“Space, The final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It’s five-year mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!”
Season 2, Episode 4
Original air date: October 6, 1967
We open with Kirk, Scotty, McCoy and Uhura on Halkan (I guess that’s the planet as they are The Halkans?) meeting with their council led by Tharn. The council has decided not to allow the Federation to mine dilithium crystals on their planet, even though they see that the Federation is basically benevolent their peaceful culture could not abide by those crystals being used to kill even one person. Kirk understands but wants more time to convince them. Tharn mentions that the Enterprise has the power to take the crystals if they want, but Kirk assures him they won’t. As a storm begins to blow on the surface, Kirk asks to beam up. Something happens during the beam up; the party appears and then fades and then appears again. When they materialize they are wearing different clothing, they are given a Nazi type salute and Spock has a goatee. Spock asks Kirk if the Halkans agreed to give them the dilithium and Kirk says no. Spock then calls the bridge and asks them to start a targeting plan to destroy all the Halkan cities. He then asks Mr. Kyle for his “antigonizer” and painfully zaps him with it for the complications in the beam up. Spock orders Scotty and McCoy to duty but Kirk claims the transporter felt strange and Dr. McCoy should check them all out in sick bay, they walk through the halls and Kirk is saluted over and over by crewman.
In sick bay, Kirk and Scotty figure out what happened. Somehow the ion storm shifted the transporter beams and they ended up in a parallel universe, a universe of cruelty and torture. Kirk asks Scotty to blow some circuits in the phasers to buy them some time, and orders Uhura to the bridge to relay to him their orders from Starfleet. Uhura is scared but leaves. On the bridge, Uhura is hit on by a scarred faced Sulu who has obviously been after her for a while. Kirk returns and asks to speak to the Halkans again, a breach of orders he is reminded by Spock, and he asks them one more time for the dilithium. But the Halkans won’t agree and Kirk is informed that Scotty is unable to dismantle the phasers. Kirk gives the Halkans 12 hours to comply, an unheard of compromise that Spock says he must report. Kirk leaves the bridge accompanied by Chekov, when the turbolift opens Kirk is hit in the mouth, Chekov wants to use the opportunity of Kirk’s orders violation to kill him and move up in rank. Kirk is surrounded by Chekov’s henchmen, but one of them switches sides and saves Kirk expecting reward. Checkov is taken to The Booth by Kirk’s men who have shown up. When Chekov’s traitor smiles at Kirk’s mention of him maybe becoming a Captain, Kirk punches him out saying “not on this ship” – he’s really getting into character.
McCoy, Mr. Scott and Kirk confer and determine what to do now. Kirk has his service record read to him and discovers he took command upon murdering Captain Christopher Pike. Scotty figures out a way to get back and McCoy asks what must be happening on their Enterprise where the mirror Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura must have ended up. We are then shown just what is happening back on “our” Enterprise, Spock is putting all four of the away team members in a cell as Mirror Kirk tries to alternately threaten and bribe him to no avail. Spock makes some indication that he understand what happened in the ion storm to switch the personnel.
Back in the Mirror Universe, Spock finds Kirk and tells him he’s happy Chekov failed. He mentions he doesn’t want to be Captain; he prefers his scientific work and not being a target. But he does wonder why Kirk is acting so strange. Kirk posits that perhaps the Empire has gone too far in its conquests, Spock lets Kirk know he will be loyal to the Empire. Kirk and Spock threaten each other and when Mr. Spock walks away, Kirk has Chekov released from the booth, which he has now seen is a torture chamber. In Engineering, Scotty and Bones break in to begin work modifying the thing-a-ma-bobs to get them home. Entering his quarters, Kirk discovers a woman lying on his bed. She is curious as to what Kirk is planning, going against the Empire’s orders. Kirk plays along with her speculation that it’s all a grand plan designed to rise up in the Empire, maybe to the ultimate heights. Bearded Spock calls Kirk and tells him that the Empire has ordered him to murder Kirk and take command if he doesn’t destroy the Halkan’s within the next few hours.
