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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Through the Looking Glass (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

It’s very tempting to write off the problems with the mirror universe episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as diminishing returns – the idea that repeated exposure to what was once novel robs that item of its novelty. It is possible to become immune to the charms of camp, dulled to absurd space opera, and just worn out by watching the cast play “space pirates meet Star Wars.”

However, this does a bit of a disservice to the mirror universe as a concept. As iconic as it has become, Mirror, Mirror worked very well as a piece of introspection for the original Star Trek. Crossover stands out as one of the strongest episodes in the first two years of Deep Space Nine, because it manages to capture the thoughtful-yet-campy self-criticism of Mirror, Mirror.

Let's face it, after what O'Brien's been through, nobody would be surprised if he snapped...

Let’s face it, after what O’Brien’s been through, nobody would be surprised if he snapped…

In contrast, Through the Looking Glass marks the point at which the mirror universe really ceases to be a clever concept, and becomes something that is simply kept around because it’s old and because the production team like the idea of playing “roguish rebels and evil empires” in a way that’s impossible in the mainstream Star Trek universe.

While the episode does have an interesting central premise and is nowhere near as weak as some of the mirror universe episodes ahead, Through the Looking Glass is the moment where the mirror universe seems to get away from Deep Space Nine.

They really nailed Rom to the wall...

They really nailed Rom to the wall…

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