Star Trek

Season 2 Episode 4

Mirror, Mirror

Aired Unknown Oct 06, 1967 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
218 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Kirk and three of his officers are accidentally transported into a parallel "mirror" universe where violence, greed, and evil are commonplace.

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  • Spock + Beard = Awesome

    With its killer high concept, "Mirror" has been a perennial top ten classic Trek episode ever since newspapers, magazines, and books began to rank them. The premise is so ahead of its time, it could have debuted in Star Trek TNG and still been mindblowing. (To think that just as television was pioneering the "evil twin" concept, Star Trek was already doing the "evil twin universe"!)

    The beauty of the idea is how "made-for-TV" it is. Much of the original series has a literary quality to it, owing to the contributions of some of the great science fiction writers of the time. "Mirror", on the other hand, is the first Star Trek episode to take advantage of the visual medium, with new costumes and literally dozens of creative touches helping to tell and sell its story.

    It's mostly a Kirk episode, with the captain having his life threatened literally just before every commercial break. The deliciousness, however, is in the world around him, from the new look of the interior of the Enterprise to the crazy recharactizations from the other castmembers. George Takai and Walter Koenig are able to cut loose, and Nimoy is able to up his awesomeness by playing it more cool than usual and (in the episode's most genius touch) adding a beard. Yet it's Barbara Luna who steals the show as the captain's mysterious woman, Marlena. First appearing about halfway through, she immediately changes the timbre of the episode with an understated performance that's all the more dramatic for being set against all the overacting going on elsewhere. And while Kirk enjoys his share of seductive ladies throughout his adventures, only Marlena has the courage to show off her evening wear with a casual remark that she's been "oiling her (I'm guessing the network censor didn't understand the line when he or she let it through; it was, however, cut from Star Trek's syndicated run in the 70s and

    There's also a B story where our Mr. Spock deals with the evil counterparts of Kirk and company that have ended up in our mirror universe by mistake; but it's short and only there to complete the story. And taken as a whole, the episode's framework itself is so strong, it even makes up for the episode's flaws and less than clever ideas. (Even on an old VHS tape, it's easy to see the faces of the stunt doubles when Spock and the rest fight at the climax. And what's with the silly idea that evil-Kirk stole a device from an alien that includes a magic death button? Come on, just give Marlena a normal surveillance system and let her pick up a phaser when she needs

    "Mirror, Mirror" went on to be nominated for the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and through the years has removed one of the Star Trek's franchise's most unique offerings, spawning prequels and sequels. Most importantly, it takes a show that was never conceived as an ensemble piece and breaks the mold, using the entire cast so memorably that many fans remember the series for using its background players more than it actually does.

    The mirror universe returns in DS9's second season episode "Crossover". Later, the series Enterprise does its own version, with a sci fi twist allowing "In a Mirror, Darkly" to simultaneously serve as a prequel to "Mirror, Mirror" and a sequel to "The Tholian Web".

    The Remastered Version (2006): There aren't a lot of exterior shots of the Enterprise in the original, but there is a memorable bit at the beginning where we get several shots of the ship in one universe and then the other. The new version is able to better differentiate the two ships and create a more exciting montage. (And yes, the . Enterprise actually says . Enterprise"!) Then there's the alien planet sphere, originally a pink tinted version of the Operation--Annihilate planet. The new version is more Earth-like and features the . Enterprise in a reverse orbit. CBS Digital also adds some minor touches, adding some sparks to the "agonziers" and turning Chekov's trip to the agony booth into a scarier looking visual than the original (which just had some blinking lights).

    Bonus Review:

    Fairest of Them All: 8

    In the mirror universe, bearded Spock confronts the evil Captain Kirk and attempts to move the Terran Empire towards peace.

    Vic Mignogna and company are at it again, with another episode of Star Trek Continues in the style of The Original Series. This time they do a "Part II" of sorts, reenacting the mirror universe's final scene from "Mirror, Mirror" and going forth from there from mirror-Spock's perspective. It's a great idea, because Kirk's final speech to mirror-Spock perfectly sets up a sequel.

    Anime voice-over artist Todd Haberkorn dons the goatee, taking over Spock from Leonard Nimoy. No one, of course, can truly replace the great one, and Haberkorn is a clear step down; but as Spocks go, Haberkorn is satisfactory, playing the part with enough talent to be in the ballpark and enough respect to avoid parody.

