This alternate universe story is one of the most popular Star Trek episodes ever, and small wonder! Everything that made TOS so entertaining and unforgettable is in this episode, in abundance. We're talking titillating torture, thrilling fights, exotic boots, tough babes, hot guys, and sexy high-jinx. Speaking of which, this episode is particularly delightful for fans of Lt. Uhura.
Romance? Heck yes, there's romance! As usual, Kirk and Spock demonstrate once again that they have an extra-special bond that transcends and rises above everything.
Oh, yeah, and Kirk gets into a suggestive and sexy situation with a beautiful dame, as usual, and it's not really his idea, as usual, and he manages to wriggle out of it without actually getting laid, as usual. Yeah, he kisses her, but it's totally obvious and explicit as he does so that he's playing a deceptive role and is insincere, as usual.
And as usual, Spock questions Kirk's apparent interest in the woman. Why is it any of his business anyway? Well, see, Kirk and Spock have this special bond... as I shall explain.
In the beginning, Kirk is standing outdoors on a pretty little planet, chatting with the leader of a humanoid people soon identified as the Halkans. Nearby, McCoy, Scott, and Uhura wait.
[NOTE: Hey, lookit! Lt. Uhura is a member of Kirk's landing party.]
The Halkan leader has very politely informed Kirk that he and his people refuse to provide the United Federation of Planets with their precious dilithium crystals. Halkans are radial pacifists, and they don't want their gems used by anyone who's even capable of using them for warfare. Kirk very politely accepts that the guy doesn't want to cough up the gems, but he can't resist the urge to remind the guy that the UFP needs them for primarily peaceful purposes.
Halkan High Honcho: "Captain, you to have the might to force them from us, of course."
"But we won't", Kirk pleasently assures him. "Consider that."
[NOTE: this establishes that neither Kirk, nor the United Federation of Planets whom he represents, are bullies. They get what they want by negotiation, not by force or intimidation.]
An ion storm is looming, and Kirk and party beam up as lighting flashes in the sky. The guys in the transporter room struggle to beam Kirk's party in safely. When the process is finally complete, Kirk and the others appear whole and entire, but something is obviously wrong, because they are dressed in very (sexy) unusual uniforms. Kirk, for example, wears a (sexy) tight tunic that leaves his arms bare, and there's a glittery gold sash around his waist. Uhura is attired in a (sexy) midriff-baring getup. They all are shod with (sexy) over-the-knee style black leather boots.
Spock is there to welcome them, and he's wearing a dashing, extra-fancy uniform. He's sporting a (sexy) little beard that makes him look evil and, well, sexy. He greets them with a peculiar Nazi-style salute.
Kirk fixes his gaze on Spock and seems utterly transfixed by the vision before his eyes. He's stunned. Absolutely discombobulated.
Bearded Spock doesn't seem to think that anything's amiss. He asks Kirk about how things went with the Halkans, and stoically endures it as Kirk looks at his crotch and slowly lets his gaze travel alllllll the way up.
[NOTE: That's no exaggeration on my part. We get a Kirk's eye-view of the whole thing.]
When Kirk's admiring eyes finally meet bearded Spock's, the Vulcan's got this annoyed look in his eye, like he's thinking, _Well? Do I pass inspection!?_
Kirk's salivatng so much that he doesn't dare open his mouth, so he says nothing, he just nods a little, obviously impressed.
"Mirror Universe" Spock returns to the console, and via intercom orders Sulu to prepare to annihilate the reluctant Halkans. He next takes a moment to punish Mr. Kyle with a small, red triangular "agonizer" device, in a manner that seems casually routine. Kyle is wearing the agonizer, and it is taken from him, and used like a cattle prod to punish him with a prolonged electric jolt. This causes him pain, but otherwise he seems unharmed, since he recovers immediately.
[NOTE: When Spock demanded Kyle's agonizer, Kyle should have handed it over to him in such a manner that it jazzed Spock like a joy-buzzer. That would have been good for a laugh.]
