Monday, February 5, 2018

Episode Review - Crossover (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Kira and Bashir are returning from opening a hospital on the New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant. As they enter the wormhole, something happens with their warp field that sends them to a parallel universe where Klingons and Cardassians are allies and humans are slaves. Learning that this is the same universe that legendary Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk once visited, they find themselves in a power struggle where familiar faces are not the people they knew in their universe. Kira and Bashir try to find a way back to their universe before they are killed (or worse).

Score: 9/10 – Ah, the Mirror Universe, where all bets are off. “Mirror, Mirror” is one of the best Original Series episode, and we fans finally get to see how Kirk’s influence on Spock is resolved. Sadly, it looks as if Kirk royally messed things up for the Terran Empire almost a century ago. Spock’s new empire was weak and soon fell victim to the combined Klingon-Cardassian alliance that is now the main enemy in this alternate universe. This episode is the first of five episodes in Deep Space Nine that are set in this universe originally established in the Original Series, and will be revisited in both Enterprise and Discovery. One of the strengths of this episode is that the counterpart characters are so delightful to see. While there is little difference in O’Brien (or “Smiley”, as the mirror Ben Sisko calls him), Garak is far more treacherous and sadistic, Odo is a ruthless villain, Sisko a care-free collaborator, Kira a seductive and twisted tyrant, and Quark a lowly bartender who tries to help out the humans out of a sense of decency instead of profit. The other fun aspect of this episode is that all bets are off with these counterpart characters. Odo and Quark are both killed, the former is a bit of an explosive manner, the latter off screen. This basically means that nobody (outside our crewmen from our universe) is safe, which really frees up the story telling. There is also a good dose of humor at the beginning of the episode as Bashir tries to charm his way into Kira’s graces. Once they enter into the mirror universe, however, the levity is appropriately finished and things get really serious very quickly. A great piece of Star Trek television.

Relevance - 3 points. So there is the obvious connection to the Original series episode “Mirror, Mirror”, plus the four mirror universe episodes that follow in DS9. Add to that the great two-part story from Enterprise and the significant plot points in Discovery’s first season, and you have a solid reason for knowing and watching this episode. There are also some other important references. Kira and Bashir are returning from establishing a hospital on a new Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant. In the season finale episode “The Jem’Hadar” it will be revealed that the Dominion massacred this colony. Overall, a very relevant episode for the franchise.

Continuity – 3 points. Story continuity works out well here. While the Intendant Kira knows that Bashir and Kira need to die (according to Alliance law), her reasons for keeping them alive make sense and advance the story. Universe and character continuity are a bit trickier here, as this is a different universe playing by its own rules. Suffice it to say, there is not anything in the mirror universe that doesn’t make sense. It was a logical progression of how the universe came to be where it was in DS9 from what we saw in the original series. For what we did see of our own characters (not the MU counterparts), everyone was acting as they should. What was fun was seeing how our universe people compare to their MU versions.

Character Development – 3 points. Definitely a Kira and Bashir episode, both characters go through some significant growth. A lot of it is established in the opening teaser scene where Bashir is trying to get the Major to warm up to him, just like he supposedly did with Chief O’Brien (while, contrary to the good Doctor’s opinion, the chief and him weren’t close yet, but they eventually become the best of friends). As he tries to get her to call him Julian, we see how Kira is still more annoyed with him. Then they end up in a struggle for survival. Bashir grows up here a lot as he is taken out of his comfort zone, while in the meantime Kira is faced with a much different situation. She faces who she could have been if things had turned out differently, and it is clear that she doesn’t like it. Nobody likes to face their evil twin. When the story ends, it seems as if Kira has come to a new-found respect for Bashir.

Social Commentary – 2 points. I often find that with really exciting episodes it is harder to find much to score in this section. As I thought about “Crossover”, there were a couple things that we could take from this. First, there is always something to be said about confronting your dark side, which is what Kira does here. That’s good for a couple points, at least.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. Where to start, where to start. Well, we’re in the MIRROR UNIVERSE! That is cool in itself, to see how everything and everyone turned out after Kirk and company visited there about a century before. Of particular note is Quark, who is likely the most different in the MU than here. To see him as being the only decent person who is willing to help others with no thought to himself is fun. Also, I am giving a point for the cool effect of watching mirror Odo get obliterated by Bashir.

Exploding Odo

Rank – Admiral (22 points). This is definitely a highlight for the second season of DS9. It is exciting, fun, and dark. We pick up where a classic Original Trek episode left off and sets up a whole bunch of future episodes. Best of all, it’s a well-made episode.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Don't like the Mirror Universe?

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