Kirk and the woman drink a toast to Spock for having the decency to warn Kirk. She then asks him if she should activate the Tantalus Field. She conveniently explains that it was alien technology Kirk got a hold of plundering a laboratory and it allows him to see anyone on the screen and kill them with just the touch of a button. It is indicated that this technology is how Kirk obtained his command. She plays around with killing Spock but Kirk says no, she assumes he has a grand plan for total conquest as he doesn’t even seem afraid of Starfleet Command. Kirk leaves and meets up with Scotty, they come up with a plan to get back but it will rely on several moving pieces including distracting Sulu, who is the head of security on the Enterprise as well as Helmsman, for a few moments. Spock detects unusual computer usage in Engineering which he links to Mr. Scott, he radios Sulu to ask about it and Sulu suggests teaming up to take down Kirk, Spock threatens Sulu.
Back in his quarters, the woman tries to seduce Captain Kirk, he compliments her and she claims he hasn’t spoken to her like that in a long time. When Kirk says he has to go, she feels spurned and suggests leaving the Enterprise as she is used to being a “Captain’s Woman” and would be humiliated if she stayed, she can sleep her way to the top on another ship. (not what she says, but a quick summation of way too much dialogue.) Kirk tells her he wants her still and kisses her, she can feel he’s different along with the out of character actions he’s taken. Kirk leaves, but she turns on the Tantalus Field screen and watches him. Kirk signals Uhura to distract Sulu so Scotty and McCoy can re-jigger things in Engineering without detection. Uhura comes on to Sulu, who is very pleased she changed her mind, but then she slaps him and as he lunges at her she pulls her knife and backs her way out off the bridge. Meanwhile Kirk is adjusting things in the transporter room when Spock enters holding a phaser. He knows Kirk is too strong to be forced into telling him what’s happening but McCoy could be convinced – and he leads Kirk to Sick Bay where Uhura, Scotty and Bones are waiting for him. Kirk knocks the phaser away from Spock and all four try to overpower him. Spock is successfully fighting them all off when Uhura hands Kirk one of the animal skulls McCoy displays in his office and he hits Spock over the head with it, rendering him unconscious. McCoy insists on saving Mirror Spock’s life and he begins treatment, just as Sulu enters with a security team. Sulu says he’s going to make it look like Spock carried out the order to kill Kirk, but died in the act, making Sulu Captain of the Enterprise. But back in Kirk’s quarters the Woman disintegrates Sulu’s team and just Sulu alone is easily overpowered by Kirk. Running out of time as there’s a window to get back; Kirk, Scotty and Uhura leave for the transporter room. McCoy says he has to stay behind to cure Spock but he’ll be there in a moment. Spock then wakes up and mind melds with McCoy to finally find out what’s happening.
In the transporter room, Kirk’s woman is waiting and asks to go with them. Kirk says she can’t they can only transport four or they all may not make it. She pulls a phaser on Kirk but is disarmed by Uhura. They try and set up the auto transport but there’s been a power cut and using auxiliary power will require someone to man the transporter, Scotty offers but Kirk orders him off knowing it’s his duty. Just then Spock comes in with McCoy. Spock had cut power so he could make sure he gets his captain back. As they ready to leave, Kirk tells Spock the Empire is illogical and Spock confirms that it can’t last more than another 240 years. Kirk tells Spock to work for changes, when Spock says he lacks the power, Kirk tells him about the Tantalus Field machine in his quarters. They beam out and appear back on their Enterprise with a clean-shaven Mr. Spock to greet them.
In the denouement, Kirk asks Spock how he identified the Mirror Kirk and others so quickly. He points out that civilized men can act like barbarians but barbarians cannot act like civilized men. Kirk points out that mirror Spock was still very logical, while Spock mentions that the barbaric counterparts of Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura were still very human like – which Kirk and McCoy find an amusing insult. A young female officer enters the bridge to have Kirk sign something, she is identical to the Captain’s woman on the mirror Enterprise. She says her name is Lt. Marlena Moreau. Kirk finds her very interesting and as the credits role the Captain strikes up a conversation with her on the bridge.
