Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Second Sight"


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

◄ Season Index

42 comments on this review

Mon, Jul 13, 2009, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Second Sight is a complete yawn fest. It Would scrape 2 stars from me.
Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 7:04am (UTC -5)
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!
Sat, Jul 21, 2012, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
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...
Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Aug 9, 2012, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
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.
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
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.
Sat, Apr 13, 2013, 9:46am (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
who played fenna on ds-9 Second Sight
Wed, Oct 2, 2013, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
yep, this one was pretty boring.
Wed, Oct 2, 2013, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
@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.
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 3:40pm (UTC -5)

A silly episode. Pretty much a throwaway.

Mon, Nov 4, 2013, 8:49am (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 11:45am (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
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 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.
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 10:01am (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 10:27am (UTC -5)
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!
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
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....
Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 10:00am (UTC -5)
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!!
Sat, Apr 26, 2014, 10:22am (UTC -5)
My first comment on my favourite Star Trek series (just bought the lot on DVD to replace my ageing VHS collection) . I have to agree with Londonboy73 - I often felt there was something awkward and off-kilter in Brooks ' delivery in the first 3 series. Usually when explaining things to people, like to the prophets in "Emissary". Or when asking Odo about Fenna in this episode. Visitor's usually reliable, though she has a tendency to grandstand a bit. Sid's a bit all over the place (and overacts dreadfully in season 1's "Passenger"), but then Bashir in the first 2 seasons is like a great big puppy, enjoying his frontier medicine (at least until The Dominion turn up) . Odo, O'Brien, Kira and Quark ground this series for me.
Thu, May 8, 2014, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert :

Compare Kira's reaction to Odo in "Things Past" with Janeway's reaction to Tuvok in "Prime Factors". Same basic emotional content displayed in two skill sets which are lightyears apart. By around Season 4, Visitor had found the rôle and was pretty good most of the time, but that's a lot of show to get through with only marginal acting success from one of your stars.
Fri, May 9, 2014, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
I'll grant you that the ending of "Things Past" didn't pack much of an emotional wallup (I actually wasn't a huge fan of that episode), but I feel like it was a blip by then (S5).

It certainly wasn't Kira's finest moment, but I'm sure I can find plenty of moments where Janeway didn't register well.

For me her character seemed to find itself at the tail end of S1 (I LOVE her in "In The Hands Of The Prophets" and "Duet"). By S2 she seemed pretty steady (like her goodbye scene in the opening trilogy).

And "Things Past" is one of very, very few scenes with Kira/Odo where I feel she didn't slam it out of the park. I love the wordless ending of "The Search Part II", the scene where she gives him the plant for his quarters, all of their scenes in Crossfire. Something kind of felt off with the entire episode for "Things Past". It should have been an awesome followup to "Necessary Evil" and it just fell much flatter.
Thu, Jun 26, 2014, 10:01am (UTC -5)
OK, many folks here are echoing my observations WRT acting abilities in DS9. I'll go ahead and chime in, then speak to this episode.

The ONLY way this series stayed on the air is that the supporting characters/actors, Odo, Quark, Garak, Obrien, etc were exceptional.

Avery Brooks is a horrible actor by any standard WRT to acting. He can't convey ANY emotion without overacting. He can't even get the voice inflections right. He over pronounces words all the time. I to this day can't believe they couldn't find a better black male actor. If this series had been on a star ship where he was at the center of the stories more often, I believe the show doesn't make it past the 1st season. To compare his acting skills to Stewarts is ridiculous.

Alexander Siddig was horrible in the 1st season, but at least he did seem to get it right starting with season 2.

Nana Visitor, as with many trek actors over the years across all series, overacted quite frequently early on (Torres, Stewart, Burton, Dorn, Keating even Mulgrew for a period comes to mind). But she too got better with experience and time. The same with Terry Farrell, but I attribute her improvement to a change in writing the character. Terry wasn't very suited to the perfect princess characterization they began with.

In short, if I watch the show and it looks like they are acting, they aren't doing there job. I saw that with DS9 more than any trek series.

But, on to this episode.

I actually like this one, and to give credit where credit is due, it didn't have any Avery acting head-slappers for me.

I thought the "love that Fenna professed for Sisko was believable, especially once we find out why she comes into existence.

