Reviewers Debate Who's Fairest of All

By Michelle
May 6, 2005 - 9:39 PM

See Also: 'In A Mirror, Darkly - Part II' Episode Guide

"In a Mirror, Darkly, Part Two" was not as enthusiastically received as "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part One", as some reviewers thought two episodes were one too many while others thought two did not give sufficient time to develop all the themes suggested by the plot. Praise for the actors remained high, as did enjoyment of the references to the original series.

  • The Star Trek LCARS Episode Database's John Patuto thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgia factor and the connections with the original series. "From its CGI rendered exterior which captured the true look and feel of the TOS-era Constitution-class starship, to the magnificent attention to detail of the interior, to the background sound-effects of the working systems and weapons fire, [the Defiant] was truly a treat to behold," he wrote, also praising the Gorn and the glimpse of the true brutality of the Mirror universe not exploited on Deep Space Nine. "It wasn't your standard cookie-cutter episode with somewhat predictable circumstances and outcomes," he added. "It was a new perspective on a familiar environment."

  • Sci Fi Pulse's Bill Gordon said that he thought the episode was good but ultimately unsatisfying. "This one probably should have been allowed to run three episodes. The story, which began last week with a beautifully epic feel, seemed this week to have been a little bit cramped and rushed," he noted. The battle with the Gorn seemed to him "'tacked on' to the episode as a present for fans more than it seemed to be an integral part of the story" and Archer's invisible double undercut the stronger character from the first installment. The ending bothered him most:
    The fact that the Defiant was not destroyed sets up a major continuity problem. If the Archer-era Terran Empire had access to 23rd century technology, then Mirror Universe technology should have been at or near Next Generation levels by the time Kirk and Co. stumble aboard the ISS Enterprise.

  • "Overall, this episode is just as enjoyable as the previous installment," wrote Entil of Entil'zha, who rated the second part of "In a Mirror, Darkly" a 9/10 like the first. "It’s not surprising that many fans felt that this kind of obvious passion for the material, this sense of fun, has been missing from the series far too long," he noted, citing the homages to the original series, the campiness of Archer and the subtle portrayal of Sato, in whom he found interesting parallels with her "real" universe parallel.

  • Lower Decks' Ryan8bit gave the episode a C+ grade, calling it overall "another pointless action and fanboy episode." He said that he was entertained, but in the waning days of the series he wanted a sense of purpose, and he felt that the plot details and ending weren't terribly impressive. "No real intersection with our characters ultimately makes this episode a fanboyish jaunt and nothing more," he concluded.

  • The numbers between part one and part two dropped from three stars to two and a half at Star Trek Hypertext, as Jammer felt that the episode was "fun in its heedless recklessness, but ultimately it's hollow, exaggerated irrelevance." He called it a show about nothing using the props of the original series, saying that for all the goofiness of Enterprise it never achieved true whimsy; "it goes so far over the top that it comes back around and kicks itself in its own ass."

  • The Great Link's Ian J. Slater gave the episode a full five out of five marks. "That was fun. Really fun," he wrote, saying that while he was a bit disappointed in the mad Archer, he loved power-hungry Sato, the sleazy Phlox, the magic of the Defiant's launch "AND A FREAKIN' GORN hunt!!!" Add to that the pacing and the improved theme song, and he was a happy fan:
    If the last episode of 'Enterprise' is to be a valentine to Trek fans, I think that this two-issue arc was a valentine to old-fashioned pulp science fiction classics. Evil twins, despotic empires, ray guns, duplicitous vixens, carnage and violence, lizard men, dimension hopping, this one is a tribute to it all.

  • The Great Link's other reviewer, Michael Marek, gave the episode only three out of five stars, stating his opinions that the numerous entertaining details did not add up to a cohesive whole. "The episode gives us neither a story that fits with established continuity, nor characters to serve the role of protagonists," he wrote. "As I said in my review of part one of this story, the thing that would really make this story “work” for me is a strong moral message. This episode did not contain much of one. Neither did it capitalize on the emotional appeal that one might have expected from an episode set on board a Constitution Class ship for the first time in years." Though he liked the cinematography and some of the character work, he did not feel that there was magic in this attempt to recall the original series.

  • Monkee of Monkee's Place rated the episode a 9.5/10 just like last week's, citing "the sheer fun of it all!" Not having read spoilers, she was surprised and delighted at the appearance of the Gorn and wrote of the arrival of Soval, "I'm almost as happy to see the goatee as I was to see the Gorn! What can I say, I'm easily amused, and easily impressed." Other cool aspects were original series red alert klaxons, Mayweather as the "Captain's man" and Linda Park as Sato On Top. "Maybe it's just a little bit refreshing and gratifying to watch these complete caricatures of evil," she noted. "I mean, seriously – don't we ALL sometimes want to shove someone out of a chair?"

  • TailSlate's Michael Sheridan dropped his rating from three popcorns for Part One to two popcorns for Part Two, saying that while the episode was entertaining, it also felt like "a little too much", giving it a cluttered feel. He enjoyed the Gorn sequences and paranoia but felt that when Archer began to hallucinate, it seemed like "an unnecessary little visual gimmick."

  • "This final set of episodes seems more geared toward 'proving' Archer (and company) belongs in the regular Trek timeline. And that's not very exciting," lamented Chris of Xenoclone. "Sure, it’s neat to see the Defiant and a Gorn. And I have absolutely nothing against watching Hoshi seduce people. But beyond the neato-gee-whiz factor, what is the point of all this?" He called the episode a "cute but empty" installment "in what may ultimately be a series deemed the same thanks to an entertaining but hollow end run."

  • At Section 31, Erik Dardan Ymeraga rated the episode a B-, saying that it falls into an unfortunate trend in which Enterprise's conclusions fail to live up to their predecessors. He felt that there was brilliance in Archer's speech to the Avenger crew and in Soval and T'Pol's interaction, but "unlike the first part, it simply couldn't pull itself together into something with a point...'Mirror II's Gorn is included for no logical reason, and drags the episode down into a ten-minute action sequence that is absolutely irrelevant to the storyline." The complete review takes issue with several problems in the scripting and the serious case of overacting on the part of Scott Bakula necessitated by the scripting of Archer as a victim of hallucinations.

  • "'In a Mirror, Darkly Part II' is, except for reasons of nostalgia completely pointless," wrote Dr. Phlox of Save Enterprise. Whereas last week's installment earned a perfect score, this one was given an 8. "On the level of pure entertainment, Part II of 'Mirror, Darkly' gets the job done," Phlox noted, praising the original series nods and the surprising twists of Sato's character.

  • Ex Astris Scientia's Bernd Schneider wrote a joint review of the two Mirror episodes, rating them a 7/10 overall. "An overkill of cruelty and silliness almost ruined the huge fun of seeing the crew in the colorful TOS uniforms and having a fantastic CGI Defiant perform all the action that was sadly missing in TOS," he wrote, though he said he enjoyed the two-parter as entertainment. The whole concept of the Mirror universe troubled him somewhat as "a dumping ground for all kinds of ideas that are unthinkable in our universe", which makes it troubling when sexuality is linked to criminality and characters are treated as disposable. He was impressed with the look of the episodes.

  • Television Without Pity's Keckler snorted at the "dreknobabble" and had fun with the names in her recap, saying, "Soevil dies, Admiral Black dies, the "Gorn" dies, and Evil Leaper dies...evil Trinneevil melts some more, and Phlevil gets beat up. But She-Ho and May-Evil live to rule another day!"

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