Friday, December 1, 2023

Star Trek: Crossover

Episode: "Crossover"
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 2, Episode 23
Original Air Date: May 15, 1994

Garak episode!

And it's also a mirror universe episode, the first of five for Deep Space Nine.  The masterful original series episode "Mirror, Mirror" introduced an alternate reality in which treacherous ambition is the basis of Enterprise culture and its broader society.  The Kira and Bashir of the "normal" universe stumble into this opposite dimension as a result of an accident in the wormhole.  Kira encounters her double, the iron-fisted ruler of the mirror Deep Space Nine.  Fortunately, Mirror Kira likes Normal Kira, preferring to keep her around.  Bashir is less lucky.  He's thrown into the ore processing mines to work as a slave with Mirror Odo as ruthless overseer.

For me, the story itself is not as interesting as what happens to each of our friends once self-interest is the primary character driver.  The mirror universe has lived its own history since Kirk's visit.  Mirror Spock preached peaceful reforms which gained traction for a while but ultimately weakened the Empire.  The Klingon-Cardassian Alliance is now in ascendance with the Bajorans as key players.  As such, most of the Starfleet characters on the normal side don't have mirror equivalents - yet.  There are no mirrors for Dax, Bashir or Jake in "Crossover."  As for the others...

In terms of power status, Kira has benefited the most from mirror universe circumstances.  As "Intendant," she is top dog on the station.  Others fear and envy her, submitting to her wishes.  She also has a target on her back.  Garak and Odo are her thugs.  Neither is shy about using his position and talents to exact cruelty to maintain order.  Garak is the one most eager to betray Kira for his own political gain.  All three fit our expectations from previous experience in this dimension.  The other mirrors are more interesting.

In a world where greed is king, Quark, the normal side's heartless opportunist, has found empathy. Mirror Quark helps others, including our normal universe friends, escape from the station at great personal risk.  Morally, Mirror Miles isn't so different, though his job certainly is.  Now, he's just a grunt, essentially a slave himself.  His technical gifts make him valuable and keep him out of harm's way - until Julian comes along and rocks the boat, that is.  Mirror Quark and Mirror Miles demonstrate that it's not the people who've "gone bad" in this alternate reality.  The rules have changed.  Individual responses to those changes determine who they are.

Most intriguing of all is Mirror Sisko.  Station commander on one side has become space pirate on the other.  The Intendant gives Mirror Sisko free rein because, as he puts it, he amuses her.  The strong implication is that he is her lover, essentially a kept man.  There are also hints, as the story develops, that Mirror Sisko is not entirely happy with the arrangement even if it does help to keep him alive.

Clearly, there's plenty to build on here.  We'll return to the mirror universe in Season 3.

Acting Notes

John Cothran, Jr. played the role of Telak, a Klingon and another of Mirror Kira's thugs.  Cothran was born October 31, 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri.  "Crossover" is his second of three Star Trek television appearances.  He has also appeared in two interactive games.  Films include Opportunity Knocks, Boyz n the Hood and The Perfect Game.  Beyond Trek, television guest spots include Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and ER.


  1. The original al episode is a classic. I haven't watched he'd DS9 but they sound intriguing

    1. The original is amazing - one of TOS's best. I'm not a huge fan of how the mirror universe is used in DS9. There's so much to explore with these characters without such a gimmick. But I suppose you have to fill up the season somehow...