[NOTE: From now on, when referring to Mirror Universe characters, they will be designate MU]
While MU Spock takes his time in torturing MU Kyle, the landing party reacts to this disturbing display. McCoy disaproves. Scotty recoils. Uhura averts her gaze. Kirk watches the whole thing, panting for breath, obviously aroused, and doesn't even blink once.
MU Spock acknowleges that the ion storm possibly effected the tranporter during beam-up, and asks:
"Captain, did you feel any abnormal effects?"
"Yes!" Kirk quickly replies, but he doesn't mention his hard-on. What he says is: "Doctor McCoy, you'd better look us over. That was a rough beam-up."
The landing party to all rush to sickbay, and once there Kirk hypothesizes that interference from the ion storm must have caused them to be transported into a parallel universe where people are casual about torture, and everyone dresses like they are part of a uniquely fabulous Gay wedding party.
[NOTE: and I do mean ~TRES CUIR~]
Immediately, we realize that a mirror image landing party (including an evil ISS empire MU anti-Kirk) must have been beamed aboard the regular U.S.S. Enterprise at the same time. Uh oh!
McCoy expresses concern about the Halkans, and Kirk agrees that saving the Halkans from doom is a top priority. But the most important thing they have to do is to get themselves back to their own universe, pronto!
Kirk orders his party to try to fit in, to impersonate their mirror image counterparts, while they secretly work on devising a way to return to their own universe, and BTW, meanwhile, save the Halkans in this parallel universe from doom.
To Uhura he says:
"Get up to your post. Run today's communication from Starfleet Command. I want to know my exact orders - and options, if any."
Uhura: "Yes sir." She moves to comply, but then suffers a momentary failure of nerve. She stops, turns back, and with a pleading look in her eyes, says to Kirk...
"Captain, I... I'm...!"
Kirk instantly understands. He moves quickly to her, takes her by the shoulders, looks her directly into her eyes, and gives her the reassurance that she needs.
Kirk (warmly): "Uhura, you're the only one who can do it. I'll be right there."
[NOTE: This is the last time in this episode that we see timid-faun Uhura. Brace yourself to soon behold Amazon Commando Uhura in full flower.]
Uhura takes her usual seat on the MU bridge, and a scar-faced MU Sulu slimes over to annoy her a little.
Sulu (grabbing Uhura's chin): "Still no interest Uhura? Hmm? I could change your mind."
Uhura (icily): "You are away from your post, mister."
Sulu (smiling): Is the Captain here? Is Spock here? When the cat's away..."
Uhura slaps his hand away and winds up to back-hand him, but then Kirk enters the bridge, and Sulu returns quickly to his post.
[NOTE: Good timing. Sulu would have had the shit slapped out of him otherwise.]
Kirk learns from Uhura that he has been ordered to annihilate the the Halkans, period. He stalls by ordering the Enterprise to hold its fire for 12 hours, and notifies the Halkans that they have that long to change their minds about cooperating.
MU Spock is astounded at this, and he questions Kirk immediately about his unprecedented actions.
MU Spock: "You have placed yourself in a most grave position..."
[NOTE: It's kind of slashy that MU Spock seems concerned about Kirk's welfare. He doesn't really question the right/wrong of Kirk's actions, he just protests that Kirk is opening himself up to a world of (non-sexy) hurt.]
MU Spock: "...This conduct must be reported."
Kirk: "You're at liberty to do so, Mr. Spock."
[NOTE: Translation - "I know I'm opening myself up to a world of hurt. Knowing me, that shouldn't surprise you."
OMG, is it possible that Kirk is once again knowingly and intentionally opening himself up to a world of hurt? Why, yes, that is what he seems to be doing, AGAIN.]
Sure enough, seconds after this, Kirk exits the bridge and walks right into a situation where he's being beaten up by several guys, including MU Chekov, who led the attack.
[NOTE: ~Chekov~ led the attack!? Wow, this really IS a crazy, mixed-up alternate universe.]
Kirk survives MU Chekov's inept assassination attempt. It helps that one of MU Chekov's guys switched sides suddenly.
MU henchman (to Kirk, about Chekov): "The booth for this one, sir?"
Kirk (gamely faking it): "Yes, the booth. Carry on."
[NOTE: Kirk at this point has no idea what the booth is, or else he'd put himself into it instead.]
