Friday, January 30, 2015

Help, I’m Trapped in a Mirror Universe

Spoiler Warning!
For January, we are starting a new series, all starting with “Help, I’m Trapped…”  In this series, the main characters are trapped, either literally or figuratively somewhere and cannot initially break free.  This entry is from the TV series Star Trek.  Star Trek was a 1966-1969 science fiction series, where Captain James T. Kirk and his crew tried to peacefully search for new life and form relationships with those new civilizations.  While initially suffering from poor rating while the show was on the air, after being cancelling in 1969, the show zoomed in popularity in 1969, creating the pheromone of a franchise that it is known today. 
In this episode, known as “Mirror, Mirror”, James Kirk and three of his officers, Chief Medical Officer “Bones” McCoy, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott “Soctty”, and Communication Officer Uhura are peacefully negotiating with the Halkan Council to mine dilithium crystals on their planet.  The Halkans refuse, so Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura beam back to their ship the Enterprise.  Unfortunately, there is an ion storm outside the ship, and a malfunction of the transporter leaves Kirk and his three officers in a mirror universe. 
There are some immediate differences that the characters notice.  Instead of being a peaceful race, the Federation is an empire that aggressively takes what it wants.  The characters are all given phasers and daggers, and it known that officers assassinate each other to get ahead.  Spock, normally free of facial hair, sports a goatee which becomes synonymous with the Mirror Universe episode.  The transporter operator is punished by an “agonizer” device for a transporter malfunction (the Mirror characters do not yet know of the switch).  Kirk quickly learns that the Halkan race will soon quickly destroyed for refusing to help the empire. 
Kirk takes his officers to sickbay, where they realize they are trapped in a parallel universe, where instead of peaceful negotiation; the Empire is focused on evil conquest.  Scotty agrees to disable the ship’s phasers while Kirk orders a delay on the attack on the Halkan planet.  Kirk goes through his Captain’s logs and finds out he assassinated the previous Captain to get to his current position.  Meanwhile, in the original universe, Spock has quickly figured out that the Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura are from a mirror universe, but has no idea what to do other than restraining them.
Back on the mirror universe, as Scotty and McCoy try to figure out a way to bring the landing party back to their own universe, mirror Spock tells Kirk over the intercom that if he continues to refuse to destroy the Halkans, Spock will be forced to kill Kirk and take over as Captain.  The “Captain’s Woman,” Lieutenant Marlena Moreau, attempts to kill Spock for his threats with a device called the Tantalus Field, but the benevolent Kirk stops her.  Kirk heads to the transporter room but mirror Spock, by then aware of the switch, holds a phaser on Kirk and Spock forces him to go back to sickbay where, Scotty, McCoy and Uhura were waiting to leave.
A fight ensues, and Kirk is forced to injure mirror Spock to knock him out.  McCoy insists on treating Spock.  Sulu arrives with three henchmen to kill Kirk and become the new Captain.  Marlena uses Tantalus Field to vaporize the henchmen and Kirk knocks Sulu out.  Kirk, Scotty and Uhura leave for the transporter room, and then Spock awakens and forces a mind meld on McCoy.  He then realizes the four’s true nature (as well as the fact that they spared his life) and decided to help them.  At the transporter room, Spock agrees to set the transporter controls to bring them home.  Marlena begs to join Kirk but the transporter was only set for four people, and Kirk tells her to help Spock bring a new era of peace to the parallel universe.  In the tag, a new Marlea appears in the original universe as a recent transfer to the Enterprise, and Kirk tells her he hopes they can be friends.

In this episode of Star Trek, the main characters are trapped in a mirror universe and must figure out a way home.  In typical Star Trek fashion, the characters work together to figure out a solution to come home.  Also, benevolence and peace win out over evil and violence.  Marlena and Spock are changed by the original universe’s actions and decide to be good in a sea of evil.  The four “good” people can make a difference in a world of corruption…and that is probably what creator Gene Roddenberry was aiming for in this episode.  

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