Known to Fans As:
Evil Goatee Spock
Notable Guest Stars:
BarBara Luna as Lt. Marlena Moreau: That is not a typo. Luna, who goes by simply Luna most of the time, was really more of a Broadway star than a TV or Film actress. Her mixed European and Filipino background saw her appearing as Asian characters in many productions. As a child actress she was cast in the Broadway debuts of both South Pacific and The King and I. She got her first staring role in Teahouse of the August Moon which was spoken entirely in Japanese. That role got her a small part in the Frank Sinatra / Spencer Tracy movie The Devil at 4 O’clock, which led to many, mostly small movie roles, including her memorable turn in the 1960 version of The Concrete Jungle. Luna lost out major movie roles in both The King and I and West Side Story to Rita Moreno. She made all the usual TV appearances in the 60’s – 90’s with guest spots in Kung Fu, Charlie’s Angels, The Cosby Show and Sunset Beach – hundreds in all. Her biggest TV role was a multi-year run on One Life to Live as Maria Roberts. She lives in Hollywood and is active in fundraising for Cedar-Sinai Hospital.
Vic Perrin as Tharn: This is the only episode where we see Perrin. He previously did the voice of the Metron in Arena and does the voice of The Nomad in The Changeling an episode I won’t be reviewing. Perrin did a lot of guest appearances but if you’re in your late 40’s like I am you know him best from his voice-over work in 1960-1980’s cartoons. He provided many of the monster of the week voices for Scooby Doo, Where are you! He was the voice of Sinestro on Super Friends, Thor on Spiderman and his Amazing Friends and Dr. Zin from Johnny Quest. He was also Hawkman in some 1960’s D.C. Comic cartoons that I didn’t know existed until I did this research. If you watched Saturday morning cartoons in the late 60’s to early 1990’s you know Vic Perrin’s voice. Perrin died in 1989 at the age of 73.
Why do their clothes change?
They mention “The Empire” and Starfleet but never actually say Terran Empire.
Spock mentions that barbarians can’t pose as civilized men but this is contradicted in Discovery.
Really seems like that stolen tech Kirk was using would have made that alien species the dominant one and not the Terrans.
Tantalus was the figure in Greek myth that stood in a pool of water up to his chin in Hades, and was given unquenchable thirst; yet whenever he tilted his head to drink the water would disappear. I have no idea what the connection here would be, unless they were confusing Tantalus with Tartarus which was the hell side of Hades where this torture took place.
Everything else can be chalked up to Mirror vs. Prime universes.
Vulcan Nerve Pinches: None, Mirror Universe Spock kills
Damn it Jim: “I’m a Doctor not an Engineer!”
Kirk’s Shirt Off: The Mirror uniform shows a little more skin, but It’s Uhura that shows the most. Wow was she a beautiful woman, no wonder those miners wanted to see her naked so bad. (deep cut reference, if you sat through ST V I commend you.)
Aged the Best:
I mean, it’s the Mirror Universe! Discovery, Enterprise, Deep Space 9 – all these series explored the mirror universe even more deeply than TOS. Even South Park gave the Evil Stan, Kyle and Cartman goatees. I’m apparently the evil version of myself right now.
I think at some point in late 2015 we were all transported to the Mirror Universe and that’s where we are living now.
Late first season and early second season might have been Star Trek at its best, from Arena to Trouble with Tribbles I think every episode was pretty damn good. When I’m done with these reviews I have a wrap up planned where I’ll get into that.
Aged the Worst:
Scotty sure figured that out really quick.
Goatee’d stuntman almost won that fight against those three other stuntmen and that stunt woman.
I’m going to assume the horrible sexism in the Mirror Universe is because they’re all so very evil, but Kirk making moves on a Junior Officer back on the Enterprise prime because she was so sexy on the mirror Enterprise is a big no, no. Even on TNG, which was still 30 years ago, Picard’s affair with Lt. Commander Daren in Lessons was shown as being against his better judgement and ultimately was a bad idea – even without the power dynamics.
A+, one of the best continues to pay dividends.
Monday’s Episode: The Doomsday Machine. (Killer Ice Cream Cone – In Space…..)