Star Trek TOS: Good Kirk Takes on Bad Spock and Good Spock Takes on Bad Kirk

Star Trek Spock - Mirror, Mirror
Star Trek Spock – Mirror, Mirror

Star Trek: The Original Series

Season 2, Episode 4

Mirror, Mirror

Kirk, Uhura, Scott, and McCoy started the episode on a planet bargaining for a place to mine dilithium, but their requests were denied. The group beamed back up to Enterprise.

Normality would ensure back on the ship, right? Incorrect. When they returned, Spock had a goatee, and the crew was saluting Kirk with a white power greeting. And this brand of Spock was murderous. An ion storm really messed everything up — to the max.

Spock was dictatorial, a spooky display of unfamiliarity. A black crewmember even gave Kirk a white power salute, so you know things were off-kilter. 

Spock, in a neat vest, played along as not to stand out, evening flashing the Nazi salute to his crew. Sulu had a scar on his face akin to the one from the character Omar Little in HBO’s The Wire. The ship was peppered with security, a likening to authoritarian regimes associated with the white power theme of the crew. 

This alternate-personality crew was also fascinated with regime change, targeting Kirk for overthrow. A man punched Kirk square in the face, attempting to rise the ranks of power. A bold strategy.

Image Courtesy of Itshiho on YouTube:

Kirk doubled down on his “blend in” strategy, acting like a tough guy ruler to convince the other he was the evil version of himself. This was a tactic to go unseen and buy time for a counterplan to the mayhem. 

Parallel universes were to blame because, back on the real Enterprise, there was a duplicate of Kirk, who was a total hellion. There, the true Spock was stumped by Kirk’s maniacal behavior. So, Kirk and Spock were battling Spock and Kirk, just a mismatched duo of competing, divergent personalities. 

The bad editions of Kirk and Spock are absolutely wicked. This episode was the second time in the series to date Kirk showed up in an evil capacity as The Enemy Within from Season One featured a dastardly, rapey Kirk. 

Conversely, the good Kirk on evil Spock’s ship met an attractive brunette who kissed him. That was moments before Spock informed Kirk of his orders to kill him based on his defiance. Kirk had four hours to change his mind and strike the planet from the beginning of the episode. 

In the background, good Kirk and his crew plotted to escape the evil Enterprise. Uhura even used the power of sex in hopes to distract Sulu, who is — you guessed it — rapey in his evil duality. 

Good Kirk twisted evil Spock’s arm on the errs of his atrocities, explaining his vile life path was illogical. Continuous, undisciplined regime change was not logical, according to Kirk. He was not wrong. 

The two parties chose to coexist — in separate universes, never colliding courses again. Kirk loved a good compromise. 

A cherry on top, the righteous version of Kirk’s love interest, Marlena (on bad Enterprise), followed him back to his universe. If the show wasn’t so fond of standalone episodes, Kirk might just have a mate. 

Mirror, Mirror was a parable on the razor-thin separation between man’s propensity for exploration, goodwill, progression — and a downward spiral to ruthless totalitarianism. Spock, with his brainpower and talents, could just as easily fall prey to the evil of dictatorship and power. On the other hand, Kirk was susceptible to this, too — in a parallel universe. 

Themes: Dangers of Totalitarian Rule, Duality of Man

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).