'ENTERPRISE' IN THE EVIL MIRROR UNIVERSE
Somebody's probably out there who's thinking that Tele-Toby has finally run out of options for the Crossover of the Week and has turned to this cosmic combo out of desperation. After all, it's a given that 'Enterprise' is already part of the 'Star Trek' universe, so there's nothing so special in that to merit attention.
But as with many episodes for this final season, 'Enterprise' has taken advantage of the franchise's history. It has drawn on events that took place in past series; it has illustrated those moments that had only been mentioned previously. And it has filled in some of the blanks in the 'Trek' timeline. And as was the case in which augmented human DNA was used on Klingons, it has even been able to correct some of the mythology's contradictions.
This should have been the case from the beginning of the series. Had they done so, as David Bianculli of the New York Daily News pointed out, we wouldn't be marking the end of the series three years earlier than expected.
But after flying in the face of established canon for most of the first two years, and then just flying off on its own path last year (which was the major failing of 'Voyager' in my opinion), 'Enterprise' got back to its roots with deep, rich writing that explored its own history.
Unfortunately it was too late.
With "In A Mirror, Darkly", once again we were visiting the evil alternate dimension first depicted in "Mirror, Mirror" from the original 'Star Trek'. This evil mirror universe was further explored in a series of episodes from 'Deep Space Nine', the franchise spin-off that really understood and utilized 'Trek' lore.
What set this two-parter apart was that there was no real connection made to the "true" universe; none of the regulars crossed over to discover its existence. Except for the ghostly presence of of Archer's inner thoughts which were embodied as the "good" Archer, we didn't see any of the regular cast in their normal versions of their roles. And we got to see the mirror universions of Admiral Forrest and Ambassador Sorak to boot.
The USS Defiant, NCC-1764, which had disappeared in a spatial interphase near Tholian territory, did cross over and go back in time from 2268. But its crew had gone insane from the interphase and were all dead, so no one lived to tell the tale back home.
These episodes could stand alone, outside the established storyline of the series. This way there was no violation of Kirk & Crew's "discovery" of this evil alternate dimension in "Mirror, Mirror".
But there wasn't just the link to that one episode of 'Star Trek'. As mentioned above, the Defiant and the Tholians of the episode "The Tholian Web" were a major conflict for the Empire's version of the Enterprise. And we got to see the full body of a Tholian, not just the projection of their heads onscreen.
The first part of "In A Mirror, Darkly" began with a recreation of the final moments in the eighth 'Star Trek' theatrical film, complete with James Cromwell as Zephraim Cochrane and Cully Fredricksen as the first Vulcan ever to meet Earthlings.
The only thing was, that "First Contact" didn't turn out quite the same way.
And as an added bonus, one of the adversaries faced by the evil crew of the Enterprise was a Gorn, but not as seen in the episode "Arena". This Gorn was not the cheesy, zipper-up-the-back lizard man of yore as would have been more at home on one of the old Irwin Allen shows of the Sixties. This Gorn would have held his own against a Scarren from 'Farscape'!
There was one other tip of the hat to an old 'Trek' episode. The radiation scars on Commander Tucker were reminiscent of the Delta ray damage suffered by Captain Christopher Pike several months before the events of "The Menagerie" part one.
All in all, this whole season has been a great celebration of 'Trek' history, going boldly where they should have gone long before.
Too bad the lesson wasn't learned in time.