In the twenty-third episode of the second season ofÂ Deep Space Nine, YES YES YES YESÂ YES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of slavery
AHHHHHH THIS FULFILLS LITERALLY EVERY TROPE IMAGINABLE FOR PARALLEL UNIVERSE STORIES AND I DON’T CARE BECAUSE IT’S SO GODDAMN SATISFYING TO WATCH. Seriously, “Crossover” gives us alternate versions of the main characters, drastically changing who they are and how they behave. The mirror universe is fundamentally different and horrible. These two aspects areÂ extremelyÂ common in parallel universe stories, and that’s most definitely the case withÂ Star Trek.
But y’all, this episode doesn’t aim to reinvent the story at all. No, it’s a direct continuation to “Mirror, Mirror,” a way to tell a story about what was wrought in the wake of the events of that episode. AND IT’S CHILLING AND TERRIBLE AND HORRIFYING AND WE GET SOME OF THE BEST PERFORMANCES FROM THE ENTIRE CAST THUS FAR ANDÂ LET ME YELL ABOUT THIS EPISODE SOME MORE.
where do i even start. WHERE. How about KIRA IN LEATHER. Or Kira as a HORRIFYING DICTATOR. (Actually, I’m not sure what the role was. She’s kind of like Sisko, in the sense that she runs the station, right? Regardless, her vibe made me think of a dictator.) (Whichâ€¦ lord, I sort of see an unintended consequence of the way Intendant Kira was portrayed. Her “sexy” side is the evil one. All that leather, her open sexualityâ€¦ yeah. That’s what marks her as so different from her real-world counterpart. HMMM, THIS IS VERY INTERESTING, DISCUSS.) Kira as one who was eager to trade the subjugation of her own people over for the subjugation of another race. KIRA AS A LEADER DESPERATE FOR REVENGE AND ACCEPTANCE IN A WORLD THAT IS VIOLENT AND MEAN AND TORTUROUS. Nana Visitor is simplyÂ incredibleÂ for the full run of “Crossover,” and I cannot ignore how much she holds the entire fucking thing together. That’s not to say that Avery Brooks or Alexander Siddig or any of the people here don’t also give inspiring performances. But the bulk of “Crossover” relies on the interplay between both versions of Kira.
The conflict here seemed, on the surface, to be solely about returning home. While I admit that this is the main source of friction, I saw the episode as being a subtle attempt to establish identity within a confusing predicament.Â IsÂ this version of Kira that she sees here something that she’s capable of? If every act and choice and random occurrence splits reality off into another world, then it stands to reason that there is, at heart, not much different between the two women. Yet Kira can’t fathom an existence where she is an active participant in a system that creates slaves out of the “Terrans.” (I had to check; they were called that back in “Mirror, Mirror.” I had forgotten that!) Even though the Bajorans were still colonized and oppressed within this universe, she still wouldn’t have turned around and done the same to the Terrans.
OrÂ wouldÂ she? That’s the undercurrent I saw in the story, one where Kira tried as hard as hell to escape while doing what she could to positively affect a world that she was trying to leave. IT’S SO GODDAMN THRILLING.
SPACE PIRATE.Â SPACE PIRATE. Oh my god. I imagine that without Jennifer, Jake couldn’t have happened, either. Thus, Sisko is a rogue agent within this world, and that means he sold out his fellow Terrans to get a better seat at the table. Sisko is far more brash and risky in this universe, but not necessarily in a way that we’re familiar with. I loved thatÂ Intendant KiraÂ made reference to Sisko’s sense of “loyalty,” though, because that’s one aspect thatÂ isÂ the same between worlds. It’s just that his loyalty is to himself more than anyone else. Here, the Alliance saw him as loyal because he betrayed humans as much as he could. But what did Kira tap into?Â SheÂ was the catalyst for him finally betraying the Alliance and choosing a life outside of this nightmare.
KIRA HELPS CHANGE A WORLD SHE DOES NOT EVEN LIVE IN.
O’Brien / Julian
BE STILL MY ACHING HEART. Crushed, y’all. CRUSHED. Julian and Miles, who only sort of get along in our world, are cast in heartbreaking drama here, and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. O’Brien in the Mirror universe is apathetic, and understandably so. Why should he ever expect anything else? There’s no hope in this world. The Terrans are so terribly oppressed thatâ€¦ well, there’s no other option. Odo is vicious and all-seeing, and he is supported and enabled by everyone around him. Almost no one ever escapes. No one is exempt from the monstrous scrutiny of the Alliance.
And then along comes Julian Bashir, who swears that in another world, he is a doctor. In that same world, Miles O’Brien is married, has a child, and is Chief of Engineering. With that one act, Julian plants the seed of hope within O’Brien. O’Brien now has something he has never had before:Â another option. Listen to that gut-wrenching monologue he gives the Intendant again. That’s a man realizing that he’s probably going to be executed for what he’s done, and he doesn’t care. He tells the truth: Julian gave him that.
H E L P.
CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT, Y’ALL. For a second, I thought that Quark was just a milder version of who he usually was, but in the Mirror Universe? Quark successfully helps numerous Terrans escape from the Alliance, at great risk to himself, and he is murdered for it. Quark, who in our world will do anything for a profit, was the one who tried as best as he could to save the lives of people he never really knew. QUARK.
I suspect this is not the last Mirror episode we’ll see on this show because THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH POTENTIAL. But ultimately, that’s why I loved this as much as I did. It’s so much more brutal and scary than I thought going into it, and I appreciate how far the show took it. Y’all, THEY BLEW UP ODO. THAT IS SO MUCH FURTHER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER CONCEIVED.
The video for “Crossover” can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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