Happy 50th Birthday to Star Trek’s Mirror Universe

Image: CBS

On Oct 6, 1967, Star Trek delivered an part that stays a bullion customary for together universes. Half a century later, “Mirror, Mirror” stays a undying idol of scifi storytelling, and one of a best episodes of Star Trek, full stop. Because as cold as a grounds is, it’s a sign of what creates Trek’s heroes so noble.

The bequest of “Mirror, Mirror” in 2017 is unquestionable. Beyond Star Trek, Mirror Spock’s sinister goatee combined a cocktail enlightenment icon, a now-standard visible language for communicating an immorality swap chronicle of a character. In Trek, of course, a Mirror Universe was revisited mixed times—on TV in both Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, giving us glimpses of what a Mirror Universe looked like before and after a classical episode, while large novels and comics have given us new insights by a lenses of The Next Generation and even a Kelvin Timeline movies.

But “Mirror, Mirror” could’ve unequivocally scarcely been nowhere nearby as impactful as it came to be. Early drafts for a story usually featured Captain Kirk being whisked divided to a strange, swap reality, one that was distant reduction sinister than a Mirror Universe we finished adult with—instead of arrangement us what happened to a Mirror counterparts eliminated to a “prime” universe. That’s something that would’ve attacked us of a final product’s biggest success, that was not only throwing a incomparable expel of a unchanging characters into a Mirror Universe (in a tangible part Uhura, Scotty, and McCoy all assimilated Kirk), though saying their mean counterparts flung into “our” world, too.


“Mirror, Mirror” was ideally timed. It’s not an part that would’ve worked in Star Trek’s initial season, when we were only removing to know a Enterprise overpass crew. It thrives on being means to strongly expel a swap counterparts into such a extravagantly hostile characterization that saying Sulu clad in confidence red, stomping about a place, or Chekov so frankly contemptuous in his try to overpower Kirk’s authority (and a offensive cost he pays for unwell to do so—the anguish booth!) is so definitely jarring.

For all a laxity of a Mirror Enterprise’s environs, give or take a few majestic insignia, it’s a impression work on arrangement that unequivocally sells a grounds of only how messed adult and vicious this swap existence is. Our heroes are understandably repelled a notation they seem in a Mirror Universe, since of only how visitor a actions on arrangement are to them.

But a many effectively chilling work is with a one impression who isn’t so extravagantly opposite from their “prime” counterpart: Spock. Kirk jokes during one indicate that a Mirror Spock “is unequivocally most like a possess Mister Spock,” though in all seriousness, he’s right. While a rest of a expel has a whale of a time vamping it adult as their swap immorality selves, Leonard Nimoy’s opening is splendidly understated. Facial hair notwithstanding, Mirror Spock is unequivocally most like a Spock we know and love, cold and calculatingly stoic; he only happens to have had his dignified core totally flipped. And where a other Mirror versions of a organisation thrived on that immeasurable disproportion to their counterparts, Mirror Spock’s scary laxity is what creates him such a disconcerting impression to watch.


At a finish of a episode, Spock Prime informs a returned Kirk and organisation that they detected a bad guys in their midst most some-more fast than a organisation of a I.S.S. (Imperial Star Ship) Enterprise managed to—because it’s most easier for good people to fake to be monsters instead of a other approach around. But what creates “Mirror, Mirror” such a undying square of Trek is a moments where a differences between a two, between cruelty and compassion, between togetherness in division, are most some-more formidable to spot.

So many happy returns, “Mirror, Mirror.” Please enclose a goatee and be an asshole for a rest of a day in celebration, everyone.

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