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Through the Looking Glass (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the book by Lewis Carroll, please see Alice Through the Looking Glass.

In the "mirror universe," Sisko must persuade the alternate version of his dead wife to join the Terran Rebels, or he will watch her die a second time.


Sisko, Odo, and Quark are in the station commander's office debating the disposition of 27 Cardassian voles which Sisko claims are intended for fighting. Apparently Quark and Morn were discovered painting numbers on the voles' backs, even though Quark claims that they were Morn's pets. Sisko orders that the voles be confiscated, suggesting that if Morn wants new pets, he can get some goldfish. Quark says "Poor Morn. This is gonna break his hearts."

Sisko then walks out into Ops, where he tells an unnamed lieutenant "Ops is yours" and walks toward the turbolift landing... just as the car arrives carrying O'Brien, who is out of uniform. As O'Brien steps off the turbolift he tells Sisko that he needs to converse privately, then draws a phaser. However, Sisko immediately orders the Ops crew to stand down.

After ordering Sisko onto the transporter pad, O'Brien waves a multidimensional transporter over the normal transporter controls, after which O'Brien and Sisko transport to a raider and Sisko asks where they are. "I guess you could say we just stepped through the looking glass," O'Brien says in reply.

O'Brien leads Sisko into another compartment, and Sisko disarms him. At barrel's end O'Brien confirms that they are in the mirror universe, that the Terrans have started a rebellion against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, and that the rebellion at issue was led by Sisko’s counterpart... until he was killed. (This alternate universe was first visited a year earlier by Kira and Bashir, DS9: "Crossover".)

When Sisko demands to be taken back to his own universe, O'Brien explains that in his universe Jennifer Sisko is very much alive, working for the Alliance on a trans-spectral sensor array that will enable the Alliance to root the rebellion out of their bases in the Badlands. In closing O'Brien explains that if Sisko will not retrieve her from Terok Nor, the rebels will be left with "no choice but to kill her."

Sisko photo jennifer looking glass

Commander Sisko holds a photographic print of the mirror universe's Jennifer Sisko

Sisko concedes than he cannot bear the death of a second Jennifer Sisko, and agrees to attempt her rescue.

On Terok Nor, Jennifer Sisko arrives at Intendant Kira's quarters, and the Intendant informs Jennifer that her husband has been killed.

Sisko propaganda machine looking glass

Commander Sisko and the Mirror Universe's Julian Bashir

Back on the raider, O'Brien – or rather "Smiley," as he's reminded Sisko to address him – explains that Jennifer despises her late husband, who was much better at fighting than leading. Finally the two of them transport to a rebel base, where a new mission is under discussion. As Bashir looks on Sisko with a gimlet eye, Tuvok points out that they all thought Captain Sisko dead, and at that point Jadzia saunters in to give Sisko a kiss of gratitude, a slap across the face for letting her think that he was dead, and a question: "are you coming or not?" Sisko hangs back so that Smiley can explain to him that Jadzia is Sisko's mistress.

On Terok Nor, the Intendant is ordering gratuitous executions of Terran slaves as an incentive for improving unacceptably low levels of productivity. Garak suggests that she's been in a foul humor... ever since Captain Sisko was killed.

The rebels are restless about the impending completion of the sensor array, a suspicious Jadzia is telling Sisko that he ought to abandon the rebellion, and Sisko insists (over Bashir's objections) that Jennifer's rescue, not her death, is their next objective.

On Terok Nor, Rom informs the Intendant that Sisko is alive... and that he has information that will lead to Sisko's recapture. As a result Sisko and Smiley are surrounded by decloaking Alliance ships en route to Terok Nor, captured, and taken to the station. The first thing Sisko does upon leaving the airlock is to kiss the Intendant passionately, and they briefly discuss the likelihood of his execution. Kira then moves onto O'Brien and chastises him for betraying the Alliance. After Smiley explains that he did it because he wanted to be free, Kira contemptuously orders him sent back to Ore Processing, and she leads Sisko back to her quarters. Once there she explains to him that since she can't trust him, it will be a matter of time before she needs to "dispose of" him.

Sisko jennifer looking glass

Commander Sisko talks the mirror universe's Jennifer Sisko into joining the Terran Rebellion

Later Jennifer arrives, accompanied by Garak, who leaves no doubt as to his hatred of Sisko. After Garak leaves, Ben and Jennifer spar over Ben's bellicosity and womanizing, and Ben puts that to a stop by explaining that he's on the station to rescue her. After more arguing, Ben uses the adversarial nature of their marriage as a wedge to suggest that she's working for the Alliance as a response to his leadership of the rebellion, and finally asks her to defect as an alternative to slavery. Sisko then uses a subdermal communicator to alert Smiley to his progress and disables the guards on the Intendant's quarters, while Smiley creates a diversion to get himself and several slaves out of Ore Processing.

Rom murdered looking glass

The corpse of the mirror universe's Rom, hanging from an airlock door

Jennifer ultimately agrees to follow Ben – though only after insisting that she still hates him – and the two of them meet up with Smiley and the (former) slaves in the Habitat Ring. The lot of them proceed to the airlock where Rom's shuttle is docked, only to discover Rom's corpse hanging from the airlock door, by a dagger through the chest.

