both Odo and Quark, thus once again giving Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman a scene since their MU counterparts were killed back in “Crossover.”

When Jake goes back to his quarters, Jake is stunned to see his mother. It’s the Jennifer Sisko from the Mirror Universe. She’s come to give Sisko some good news. The Terran rebels have driven the Alliance off of Terok Nor and now control it. Sisko has to go meet with a Bajoran minister, so Jennifer visits with Jake for a while. The meeting is both joyous and devastating for Jake—as he says at one point, he never expected to hold those hands again.

After Sisko’s meeting, which lasts three hours, he returns to his quarters to find Jennifer and Jake gone—but she left behind one of the funky cylinders that Smiley used to transit someone to the MU. Sisko tries to transport over with Kira and O’Brien, but only Sisko makes it. As Smiley puts it when Sisko materializes on Terok Nor, they weren’t invited. Jake has been kidnapped to lure Sisko back to the MU.

The rebels have constructed a copy of the Defiant, using specs Smiley downloaded when he kidnapped Sisko in “Through the Looking-Glass.” But the ship is overpowered and damn near flies apart every time they power her up—it’s the same problem the mainline universe Defiant had. Sisko has four days to effect the same fixes to this Defiant so it can defend Terok Nor against the Alliance fleet that is en route. If he refuses, he and Jake will die with everyone else when the Alliance re-takes the station.

Jake gets to meet the MU Nog, who now owns the bar, with his uncle and father dead. Jennifer admits to Sisko that using Jake to lure him there was her idea. Sisko isn’t happy, but he’s going along with it.

The Alliance fleet that is heading to Terok Nor is led by Regent Worf, who has Gul Garak as his prisoner, wearing a metal collar with a chain wielded by the Regent. Worf tells Garak that the collar stays until every rebel on Terok Nor lies dead at his feet. Garak, meanwhile, is desperately sucking up, revealing that Intendant Kira surrendered to the rebels rather than face defeat—Garak, though, escaped, and is now the Regent’s prisoner. Worf paraphrases Darth Vader: “This time, I will deal with the rebels myself.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Sisko’s assisting Smiley with the repairs is interrupted by Jadzia, who slaps him for making love to her under false pretenses. Then he finds Bashir torturing the Intendant, who tried to escape while being escorted to interrogation. Kira, however, admits that she was completely fooled by Sisko’s impersonation of his MU counterprt, and tries to get Sisko to help her in exchange for gratitude. This attempt fails rather spectacularly.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Worf is informed of the Defiant’s imminent completion, and accepts Garak’s suggestion that the fleet’s speed be increased to warp nine.

Sisko discovers that Jake has made dinner for Jennifer, and there’s food for him, but Sisko is too tired to eat (words one never expected Sisko to say). Jennifer also is starting to regret exposing herself to the son she’ll never have.

Smiley then informs Sisko and Jennifer that the Alliance fleet’s arrival has been moved up. Bashir and Jadzia offer to take their last raider to distract the fleet to give them time to get the Defiant ready. Sisko gets Kira to give them some intel: the targeting systems on the Alliance ships can be fooled into chasing sensor shadows. Bashir and Jadzia do that very thing, occupying the fleet with false readings while Sisko, Jennifer, and Smiley work overtime to get the Defiant ready. Jennifer also agrees to let Jake return to the mainline universe, as she and Smiley both trust Sisko to finish his work.

Jake stands in the same spot overlooking the Promenade, only this time Nog tells him to leave, unimpressed by Jake stating that the mainline Nog used to hang out there with him.

The Alliance fleet arrives. Smiley lets Sisko go, but Sisko decides to stay and command the ship in battle. The Defiant gets to kick some serious ass.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Nog breaks the Intendant out of her cell, and he’s got a ship waiting for her to take her to Bajor. It’s his way of thanking her for killing Quark and Rom, leaving him with the bar. She repays his kindness by shooting him. She then stumbles across Jennifer and Jake. Now Kira has a very handy hostage, and Jennifer’s willing to be that hostage, even be her gift to the Regent—but only if she lets Jake go. She agrees, and then turns her weapon on Jake. Jennifer jumps in front of the disruptor beam to save Jake’s life. Only then does the Intendant discover that Jake is Sisko’s son from the mainline universe. She spares his life, telling Jake that she intends to collect on that debt from Sisko.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

On the Defiant, Sisko takes the helm, as it’s just easier than giving Smiley orders he doesn’t entirely get. (“Pattern Delta? What’s that?”) He flies the Defiant very close to the Regent’s cruiser’s hull so they can’t lock on weapons. Bashir shows up with his raider, and between the two of them, they pound the holy crap out of the Regent’s flagship. The Regent is forced to retreat, furious. He’s convinced that he’s been betrayed, and Garak assures him that it had to be the Intendant.

