Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Second Sight   Rewatch 
July 29, 2015 5:36 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

While noted scientist Gideon Seyetik is preparing for an ambitious project to re-ignite a star, Sisko is intrigued by a woman who keeps disappearing.

Trivia
* Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Fenna/Nidell) would go on to play Dr. Allison Blake on Eureka. She also voiced the character of Elisa Maza in Gargoyles, one of many Star Trek alums who were part of that series.
* This was one of Richard Kiley's (Seyetik) last television roles. The three-time Emmy-Award winning actor passed away in 1999.
* Mark Gehred-O'Connell's original pitch for this episode involved Bashir meeting a mysterious woman who keeps disappearing. He goes to his colleagues for aid in tracking her down but he discovers that no one aboard the station has ever seen her except himself, and as such, he has to unravel the mystery alone, as his crewmates begin to think he's imagining the whole thing. Bashir ultimately discovers that the woman is in fact a projection by a woman who is abused by her husband. This original version of the story was more of an adventure/mystery than a romance.
* Changing the story to focus on Sisko rather than Bashir was Michael Piller's idea, because he felt that the Sisko character had become far too aloof, and he saw this episode as a way to humanize him. According to Ira Steven Behr, "During the second season, Michael kept saying 'Let's define Sisko.' That's when he and I had conversations about making Sisko the builder, on establishing the difference between him and Picard, the explorer. Sisko is a builder, he stays with a project until the finish. That helped us to see Sisko in a whole lot of different ways. He's a guy who's solid and real and human." The writers felt that giving Sisko a romance would help them to better define the character, and would help the audience to better connect with him on an emotional level. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
* Seyetik was based on director John Huston.
* According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Seyetik's terraforming technology is based upon the Genesis Device as seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; "It was established Federation terraforming technology. Of course, the Genesis device didn't work, but obviously Seyetik's work is built upon the research of previous scientists. And it was a nice way to reference the movie."
* This episode is not a favorite of Ira Steven Behr. He commented "For the show to work, Sisko had to respect Seyetik, and for whatever reason, there was never any current of understanding between Sisko and him. And for me, the show fell apart. The audience had to like Seyetik. He kills himself. How many times do we see a guy commit suicide on Star Trek? It was a great ending, an ending worthy of John Huston, but it just seemed like some other wacky thing this character was doing. You didn't feel the sorrow."
* The poem referenced by both Seyetik and Sisko is referred to as The Fall of Kang, and it is implied that the poem is about Kang's last great battle. However, ten episodes later, in "Blood Oath", Kang turns up on DS9 alive and well. The Kang in the poem is apparently a different Kang.

Quotes
--
Sisko: "Personal log, stardate 47329.4. I finally realize why I've had trouble sleeping the last few nights. Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of the massacre at Wolf 359, the fourth anniversary of Jennifer's death. I'm not sure what bothers me more: the date itself, or the fact that it almost passed unnoticed."
--
Kira: "Commander, do you think he'd notice if we weren't here when he got back?"
Sisko: "Don't even think about it, Major. I've had dinner with about two dozen Bajoran ministers, I think you owe me this one. Besides, Seyetik is one of the Federation's greatest minds."
Kira: "I know, he told me."
--
posted by zarq (10 comments total)
 
This was the first in a trilogy of clunky, terrible episodes in the middle of the second season: "Second Sight", "Sanctuary" and "Rivals".
posted by zarq at 5:40 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clunky, for sure... I don't know if I'd say "terrible" but maybe that's just because I recently watched TNG "Cost of Living" X<
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been rewatching a lot of DS9 lately on sleepless nights and I've noticed that, especially in the beginning of the series, episodes just suddenly end after the conflict is over. Like, the bomb is defused and then *BAM* closing credits. I couldn't figure out why the flow was so different from TNG and then it me: on TNG, the show would end with Picard giving a little summation speech about how the bomb was a metaphor for something and how, in the future, we should all look for opportunities to better ourselves. DS9 is missing those little speeches.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:05 AM on July 29, 2015


I definitely wouldn't say these episodes were terrible. But maybe clunky, yeah. They were just... pretty OK.

Behr was right about the problems with the character. This episode would've worked better if Seyetik had more of a dark side, and they really needed to cast Kirk Douglas or James Colburn or somebody like that, a faded star who could own every scene he was in. Kiley just comes across like a jolly old rogue who likes to talk about himself too much, so it doesn't quite click that his wife is that desperate to escape him, and it doesn't quite click that he blows himself up.

I get why they felt like they needed to give Sisko something to do, but it would've been a better fit for Bashir. It's just easier to picture Bashir running around insisting he's seeing this ghost girl while nobody believes him. It's almost a Hitchcock plot, and Bashir would make a more natural James Stewart. It takes a lot to believably rattle Sisko, and Bashir is much more easily rattled.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:51 AM on July 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Behr was right about the problems with the character. This episode would've worked better if Seyetik had more of a dark side, and they really needed to cast Kirk Douglas or James Colburn or somebody like that, a faded star who could own every scene he was in. Kiley just comes across like a jolly old rogue who likes to talk about himself too much, so it doesn't quite click that his wife is that desperate to escape him, and it doesn't quite click that he blows himself up.

It seems like the writers dropped the ball when switching the character from 'abusive husband' to 'respected scientist'; they have every DS9 crew-member complaining about what a horrendously pompous bore Seyetik is, then expect the audience to magically care about him anyway.

(Also, having been following the emotional labor thread all these days, I was raising my eyebrow at everyone leaving Nidell to clear the dinner table. I mean, obviously, the plot demanded everyone get out of the room quickly so that Sisco could talk to Nidell alone, but it still made me laugh that nobody offered to help.)
posted by oh yeah! at 5:40 AM on July 30, 2015


This one is mostly memorable to me for the terrible acting of one of the crewmen on the Prometheus. I don't have high standards for random bridge crew actors on the show, but his read of "Professor, you'll be killed" was so weird and awkward that Mr. creepygirl and I paused the episode and spent some time speculating about the actor. Was he someone's nephew? A boyfriend? Some tourist they picked up off the street who didn't speak English and learned his lines phonetically?

I think the fact that we were so distracted by one bad line read speaks volumes for how dull this episode was.
posted by creepygirl at 11:34 AM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bashir does serve some pretty epic shade at the dinner party, though.


"They were pretty...memorable. I don't think I've ever seen such...huge canvases."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:32 PM on July 30, 2015


Was he someone's nephew? A boyfriend? Some tourist they picked up off the street who didn't speak English and learned his lines phonetically?

Hah! I noticed him too. He does have other credits on imdb, so, just bad acting, directing, or editing, I guess.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:07 PM on July 30, 2015


This is a terrible episode, and coming after a couple of good ones just makes it more jarring. Seyetik is a ridiculous blowhard who, as commented, it is hard to care about at all. And the whole telepathic being thing, and the ending were awful.
posted by marienbad at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2015


From three years in the future from the rest of you, watching through DS9 for the first time, I can confirm with 99.9% certainty that this episode sucks. "Melora"-level sucks, even.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:42 PM on August 28, 2018


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