SPOILER ALERT!!! Warning: Information here may also spoil previous episodes!
It was what every fan of the original Star Trek dreams of: Sitting in the captain's chair, wearing his uniform, using his communicator and phaser ... and leading that glorious starship where no man has gone before.
Of course, we're not talking about Captain Kirk's chair or uniform, but pretty close. In the second part of the alternate-universe epic titled "In a Mirror, Darkly," the 23rd-century Constitution-class U.S.S. Defiant takes center stage, throwing the set of Star Trek back nearly 40 years to a time when operations officers wore red, command officers wore gold, and women wore less.
In Part II of the story — described by writer Mike Sussman as "a prequel to 'Mirror, Mirror' and a sequel to 'The Tholian Web'" (previous production report) — the mirror-universe Archer and his crew have located a rumored Earth ship from the future in Tholian space. It is the Defiant, after it disappeared from its home universe in a spatial interphase, but now is being stripped by slaves of the mirror Tholians. Archer and his people manage to commandeer it and get it operational. With its 100-year advanced technology, the Defiant will make a formidable weapon against the Terran Empire's enemies. But it turns out Archer has an even more nefarious agenda in mind.
Like in Part I, the entire story takes place in the mirror universe. The only interplay with the regular Enterprise characters comes when the evil crew learns about their counterparts from the Defiant's database, and the imagination of the paranoid Archer runs a little wild.
As previously reported, (Production Sneak Peak: Mirroring History) the set designers, art designers and construction crew had the thrilling opportunity to reproduce the Original Series bridge in exacting detail. At first, though, it was trashed — when seen in Part I and the beginning of Part II — but thankfully the characters fix it up so it could be occupied in all its classic Roddenberry-esque glory. The team had also constructed a TOS-style corridor and diagonal Jefferies Tube, from the same specs used in "Trials and Tribble-ations," for Part I as well as Part II. For Part II more sections of the Defiant were constructed, reproduced from familiar settings including several horizontal and vertical Jefferies Tubes, the Rec Room (with replicators), Captain's Quarters and the Briefing Room, the latter dressed with a Federation flag using the seal first seen in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."
But the production took on even more of a classic flavor in the form of costumes and props. In the story [final spoiler warning!!], most of the principal characters have beamed over to the Defiant in EV (extra-vehicular or environmental) suits. Subsequently the Tholians use their web-making capabilities to destroy the mirror NX-01. That leaves Archer, T'Pol, Tucker, Reed and Mayweather on the other ship in their grey EV undersuits. So once they take up residence, they go through the original crew's wardrobe and don their uniforms.
That put Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating and Anthony Montgomery in the classic-style red shirts (knowing they're doomed if they ever go on an away mission!), and Scott Bakula got to wear the green wraparound tunic like that worn by Captain Kirk in several episodes including "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "The Doomsday Machine." Jolene Blalock took on the science-blue miniskirt, like what Christine Chapel wore.
When Blalock first appeared on set in that outfit, Bakula remarked, "Did we run out of material for Jolene's skirt?" God bless the '60s.
In the 23rd century, every starship had a different style patch for their uniforms. We never saw the Defiant patch in "The Tholian Web," so wardrobe came up with something new. Basically they did a variation on the standard Starfleet arrowhead, tilting it and adding an extra angle to its shape.
Linda Park as mirror-Hoshi remained in her bare-midriff blue jumpsuit (though as the captain's woman she's also seen several times in slinky lingerie), and John Billingsley as the evil Phlox continued to wear a thick black leather costume. They and the other surviving crew got away from Enterprise in escape pods, so all the human extras wore mirror versions of either the blue jumpsuit or the MACO fatigues.
In addition to the outfits, the cast got a chance to play with Original Series phaser pistols and communicators, along with other props such as those square colored data disks, an Uhura-style earpiece, old-style PADDs and tools. In the Rec Room, T'Pol orders up some of those multi-colored "food cubes" from the replicator (isn't that just Play-Doh?). The actors honestly got a kick out of it all. During one scene on the Defiant bridge, while cast and crew were milling about between set-ups, you could hear someone emulating the Original Series' familiar "bosun's whistle" sound effect. The flawless performance was coming from a red-shirted Montgomery.
It wasn't just the actors. Other members of the team got into the action. The one who scripted this adventure, Mike Sussman, himself donned a red shirt and played a dead Defiant crewmember on the Corridor set.
Nostalgia can be a dual-edged sword, though. With Original Series sets come Original Series gaffes. The sliding doors to the Turbolift were a challenge. A crew person was behind the set pulling the mechanism to open the dual doors, but it was up to the assistant director to yell "Doors!" when an actor approached them. The idea was that the actor shouldn't have to pause in his walk. It worked most of the time, but occasionally the timing was off and there were a few unpleasant bumps followed by under-the-breath curses. Maybe they'll show up in a blooper reel someday. [We won't mention any names, like Dominic Keating for instance.-Ed.]