"In times of deep emotional distress Halanans sometimes lose control of these abilities (psychoprojective telepathy). My wife is very emotionally distraught"

It's logical that the projection would be haphazardly searching for real love here. Sisko was the first person she happened upon. Also, who can blame Sisko for being infatuated with Fenna? Remind me to send a Christmas card to whoever came up with that dress. Wow, Salli Elise Richardson is a strikingly beautiful woman. A comment about that red dress... so many times we see alien cleavage/under boob shots etc in DS9. This was just revealing enough to be tasteful without going overboard. Well done.

I REALLY enjoyed the Dr. Gideon Seyetik character and thought Richard Kiley excelled in this role. I thought he sold the whole thing well and I believed that he would sacrifice himself the way he did to free Nadell from her commitment. It came across as genuine to me.

I too enjoyed the Sisko/Jake moments. Jake sold both occurrences. The young kid has proven he's a pretty darn good actor.

I did have a hard time with the closing scene between Sisko and Nadel. It seemed to me like the only reason they had this scene was for Sisko to feel sorry for himself. (I'm surprised they didn't put her in the red dress) I think Sisko's interaction with Nadel should have included something like "you know he loved you". Maybe a tear from her or something? She seemed pretty unemotional for someone that just lost her husband, even though she might not have felt for him what she originally did I saw nothing that lead me to believe that he mistreated her. That's quite a sacrifice you know...

3.5 stars out of 4 for me.
Dave in NC
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 12:29am (UTC -5)
An episode that depends on contrived plot twists and red herrings to keep the obvious from being obvious.

First off, Ben Sisko is a BIG fan of Professor Seyetik and his celebrated/celebrity career, yet he has no idea that he is married?! Much like the Geordi/Leah Brahms episode, marriage status doesn't appear to be publicly available information in the future. Except other episodes directly contradict this possibility, so what gives? Bad plotting.

Fenna and Sisko didn't have a relationship, you could barely call it a flirtation. The longest amount of time they spent together (traveling from the Promenade to the docking ring) we don't even see. What did they talk about in the intervening time? Whatever it was, it wasn't anything personal, judging by the dialogue we did see. I also thought it odd that Sisko didn't just say "Computer, halt turbolift, security authorization etc etc" when Fenna ran off in the docking ring.

In four years, THIS is the first woman that Sisko had any kind of infatuation with? A woman he spent maybe a half hour with? I'm not sure I'm buying what they're selling here.

When Sisko meets Odo in his office to find Fenna, it's strange that Sisko doesn't think it prudent to mention her doubly-pointy ears. I know there are a lot of species out there, but you'd think a pseudo-Vulcan would sort of stick out. Maybe because that would have solved the mystery in five minutes. Very contrived.

And when Odo DOES find out that the woman doesn't exist on any manifest, he makes the rather ridiculous claim that not one member of the Prometheus's crew has disembarked for Deep Space 9 in the three days it has been there (other than the Professor). And how did not one surveillance camera catch this woman? More bad plotting.

I also found it odd that his wife had conjured Fenna three times over two days (twice during the day) and her husband (nor any Prometheus crewmember) noticed it.

I didn't like the persona of his wife, she came across as a rather stony-faced grim enigma in the little screen time she was given. She didn't express any kind of spousal affection to her husband at all. I understand the actress was trying to draw a dichotomy between the two characters she was playing, but when Ben told Nidell at the end she was exactly like Fenna, I rolled my eyes. They were polar opposites.

I think we were supposed to hate the scientist character and his personality, but everything the plot and background information told us showed that he was indeed an accomplished and gifted man. Since the "douchebag husband consumed with work" characterization didn't ring true, Nidell's true reasons for being angry with her husband were never explained (other than a vague sentence from the Professor about her mating for life and some ensuing disagreements).

Come to think of it, if her species DOES mate for life, you'd think she would have taken more care in choosing a spouse, especially one who dresses in such a provocative boisterous manner. (Seriously, who is his tailor?!)

Nitpicks: Does Nidell have dreams of being a hairstylist and fashion designer? Those were some pretty banging threads for a dream made flesh.

Why is Kira so obsessed with Sisko's morning routine? It didn't seem to fit her character. (I sense a rewrite from an originally Dax perspective).

More nitpicks: Why didn't Nidell mention that she had conjured up this woman before? Why didn't Seyetik call sickbay when he finally did see his wife was in distress? Also too, the actor who played the Commander of the Prometheus was very wooden. Snooze!

And why exactly was it necessary for the Professor to ACTUALLY kill himself in order to free his wife? Surely the Federation would have helped him fake his death to spare his wife's life. More terrible plotting.

