In a Mirror Darkly: A Critique?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by YARN, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

    Aug 8, 2010
    There's something striking about this two-parter. It is ridiculous, overblown, and rather... ...dumb.

    The episode ditches strumming guitar earnest tones of "Long road" (the most despised opening music in all of Trek) and replaces it with macho sounding fare with dynamic military images in the background. Things go bang! Indeed, the two-parter is filled with a lot of pew-pew! action and the characters are simple and action-oriented.

    The episode feel like a critique of fan-service, even as much as it caters to it. It functions as a guilty pleasure, but clearly does not aspire to be anything more than a guilty pleasure. This was fun as a change of pace, but you couldn't sustain a series with dialogue.

    Enterprise failed, but this episode seems like the series making a case for its own virtues. Sure, Archer is stupidly earnest and plucky (like an oversized human version of his Beagle), but consider what might have been... ...surely plucky Archer is better than the MacBeth version? If so, we might be inclined to reappraise the virtues of the regular show.
  2. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

    Oct 13, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    In A Mirror Darkly may be overrated, I'll grant you, but what I really hated was the inclusion of that shitty-assed Playstation-looking Gorn. You know it's bad when the original series version was actually more believable and threatening ...
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    I was very disappointed by it. I never clicked with any of the mirrorverse NX01 crew and thus didn't give a toss what happened to them.

    I wish they'd been able to get Shatner to play an aged mirror-Kirk in the Prime universe, as originally planned. Or did a "Tomorrow's Enterprise" -type thing where the regular crew get to explore the TOS Enterprise.

    I did love the First Contact intro, though. That was fantastic.
  4. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

    Jun 11, 2005
    The twisted and chaotic mirror universe itself (assassinating your superiors to get ahead) has never made much sense, but I don't think it's really meant to.

    I was highly dubious when I heard "Enterprise" was doing a mirror universe story, because DS9, in my opinion, went to that particular well WAY too many times. I was really well done, and yes, bringing back the Connie Defiant and putting the cast in OS uniforms is pretty blatant fan service, but is it really any more guilty of that than, say "Trials and Tribble-ations"?

    Other than the extremely lame shot of Kelby being pulled to his death (re-watch that scene and you'll understand), I really have no complaints. Yes, the CG Gorn may be a bit dated, but can't you say the same about the dude in a suit in "Arena"?

    I would hope, had the series continued, they would've had the good sense to keep this a one-time outing (though I get the impression they wouldn't have), but as a stand-alone two-parter, it's just a hell of a lot of fun. Not every episode has to have the depth of "Duet" or "Cogenitor". You can treat yourself to a sugary dessert like this once in a while.
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    The visitor's bullpen
    I loved IAMD, but an even better opening credits sequence would be this:

  6. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    I loved the episode myself--great to see the Planet of the Titans asteroid base--even though they called it Tholian.
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    The visitor's bullpen
    I've made no secret of the fact that Vaughn Armstrong is my favorite actor of all time, and it's episodes like this that only serve to reinforce this view. I totally cheered when his character (Maximilian Forrest!!! :techman: ) willingly stayed behind on the ISS Enterprise to sacrifice himself so that his crew could get away. It just showed that even in the mirror universe, there were some people who still acted with courage and honor. :)
  8. daedalus5

    daedalus5 Rear Admiral Moderator

    Jan 2, 2001
    Derbyshire, UK
    I disliked Enterprise, but loved this episode. The whole series was starting to improve and become enjoyable for me by this point, where, sadly, it was cancelled. I loved the premise and seeing the Constitution class in action. I was also pleased to see Bakula being able to act and stretch in the role. I'm a big QL fan and was disappointed by the somewhat bland reactions he gave in the series and what he brought to the role. If only there was a Season 4 set entirely in the mirror universe!
  9. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 11, 2008
    Warrior, AL
    That and after all these years we finally get a chance to see a Tholian properly.
    I could have done without the entire Gorn hiding in the Jefferies Tubes thing and spent that time at the end of the episode seeing what the Defiant could really do.
    Matching the location of the bodies from the TOS episode was a nice touch.

