Episode #43: Crossover

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Episode #43: Crossover

Post  BoG on Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:27 am

CROSSOVER (prod. #443; episode #23 of 2nd season)
written by Peter Allan Fields and Michael Piller; Directed by David Livingston

On TOS, there was a now-famous episode, Mirror, Mirror. It involved 4 of the major characters accidentally traveling to a parallel universe, where existed a brutal Empire rather than a Federation. The TNG series also had a famous episode involving a parallel reality, Yesterday's Enterprise, but it had no connection to Mirror, Mirror. Now, on DS9 - nearly 30 years later - we are presented with the first sequel to Mirror, Mirror - Crossover!

In this case, 2 of the main characters, Kira and Bashir, cross over; instead of a transporter glitch (as in Mirror, Mirror), they encounter a weird glitch in the wormhole while returning to DS9 in a runabout. The station is not where they expect to find it, instead still in orbit around Bajor rather than near the wormhole. They are waylaid by a Klingon cruiser but the aggressive Klingons quickly back off when they see Kira; we soon find out why: in this alternate reality, Kira is known as The Intendant, absolute ruler of the Bajoran system, which is part of the powerful Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Hah?

The Intendant herself, this 'other' Kira, is the one who eventually provides some answers. The crossover from 100 years earlier involving Capt. Kirk is a famous incident in this alternate reality. Afterward, the alternate Spock, profoundly affected by our Kirk's persuasive words, came to rule The Empire and instituted many reforms. As it happened, a weakened non-Empire was left vulnerable to the new Klingon-Cardassian Alliance; this alliance conquered what was left of The Empire and Terrans (humans) are now all basically slaves. The despotic rulers are Klingons, Cardassians and Bajorans. Trippy...

This is mildly interesting, but I would have preferred a continuation of The Empire's predations, a galaxy in which 'Terrans' now ruled everything, including pacifist Klingons, and where Vulcans were pretty much like Romulans. But, that's me. Anyway, we are steadily introduced to alternate versions of the DS9 characters: Garak (Andy Robinson) is The Intendant's 2nd-in-command, more sneaky and more ruthless than we're used to; ruthless Odo oversees the Terran workers and hates humans; O'Brien is a timid tinkerer; Quark still runs a bar but is more heroic; and Sisko is finally revealed as an opportunistic ass, allowed more freedom than other Terrans because of special missions he conducts for The Intendant. No sign of an alternate Dax or Bashir.
This alternate take on a Trek Universe is entertaining but it stresses superficial variations: this tries to duplicate the atmosphere of the Mirror, Mirror episode, including the use of assassination to move up, but it's a limp update, confined to Garak's plans. The photography, at least in the early scenes, has a kind of soft focus around the edges, suggesting a change, and some later scenes are, of course, darker than usual. There are also some slow spots; it does not bode well when the very first scene with Kira & Bashir in the runabout seems interminable, again focusing on Bashir's gabby, irritating nature - he's almost unwatchable here. Luckily, things pick up later.
Nana Visitor as the alternate Kira lets loose an over-the-top portrayal of a lady with no boundaries. There are many scenes with two Kiras and it soon becomes apparent that the Intendant (a strange title) is quite in love with herself; it's an ultimate view of heady narcissism, suggesting provocative developments which never really materialize, of course (this is family TV). The Indendant is also regarded as close to a goddess, by Klingons for example, which I never quite understood. Brooks as the other flip Sisko comes off as a bit silly; the turning point near the end is tough to buy into because the story presented a soulless, inconsequential Sisko here; there's no indication he is anything but this shallow fool, so we are expected to believe that his near-argument with a rowdy Klingon and O'Brien's 1-minute speech would suddenly revolutionize him.
In all, the Trekmakers had a great premise they could use - the alternate universe scenario - but they weren't quite sure what to do with it. It's a short visit through a dark mirror that, even worse, ends abruptly. I was looking forward to another final minute of our Sisko & Dax quizzing Kira & Bashir on their strange adventure; instead, the episode just stops. There were further sequels to this one (4 more); the next one was Through the Looking Glass in the 3rd season. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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