The teaser gives Odo and Quark a comic scene that shows Sisko in Space Dad mode. A casually dressed O’Brien says he wants to speak to Sisko, then pulls a weapon and orders him to the transporter pad.
Sisko realizes he’s been taken to the Mirror Universe, and learns his counterpart was killed while leading a Terran rebellion against the Klingon-Cardassian alliance, and Smiley has kidnapped him in oder to get him to complete an important mission — to stop a scientist from inventing new sensor technology that will let the bad thugs spot the good rebels in their hiding places. Sisko is not interested until Smiley hands him a photograph — the scientist is Jennifer, who married Sisko in both universes, but is dead in “our” universe.
Yes the scenes between the sultry, decadent Mirror Kira and her toadying Mirror Garak are supposed to be campy, and the actors do a great job, but without Our Kira to cringe and look conflicted, I found the scenes tedious. Similarly a scene with Mirror Bashir, Mirror Rom, Mirror Tuvok and Mirror Dax just didn’t hold my attention, and Sisko seemed to adjust way too quickly to Mirror Dax’s sexual overtures. And Jennifer’s position as a human collaborating with enslavers of her fellow humans is under-explored. Everything that happened was just as I remembered when I saw this episode 30 years ago, and I wasn’t really noticing anything new.
In fact, I paused the video, got distracted by other things, and didn’t come back to finish it for weeks.
Rom doesn’t get much screen time, but he plays an important role. While I thought the meeting between Sisko and Mirror Kira was performed well, after we just saw Sisko in an intimate “fade to black” scene with Mirror Dax, seeing the same power dynamics twice in one episode felt like fanservice. For much of this episode, I felt like I was watching talented performers having a grand time doing an acting exercise. These aren’t the characters I’ve spent years getting to know, and that left me feeling meh about their stories.
But the scenes between Sisko and Jennifer rang true. I must have given up on this episode when it originally aired, because I’m sure I would have remembered Jennifer’s wordless reaction when, in the midst of a great action sequence, Sisko refuses her offer to trade herself to let the others escape. You can see her realizing that *this* version of Sisko is a man really worth loving, and it’s heartbreaking when she learns the truth and they both have to lose each other again.
The episode ended better than it middled.