    Much like its prequel, the premise of "Fairest" gives the cast a chance to let their hair down and have some fun, with several of the actors getting the opportunity to define their characters (with the mirror versions of Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura largely absent from "Mirror, Mirror"). Meanwhile, Asia DeMarcos oils her traps in place of Barbara Luna, looking the part and giving a fine performance of her own. Acting wise, she's probably not on Luna's level, but the script wisely doesn't ask for any more than she has to give. (It helps that DeMarcos doesn't try to match the intensity of the other actors, probably because she's studied Luna's original performance and understands that Luna created Marlena as a counterpoint to Shatner, responding to his overacting with

    Meanwhile, Michael Dorn serves as the voice of the ship's computer, and there are even a couple of original series veterans making appearances. Bobby Clark, TOS stuntman and extra, takes over the part of the Halkan council leader, looking about 100 years old. Upstaging him and everyone else, the original Galileo shuttlecraft returns after a forty year plus hiatus, looking just as good as the day it was first shot in "The Galileo Seven". (The shuttle, after the original series was cancelled, had been donated to a school for the blind before being sold to a collector. Over the years, it changed hands many times and was in terrible shape by the 21st century, having been kept outdoors much of its life. But it was bought by a fan in 2012 and meticulously restored the following year, opening the door for Mignogna and company to bring a real piece of Star Trek to their series. It was an invitation they couldn't

    As the plot winds its way through the madness, it plays out in the same way you would expect a 1960s version to go, with all the exciting action and dramatic cliffhangers of the original series. The visual effects are similar to the remastered effects by CBS Digital, though the Halkan homeworld appears to be a hybrid between the original and upgraded version.

    "Fairest of Them All" is free to watch online. Simply search for it on youtube, or find it through yahoo, google, or your favorite search engine.

  • Spock sports facial growth, Uhura flaunts some toned abs, and Sulu is genuinely creepy in both universes.

    A stellar plot, superior dialogue, and non-stop action ranks this episode among the best. It also raises again the question so often posed by Trek: how would my evil counterpart manifest itself? Or for some people, perhaps the question is actually "Am I the evil counterpart, living out a life of brute selfishness while my merciful and compassionate nature lies dormant - or existing elsewhere?"

    In addition to the philosophy and excitement generated by the nature of this episode, there are plenty of "gotta love-its" in this episode: from Kirk's fringed, sparkly-gold disco tunic to the hilarious fight scene in sickbay in which Uhura hurls herself flailing into a wall and Kirk smashes a paper-mache bust over Spock's head. There's the alternate Sulu, who with his lazy-eyed, maniacal smile is every bit as creepy as the ordinary Sulu we've come to know and dread - the chief difference is the jagged scar running like a topographical mountain chain down his porous face. Evil Chekov finally has manageable hair, but his grin is a frightening combination of an over-eager puppy and a sadist. The audience is also treated to a glimpse of all of his fillings when he's in the torture chamber. Then there's the whole behavior of the alternate universe personnel, beginning with our introduction to them through the goateed Mr. Spock and the poor Mr. Kyle, who bumbles and bumbles in both worlds. "Your agonizer, please, Mr. Kyle." Apparently, crew are equipped with their own torture devices used against them in order to teach a handy little lesson - fantastic!

    Then, there's Kirk. Amazing the oh-so-subtle differences in him when he's "good boy Kirk" and when he's "bad boy Kirk" - we've seen this theme several times throughout the series, but either way you slice him, Kirk's a womanizer and a cad in both roles. I especially like the dialogue between him and McCoy, which runs like this:

    McCoy: Captain, what do you suppose our counterparts are doing back on the enterprise?

    Kirk: Well, I know mine must be engaged in some particularly bad acting and effected emoting, trying extra hard to play the part of the villain that Shatner in all his skeeziness lends naturally.

    Then, of course, the scene switches to the evil Kirk screaming and having a fit before being thrown bodily into the brig - hilarious!

    Then there's poor Marlena, who is stuck with Kirk in both universes.

    Marlena: [after Kirk plants one of his smash-jaw, pursed lip kisses on her] It's been a long time since you kissed me like that. [you mean...badly?]