On the verge of being overpowered by the Intendant and her men and with no obvious means of leaving Terok Nor, the rebels head back to Ore Processing with Jennifer in tow. Once there, the rebels engage in a firefight with the guards, and after promising Jennifer that he will get her off the station, Sisko starts manipulating a console, explaining to Smiley that he hopes the designer of the Mirror Universe Terok Nor is the same Cardassian who designed Deep Space 9.

The Intendant and the troops with her ultimately force entry to the rebels' haven in Ore Processing, where she orders the rebels (excepting Jennifer) killed – only to have Sisko tell her that doing so would be a mistake... because he has initiated the station's auto-destruct sequence. Thinking that he's bluffing, the Intendant points out to Sisko that he doesn't know the needed command authorization code, at which point he proves her wrong. When she tries to stop the sequence, she discovers that Sisko has changed the command code, and offers to let him off the station if he will give her the new code. He demands that he and his companions be let off the station first, and the Intendant capitulates, closing with an oath to Sisko that she will hunt him down.

After the trip from Terok Nor to the rebel base, Jennifer insists on knowing who Ben really is. Commander Sisko tells her that she can ask Smiley for the details, and then the two of them say their goodbyes.

Memorable quotesEdit

"Poor Morn. This is gonna break his hearts."

- Quark

"I hope you don't run up against too many surprises."
"If I do, I guess I'll just have to... improvise."

- Smiley and Benjamin Sisko

"Logic isn't going to win us our freedom. We have to take action!"

- Rom (mirror), to mirror Tuvok

"At least someone here is using his brain."

- Commander Sisko, about Smiley

"You know, you did pretty good back there. I don't think anyone suspected you weren't Captain Sisko. At least, not once you hit Bashir."

- Smiley

"Whatever shall we do about O'Brien?"

- Intendant Kira, condescendingly

"If you need anyone to beat him into submission for you, please don't hesitate to call me."

- Garak (mirror), while leaving Jennifer alone with Sisko

"Do I get a vote?"
"Of course you do. It just doesn't count."

- Commander Sisko and Intendant Kira

"Why don't you start by telling me what happened to my husband. He's dead, isn't he?"
"I'm sorry."
"Don't be."

- Jennifer Sisko (mirror) and Commander Sisko

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit


  • Jonathan West was the director of photography for the episode. West commented, "We used more cross-lighting and stronger back-lighting. I changed the white fluorescents in Sisko's office to red by covering them in a red gel. And in the ore processing facility we used a mix of blue light and darkness, and more smoke than usual." The smoke was added at the request of Director Winrich Kolbe, who commented, "I like to use smoke, because it gives an interesting visual. Plus, I think it takes the edges off sets that have been shot ten thousand times. The cave set, for instance, has been shot over and over again in both TNG and DS9." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Nana Visitor hated the Intendant's rubber, figure-hugging outfit, later claiming, "It didn't breathe at all." Between takes, she had to stand in front of a large fan to prevent her from sweating, as sweat tended to discolor the outfit. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)



  • This episode was filmed after "Improbable Cause", but before "The Die is Cast" because the decision to make "Improbable Cause" a two-parter came so late in the schedule that "Through the Looking Glass" was already in pre-production.
  • This episode picks up in the mirror universe where "Crossover" left off. "Crossover" had itself been something of a sequel to the TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror".
  • This episode contains the only reference to the Romulans in the mirror universe.
  • Alliance ships are seen de-cloaking in this episode. This is in direct contradiction with the episode "The Emperor's New Cloak", where a major aspect of the plot deals with a delivery of a cloaking device to the Alliance, who don't possess the technology. Non-canon novels attempt to explain this as the difference between Alliance cloaks and Romulan cloaks.
  • This episode takes its name from the 1871 Lewis Carroll book Through the Looking-Glass. The sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the book features Alice's further adventures in a fantasy world beyond a mirror. It is also the phrase Smiley uses to "welcome" Sisko in the mirror universe early in the episode. Kira also uses the same phrase at the end of the episode Crossover, when asked where she and Bashir have been.
  • In the opening scene where Sisko has ruled that the Cardassian voles should be confiscated, Quark says it will break Morn's hearts, plural, implying that Morn's species has more than one heart.
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
  • The raider's corridor, transporter room, and the turbolift, are redresses of the USS Defiant sets, using computer graphics from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. To make it look different, the lighting department used a harsh red light to contrast with the bright white lights of "our" universe. The raider's bridge was a redress of the Runabout cockpit, which had been re-dressed in the same style, several months earlier, as the Maquis raider Val Jean in VOY: "Caretaker".
  • Though referred to as a Terran raider, the model of the ship itself resembles a Bajoran interceptor.

Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Special guest star Edit

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt double Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

access code; airlock; Badlands; bedroom; bluff; bribery; Cardassians; cloaking device; Constable; Ferengi; goldfish; heart; husband; Intendant; kiss; Klingons; Klingon-Cardassian Alliance; logic; manual override; massage; mine; mistress; Morn; ODN processor; ore processing; overseer; paint; pet; pig; pilot; pirate; productivity; professor; propaganda; Quark (mirror); quarters; quota; revolution; Romulans; Sector Command; slavery; storeroom; subspace; subdermal communicator; Terok Nor (mirror); Terran Rebellion; theta; tinkerer; torture; transpectral sensor array; vole; vole fighting; vote; witch; workforce (people)

External links Edit

Previous episode:
"Distant Voices"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 3
Next episode:
"Improbable Cause"

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