448. The Emperor's New Cloak
FORMULA: The Magnificent Ferengi + Shattered Mirror - any sense at all
WHY WE LIKE IT: Laughing at Mirror Garak.
WHY WE DON'T: Written by monkeys sitting at typewriters.
REVIEW: The last time we visited the Mirror Universe (Shattered Mirror), it was a question of checking your brain at the door and not asking too many questions. This time, even leaving your brain at home won't help you. Though the episode rolls along at a good pace, it's just about one of the stupidest things written for DS9. You're already starting from the basis of a Ferengi comedy episode - which have a tendency to go for broad caricature - so how about allowing the plot to make a modicum of sense?
They don't. First off, the premise doesn't work because cloaking technology has been seen in the Mirror Universe before. Further, this episode apparently forgets that the station isn't on the same spot in the two universes, so there's no reason for Mirror Ezri to risk beaming to the station in the first place. And is it me, or is anyone else getting tired of the brothers Quark apparently being responsible for the Nagus' safety every time he disappears? Does Gowron have a couple of bumbling Klingons around for this sort of thing too? Throw in complete nonsense like a real live Vic Fontaine for an extra question mark over your head.
And the episode knows it's stupid, or at least its script keeps pointing out its own flaws. Rom's comedy frustration is mostly good at telling us the Mirror Universe doesn't make sense (though his own ideas are even more absurd). And though I enjoy the scene where the Ferengi laugh at Mirror Garak's interrogation skills (because I've been saying the same thing since he first appeared), they're still underscoring one of the episode's weaknesses. This Garak remains a one-note character, and one that gets pwned by Rom here.
But at this point, aren't they all? The Intendant is a parody of her old self, practically making asides at the camera. The Regent is still a brute, and no one cares when he finally loses. Because the Terrans do win at the end, right? We're just not made to care. The punky Mirror Ezri is fine, but in the usual Mirror Universe smarminess, she "plays for the other team". I guess after breaking the seal in Rejoined, we might as well go ahead and make every woman on the show gay. It's not titillation, it's ALTERNATE! Nice guy Brunt is there because you need a Ferengi to kill, but it's not an uninteresting take on the character. He probably deserved better than an episode without heart.
LESSON: A Star Trek actor just might need Mime on his résumé.
REWATCHABILITY - Low: You can see the creators thought all of this would be fun and cool, but the plot holes are so big, and the motivational forces so lacking, that you can't possibly find this episode any good. The Mirror Universe ran out of steam years ago, folks.