    Of course, the writers had to add some frat boy humor at the end on the bridge, which took away from the main theme of the episode, in my opinion, because really, we're just once again seeing Kirk at his worst:

    Kirk: [undressing Lt. Moreau with his eyes] She just seems like a nice, likeable girl. I think we could be friends....and, I've seen what she looks like in another universe in nothing but her underwear and a see-through, rainbow-colored robe!moreless
  • A transporter malfunction during an ion storm has Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura swapping places with their counterparts in a parallel universe, where officers try to assassinate their superiors to better their rank. For many years, my favourite episode...moreless

    "Mirror, Mirror" is one of the all-time most popular Original 'Star Trek' episodes, and for a great many years was my personal favourite 'Trek' episode. In many respects it still is, and either way defiantly makes it into my Top 5.

    I've always loves stories of parallel universes and evil twins, and this story does it very well.

    We had already had glimpses of evil counterparts, such as Kirk's brutal double in the first season's "The Enemy Within" (which was also caused by a transporter malfunction), and in examples such as "The Alternative Factor", but this is the first time the notion of a parallel universe is fully explored.

    Parallel Spock, who isn't far off from his 'good' self, sports a goatee beard, starting a trend for 'evil twins' that would be duplicated many times (one of my early television memories is Michael Knight's evil (sort of) brother Garthe sporting such a goatee in 'Knight Rider's 'Goliath').

    The parallel costumes and make-up are good, with almost a pirate-y feel (I have to say, Uhura looks pretty hot in her parallel costume), and there are other nice touches – for example, Sulu has a huge scar running much of his face, no doubt the result of some previous attempt to better his rank.

    The only weak element in an otherwise great story, is Kirk's romance with Marlena (Barbara Luna). I find the scenes extremely flat and dragged out, and there is very little real spark between the pair. It is the only flaw in an otherwise excellent episode; I would have much rather seen a bit more of the evil Kirk and co. in our universe instead.

    Other than that, this is an excellent story, with some great touches, and very re-watchable. The "mirror world" concept would be continued with later 'Star Trek' series, (beginning with 'The Next Generation's third season episode "Yesterday's Enterprise"), but as good as some of those offerings are, I still find the original the best in many ways.

    All-in-all, a great episode, and deservedly one of the most popular of the Original Series. It still stands as one of my all-time favourites and definitely in my Top 5 – possibly my single favourite episode of the series.moreless
  • Uhura turns down date with Sulu and claims it had nothing to do with the 8 inch scar running down his face

    Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! That's the sound of my "Top Ten alert" alarm going off. I always scream with delight during two scenes. First when they cut to our Enterprise and the savage Kirk et al are being placed in the brig. "Has the whole universe gone crazy, what kind of a uniform is this, where's your beard, where's my personal guard!?" The other is Sulu waving his knife just before they cut to commercial and he says something like "Mr. Spock has orders to kill you captain, he will succeed. Apparently you will appear to have killed him after fierce battle. Regrettable, but it will leave me in command." Then he gives the most devilishly evil grin and they play that "in turmoil" music leading into commercial. Probably my favorite scene in all of the Star Trek episodes. The script is marvelous and I have never been bored with one second of that episode.moreless
  • Fly the Unfriendly skies!

    "Mirror, Mirror" is one of the best "Star Trek" episodes when Captain Kirk and three members of the Enterprise, enter tnto an parallel universe when the crew is different and the way they speak is also different. Kirk and the three others spent the rest of the hour trying to get back to their universe and it won't be easy. I like the differences between the parallel universe and the different between the enterprises. The way they speak, the way bthey show their power. The title Mirror, Mirror" speaks for itself. I would like to see the crew of the good enterprise taking on the crew of thy bad enterprise. But the series was short lived.moreless
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Johnny Mandell

Johnny Mandell

Sulu's Henchman (uncredited)

Guest Star

Nedra Rosemond

Nedra Rosemond

Uhura's Stunt Double (uncredited)

Guest Star

Paul Prokop

Paul Prokop

Guard (uncredited)

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott

Recurring Role

Paul Baxley

Paul Baxley

Capt. Kirk's Stunt Double (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Chekov's Henchman #1 (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (20)

    • In the shot in which McCoy hypos the guard distracted by Scott's saluting, the stagehand operating the door can be seen quickly darting out of the way as McCoy pushes the guard through the open doorway.

    • Trivia: This is the only original series episode where Scotty addresses Kirk as "Jim".

