Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Second Sight"

**1/2

Air date: 11/22/1993
Teleplay by Mark Gehred-O'Connell and Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by Mark Gehred-O'Connell
Directed by Alexander Singer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In "Second Sight," the brilliant Professor Seyetik (Richard Kiley) comes to DS9 to prepare a groundbreaking experiment. Meanwhile, Sisko meets an enigmatic woman and finds himself falling in love for the first time since his wife's death four years earlier. The woman, Fenna (Salli Elise Richardson), is like a dream—she has a knack for saying the perfect thing at the perfect time. The only problem: she keeps disappearing ... literally.

Many portions of this episode ring true. There are some genuinely engaging emotional moments in the romance between Sisko and Fenna; often present in the performances is a sweet chemistry that proves engaging and sometimes downright moving. Even more engaging are the typically effective scenes between Sisko and his son. One scene in particular ends with a big laugh, as Jake gives his father a look of utter bemusement. What doesn't work, unfortunately, is the "sci-fi" plotting used to explain Fenna's existence. The plot makes a less than stellar attempt to link Fenna to Seyetik's wife, Nidell, writing Fenna off as a nonreal figment of Nidell's convenient telepathic abilities.

As compensation for the gratuitous twist, the episode has Kiley as the egomaniac Seyetik. He's the type of guy who writes his own obituary because he wouldn't dream of leaving the task of writing something so important in anyone else's hands. You've gotta love this guy—he's arrogant, and he knows it. Kiley is delightful, bringing a great deal of humor and charisma to the role, with a final scene that is bittersweet in its theatrics.

Unfortunately, the more important issue here—that of Sisko's romance—ultimately falls short (and feels too much like a Reset Button Plot) because of the story's need to make his would-be companion nonreal—thus rendering the romance dramatically unfulfilling.

Previous episode: Necessary Evil
Next episode: Sanctuary

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20 comments on this review

Connor - Mon, Jul 13, 2009 - 3:24pm (USA Central)
Second Sight is a complete yawn fest. It Would scrape 2 stars from me.
Londonboy73 - Tue, Jul 17, 2012 - 7:04am (USA Central)
I like DS9 – I really do – but this episode highlights the major problem the series has:-

Avery Brooks. – HE CAN’T ACT!!

He is possibly the worse actor I have ever seen in a leading role. Every mannerism is overacted, every line is wooden. When he has to laugh or cry it is painful to watch. If he got the role how bad were the ones who were turned down??

Am I the only one who thinks this? Surely not!
Ian - Sat, Jul 21, 2012 - 9:56pm (USA Central)
Londonboy, I agree with you, at least in these early episodes...
He got better when he grew a beard and shaved his head and was able to renact his Hawke persona from Spenser for Hire...
Londonboy73 - Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - 4:27pm (USA Central)
Thanks Ian. At least I am not alone

In the UK they show repeats of TNG and Voyager all the time but never DS9. It is not very popular and I think this is mainly to do with Avery Brroks.

Such a shame because if you get past him it's very good.
LastDawnOfMan - Thu, Aug 9, 2012 - 6:26pm (USA Central)
I think this is a story arc that would have been improved if they hadn't been in a hurry to wrap it all up in one episode. The "romance" feels rushed. I get annoyed at stories where characters are falling deeply in love after an apparent 20 or so minutes of time together. Could have spread this arc out over a couple of episodes with some other story arcs, given both the romance and the old guy more time to grow on us. He was such an ass, as presented, I was happy when he threw himself into the sun, and couldn't feel too sorry for Sisko since he barely knew his so-called love interest.
Elliott - Sat, Aug 11, 2012 - 1:24pm (USA Central)
Brooks is not the only acting landmine one has to contend with--Visitor (only in this series it seems), Lofton, Ferrel, Dorn...and the occasional appearances of Sisko's wife (I've forgotten the actress' name) are only ever at best, competent and often laughable (there are a couple of exceptions to that rule). That's a major chunk of the main cast. Thank goodness the show brought in a recurring secondary cast of ringers who brought a real depth to their characters; Garak, Martok, Weyoun, Dukat--they really saved the show on the acting front.
Chris - Sat, Apr 13, 2013 - 9:46am (USA Central)
Penny Johnson Gerald! A bad actor! Nana Visitor (think back to last season's Duet). Michael Dorn never seemed that bad to me, considering the role.
Joe Misner - Mon, Jun 3, 2013 - 9:27pm (USA Central)
who played fenna on ds-9 Second Sight
azcats - Wed, Oct 2, 2013 - 4:09pm (USA Central)
yep, this one was pretty boring.
Elliott - Wed, Oct 2, 2013 - 6:58pm (USA Central)
@Chris: I was referring to the actress who played Jennifer, his first wife, not Kassidy Yates, his second. Nana Visitor had a lot of good material written for her and I have seen her act well--but there was something lacking in the chemistry of her character which made her acting weaknesses very present and hard to ignore.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 3:40pm (USA Central)

A silly episode. Pretty much a throwaway.

