the story: The chronologically finale Mirror Universe episode.
what it's all about: In hindsight it kind of seems inevitable. And hugely, hugely appropriate. Deep Space Nine's fifth and final Mirror Universe episode (sequels to the classic episode "Mirror, Mirror") is also a "Ferengi episode."
Let me briefly explain: in the first three series Mirror Universe episodes, a Ferengi dies. First Quark then Rom then Nog. (That's the big three Ferengi in the series, by the way. But it was all the Mirror Universe counterparts. Brunt's counterpart dies this time to continue the tradition, by the way.) So it was only a matter of time, really, until things finally worked out for the Ferengi (mostly) in the Mirror Universe.
But it's also a "Ferengi episode." At this point in the series, it was considered Deep Space Nine's greatest creative liability, especially after the perceived fiasco of last season's "Profit and Lace." In fact, it's the only "Ferengi episode" of the final season. When Ferengi congregate, things tend to go a little silly. Basically, the Ferengi were the Jar Jar Binks of Deep Space Nine (and maybe the franchise as a whole). I never had that problem. I loved the guys, and their episodes were always highlights for me.
If "The Emperor's New Cloak" seems weaker than previous Mirror Universe episodes, it's because the tone is so different. But it's also the big bombastic finale of the whole thing, and it pokes fun at the whole thing, and is the kind of statement the final season needed, because in five more episodes, everything was going to become a lot more grim, and there was never a guarantee of a happy ending. So the Mirror Universe saga finally concluding ("Crossover" in the second season proved how "Mirror, Mirror" ended up with different results than Kirk anticipated) with a decisive win for the good guys is worth celebrating, regardless of its creative departures.
I like how everyone gets to let loose. Michael Dorn, especially, seems to have enjoyed the opportunity, giving Worf his most energetic scenes in the whole series. And for the record, the Vic Fontaine who's not a hologram but rather a flesh-and-blood (and very quickly dead) guy, I have a theory for that, and it's simple enough: Bashir based the lounge singer on a real person. Maybe not a singer, but, y'know. Simple. Obvious. Sends everyone home happy!
- franchise - Again, the final sequel to "Mirror, Mirror."
- series - Which ends a Deep Space Nine tradition, too.
character- I think this one was just meant to be fun.
- essential - And to my mind, wildly succeeds.
James Darren (Mirror Vic Fontaine)
Jeffrey Combs (Mirror Brunt)
Andrew Robinson (Mirror Garak)
Chase Masterson (Mirror Leeta)
Max Grodenchik (Rom)
Wallace Shawn (Zek)
Tiny Ron (Maihar'du)
J.G. Hertzler (Martok)