Kirk uses the computer to learn about the MU Kirk's history, and learns that he succeeded to command by assassinating Christopher Pike, and was rewarded for massacring 5000 colonists on Vega 9, among other things.
[NOTE: the computer has a male voice in this alternate universe. More evidence that everything in this universe is backwards.]
Flash to the regular universe Enterprise, where we see that Mr. Spock has very efficiently rounded up and incarcerated the MU landing party already. He obviously noticed right away that the MU Kirk was not the Kirk that he is so deeply intimate with.
[NOTE: Probably MU Kirk wasn't as warmly friendly and welcoming to Spock as what Spock is used to. I mean, Android Kirk's rejection was what tipped Spock off in What Are Little Girls Made Of?]
MU Kirk tries to threaten, then to bribe Spock, which Spock finds somewhat amusing. He's got this look in his eye like ~Whoa, dude, you really don't know me AT ALL~.
[NOTE: Neither fear, nor money have EVER been motivators for Spock. What Spock does for Jim, he does for love, in either universe, but MU Kirk doesn't know that, so apparently MU Kirk and MU Spock aren't intimate... yet.]
Meanwhile, back in the Mirror universe...
A very interesting conversation between MU Spock and Kirk happens in the hall. MU Spock catches up to Kirk and tells him that he's glad that Chekov's assassination attempt failed.
"I am pleased that you frustrated Mr. Chekov's plan. I should regret your death."
[NOTE: Isn't that cute? He's pleased that Kirk is still alive. And he's flat-out telling him so. Aww.]
They take a little stroll together, walking very close (practically touching), side-by-side...past the agony booth where Chekov is being tortured...
[NOTE: Isn't it romantic?]
As the sound of Chekov's cries of pain ring in their ears, they look deeply into one another's eyes and chat about killing, and institutionalized terrorism, and and how massacring innocent people and torture n stuff is effective n logical n stuff...
"Captain, may I inquire if you intend to persist in your unusual course of action regarding the Halkans?"
"You heard my orders."
"They are, of course, in contradiction to standard Empire procedure. You can not ignore the consequenses."
Kirk (sharply): "Is that a threat?"
MU Spock: "I do not threaten. I simply state facts." (sincerely, looking deeply into Kirk's eyes) "I have found you to be an excellent officer. Our missions together have been both successful and profitable..."
Kirk smiles seductively, looking deeply into MU Spock's eyes....
[NOTE: ::squirm:: ::giggle::]
Chekov (screaming): "Ahhhhhgggg!"
MU Spock: "However, I shall not permit your ~aberrations~ to jeoparize my position."
The background music strikes a sour note. Kirk impulsively tries a daring new tack:
"Spock, do *you* think we should destroy the Halkans?"
MU Spock (matter-of-factly): "Terror must be maintained, or the Empire is doomed. It is the logic of history."
Kirk (gazing deeply into MU Spock's eyes, searchingly, feelingly): "Conquest is easy, control is not. We may have bitten off more than we can chew."
MU Spock (simply and sincerely): "I do not wish to find myself opposing you, but if you continue on your present course - this confusing, inexplicable behavior...."
Kirk (interrupting): "Is my concern, not yours." (pause) "You would find me a formidable enemy."
I'm aware of that, Captain", MU Spock blandly replies. "I trust that you are aware of the reverse."
[NOTE: Examine that remark with me. Kirk's reaction to Spock's comment is to smile a little, as if he thinks it's kind of cute. He obviously doesn't feel threatened. It's too easy to assume that Spock means that he would make a formidable enemy for Kirk. Kirk does not seem to interpret it that way.
"The reverse" is not that Spock would be a formidable enemy, no. Spock just said, moments before, that he doesn't threaten, so his remark should not be interpreted as a threat. He just went out of his way to tell Kirk that he values his life, AND he also just got done praising the guy, too. What he's actually doing now is that he's reminding Kirk that he can be a formidable NON-ENEMY... as he soon demonstrates.]
While Scotty is adjusting the transporter to return them back to the correct universe, Kirk returns to his cabin and discovers a pretty brunette woman is stretched out on his bunk.
