Friday, March 15, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Crossover

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
Airdate: May 15, 1994
42 of 173 produced
42 of 173 aired


When Dr. Bashir and Major Kira go through the wormhole for some reason, they find themselves in the mirror universe. There, they discover that, for other reasons, the people they know and love are all different, and in a bad way, compared to the universe they know and love. Then, Kira gets hit on by herself.

Come on, baby, you know the only thing preventing us from making out is the effects budget... 


Matthew: In watching this episode again after our podcast, I was struck by how bored I was. I think having a conversation while watching it masked its more boring aspects. The character focus is too small, for one thing, by which I mean that only two "real" characters are on display, and only one of them, Kira, gets anything close to development. And even her scenes are hamstrung by the pointless comparison/lesbo porn aspects of her scenes with the Intendant. Like the original "Mirror, Mirror," Kira should have replaced the Intendant, resulting in the ethical drama of her having to choose between unpalatable options as an occupier and oppressor.

Kevin: I think this story lacked an overall point larger than merely returning to the mirror universe. There really needed to be a way to tie into a larger arc. Maybe Kira could have realized how little needed to be different for Bajorans to be oppressors and have that help her deal with her lingering hatred of the Cardassians. Maybe, since this trip was acheived through the wormhole, some larger significant arc for Bajor or the Prophets could have been done. I will say, I like the idea of the Intendant, and Nana Visitor sums up the character well in interviews, in that she possesses many of the same traits as Prime Kira, but their focused inward on her own aggrandizement, not outward toward helping her people. And that's a neat idea, I just wish it had gotten more explicit development in the script.

Matthew: None of the character stories of the mirror universe inhabitants are interesting to me. Intendant Kira is a crass caricature with no personal history worth mentioning. Odo is evil for some reason. Do we learn the reason? No. And don't get me started on Sisko. Yeesh. Basically, I wanted these characters to go away when they were on screen. Quark and O'Brien were more interesting, but not much moreso, because the story did not focus on them.

Kevin: There was another missed opportunity for Odo. His prime persona is very law and order, but not above breaking rules to achieve ends. If he had been nurtured in a different environment, how would he be different? Again, there's a chance to really explore how people make decisions and how decisions make people. Really, they all exist only to be the "mirror" version of the prime character and that means they don't really have internal motivations, just check boxes to tick off in being "opposite."

Matthew: I applaud the idea of returning to this universe 80 years on to see what has changed. Arbitrary presence of main cast. The execution leaves much to be desired, though. The relationship between the universes is too murky. Are they always connected, or was this a random convergence of infinite multiverses? Why are the main cast members arbitrarily present in this reality on the same station, after 80 years of divergence (answer: there is no good answer)?

Kevin: I would say, like "Q-less," this felt like a producer-driven decision to revisit a popular TOS story, without a real reason to revive it. Unlike Blood Oath, which was awesome, the story here can't overcome the crassness of the conceit. And yeah, why would Miles O'Brien's parents still meet and produce the same child after sooooo much had changed between the two universes. It doesn't make sense even for suspended disbelief.


Matthew: Whatever meager level of care or investment I was threatened by with this story is absolutely ripped from me every moment Avery Brooks is on screen. This is one of the most egregious scenery-chewing set of scenes in the show's run thus far. Granted, it's on the page, and the writers must be blamed for playing to Brooks' worst tendencies as an actor. But Brooks deserves blame for the self-indulgend, completely off the rails performance he gives here. The laughing, the preening, the flamboyant assholery.

Kevin: My take on Brooks' acting has always been a little softer than yours, but I have to agree. Even in terms of character development, he is just going through the motions. I don't buy his motivation for helping the Intendant or betraying her, beyond the script told him too.

Matthew: I thought Siddig El Fadil and Nana Visitor did fine in their prime universe roles. I think El Fadil does a good job of portraying hardship (like he did in the Harvester episode), moreso than perhaps portraying charming insouciance. Visitor's Prime Kira definitely seemed to be wary, trying to feel out the new world, playing her cards close to her vest. Mirror Kira, on the other hand, though not as bad as Avery Brooks, was just too much of a caricature for me. I never believed her as a rounded, 3-dimensional person.

Kevin: This is another good Bashir outing. When he's not chasing tail, he levels out to be a good character and actor. Even the forced attempt at friendship with Kira in the teaser was pretty funny. I kind of enjoy Mirror Kira. It's over the top, but I was always compelled when she was onscreen. I like that Kira gave her a different physicality, taking advantage of her dance background to make her basic movements feel different. Say what you will about the writing, she committed to the part.

Production Values

Matthew: Whatever else this show's faults are, production isn't one of them. The wormhole shots looked great, and the runabout lighting and camera angles complemented them. The various phaser and transporter effects looked good, too. The shot of the station around Bajor looked good. The split screen work with two Kiras was surprisingly good, given how hokey these effects have sometimes seemed in the franchise.Visual effects were generally very strong.

Kevin: I largely agree, but I will say, particularly in Quark's bar, the station looked muddy and indistinct. That's very rarely happened on the show, which is surprising given the number of scenes in dark, gray rooms. Something about the fog and the purple lights washed a lot of things out.

Matthew: Costumes were pretty nice. I wasn't a big fan of Mirror Kira's headband, but everything else was really solid. The Terran badges a la the Juden badges of Nazi Germany were a nice touch. Seeing Quark and Odo in different, more conservative outfits was a nice visual differentiator.

Kevin: They did a great job of making Armin Shimerman look emaciated. Without the layered, gaudy jackets to balance the proportion of his ears, he practically has a chicken neck. The twin evening gowns were just okay, they kind of looked like they were made of crepe paper, and since Visitor is rocking such a severe haircut this season, a dress with a lot of detail kind of clashes. I think she would have looked better in a simpler look.


Matthew: Kevin and I recorded a podcast in which we both somehow gave this show a 3. I think the fact that we had something to distract us from it is what led to such a rating. Upon rewatching it, I kind of hate this episode. I acknowledge it has a decent (though extremely problematic) premise, and the production values are strong. But the story is just kind of dumb and boring, and some of the acting borders on unwatchable. It's not Move Along Home by any means, but it's a 2 in my book.

Kevin: I think Matt hit the nail on the head saying we probably were distracting ourselves from the episode by talking. I agree with the 2 for a total of 4. And it pains me to say this is pretty much the apex of the DS9 mirror universe episodes.


Sorry for the delay in getting this up. As we said, we did a new ending after we initially recorded it, and that had some technical problems that require stitching together a couple of audio files, and the episode so deathly boring, I wasn't exactly motivated to sit down and iron it all out. Still, here it is. I am reasonably certain our podcast is more entertaining than it's underlying episode.


  1. Is there a podcast for this episode? It's labeled as a Podcast... I'd be curious to have a listen, if there is one!

  2. Technical issues prevented this from going up contemporaneously, and then apathy prevented it from going up until now. Enjoy. :)