Unusually for any modern Trek show (since TNG Season 3), this show LOOKS bad. The lighting is noticeably too bright, the various camera shots seem to linger a second too long, the characters not their usual selves. Everything about the episode seems kind of off. Especially noticeable is the incredibly slow way Nidell starts to clear the table after dinner, and the ridiculous baby steps she takes on her goodbye walk in the final shot. This episode was padded to fill time, and then some.

The only things that really worked for me were the exploration of the father-son dynamic between Sisko and Jake, the crew banter before the banquet, and the actual rebirth of the star. Special kudos to the composer of the star-rebirth score, who managed to sneak in some melody despite the Producers commands to the contrary.

Not a very good episode at all. 1.5 stars (and only because I liked the too-few father-son scenes).
Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
Wow, some of you people are really pathetic, I thought is was a great episode, it's NOT a full length MOVIE! it's a 47 min TV series, I'm assuming most of you television critics are just pimple popping TEENAGERS!
Tue, Nov 25, 2014, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
This *was* a very boring episode, with more loopholes than plot, and to contribute to the discussion, Avery is a TERRIBLE actor. The best DS9 episodes are those where the story revolves around the Cardassian occupation / war and where he is seen the least...

I totally agree with Yanks that if Sisko had been a normal Trek "captain" (in a roaming ship, the center of the story), the series would have been pulled after one season.
Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode and concur with Alex and one's opinion of whether someone can act or should be stated as such. Who made these people authorities on someone's acting ability other than their own opinion. Salli Richardson had great chemistry with Avery Brooks and I too would have loved to see them act together again. A lot of these people who post here are always contrasting DS9 with TNG and other Trek series, the point is it was supposed to be different. It was created to be different I am glad they see it that way. Someone else mentioned with all of the negative criticism of this show, why would they watch it. I have always enjoyed DS9 and it is my favorite Trek show. Sisko is not like Picard and vice versa, he wasn't supposed to be. My one concession is they can have their opinions, like they say "opinions are like butts, everybody has one"
Tue, Apr 7, 2015, 9:15am (UTC -5)
@ Yanks: Maybe a tear from her or something? She seemed pretty unemotional for someone that just lost her husband, even though she might not have felt for him what she originally did I saw nothing that lead me to believe that he mistreated her. That's quite a sacrifice you know...

It wasn't about him mistreating her, His love for himsef got in the way. She was like a flower that never got the attention it needed to survive. If you don't water it, it will wilt and die.

And to all, I felt that Brooks acted appropriately for the type of story. His acting is good. People seem to thing Patrick Stewart is a good actor, I don't think so, he is the one that underacts very often.
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
watch Brooks when Sisko tells Odo "she was wearing Red". Brooks delivers that line like he's a psychopath. That is bad acting. Why didn't the directors stop him from talking like that? It couldn't have been intentional. And it only gets worse. By the time Cassidy and him get together he regularly talks all creepy to her. And sometimes he does that when he's talking to Dax or Kira. Then Our Man Bashir comes along and gives him an actual reason to sound loony with his holodek character and from that point forward a lot of the time he makes Sisko talk and yell like that crazy holodek character. I just don't undrstand why the directors never said "Cut!! What are you doing Brooks? Quit fooling around."
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Exactly Quarky.
William B
Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 12:51am (UTC -5)
A bit of "Brief Encounter" meets "Forbidden Planet," as a woman finds herself so suffocated in her marriage to a well-meaning egomaniac that her mind creates a psychic double to flirt with local space commanders. The unreality of "Fenna," the alternate version of Nidell, works to some degree as a metaphor for the unstable emotions that are often formed in affairs (in real life) -- can an affair which is essentially a desperate attempt to find some comfort and feeling as an escape from a loveless marriage actually let you see the "real" person? And what of the person who gets involved with this person having an affair, who is likely to "disappear" frequently?

And, fine, it's not a bad idea for an episode. But really, the episode then lives or dies on how the Benjamin/Fenna romance goes, and, no. No. Sorry, but no. It doesn't help that unlike most Trek romances, we cannot even "fill in the blanks" with extra scenes between the two (except for their picnic, where I think we're meant to gather that they had a longer time together), and only have to rely on the scant few meetings that happened on screen. Sisko's falling for Fenna on so little is false, especially since we see very little to indicate what he sees in her besides her obvious attractiveness and the thrill of the chase of a mysterious woman who speaks cryptically and then disappears. This would make a lot of sense if Ben were a teenager, but as an adult, well.... I get that he is just barely starting to be able to feel again after his wife's death, I get it because Sisko pointed it out several times, but I really don't feel it.