3/10
woah - Mon, Nov 4, 2013 - 8:49am (USA Central)
this entire comments thread was crazy. the episode a boring throwaway? avery brooks a bad actor? come on, guys. come on. please come on. come on.
Alex - Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 11:45am (USA Central)
Personally I would have loved to see Salli Richardson return to become Avery's permanent love interest instead of introducing Kassidy Yates. I felt there was more chemistry between Sisko/Fenna in just this one ep than I've seen in his scenes with Yates. No surprise. Salli is ridiculously gorgeous. What man wouldn't fall for her in record time?

I never understand people's need to proclaim "he/she can't act" like there some professor on the subject. Why not just say "this person's acting style doesn't appeal to me". IMO, that would be a more understandable statement. Saying Brooks can't act is like saying Stewart can't act.
DLPB - Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 12:56pm (USA Central)
woah, as hard as this is for you to understand, some of us can look at Star Trek without the blinkers on. Brooks is a pretty bad actor, and so are a few of the others. Star Trek in general is grossly overrated, and DS9 had some very bad episodes mixed in with the decent ones.
DLPB - Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
Why not just say "this person's acting style doesn't appeal to me"
=====

Are you serious? What has an acting style got to do with acting ability? Stop talking CRAP.
Vylora - Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - 1:47pm (USA Central)
If I thought a show was mostly crap episodes with a few decent ones, I would most likely not consider myself a fan of said show. I would go so far as to say I don't like that show.

That being said, I make it a rule not to waste time accusing a fan of talking crap in a comment session for a tv show I obviously do not like. That not only saves me face in that I am not being a potential troll, but it also provides an opportunity for fans to enjoy discussions on a on a show they like without belittling statements.

I for one am not a professor on acting nor have I taken any acting courses. Despite this I do enjoy well told stories on tv with characters that pull me into the storyline. This has to do with not only the dialogue characters are given but also what the characters do with what's been given. Deep Space Nine has actors portraying characters in a manner that pulls me into the storyline, for the most part, quite well. Thus, in my mind and therefore my humble opinion, it seems to me their acting or "style" thereof is not distasteful in the slightest...in fact I would go so far as to say it is done very well.

There's been plenty of shows where I find the acting to be underwhelming and I can't find myself having the patience to divest my time on them. Farscape is an example that comes to mind of a show with a strong cult following that is highly praised. Personally I can't get into the characters because, to me, they don't seem believable. I don't like their acting. They don't "pull me in" to the story. But that doesn't mean they don't for others who watch it. Though I do hear there is some great stuff in that show and I may come back to it. But I most certainly am not going to go to the fan site to troll just because I don't like the show (so far). Though I have gone to one of the fan sites to ask a couple of questions about it out of curiosity. I was polite to them as I should be, being a non-fan on a fan site, and they were polite back.

Imagine that.
Dusty - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 10:01am (USA Central)
Wow. What a negative and thoroughly unsatisfying slew of comments about a show we're supposed to like. (And if you don't like it, why even bother?)

I loved this episode.
Londonboy73 - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 10:27am (USA Central)
To be fair, my original point (way back in 2012) was that I DO like DS9 but Avery Brooks spoils it for me because if find him to be a poor actor. Yes I did say cannot act. Maybe should have used the phrase ‘in my opinion is a very poor actor’. That is just being pedantic with my words when the point I was making was very clear.

People are well within their rights to disagree with my viewpoint. In fact, I think it is only right that Avery Brooks is being defended by people who like his acting. However that does not mean that people cannot comment that an actor or indeed episode is poor.

I see nothing wrong on voicing a negative opinion on a Start Trek discussion forum. In fact, I struggle to think of a better forum to voice it on!
Robert - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
Just to throw my 2 cents in... I do feel that Avery Brooks is wooden at some points and could appear to overact in others... but I thought it worked. He was colder, more distant in earlier episodes but the back story for him is a guy that is destroyed when the series begins. It makes sense he wouldn't be so emotional. By the end of the series I honestly just felt Sisko to be a really passionate person and what some would call overacting just felt like acting choices and in the end I felt like it made Sisko Sisko. It just worked for me.

As for if someone was a bad actor or not... a character is a combination of the writing, directing and acting... and I can't judge a person's acting off one job. Sisko worked for me, but I'd need to see him in other things (which I haven't). For instance I think Mulgrew is an awesome actress but Janeway never worked for me (and not necessarily because of her, it just didn't).

If Brooks is a poor actor I don't care, Sisko worked for me. And Elliott, Visitor? Really? She had far and away some of the best scenes/episodes in DS9. She was a gem. You might fault her for only being alright if all you had seen were the first 10 episodes....
Londonboy73 - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 10:00am (USA Central)
By the way. Alex, your statement:-

"Saying Brooks can't act is like saying Stewart can't act"...

is one of the weirdest things I have ever read. It doesn't even make sense.

I am all for debating with someone but this is clearly a bizarre thing to say with no foundation whatsoever!!

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