Friday tellybox, 10th September 2015

Each week, I pick a couple of things I’ve watched and have a little discussion about them. Or not so little…

Deep Space 9, S3Ep19: Through the Looking Glass

I love the mirror universe stories in DS9. Seriously, love them. They’re often some of the best in a season, with the contrast between our familiar characters and their mirror-verse counterparts providing new insights into characters we think that we know. Who doesn’t believe that there’s just a tiny bit of the Intendant lurking in Kira’s heart?

In this story, Smiley (mirror!O’Brien) brings our Sisko to his universe, to stand in for their Sisko (now dead) and try to prevent mass carnage by persuading Jennifer Sisko to side with the humans and not build a sensor that would lead the Alliance straight to the rebellion. It’s immediately a story that has emotional impact, because our Sisko has never stopped loving Jennifer, and any story that brings her back in some form hits him hard. One of the elements of this story that I particularly loved was that Sisko didn’t try to rekindle anything with the mirror Jennifer. It would have been creepy and problematic if he had. The story is heartbreaking and Avery Brookes plays it beautifully.

Not everything is perfect about this episode–I cringed a little at the scenes between Sisko and mirror!Dax–but it’s not far off. There’s action aplenty building to a terrific climax. Mirror!Garak is thoroughly evil and I can’t help wondering if this is what Garak was like back in the day, or whether his mirror counterpart went further than Garak ever did. Intendant Kira is a hammed up delight, and the hints that she’s bisexual made me squee. If only she wasn’t an Evil Bisexual, but that’s a minor complaint about such a great episode.

When DS9 is good, it’s very good, and this episode is a fine example.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S1E8: Queen of the Flowers

My love for Miss Fisher is ridiculous. Such fabulous clothes. Women taking names and kicking arse. A wonderful older-woman-mentoring-younger-woman relationship, which is so rare to see on television. A delightful romance between Dot and Hugh. A will they won’t they relationship between Phryne and Jack that never gets overplayed or old.

This story had elements of all of that, with an interesting mystery to hold it all together. On a certain level, the mystery is often a framing device for progressing the stories about Phryne, Dot, Jack and Hugh, which suits me perfectly. When they’re more than that, they’re exploring a part of Australian society in the 1920s, which is part of what makes this show stand out from so many others.

The mystery here is a girl washed up on a beach, one of a small group that Phryne had been trying to teach manners and etiquette to. When she switches tacks to teach them self-defence and Judo as a result of the murder, it was so Phryne that I clapped.

Running beside that plot, there’s a story about Phryne’s ward, Jane, and the return of her mother. That could easily have been a terrible, mawkish melodrama, but it ended up being a lovely story with a resolution that I couldn’t have predicted.

Of course, what I love about this show is the mixture of predictability and surprise. Even if I can figure out who did what, there’s always something–a character moment or a destiny–that I don’t see coming. That’s a neat trick, considering how many mystery shows I watch.

This is the show that I watch when I need cheering up and reassuring that the world isn’t terrible, and this episode did the trick again.

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