[NOTE: Kirk has NO IDEA who this woman is. He did not invite her to be there.]
This brunette doll starts chatting in a very familiar tone about her day at work, and produces two drinks, one of which is for Kirk. As they share a cocktail, she speculates out loud about what Kirk seems to be up to, and he plays along, faking it like mad.
Kirk doesn't know her name. He doesn't know what to call her. He doesn't really know how to react to her. He just responds to her cues, and plays along. For example, when she puts her arms around him and says, "You must know what you are doing. You always do", he wisely suppresses the urge to laugh out loud, since she seems to be sincere.
She embraces him, but he does not embrace her back. He stands there, holding his drink, and allows her to kiss him.
[NOTE: here we go again. Yet ANOTHER "heterosexual" encounter in which Kirk is totally passive, and it totally is _not his idea_. He's doing NOTHING, the woman is doing EVERYTHING. This sort of thing is in fact typical of Kirk, and it's the reason why he is actually not a good example of a romantic hero. I mean, what in fact is romantic about this? Nothing. What's erotic about it? Nothing. He has no feelings whatsoever for this woman - as he clearly demonstrates several times - and, ONCE AGAIN, *nothing whatsoever* _sexual or otherwise_ comes of it, as you shall see.]
The kiss is interrupted by the intercom whistle. Kirk breaks away to answer the call. Surprise, surprise, it's MU Spock on the line, with an urgent, top-secret, totally personal private message.
[NOTE: Good timing.]
MU Spock: "I recieved a private communication from Starfleet Command. I am committing a breach of regulations by informing you of its contents."
[NOTE: Aww. Isn't it romantic?]
Kirk: "Yes, Mr. Spock?"
MU Spock: "I am instructed to wait until planet dawn over principle target to permit you to carry out our mission."
Kirk: "And if I don't?"
MU Spock: "In that event, I am ordered to kill you, and to proceed against the Halkans as the new Captain of the Enterprise."
[NOTE: Aww, he doesn't want to have to kill his Jimmy-poo. He's breaching regulations and flouting protocol n stuff to warn his widdle Dimmy. And lookit, he's not asking for any money or for anything else in exchange. He's just doing it because...well, JUST BECAUSE. Awwww. So cute.]
Kirk's cornered in his cabin with some dame whom he doesn't even know, and she keeps encouraging him to drink, which we all know is probably not a good idea right now. He's only got four hours before it's too late n stuff, and he really doesn't have time to get ripped, and fiddle-faddle around with this nameless broad.
[NOTE: but he does have hours to hang around talking about his favorite subject: SPOCK]
Brunette: "Let's drink a toast to Spock: the only man aboard with the decency to warn you... and he'll die for it. You'll never find another man like him!"
Kirk drinks to that.
[NOTE: Kirk Drinks To That.]
Kirk: "I don't intend to kill him."
[NOTE: You can say THAT again.]
Brunette (puzzled): "Are you going to act against the Halkans...?"
Kirk: "No, but I'll avoid killing Spock."
[NOTE: Hey, lookit, he said it again. Isn't this romantic? Spock, Spock, Spock. Kirk's all alone in his quarters with a beautiful dame, and all he can talk about is Spock. Aww.]
Brunette: "Shall I activate the tantalus field? You'll at least want to monitor him, won't you?"
Kirk's curiosity is aroused. Vas ist das tantalus field? He agrees because he wants to know what the heck she is talking about.
She opens up a secret panel which reveals a monitor. Spock is onscreen.
"That magnificent mind of his. But it can't protect him from THIS...!"
She talks about using the device to make people disappear, while making like she's about to push a button, and Kirk quickly stays her hand.
[NOTE: NOT MY 'POCKIE! (Aww)]
[NOTE: They are still talking about Spock. In fact, after this, they talk about Spock some more. Some heap-big red-hot sexy lovey-dovey heterosexuality going on here, haa? Haa?]
Finally, the brunette asks, "What about me? How does Marlena fit in?"
[NOTE: Great, now we at least have a first name.]
[NOTE: Good question. It does seem frightfully difficult to squeeze a girl in between those two guys.]