The lack of connection between Fenna and Nidell is also frustrating -- Nidell is such a blank that we have no real indication of how much Fenna actually represents of her, making Sisko's final remark that Fenna was JUST LIKE HER come across as totally bizarre. I can't even tell if we're supposed to think Sisko's being honest or lying, and if he is lying why.

There are many odd details in this episode that also make it seem unfinished, like there was an extra draft thrown out; the relative disinterest in this mysterious disappearing woman from anyone but Dax; the fact that no one bothered to call Bashir while Nidell lied dying for hours; that Fenna sometimes seems to know she can't stay long and other times can't which is totally at the mercy of the plot; that Nidell, we are told by Seyetik, is both supposed to have these projections under control and has no knowledge of them nor control of them, and that Nidell doesn't tell anyone that OH SISKO MUST HAVE SEEN HER PROJECTION when it comes up (what, embarrassment?). As far as Brooks' acting, my favourite weird mannerism in this episode is when, partway through his conversation with Seyetik where Seyetik reveals the Truth about Nidell, Brooks puts his head on his fist as if making something between an "I'm listening" face and nodding off to sleep, rather than, you know, the emotion of a guy who is losing a woman he cares about.

The episode's saving grace *is* Seyetik and I find him amusing, but he does seem like a small doses person and I feel like even this episode could have used smaller doses of him. I find it amusing that there is no suggestion whatsoever of Seyetik being abusive; we are just meant to understand that after three or four years of being married to this guy, a person's subconscious would basically choose suicide by psychic projection over listening to him reading any more excerpts from his autobiography. Seyetik kills himself because it's the only way to free her, and there is some sense in which it's a matter of atonement for the foolishness of *him* marrying someone from a species that mates for life when no one can stand him; he does end up something of a tragic figure, all big gestures and works of art and incapable of providing day-to-day emotional nurturance.

Anyway, Seyetik is entertaining and interesting enough (while still a bit grating, even so) that I think this episode can maybe hold onto 1.5 stars.
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 1:27am (UTC -5)
Teaser : **, 5%

It's been 4 years since “Best of Both Worlds,” and Sisko almost let the anniversary go “unnoticed.” Bad fanboy. We are treated to a sincere little scene where Jake relives a dream to his father, which is severely undermined by a poorly directed performance from Lofton.

So, while Bajorans are apparently starving in the Northern Peninsula, Federation Commander Sisko has a case of the blues as he strolls about peering out the windows. A beautiful woman, dressed in red (and cynically cast by the way, but we'll save that discussion for later) appears by his side. Fenna is her name, but we're going to call her Batgirl, because, darn it, she has this tendency to keep disappearing! Batgirl and Sisko have one of those conversations that fiction writers often believe represents normal human speech, but are only correct insofar as describing two stoned college sophomores attempting to get into each others' pants by way of pseudo-philosophy. Batgirl vanishes and Sisko is left blue-balled for his lady in red.

Act 1 : **, 17%

Do you mean to tell me that after more than a year, in addition to still not having dealt with starving Bajorans, they haven't gotten the station to coöperate with them? Man, Q was right: these people are incompetent. Anyway, Kira gets all bothered because Sisko has ordered “something different” for his morning beverage. Riveting. Meanwhile, Dax and a “guest” (a terraformer) are working on some sort of something or other. Seyetik, the terraformer, is in this story, as far as I can tell, to shine a spotlight on the complete lack of personality displayed by the main cast or Batgirl. He's basically an updated Ira Graves, arrogant, but charming in his way. Indeed, other than the blandness, this episode feels like a typical TNG story from seasons 2-5 (my favourite run of the show). But that's just it—so far, it feels like we've regressed to last season's gris du jour. Seyetik, we learn, is going to reïgnite a dying star and thus restore life to a solar system.

After dinner with Dax, Sisko goes on another stroll and runs into Batgirl again. She takes him up on his offer to tour the station. All the while, neither actor seems to be able to utter a sentence above a sultry whisper, because you know that's how people talk when they're IN LOVE.....

You know one thing that tends to bother me about Brooks' performances—and this just dawned on me—he doesn't blink. He doesn't break eye contact. During “Emissary,” when he was staring at Locutus over the viewscreen, this kind of intensity worked, it matched the situation. But he's doing the same thing here, when he's on a first date! It's the kind of acting that does not translate well from the stage to the small screen. When your audience is far away from you, it can be advantageous to exaggerate your facial expressions, but when the camera is right up next you, the effect is to make you look incredibly creepy.

Anyway, Batgirl disappears again in a fizzle—no comment from Sisko on how she was wearing the same red dress from the night before.

