I'm watching what is without doubt the worst episode of a Star Trek series I've ever seen, and continuing to let it play out of sheer, morbidly unhealthy curiosity to see how bad it can get. The cheezy, badly-acted, poorly-cast destruction of one of my favorite franchises is so awesomely bad that I just had to share.
Here's the deal, and I know that for any Star Trek geek out there who is reading this, what I'm about to say is heresy--I hate the mirror universe episodes. I understand why the concept first arose, and I think it was effective in The Original Series. Star Trek's Federation is supposed to be the ultimate accomplishment of all human endeavors, the epitome of what we are capable of achieving if we sufficiently evolve. (Please, let's not dive into metaphysics here; sufficeth to say that Gene Roddenberry wanted to give humanity a hopeful vision of the future, and at times, I've been really glad that SOMEBODY did!) It made sense, then, to project a different course for human kind, imagine what might become of us if we didn't follow the peaceful course Star Trek predicted, if we let our baser selves hold sway to the total exclusion of our better natures. Besides, all that goody-two-shoes gooeyness every week could really get on your nerves.
So, enter the Mirror Universe, a parallel dimension in which Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the gang all existed, but as the most villainous versions of themselves imaginable. The whole Federation was a demonic parody of itself, the real "evil empire." The end of that episode left us with some hope about the power of one man to make a difference, as "our" Captain Kirk convinced "their" Spock to try and steer his Empire toward a more righteous course. A Next Generation novel that I really enjoyed, Dark Mirror (by Diane Duane), involved Picard and his intrepid band in rescuing "our" Enterprise and "our" universe from their doubles. Why, then, have all the subsequent Mirror Universe episodes been so HEINOUSLY bad? Deep Space 9 did several, and among other highlights, one of the main characters FELL IN LOVE WITH HERSELF! It was hideous.
And yet, this attempt trumps them all. I've enjoyed Star Trek: Enterprise, the most recently made series, more than I expected, given how many of the fans have trash-talked this show. But this is by far the worst Mirror Universe I've ever seen, and some bright spark turned it into a two-part episode! I mean, they've just taken control of the original Enterprise, and they're walking around the Original Series sets wearing Original Series uniforms, and it still sucks. That takes some sort of perverse talent.