    • It's stated repeatedly that the transporter power is balanced for four, not that they can take a maximum of 4. But then when they lose power, Kirk has to stay behind to operate the controls. If the power is balanced for exactly four, then their plan won't work because only three will be going. They would have to take Moreau for their plan to succeed, but no one notices this or says anything.

    • In the 2006 remastered version, Kirk is in his quarters talking to McCoy and Scotty. But the scene begins with a brief scene of the Enterprise flying through space while Kirk voiceovers. However, the Enterprise is in orbit and shouldn't be flying anywhere (This was corrected in later airings and only appeared in the first weekend airings).

    • Trivia: The Enterprise in the alternate universe is called the I.S.S. Enterprise instead of U.S.S. Enterprise.

    • When Kirk and the evil Spock fight, Kirk swings his elbow at Spock's jaw and you can clearly see he misses...but Spock reacts anyway.

    • On the Enterprise bridge, Chekov is wearing a gold sash on his waist and a dagger on his right hip. He leaves the bridge and goes into the elevator. A moment later Kirk joins him but Chekov's gold sash and dagger are now missing. Instead, he has the agonizer device on his waist. When the elevator doors open, his gold sash and dagger reappear.

    • After evil Spock and Sulu chat, the camera cuts to Kirk and Moreau in Moreau's quarters and there's the familiar cabin door opening/closing "Whoosh" noise. But they're both sitting on the bed, so who came through the door? (This might result from syndication cuts to put in more commercials, but it still doesn't make much sense since no one walked through a door in the Spock/Sulu scene either.)

    • In the overhead shots, the stunt men playing McCoy and Scotty in the sickbay fight don't look much like Kelley and Doohan either.

    • Exactly how did Scotty know about the alternate Sulu's security board? He was never even on the bridge of the I.S.S. Enterprise and certainly wouldn't have known that the helm and security stations are at the same location.

    • When Kirk and company beam onboard the I.S.S. Enterprise, the ship is orbiting in a clockwise direction in the savage universe, contrary to the U.S.S. Enterprise, which was orbiting the Halkan homeworld in a counterclockwise direction in their universe. Yet, throughout the rest of the episode, the I.S.S. ship is orbiting the Halkan homeworld counterclockwise. (This is corrected in the remastered edition.)

    • When the evil Kirk yells at Spock from the edge of the brig doorway, you can see his chest extend outside the light beams that show where the force field is.

    • Is it really very likely that Spock is going to die because someone hits him over a head with a vase? Even allowing that's such a thing has never killed anyone in decades of TV "knocking someone out" sequences, this is Spock we're talking about, with greater than average pain resistance, strength and endurance.

    • The evil Spock describes his McCoy, the evil one, as "sentimental, soft." Given he permits his subordinates to wager on how much suffering a man can endure, this seems a little unlikely, or exaggerated at best.

    • Kirk gives the computer about four commands and in seconds it whips up a way to beam people back and forth between parallel universes. If it's that good, why do they keep around Spock?

    • At the beginning Kirk calls for beam-up and drops his arm. But when he beams up and appears on "his" Enterprise before switching, his arm is still upraised with the communicator in it.

    • Why does the evil Spock cut power to the transporter room? a) If he read McCoy's mind he probably knows Kirk isn't going to leave him, and b) he says he's going to let them go anyway. So he cut off the power to stop them from going, just to stroll in and tell them he's going to let them go?

    • Kirk punches the Imperial crewman that helps him in the face, but when the guy falls on the ground he's holding his side.

    • Kirk asks the evil-Spock about the Halkan's prediction of galactic revolt. When did he hear that? The Halkans in his dimension never said any such thing (why would they?), and other than a brief chat that we saw where it was never mentioned, Kirk never talked to the Halkans in the mirror universe.

    • In the sickbay fight, evil Spock's hair noticeably changes (gaining curls!) when they switch to shots of Leonard Nimoy's stunt double.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Mirror Spock: (to Kirk) I have received a private communication from Starfleet Command. I am committing a breach of regulations by informing you of its contents.
      Kirk: Yes, Mr. Spock.
      Mirror Spock: I am instructed to wait until planet dawn over principal target to permit you to carry out our mission.
      Kirk: And if I refuse?
      Mirror Spock: In that event, I am ordered to kill you, and to proceed against the Halkans as the new captain of the Enterprise.