Act 2 : *.5, 17%

We are treated to a another borderline unwatchable scene between Ben and Jake—he's distracted you see. In case it wasn't clear to you by the way he completely ignores his son and stares (creepy...) into his food, he tells us so. Subtle.

JAKE : What's she like?
SISKO : She's uh...*really* interesting.

Huh? We've seen about 45 seconds of screentime between Batgirl and Ben. Oh but please, episode, tell us why they're in love. No? Oh okay, sure we will just swallow whatever you tell us is true. Why not?

Sisko drops in on Odo to ask for a “personal favour.” He wants the Commissioner—er, Constable to find Batgirl for him. Apparently, whatever “interesting” conversation they had together didn't include finding out what species she is, how she arrived on DS9 or whether Fenna is her first or last name. But Sisko remembers that RED dress. [Did I mention how creepy he's acting?]

Dax corners Sisko in his office. Seriously though, how many of these scenes were written by humans and not generated by some “human behaviour” algorithm? Dax accuses Sisko of not confiding in her as he did Kurzon because she's a woman. Cue Sisko laughing hysterically (and I mean hysterically). Ugh.

The one bright spot in all this, Seyetik, entertains us (and the senior staff) with his egomania.

SEYETIK : Nothing of worth was ever created by a pessimist.

Interesting notion. Untrue, obviously, but interesting. I do like the little bit where Bashir comments that he finds Seyetik “remarkably entertaining.” Subtext: “It's nice not to be the arrogant prick in the room for once.” Seyetik introduces us to his wife, who turns out to be Batgirl.

Duhn Duhn Duhn!!!!

Act 3 : *.5, 17%

After dinner, Sisko discovers that Seyetik's wife is really more Barbara Gordon than Batgirl. She claims not to have met him and he, incensed, walks out of the room. Blink dammit!

SISKO : She's a married woman.
DAX : That would never have stopped Kurzon.

Okay episode, you get a point for that line.

Odo reports to Sisko that no one except Seyetik has left the Prometheus (his ship) since it docked on DS9. Meaning Batgirl couldn't be Barbara Gordon. Except, don't you people have these devices which transport you from one place to another? You know they provide a means of instant transportation which wouldn't register as a disembarkation onto the station. They bypass the need for traditional forms of transportation. What are those things called...? I must be misremembering.

Later, Batgirl appears—in that same red dress—and confuses Sisko about her identity. They have a kiss which wants to convince us they share some sort of deep bond—eh, somehow. Then she disappears. Mysterious! It's not like anyone around here has a device which makes people disappear in a pool of light. What would you call such a device?

So rather than react like a normal person : confused (why did she beam away?), horrified (did she just vanish?), or panicked (has she been kidnapped?), Sisko is...sad. Huh.

Act 4 : **.5, 17%

Sisko decides (under pretence) to join Dax on the Prometheus to witness Seyetik's “crowning achievement.” We discover that Barbara Gordon is an Halalan whom Seyetik met during one of these achievements. Kiley has a penchant for stealing every scene he's in, but really it's not that his acting is astonishingly good, just that his character seems in any way alive.

Sisko stumbles onto Batgirl and calls egghead Dax down to him, who pulls out the tricorder—turns out Batgirl is “pure energy”--a hologram basically. When they bring her in to Seyetik, Barbara Gordon is dying, unconscious. For reasons that are left completely unexplained, Seyetik fails to call a doctor in (William B's point about Nidell's lapses of unconsciousness are annoyingly valid—or I should say, valid, and the episode is annoying). Anyway, Seyetik recognises Gordon's alter ego by name.

Act 5 : *, 17%

One wonders if Batgirl has ever seen herself in a mirror—she's a “psychoprojective illisuion” created by Barbara Gordon's unconscious. He sends the women away (ahem) and questions Seyetik about the goings on.

Calm as all, Seyetik explains that his wife's emotional discord has created the alter ego projection. He explains to Sisko that all his previous wives eventually left him after the infatuation with his larger-than-life persona faded. But “Halanas mate for life.” Well isn't that just fucking convenient. All that hinting in the previous act—all the subtle cues about what unseen bond might exist between two dysfunctional people—no no—it's just some arbitrary cultural/biological practice. What a joke!

Anyway, Sisko convinces Batgirl to let go of her existence—I guess. No input from the scientist Dax or any of the medial officers on the Prometheus, no it's just Sisko. I do appreciate the following line for entirely unrelated purposes however :

FENNA : But if she lives, then I die! And everything that you and I have dies with me.

