FORMULA: Shattered Mirror + Past Prologue + The Outrageous Okona
WHY WE LIKE IT: The wonderfully evil Intendant.
WHY WE DON'T: It's that easy to invade Ops, eh?
REVIEW: It's the Mirror Universe episode nobody ever remembers to list when such lists are made, but by not going to the MU, it avoids the kitsch that has infected it since its first DS9 appearance. And while I was never a fan of Vedek Bareil, the Mirror Bareil is at least more interesting a partner for Kira, as Quark rightly points out. Though I can't for the life of me find Philip Anglim charming, I can't help but find his stealing a mek'leth from Worf a cute bit. He's got mad skills to be sure.
The budding love affair could be considered creepy, but ultimately, it's the story of a man's wasted potential. How do you react when confronted with the life you should have led? Being with Kira is a big part of that. The story picks up steam when the coquette Intendant shows up, once again flawlessly played by Nana Visitor, at once in love with herself and jealous of herself (just like Bareil). Though Visitor is good in both roles here, the Intendant is seductively evil ("You have a lot to learn about giving a massage" indeed!).
So it's all about an Orb heist and a plan to bring religion to Mirror Bajor with Bareil as anti-pope (not that far off Quark's own scheme for Mirror Bareil actually). As far as Mirror plots go, it's better than most, probably since it can't trade on the coolness factor the others usually do. The script is still sloppy however, with no security (or urgency) when parties unknown beam aboard the station, for example. Levar Burton's able direction covers the holes pretty well, with noticeably artful framing, anxious lighting and good blocking and camera angles.
A cute moment before we learn our Lesson: Bashir tries to pump gossip out of the usual sewing circle and ends up being stonewalled by Kira herself. It's especially cute since Alexander Siddig is married to Nana Visitor, so it plays on an actor's jealousy over his wife kissing another actor. Cute, but from fear of beating a dead horse, I see no need to play that trick again, do you? More interesting perhaps is our first look at Bajoran services. I wonder what shrines without Orbs do?
LESSON: We are cursed to fall in love with the same kind of people over and over again.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Better than expected, mostly thanks to Nana Visitor's twin performances, but still feels like a step backwards. Can't we move on from Bareil now please?