Sisko and Jake get to watch another Jennifer Sisko die, as she conveniently waits until Sisko can be at her side to die (never mind that the same shot from the same weapon killed Nog instantly).

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? The cylindrical doodad from “Through the Looking-Glass” can still make the MU as accessible as the room next door. The Defiant that Smiley and the gang construct has the same problem that the mainline Defiant did in terms of being too powerful, as Sisko mentioned in “The Search, Part I.”

The Sisko is of Bajor: Jake is overwhelmed by meeting his mother’s doppelganger, and mostly thinks it’s just the most awesome thing ever. Sisko expresses concern that Jake’s already got the three of them living together in his mind, but he isn’t giving Jake enough credit, as his responses are actually more complex than that. And in the end, the Siskos get to watch Jennifer die all over again. Fun stuff.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Don’t ask my opinion next time: The mainline Kira insists on accompanying Sisko to the MU, though Smiley’s preprogramming keeps that from happening. She obviously still remembers her trip there in “Crossover.” (And in a lot of ways, they missed a bet. I’d have loved to have seen more Kira/Kira action—er, so to speak—not to mention O’Brien meeting Smiley.)

The slug in your belly: Apparently the Jadzia of the MU doesn’t like to stay in the same place more than once, which might explain why we didn’t see her in “Crossover.”

There is no honor in being pummeled: The MU Worf is the leader of the Alliance, with the title of Regent. He’s more than a little power-mad, and more than a little egotistical.

Preservation of matter and energy is for wimps: Odo surprises Jake by not asking him to leave the spot overlooking the Promenade. Turns out that Odo was racially profiling by only wanting Nog to go away, Jake just happened to be with him.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark states that friends just lead to heartbreak, which leads Odo to say that that’s why he has no friends, leading Quark to tartly reply, “Look who’s talking.” Meanwhile, in the MU, the death of both Quark and Rom in the previous MU stories leaves Nog with the bar—at least until Kira kills him, thus making the MU episodes three for three in killing Ferengi.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Plain, simple: Garak insists that it was the Intendant’s fault that they lost Terok Nor, as she was the one in charge. He also ran as soon as things got bad, right into the waiting arms of the Regent, who keeps a metal collar and chain on him for the whole episode.

Tough little ship: When he was in the mainline universe in “Through the Looking-Glass,” Smiley downloaded a mess of stuff, including the Defiant specs, which was enough to build a match for it, all the way down to the LCARS displays (which makes no sense, as there’s no way the rebels would have access to the exact same material—it would’ve made more sense for the displays to be Cardassian or Klingon in design, since that’s what they’d have around, but that would’ve required too much set redesign).

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Nog at one point mentions that he doesn’t trust tall men, but he likes tall women (given that his head is right at boob level, this makes sense). The Intendant hits on one of the rebels, and when he informs her that she had his wife killed, she just smiles and says she was hoping he wasn’t married. Jadzia insists that she was suspicious of Sisko from the start when he impersonated his counterpart in “Through the Looking-Glass,” and Sisko just says, “You hid it well.” She now is slinking all over Bashir.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Keep your ears open: “The Intendant was bad enough. She was irrational, accusatory, unappreciative, but at least—”

“At least what?”

“At least I was able to please her now and then.”

“You are not my type.”

“I never said I was.”

Garak complaining about the Intendant to Worf, and saying too much before he realizes he should’ve kept his mouth shut, and Worf pointing out a significant difference between him and Kira.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Welcome aboard: Recurring regulars Andrew J. Robinson and Aron Eisenberg return as the MU versions of Garak and Nog, while Felecia M. Bell makes her third and final appearance as some version or other of Jennifer, following “Emissary” and “Through the Looking-Glass.” Carlos Carrasco, last seen as a Klingon in “The House of Quark,” plays a much dumber Klingon here. Stunt coordinator Dennis Madalone again plays one of the rebels, this time getting propositioned by the Intendant and clubbed in the head with a food tray by Nog.

Trivial matters: This episode obviously continues the Mirror Universe storyline that began way back on the original series in “Mirror, Mirror,” and continued on DS9 in “Crossover” and “Through the Looking-Glass.”

The original intent for “Crossover” was to have Worf be part of the crew in charge of Terok Nor, but Michael Dorn’s shooting schedule for TNG didn’t allow him time to come over to the other lot. Now that he’s in the cast, though…

The MU novel The Sorrows of Empire by David Mack will establish that the title “Regent” comes from the Klingon Empire of the MU believing that the leader of the High Council is simply warming the throne, as it were, for Kahless, acting as his regent until his prophesied return.