File that away for when we get to “Tuvix.”

Sisko and Batgirl try in vain to convince us that they have some sort of history or connection and are interrupted by Dax who informs them that Seyetik has decided to commit suicide in completing his mission. Of course, when Seyetik references “The Fall of Kang” (“required reading at the academy” which Sisko was able to quote from memory), the captain of the Prometheus has no idea what he's talking about. Way to falsely bolster your protagonist there.

For what it's worth, Seyetik dies the way he lives, arrogant, grating and truly great to the last.

Batgirl is moved to tears for some reason and vanishes, restoring Barbara Gordon to life. She and Sisko have their little coda.

NIDELL : I wish that I could remember Fenna, what she did, what she felt...

That's alright. I can barely remember her either.

Episode as Functionary : *, 10%

“Second Sight or The One in Which Avery Brooks Gives Me Nightmares” is so empty, so void of life that it doesn't deserve much in the way of reflection. Seyetik is an engaging if slightly clichéd character, but otherwise, one may as well be witnessing the cold read of a D-rate science fiction play. The interpersonal relationships are, at best, a series of tired clichés (Sisko can't talk to Dax about women because she has a vagina now, Jake gives his father permission to date). The worst offender is the alleged romance between Batgirl and Sisko, which is supported by nothing other than “here are two attractive people who smile, cry and kiss a lot, They must be in love!” The romance in “Attack of the Clones” was more convincing. And as others have pointed out already, the explanation for Batgirl's existence and Barbara Gordon's dilemma are thin and contrived. Overall, a waste of time.

Final Score : *.5
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 7:33am (UTC -5)
@Elliott - Your review was painful because I had to remember this god awful boring episode while reading. It was still more entertaining than ever watching this drivel again. At least I smiled during the review.

With this and Melora a mere three episodes apart I really cannot figure out why the staff still thought they could write one of these "hour romances". They couldn't. They sucked. This should have been a warning to not try Meridian next season. Seriously guys.

Exceptions for romances that act half as backstory (like Rejoined). DS9 writers were good enough at fleshing out backstory for their characters that they could make those believable.

I think this was the worst of the bunch though. I actually prefer the much maligned Meridian.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Nov 12, 2015, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Solidly mid-ranking semi-fairy tale story. There are some nice moments with Jake/Sisko and Sisko/Fenna, although the sci-fi element never truly convinces.

The episode is saved by Veyetik's scenery chewing, and what saves the character from being an insufferable egomaniac is that he's self-aware enough to know he's an insufferable egomaniac. The final "let there be light" sums him up in a nutshell. 2.5 stars.
Fri, Dec 4, 2015, 5:31am (UTC -5)
No way was this better than Melora. At least that one didn't pretend to have this profound, intimate relationship in the space of an episode. Both were pretty poor episodes.

With regard to acting, I always thought Lofton was a better actor than Brooks. How old was he again? That's saying quite a lot, isn't it?
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
A snooze fest to be sure. Having recently rewatched it after lord knows how many years, I got the impression this might just as well have been a discarded TNG plot with Sisko replacing either Riker, Picard or Geordi. It would certainly fit the character´s lousy track record with women.
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
"I prefer this time the best." Yeah, and DS9 is the most space station in the universe!
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 10:42am (UTC -5)
What is love? I'm no ladies man myself but I've always thought that it's quite possibly the most complex emotion/situation a person can ever experience. Well, apparently it's not. It's nothing more than simple infatuation which can....

Hey, wait a minute. Didn't I just write this not three episodes ago?

Wow! Two romances-of-the-week in the span of four episodes. That has got to be a record! And a pretty lame one at that. I thought that "Melora" was pretty bad. Well, this is no "Melora"! This is easily the worst episode since "Move Along Home". It's not offensive, a la TOS: "The Mark of Gideon" or TNG: "Homeward". It's also not unwatchable, a la TNG: "The Last Outpost". It's a train-wreck to be sure but of the kind that's impossible to not be fascinated by, if only for its sheer incompetence.

I don't even know where to start, there's so much to talk about here. So, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to do an act-by-act review like Elliott, because I don't know how else to organize it all. Here we go...


We open with Sisko reflecting on the fact that he almost forgot about the fourth anniversary of Jennifer's death, which was yesterday. Um, hey, jackass, if it was yesterday and you're only now remembering it, you didn't "almost forget" about it, you DID forget it!

