Star Trek 448: The Emperor's New Cloak

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.


Anonymous said...

I think this episode is worth it just for the opening bit where Sisko and Martok nearly catch (and then do) ROm and Quark stealing the cloaking device.

The one thing that might have been interesting to see in this the final alternate universe episode woud have been an alternate morn actually talking. But that might have taken some of the charm out of morn never talking so forget i said anything.

BlackmarketPies said...

"Does Gowron have a couple of bumbling Klingons around for this sort of thing too?"

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the premise of our sixth Star Trek series: "Kr'grith and B'ijik are Dead!"

De said...

Thankfully this is the last Mirror Universe episode for a while until Enterprise would revisit it.

I haven't seen the entry in the DS9 Companion but I'm wondering if the silliness we've seen in this season so far was to balance out the outright darkness that's coming later on.

Anonymous said...

I can explain away the cloaking device business. We know three things:

1) Technology in the good universe is generally more advanced than in the beard universe;

2) Smiley grabbed scads of useful tech info from the good universe several seasons ago;

3) A cloaking device that your enemy knows how to see through ceases to be a "cloaking device" by any meaningful definition of the word.

So if Smiley happened to grab a file entitled "how cloaking devices work and how to see through them" (likely), and the beard-universe cloaking devices are not as good as the latest good-universe Klingon or Romulan models (also likely), Smiley probably had enough info to render the beard-cloaks useless. Time for an upgrade ...


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