Another MU novel, Saturn’s Children, also by Mack (under the pseudonym of Sarah Shaw), will see Smiley and the rebels spearheading the construction of many more Defiant-class ships, among them the Jadzia (captained by Bashir), the Terra Victor (captained by Kasidy Yates), and the Capital Gain (captained by Zek). Later novels with the MU will see both Leeta (The Soul Key by Olivia Woods) and Ezri (Rise Like Lions by Mack) in command of the Defiant. Your humble rewatcher’s MU novel The Mirror-Scaled Serpent, which takes place prior to this episode, has a team of rebels led by Chakotay acquiring material for Smiley’s construction of the Defiant.

This is the first of two times (the second chronologically) that the face of the MU is changed by a Federation ship called Defiant. The other will be seen in the Enterprise two-parter “In a Mirror, Darkly,” which has the Defiant from the original series episode “The Tholian Web” crossing over into the MU.

Walk with the Prophets: “Make it so!” This is my favorite of the MU episodes, even though it isn’t necessarily the best. It’s stronger than the limp “Through the Looking-Glass,” while also picking up from that episode nicely, but not as strong as “Crossover” was.

What makes the episode, really, is every single scene between the Regent and Gul Garak. This is the first time Andrew J. Robinson and Michael Dorn have been put together, and it’s comedy gold. (The two will be thrown together again in the mainline universe more than once, most effectively in “In Purgatory’s Shadow” and “By Inferno’s Light.”) The screen just sparkles every time they’re together. “Spoken like a Klingon.” “I’m trying!” “You are just trying to shift blame to yourself!” “Am I succeeding?” And, of course, the sequence quoted above, which is a masterpiece of comic timing: Robinson perfectly showing Garak realizing as he’s talking that he’s going down a road he really really shouldn’t, but unable to stop himself, especially when the Regent prompts him. Even the totally useless and pointless scene where Worf stabs Garak to see if he swallowed the key only to discover that his dumbass aide dropped it in his boot is delightful, for all that it’s, as I said, totally useless and pointless. Hell, at different points Regent Worf quotes Darth Vader and Captain Picard—how awesome is that?????

As for the rest of the episode, it’s mostly made by Colm Meaney’s sarcasm and Cirroc Lofton’s emotionalism, with some fine moments from Avery Brooks as well (the facial expressions he goes through as he convinces himself to stay and captain the Defiant are a rhapsody in self-guilt). You can tell that Smiley’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and he’s just tap-dancing as fast as he can. He’s done the impossible, but it hasn’t made him mighty quite yet, as he doesn’t expect any of this to last. His snark is magnificent (“Captain Bashir, Captain O’Brien, Captain Sisko—we may not have enough weapons or troops or ships, but we’ve got plenty of captains!” “Ah, Pattern Suicide.” “Surprised? I’m astonished!”).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Shattered Mirror

Lofton does excellent work as well. Jake reacts exactly like a normal person would react when confronted with fun-house mirror versions of the people he knows and loves—and when he sees a woman who is so much like his dead mother. His reaction is actually fairly restrained, but fairly mature, too. He knows this isn’t something that’s going to last—Sisko’s words notwithstanding—but, like Smiley, he’s going to enjoy it while he can. But then it’s turned on his ear, first when MU Nog turns out to be an asshat, and then when he watches his mother die again, this time while saving his life.

Speaking of whom, this time around, Felecia M. Bell’s severe limitations aren’t quite as bad, mostly because the script doesn’t ask as much of her as “Through the Looking-Glass” did.

The plot doesn’t always cohere. The Defiant’s an awesome ship, yes, but it shouldn’t be able to turn away a whole fleet that easily without support, the Intendant’s reasons for sparing Jake boil down to “we needed a feeble excuse to not have an opening-credits regular be executed,” and Bell still can’t actually, y’know, act. It’s worth it for the Worf-Garak banter, but the joke is starting to grow stale. (And will only get worse from here, but we’ll cover that when we get to “Resurrection” and “The Emperor’s New Cloak.”)

 

Warp factor rating: 7


Keith R.A. DeCandido reminds everyone that he has a bunch of stuff coming out over the course of the rest of 2014: his latest Star Trek book, The Klingon Art of War; two anthologies that have Cassie Zukav stories in them, Out of Tune (edited by Jonathan Maberry) and Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental (edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeffrey Lyman, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Lee C. Hillman); and the “Merciless” adventure for the Firefly role-playing game Echoes of War. If you’re not following Keith on Facebook or Twitter or reading his blog, why the heck not??????

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