That aside, however, this is a good opening. Sisko hasn't really been given anything to do other than standard C.O. duties since "Emissary". Maybe we'll finally get some more development for him. And referencing back to Jennifer's death, which played the crucial role in his development in "Emissary", is promising. But, instead of that possible good outcome, we're treated to a miserably long scene where Jake explains some weird dream he had. Does this have anything to do with the rest of the episode? Of course not! But, we have to waste the audience's time somehow so.... sloping floors in Ops - wow, how amazing!

After that uncomfortable father-son "moment", Sisko decides to go for a walk on the Promenade. There he meets Fenna, a mysterious woman, who he instantly falls in love with because.... they both like to look at the stars? They share a short chemistry-less talk until, in the blink of an eye, Fenna goes full Batman-mode and vanishes.


We come back to a scene where Kira acts absolutely dumb-founded when Sisko orders something different to drink. Apparently she's genre-savvy enough to suspect that he's under some kind of alien influence, or a Changeling infiltrator or something else. Well, not really, it's just a discussion about what Sisko likes to drink every morning. WHO THE HELL CARES?!

Thankfully, Dax calls Sisko away to meet the episode's main guest character. It's here where we met the only redeeming thing about "Second Sight" - Richard Kiley (Seyetik) and his amazing voice. I could seriously listen to this man read a phone book and I would consider it time well spent. We find out that Seyetik, while one the Federation's greatest minds, is egotistical to the point of ultimate annoyance. What could have been the nail in this episode's coffin is instead made it's best feature because Kiley manages to infuse the character with so much charisma and likability that I just can't be mad him, even if he's a self-important ass. We also find out that he's planning on re-igniting a dead sun, because we need to have some semblance of a story here.

Sisko then acts like a love-struck middle-school boy until he runs into Fenna again. He offers to show her around the station and they end up at one of the Upper Pylons. There's some talk about having a picnic, because picnics are inherently romantic or something, until Fenna runs off for some reason. Cue the dramatic music.


Sisko and Jake are having a discussion about some girl vomiting. That's not fair. This episode is bad, but it's not that bad. Sisko continues to act like he's twelve and having his first case of puppy love until Jake says it's okay for him to be in love. "She keeps disappearing," Sisko confesses to his teenage son, who reacts in the only appropriate way possible - "what the fuck are you smoking, old man?".

Sisko then goes to Odo for help in tracing Fenna down. Because, you know, it's not like Odo was literally in the process of instructing his deputies on how to deal with a serious criminal who is coming to the station. Helping the love-sick commander needs to be his top priority. Maybe if he finds Fenna he can slip her a note from Sisko before study hall.

"She was wearing red," he tells Odo, like he's a fucking lunatic or something. Seriously, Avery Brooks needed another take on that one.

We return to Ops only for Dax to waylay Sisko and demand to told all about Fenna, because she really wants the latest gossip. Why is everyone acting like a pre-teen?! Well, almost everyone. Jake, the one closest to actually being a pre-teen, is the only one acting moderately mature. There's some talk about Sisko not feeling comfortable talking about Fenna because Dax doesn't have a penis anymore and Dax being upset about it. News flash, Jadzia - maybe he is uncomfortable talking to a woman about it! Gender dynamics are still a thing, you know. Maybe he doesn't feel comfortable talking about how he wants to introduce Fenna to his Louisville Slugger (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean) to another young, extremely attractive woman!

We've finally gotten some character development for Dax. And they've made her that annoying little bitch from school you always hated because she always had her nose in your business. Well done!

Next, the senior staff have dinner with Seyetik on-board the USS Prometheus. Prometheus. As in the Greek Titan who stole fire from Mt. Olympus and gave it to mankind. As in Seyetik wants to re-ignite a star. Subtle. Really subtle. That's almost as subtle as SFDebris calling the Defiant the USS Ben-Sisko's-Motherfuckin'-Pimp-Hand.

Seyetik continues to act like a egomaniac. Bashir even says he finds the man entertaining. Placing early-seasons Bashir and Seyetik together could have been disastrous - like if Neelix and Jar Jar Binks ever shared the screen together. The universe would implode in on itself just to avoid that sheer level of annoyance. But, dammit, Kiley does make the man entertaining. Probably because he's just damn happy-go-lucky. If this same character, with the same dialogue, had been played more sour or brooding, it would have tanked hard. But thank God for Richard Kiley, the only enjoyable part of this snooze-fest.

Anyway, we find out that Fenna is really Nidell, Seyetik's wife. DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!

"Now we have something to talk about," Dax smugly whispers. SHUT UP, YOU CHILDISH LITTLE TWIT!