    I do wish the Mirror NX looked more heavily armed though, like the Warship Voyager in 'Living Witness'
    The NX we have seen before was constrained by Earth technology being held back by the Vulcans- since the Terran Empire had access to all the ship should have reflected that a bit more I think.
  10. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    I consider this 2 parter to be the frosting on the cake of season 4.
    I was so impressed with how they handled the 'evil' versions of themselves, I would like Enterprise less as a whole without IAMD.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  11. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    I would have enjoyed this more if it were a single part episode and not one of the final episodes of the series. We had so little time left with this crew – and nobody expected a 5th season – so spending two weeks in an alternate universe bugged me.

    Everyone did a pretty good job, but Bakula was really far too over the top. I honestly find it to be his worst performance in the series, where he was usually rock solid. Not one of my favorite episodes, obviously.
  12. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    Isn't Over the Top a defining trait of basically anything MU-related though, at least when it comes to the principals?

    I loved the episodes. Would have been curious to see more of this timeline's development, though I think I might have preferred single episodes going forward.
  13. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 19, 2010
    east coast United States
    Agree. Season 4 finally got it right.
  14. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    Normally, but if you look at many of the others in the cast, they were more subtle. Balkula was bursting blood vessels doing the smallest things. He was apparently trying to out-Shatner Shatner. At least he was having fun....
  15. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 1, 2013
    I enjoyed the episode(s), but the problem was that it just whetted my appetite for something I knew would never happen: a new series set in the original series time frame. Maybe it's just the wistful old-timer in me...but it sure felt nice, for the first time in a long time, I couldn't wait for next week's episode. :)
  16. Danny99

    Danny99 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 30, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I enjoyed it, but the whole premise to get them onto the Defiant was laborious all for the one fan wank moment. That moment was cool, but I was already turned off by the voyage to get there.
  17. Drone

    Drone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 29, 2012
    I agree that Original Gorn has quite the atavistic charm (especially its eyes), but on the other hand, not being very knowledgable about the mechanics of latter day SFX, I must say I found the work process in creating this iteration as detailed in the dvd extras, pretty impressive, from maquette to the final tweaks.

    I think the episode's TOS connection conceit was pretty satisfying and while it contributed to the top heavy multi-layer cake type construction, there were more than a few pleasures to be had in appreciating it.

    I would suggest that however engagingly arranged any Mirror episode might be, the longer term viability of the basic premise is a different proposition altogether. It might be rather hard to engineer a season long arc or certainly an entire program around this without getting numbingly repetitive pretty soon. Perhaps an insurrectionary drama, starting on an intimately scaled level, that allowed for the protagonists to question each other's beliefs about the morality of empire/civilization building sans noisome posturing, would be a draw, for me anyway.

    Otherwise, forget it.
  18. Mr Pointy Ears

    Mr Pointy Ears Captain Captain

    Dec 21, 2008
    Im very happy to hear that im not the only one who didn't like the 2 parter mirror universe,they lack the evilness of the original series episode,the only thing I like was hoshi the ho.
  19. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

    May 9, 2012
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Even as a mirror-verse episode, I have to say that 'In A Mirror Darkly' suffers for me from being so totally separate from the rest of ENT. The show had evolved into a fairly tight unit by that point, with each episode building more and more upon this more grounded and realistic take on the Star Trek franchise, and 'In A Mirror Darkly' stands separately from that. It's utterly skippable on any rewatch of the entire series, in much the same way as 'These Are The Voyages' stands alone, adding almost nothing of substance to the ongoing arc of the show.

    As a stand-alone experience though, I'd opine that 'In A Mirror Darkly' would make a hell of a great stand-alone TV movie in and of itself. :techman:
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Mar 2, 2002
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    "In A Mirror, Darkly" is a fun little two-parter that's definitely a nice example of fan service. It's basically ENT's dark id having a fun night out.

    That's both its biggest strength and its biggest weakness. It's a fun two-parter -- but it also opens the door to wondering what a show that takes the nightmare of life in a futuristic totalitarian state seriously might look like. Prime example: The sexy women in revealing uniforms who cavort with starship captains for power games may seem like sexy fun... but if you consider the kind of culture that would realistically produce such a phenomenon, you start to realize how pervasive sexual assault and rape likely are in the Terran Empire.

    I'd take David Mack's vision of life under the Empress in the novel Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire over the less earnest depiction in "Mirror, Darkly," at the end of the day.

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