Break On Through To The Other Side
"Shattered Mirror" Plot Summary:
When Jennifer Sisko lures Jake into her alternate universe, Benjamin follows his son into a war where Garak is Worf's slave and the Intendant alternately pines for Sisko and longs for his death. Though he manages to rescue Jake and ally Jennifer with the rebels, Sisko cannot protect his son from losing his mother again.
This was a terrific Avery Brooks episode, but the worst Benjamin Sisko episode DS9 has ever done. Brooks got to show a lot of range -- but that's mostly because Sisko was so out of character that I found myself hoping he was in fact his evil twin, returned from the dead to wreak havoc on two universes. I understand that seeing Jennifer, even the double of Jennifer, must be very compelling for Captain Sisko, but to start an episode with Ben and the mirror version of his dead wife having a drink together and chatting, followed by a casual introduction to Jake?! Sisko must not have read Kira's initial report on the alternate universe, which illustrated that it was another Starfleet captain's careless meddling which got that universe into it present mess in the first place.
And even assuming he's somehow reconciled the dangers of interference or that the Prime Directive doesn't apply in other universes, the idea that he'd go for a casual flirt with ANY version of Jennifer is a little hard to believe, just as the idea that Jake would follow this woman who looks like his mother but is not his mother into another reality -- without telling his father -- seems rather out of character for Jake. Sisko should have lectured himself as well as Jake about he importance of remembering that they did NOT know any of the people they encountered on the other side of the looking glass. Add the specious logic for Sisko getting involved with Smiley's Defiant, the gratuitous use of the admittedly attractive alternate Bashir and Dax, and the increasingly annoying behavior of the Intendant -- she used to be as complex and intriguing as Kira, not they've BOTH been reduced to fluff chicks, and we get a thoroughly mediocre episode which taught us nothing about the people on either side.
The good points came from the bad guys. Jennifer was a lot more interesting as a kidnapper than a self-sacrificing mother. Mirror Worf was a lot of fun, letting Dorn use his growl to maximum effect, yet turning out to be the same sort of bellowing bully as most of the Klingons in familiar universe. And Garak was terrific; it was impossible to tell whom he was kidding when, but that's always the case with Garak. Of any of the DS9 characters, he's the one who's least different on the other side, which is how it should be since he's such a slippery creature at home; I'd love to see the two Garaks confronting each other, to see if even Garak can tell when he's lying! Nonetheless, I've liked each Mirror episode less and less, and this one marks the end of the usefulness of the concept. If Sisko or anyone else learned anything by looking through the glass this time, I missed the message.
Deep Space Nine Reviews