Marlena is the MU "Captain's Woman", but what exactly does that mean? Well, apparently it means that she is MU Kirk's partner in every way. She's his totally trusted partner in crime, and probably in bed as well. She's privy to all of his most sensitive secrets, and is entrusted with access to the most powerful secret weapon the guy has got. She's certainly much more to him than just a plaything. Regular-universe Kirk is incapable of a deeply trusting, deeply serious, abiding relationship with a woman, but it's now obvious that Mirror-universe Kirk doesn't have that problem. MU Kirk's practically married to this scheming, ambitious, homicidal bitch, for cryin' out loud.
[NOTE: Mirror-universe Kirk is apparently not intimate with MU Spock, and is instead deeply intimate with this woman. This is more proof that everything in this alternate universe is completely backwards.
Well, almost everything. Spock seems to be carrying a torch for his Captain in both universes, but only regular-universe Kirk seems to be down with that.]
All kinds of things happen very quickly. Kirk chats with Scotty about the crisis. MU Spock chats with MU Sulu about the crisis. This gives Marlena a chance to change into a sexy negligee for her boyfriend.
Marlena (softly): "I'm afraid I'm a little out of practice."
[NOTE: WHAT'S THIS? MU Kirk hasn't been keeping her in practice!?]
She sits on the bed. She seems to expect him to join her, so Kirk sits next to her on the bed. They sit chastely side by side, holding hands for three seconds. Then Kirk says, "I gotta go."
[NOTE: Surprised? I wasn't, and sadly, neither is she.]
Marlena (snottily offering Kirk's usual excuses for him): "Ship's business? An important task on the crew deck?"
Kirk walks away without comment.
Marlena (resigned): "Well. I guess it's over."
[NOTE: This isn't new. She sort of saw it coming. Gee, come to think of it, MU Kirk doesn't really seem to be such a red-hot heterosexual stud, either.
In the conversation that follows, it becomes totally obvious that Marlena is motivated primarily by ambition, not lust. Furthermore, it's by now crystal-clear that lust never really was a part of the foundation of the MU Kirk/Marlena relationship. There's been no passion between them for a long time.]
Marlena: "I've been a Captain's woman and I like it. I'll be one again if I have to go through every officer in the fleet!"
[NOTE: Isn't it romantic? NOT.]
Kirk (dryly): "You could."
She winds up to slap him, but he stops her hand.
Kirk: "I simply meant that you could be anything that you want to be."
They, oddly, kiss very deeply and passionatly at this point. Huh?
[NOTE: I guess that's for symbolic purposes. It doesn't hurt that it also is a really good red herring for the censors.]
[NOTE: Kirk's playing a role. He's pretending to be MU Kirk. He doesn't want to screw up the guy's relationship for him, since it's obvious that MU Kirk is capable of doing that for himself.]
Marlena (puzzled): "It's been a long time since you kissed me like that..."
[NOTE: more evidence that Marlena's relationship with MU Kirk is a chilly one.]
Marlena: "You're a stranger. Mercy to the Halkans, mercy to Spock... to me.
[NOTE: So, she interprets a "passionate" kiss as _mercy_? Hey, maybe she's not wrong about that.]
Marlena: "~Am I~ your woman?"
Kirk (bullshitting like mad): "You're the Captain's woman until he says that you are not."
[NOTE: Translation - I ain't sayin', cos I ain't him, and he ain't sayin, cos he ain't here.]
[NOTE: Come to think of it, just cos this dame arranged herself on Kirk's bed doesn't mean much. After all, Eve McHuron pulled the same stunt in Mudd's Women, and not only didn't it mean anything then, not only wasn't it Kirk's idea (like in this episode) but, like in this episode, it didn't lead to anything.
Not only doesn't Kirk boink Marlena, but it seems that even MU Kirk doesn't boink her. At least, not lately. Certainly not as often as she'd like. Gee, that's weird, too, cos she's pretty, n sexy, n hot for it, n stuff. It's not like there is something wrong with ~her~.]
Kirk leaves Marlena, and while in the lift he uses his communicator to secretly tell Uhura to get ready to do her thing.
[NOTE: Now follows one of the most exciting scenes in TOS history for Uhura fans.]
