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In a Mirror, Darkly
original airdate: 04-22-2005

UPN has run some pretty stupid promos for Enterprise, but this week’s just might be the worst.

“On an all new Star Trek: Enterprise: the universe… has an EVIL TWIN!!!”

It's hurdles like these that Enterprise wasn’t able to clear and thus land a fifth season. Aren’t there entire marketing departments working together to lure viewers into their programming blocks? Who thought this one would be a good idea?

If you know anything more about Star Trek than there are Tribbles and Vulcans, then you know there is an alternate universe where good people are bad and bad people are good. Kirk and a few others beamed through to the parallel universe in “Mirror, Mirror” where they encountered the evil Spock complete with a beard.

Deep Space Nine expanded the universe considerably by visiting the alternate reality several times throughout their run. By Sisko’s time the Cardassians and Klingons formed a super empire and crushed the weakened Terran Empire.

But to enjoy this episode you need to have a little background knowledge of a second classic Trek episode: “The Tholian Web.” Kirk and crew beamed over to Enterprise’s sister ship, the Defiant, just as it was pushed out of the known universe. Kirk was seen as a ghostly image bouncing around the ship, as Spock and Bones fought against space madness and the menacing Tholians.

It’s clear this two part Mirror Universe story was written with Trek fans in mind.

To confuse matters even more there isn’t a CLEAR explanation of the mirror universe – unless, again, you’re familiar with a lot of Trek.

Using cut scenes from the final moments of Star Trek: First Contact (the movie foundation for Enterprise), Dr. Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell) meets the Vulcans for the first time. Instead of shaking their hands he blasts them with a pistol and the humans plunder the Vulcan ship. So begins the evil Terran Empire.

Even the title sequence is altered from the peaceful progression of Earth ships to a history of Earth weapons and violence. But the change in music makes it a dramatic improvement.

Trekfanboys can enjoy watching pieces of their favorite shows and movies meld into one story. Anyone else watching only knows… The universe has an evil twin.

The parody of the ‘regular’ universe is additionally lost on anyone who doesn’t tune in to Enterprise consistently.

In the mirror universe the Terrans have conquered the Vulcans as well as the Tellarites, and who knows how many other races. Also, besides being murderous, Reed and Mayweather are MACOs. Dr. Phlox is a mad scientist. Admiral Forrest is alive and is Captain Forrest, commanding the Enterprise. Oh, and Hoshi is his whore. Fitting since, in the mirror universe women’s uniforms stop just bellow their DD breasts.

These are all fun details, but lost on so many viewers.

When The Next Generation first aired, part of the fun, besides knowing Star Trek was back, was seeing how the universe had evolved since Kirk went to dry dock. Why were the Federation and the Klingons friends? How does the ship separate in two? Why do the men wear skirts?

Enterprise had an opportunity to capture that lightning in a bottle a second time. Fans now can now see the primordial ooze the universe grew from. Instead we wasted a season on the Xindi. And we wasted viewers.

This time last year people would have jumped at the chance to see the nerdy little details like the same position of the dead Defiant crew members from “Tholian’s Web.” Or the hole in space is exactly the same as the one from Spock’s diagram. Or in the mirror universe a team of Tholians can spin a web considerably faster then the one that wrapped the NCC 1701-D.

But, thanks to the countless hurdles Enterprise stumbled over, no one is watching. The race is already over. And now we’re just trying to break the finish line.

Next week the other half of the Mirror will reveal Archer and crew in 23rd century uniforms, kicking Tholian butt and squashing a rebellion from one of its conquered worlds.

And if enough people watch next week, the universe’s EVIL TWIN will get its own spin-off on SPIKE TV.

Not in this reality.

Kevin Miller

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