We learn that Nidell is unhappy with her marriage because Seyetik's personality is so overwhelming. And blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. I don't give a shit. Moving on. Nidell denies having ever met Sisko. Sisko tries to convince her otherwise. And blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. I don't give a shit! Moving on!

"Dax, she's a married woman." "That would have never stopped Curzon." Indeed, and didn't you find that deplorable in his character back in "Dax"?

In turns out Odo can't find any evidence of Fenna, or anybody from the Prometheus, being on the station. The mystery thickens. *rolls eyes*

Quark offers a heartfelt attempt to comfort the clearly distraught Sisko, but is brushed off because fuck him, right?!

Fenna appears in Sisko's quarters acting like nothing's wrong. Sisko is off-put but one little kiss is all it takes for him to forget his misgivings. Then Fenna literally vanishes right in front of his very eyes.

So, Fenna isn't Batman. SHE'S A GHOST!! Oh, my love, my darling, I've hungered for your touch, a long, lonely time.... Oh God! I really didn't need the image of Avery Brooks and this woman half-naked over a potter's wheel in my head. Thanks, "Second Sight"!!!!!

Does Sisko call Security? Dax? Anybody to investigate what the hell just happened? No, course not. What are you, ignorant! He just ignores it and goes on like it's business as usual.


We're off to see the Wizard! No, actually we're off to re-ignite that dead star. And there was much rejoicing. *yaaaaayyy*

Apparently the Prometheus is commanded by a Lieutenant Junior Grade. Um, okay.

There's some melodrama involving Klingon poetry because Seyetik sees his career ending. God, now even Seyetik is becoming boring!

Fenna shows up and Sisko FINALLY calls for Dax to come and examine her. The tricorder gets no readings from her. Well, no shit, she's a fucking ghost!

Nidell is in a coma and apparently it's Fenna's fault. DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!


Nidell is a telepath and she's projecting Fenna somehow. So, Fenna is neither Batman nor a ghost. She's just a techno-babble illusion. *yawn* I really don't care. Can we please just finish with this crap?

"SHE'S DYING! YOU'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING!" "There's nothing I can do." Um, hey, Dax, you jackass, why don't you try using your communicator? You know, the thing that allows you call for help from the Prometheus' MEDICAL STAFF! But, she's a science officer, so that's basically the same thing, right? I mean, an astrophysicist and a surgeon are essentially interchangeable, right?

It turns out that Nidell is unknowingly projecting Fenna because she's emotionally distraught. Seyetik knows this but apparently hasn't done a damn thing to help, like keep his personality in check just a little bit for the woman he loves.

Long story short, Seyetik kills himself by piloting the test-ship into the dead star (which is oddly a solid mass instead of a dimly shining tiny, super-dense ball of high-order gaseous elements) and re-igniting it. Nobody sheds a single fucking tear for the man's sacrifice expect the damn figment of his depressed wife's imagination, who claimed she didn't even know him.

We end with a scene between Sisko and Nidell where we learn that she doesn't even remember any of Fenna's actions. So, in other words, the supposed "romance" of this story was absolutely fucking pointless! The final moments involve an inexplicably long shot of Nidell walking away down the Promenade. But, that did give me a chance to stare at Salli Elise Richardson's magnificently sculpted ass. So, I guess this episode wasn't a total waste of time after all.


What else really needs to be said here?

A character in desperate need of some direction? Screw it! Just throw him into a romance-of-the-week. Another character in need of ANY development? Make her a totally unlikable bitch! Add in a generous helping of boredom and WAHLAH, you have "Second Sight". If it wasn't for Richard Kiley I would give DS9 it's first zero star rating. But the man (and his voice) is just too likable. He really deserved a better episode for his only appearance on Trek.

WTF HAIR - 9 (+1)

Thu, Aug 18, 2016, 4:27am (UTC -5)
Far from a good episode and one of the weakest of the season.

Re the acting in my humble opinion most of the DS9 cast are poor earlier on, SIsko improved as the series went on as did Kira. Contrast them from season 1 to 7 and there is a huge difference. I thought Bashir was dire in the first season but by the end he's a fave character.

But then I had the same comments about all the trek series.
Troy Jollimore
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
All of this talk of 'bad acting'. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the acting of the captain of the Prometheus! I've seen better acting from the children's programs of local playhouses than what he delivers!
Peter G.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Troy Jollimore,

Even the producers realized too late that they had miscast the part, as he didn't play it at all how it was originally intended. It ended up simply being a failure that they regretted.

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