Uhura on the bridge gets the signal, and she springs into action. She stands, and sidles over to evil MU Sulu's side.
"You aren't very persistent, Mr. Sulu", she seductively coos. "The game has rules - you're ignoring them. I protest, and you come back. You (tapping his nose lightly with her dagger) didn't (tap) come (tap) back."
MU Sulu (delighted, embracing her): "Now you're making sense!"
Uhura (bravely soldiering on): I was... getting bored!"
MU Sulu (burrowing into her bosom): "Hmmmm!"
Uhura (straining to tolerate it): "Of course, this isn't the time..."
MU Sulu (nuzzling): "Any time is a good time!"
Uhura, noticing from the lights on Sulu's console that the operation seems to be complete, ends the charade abruptly by brutally back-handing the horny Sulu the way she wanted to half an hour ago.
Uhura (smiling): I'm afraid I changed my mind... again!"
MU Sulu (horrified and pissed): "You take a lot of chances, Lieutenant!" He lunges at her.
Uhura (brandishing her dagger): "So do you, mister! So...do...you."
Then Amazon Badass Uhura backs away, tucks her dagger into her thigh-high boot, and fabulously exits with a flourish.
They are all supposed to meet up in sickbay, as soon as Kirk has completed one task in the transporter room. Kirk runs into a snag, however, when the inimitable MU Spock pulls a phaser on him, and orders him to stop. MU Spock escorts Kirk at gunpoint to his sickbay rendevous.
Within moments, all four of the landing party are battling MU Spock, and Spock's holding his own pretty well. Ultimately they manage to knock him out, but he doesn't make it easy for them.
As McCoy examines and treats MU Spock, there's another assassination attempt (this time led by MU Sulu). The attempt is foiled when Marlena uses the tantalus field on Sulu's henchmen. Once Sulu is alone, it's easy for Kirk to take him out with some patented Space Karate (TM).
Uhura, Kirk, and Scott head for the transporter room. McCoy insists on staying behind to make sure that MU Spock is all right. MU Spock soon comes to, and he mind-rapes McCoy. He thereby learns the truth about the whole situation.
The climactic final scene deserves close examination.
Kirk meets Marlena in the transporter room. She wants to come with them, but he refuses. She insists at gunpoint. Suddenly, UHURA attacks Marlena, and succeeds in disarming and subduing her.
[NOTE: Hey HEY, Uhura! You GO, girl!]
As Kirk is ordering his party to the transporter, Marlena again asks, "What About Me?". She gets no answer.
MU Spock enters at that moment. He escorts a chastened Dr. McCoy.
MU Spock: "I cut the transporter power. it was necessary to delay your beam-out until I could arrive."
MU Spock (at transporter controls): "Engineering - reactivate main transporter circuits."
Kirk: "You're a man of integrity in both universes, Mr. Spock!"
MU Spock: "You must return to your universe. I must have my Captain back."
MU Spock then, amazingly, assists Kirk et al in returning to their own universe. It seems that he wants his very own lyin', killin', torturin', side-windin' snake of a Captain back.
[NOTE: Kirk ignores his "girlfriend-du-jour" to focus on Spock during the final suspenseful seconds of the crisis. Gee. Could it be that Kirk has more interest in Spock than in the female du jour (as usual?)? Hmmmmm.... COULD BE!
At the end, once order is restored and the regular universe people are back where they belong....a familiar looking lady hands Kirk an Etch-a-sketch (TM). Surprise, surprise, it's the regular universe version of Marlena - specifically, it's Lt. Marlena Moreau.
[NOTE: Groovy - now we have a last name.]
Spock: "You've met her before, Captain?"
Kirk: "Uh, why do you ask?"
[NOTE: ~INDEED~. _WHY DOES HE ASK_?]
Spock: "Your reaction... one of... ~recognition~."
Kirk (hastily): "Oh, no! No, no. We haven't met before... exactly. She just seemed... a nice likable girl. I think we could become...FRIENDS."
Spock raises an eyebrow at this.
Kirk: "It's _possible_."
[NOTE: ~FRIENDS~. Yeah, _RIGHT_!]
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