    • Kirk: You would find me a formidable opponent.
      Mirror Spock: I am aware of that, Captain. I trust that you are aware of the reverse.

    • Mirror Spock: Terror must be maintained or the Empire is doomed. It is the logic of history.

    • Mirror Sulu: (flirtatiously) Still no interest, Uhura? I could change your mind.
      Uhura: You are away from your post, Mister!
      Mirror Sulu: Is the Captain here? Is Spock here? (amused) When the cat's away...

    • Mirror Marlena: Now I always thought that was funny: the great and powerful Captain Kirk who owes everything to an unknown alien scientist and a plundered laboratory.
      Kirk: Well, if you don't take advantage of your opportunities...
      Mirror Marlena: don't rise to the command of a starship.

    • Mirror Chekov: (with phaser aimed at Kirk): And so you die, Captain, and we all move up in rank! No one will question the assassination of a Captain who has disobeyed Prime Orders of the Empire!

    • Kirk: Shoot, you're wasting time.
      Mirror Spock: I shall not waste time with you, nor do I intend to simply disappear as so many of your opponents have in the past. You are too, inflexible, too determined once you've made up your mind. But Dr. McCoy has a plentitude of human weaknesses. Sentimental. Soft. You may not tell me what I want to know, but he will.

    • Mirror Sulu: Mr. Spock has orders to kill you, Captain. He will succeed, apparently. You will also appear to have killed him, after a fierce battle. Regrettable, but it will leave me in command.

    • Kirk: Conquest is easy. Control is not.

    • Spock: May I point out that I had an opportunity to observe your counterparts here quite closely. They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, treacherous -- in every way, splendid examples of homo sapiens. The very flower of humanity. I found them quite refreshing.
      Kirk: I'm not sure, but I think we've been insulted.
      McCoy: I'm sure.

    • McCoy: (talking about Spock) Jim, I think I liked him with a beard better. Gave him character. Of course, almost any change would be a distinct improvement.

    • Kirk: In every revolution, there is one man with a vision.
      Mirror Spock: Captain Kirk, I shall consider it.

    • Kirk: If change is inevitable, predictable, beneficial, doesn't logic demand that you be a part of it? One man cannot summon the future. But one man can change the present. Be the Captain of this Enterprise, Mr. Spock. Find a logical reason for sparing the Halkans and make it stick. Push till it gives. You can defend yourself better than any man in the fleet.

    • Kirk: What are you doing here?
      Marlena: (stretching) Oiling my traps, darling.

    • McCoy: I'm a doctor, not an engineer!
      Scotty: Now you're an engineer.

  • NOTES (8)

    • Foreign episode titles:
      "Mirror" (France)
      "A Parallel Universe" (Germany);
      "Terror of the Ion Turbulence" (Japan);
      "The Mirror" (Portugal);
      "Mirror, Little Mirror" (Spain).

    • The spiral drop earrings that mirror universe Marlena wears in this episode will later appear as part of Uhura's outfit in season three of the series.

    • This episode first introduces the "mirror universe" storyline in Star Trek which is continued in several episodes in at least a couple of the series' spinoffs. This mirror universe is also featured in Deep Space Nine's "Crossover", "Through the Looking Glass", "Shattered Mirror", "The Emperor's New Cloak", and with savage universe characters visiting the regular Star Trek universe in "Resurrection". Enterprise also featured a prequel to this episode/storyline with "In a Mirror, Darkly (Parts 1 & 2)."

    • One of the subtle differences in the I.S.S. Enterprise is that the computer voice is a male voice - voiced by John Winston, who plays Mr. Kyle.

    • Sulu wears a red uniform in the alternate universe. This makes him the only cast member to have worn all three colors of uniforms in the series.

    • Desilu No: 5149-39.

    • Diane Duane also wrote a novel, Dark Mirror which detailed a return to the Mirror Universe for Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D. It explains what happened to the mirror-Spock, but otherwise it is substantially different from the mirror universe that was presented in the DS9 and ST: Enterprise episodes.

    • The story of what becomes of the alternate Federation and the alternate Spock is told in a 1994 Deep Space Nine episode "Crossover."


    • Title
      References the line "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?", from the children's fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

    • Evil Twins: Beards
      This episode set the standard for any television show where the main character has an evil twin and denotes it by the evil character sporting a goatee.