(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko falls in love with a woman visiting the station, but she is not what she appears to be.
- "Personal log, stardate 47329.4. I finally realize why I've had trouble sleeping the last few nights. Yesterday was the fourth 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."
Up late, Jake Sisko can't sleep either. He had a nightmare he is reluctant to share with his father, but eventually reveals it was about running around the corridors of the station, unable to find his father. Once he feels better, he returns to sleep, adding as a footnote he misses his mother.
Commander Sisko, however, still can't sleep. He wanders around the darkened and empty Promenade, looking out the window, and counting the stars. A mysterious woman comes up behind him, and talks to him about the stars for a while. She introduces herself as Fenna, and seems to take an interest in him. They talk for a while, about the station. She doesn't say much about herself, but that she can't stay here long. As he is offering to show her around the station, she disappears.
The next morning in Ops, Commander Sisko seems to feel more alive than he did last night, even ordering a different drink, chiraltan tea (with a double twist of lemon), instead of the raktajino he usually takes to start every day for the last year. Major Kira Nerys notices this, and is surprised. Lieutenant Jadzia Dax calls on the com, and asks him to meet Professor Gideon Seyetik, a terraformer and an extreme egomaniac, but charming. He arrived to the station in the USS Prometheus, for an experimental attempt in reigniting a dead sun, Epsilon 119. He's more than excited and optimistic about his experiment. Dax reminds him it is just a theory, but he brushes it off.
Soon, while Commander Sisko is gazing out of the window again, Fenna reappears, and asks if his invitation to tour the station is still open. He says it is, and shows her around. In one of the upper pylons, looking at the view of the station, she always seems to say exactly the right thing. When he asks about her, she can't say much, and she runs off right away. Once she gets to the turbolift, she's gone.
At dinner in his quarters, when Sisko is unable to concentrate on Jake's anecdote, he concludes his father is in love. As he points out, he's showing all three of the signs according to Nog: loss of appetite, daydreaming, smiling all the time. When Jake asks about her, Sisko is at a loss of words to describe her.
Sisko next goes to see Odo in the security office to have her try to find Fenna. He's also unable to describe her to him; the description is vague at best, but Odo will do what he can. Later, Dax takes him aside, wanting to know what's going on, as she saw the two of them on the Promenade. She reminds him that, even if she's a female now, Sisko used to tell Curzon all about his love interests. Sisko assures her it's too early to talk about it.
- "Personal log, supplemental. Odo continues to search for new information about Fenna. In the mean time, Professor Seyetik has invited me and the senior staff to dinner aboard the Prometheus."
Before the dinner, the professor is charming as always, even if a bit self-congratulatory, and dominates the conversation. Seyetik explains the process of how the star will be reignited in addition to his projects. Julian Bashir remarks on Seyetik's works of art on Ligobis X, and nine-volume autobiography, one for all of his marriages, he jokes. Meanwhile, his wife, Nidell, has been preparing the meal, yet to meet the crew. After awhile, Seyetik goes to check on her, and she comes out to greet the crew. Surprisingly, she looks just like Fenna. "Now, we have something to talk about," Dax quietly tells Sisko.
Toward the end of dinner, Seyetik details his stew recipe, which he perfected after years. Nidell, however, does not seem enthused about the dinner. Sisko whispers to Dax that she is pretending not to recognize him. When he asks her about talking to him, she knows nothing about what he's talking about. She doesn't know who Fenna is, either, but she is quite defensive.
As Sisko and Dax return to the station, Sisko says he is convinced it's her. Odo, however, soon informs him that he couldn't find her after checking all of the logs. Sisko tells him not to bother, saying he did, aboard the Prometheus. Odo is perplexed; he says that no one has left the Prometheus except for the professor.
She also doesn't show up the next day. Sisko is puzzled. Quark offers to talk to him, recognizing the "I've been stood up" look, but Sisko declines. When he enters his quarters, she suddenly appears, and embraces him. He asks her about Nidell, but she has never heard of her either. She doesn't have a twin sister, and she is still hesitant to say where she came from or who she really is. Her only reply is that she thought she was looking for a place, but she was really looking for him. After he kisses her, she suddenly fades out of existence, as if she were non-corporeal. Sisko becomes distraught.
After Chief Miles O'Brien and Dax reconfigure the Prometheus' warp drive, Sisko comes to travel along with Seyetik's team – and his wife. Dax doesn't think it's a good idea, but Sisko says he needs answers.
En route on the bridge, Dax works with the commanding officer, Piersall, and Sisko talks with Professor Seyetik. He talks about himself on the way there. He has an expectation to keep outdoing himself, quoting a Klingon poet, G'trok, who wrote in The Fall of Kang about a warrior having slain all his enemies. The talk turns to how he met Nidell. She was the daughter of a dignitary, and she was infatuated with him from the moment she met him. He was the first one to take her off-world, and he would give up the entire universe for her.
When the Prometheus arrives at the dead star, Sisko suddenly sees Fenna in his quarters. He immediately calls for Dax. When Dax scans, there is no matter there, just energy. Fenna is frightened, but Sisko takes her hands and wants to help find out what's going on. The three go to Nidell's quarters, where they find Seyetik frantic over her condition. She won't wake up. Dax finds she is in shock. When Seyetik sees Fenna, he recognizes her and knows exactly what happened. Fenna is surprised.
Fenna doesn't understand, but Seyetik is outraged, as he was under the impression Fenna would never return to them. The professor explains Fenna is an illusion created by Nidell's unconscious mind. She is a psychoprojective telepath, and has obviously produced Fenna before. According to Dax's scans, there is a lot of energy coming from Nidell's occipital lobe. Dax doesn't believe she can survive more than an hour or two. She also doesn't believe she can do anything about it, despite Seyetik's insistence.
Sisko has Dax take Fenna outside, and Sisko talks to Seyetik. All of the charm fades from him as he explains what's going on. Nidell doesn't know what's happening; she is unconscious, and this happens when her species have strong emotions. All of his wives, he says, have trouble with him after a while; they hate him in the end as much as they love him in the beginning. Nidell can never leave him, because her species, the Halanans, mate for life. Sisko then goes to talk to Fenna, and explains this to her. She can't believe it, and doesn't want to die. Sisko promises to remember her, and that it's a dream. Dax then calls from the bridge, and says that Seyetik has launched the shuttlepod – with himself on it.
Piersall has opened communications with Seyetik, and Sisko tries to convince him to turn around. However, Seyetik says he is freeing Nidell forever, and not just from her current predicament, but from her mating obligation. He cheerfully says he has even written his own obituary, which he would like Sisko to take to the Daystrom Institute. He promises to send it off. Exclaiming "let there be light!", Seyetik's shuttle impacts the star and it is reignited. Then, Fenna disappears from the bridge.
- "Station log, supplemental. Epsilon 119 continues to burn brightly, a fitting memorial to a brilliant man. Meanwhile, I am happy to report that Nidell has made a complete recovery. Unfortunately, she has no memory of Fenna's experiences."
Nidell says goodbye, and thanks Sisko. She says she will probably stay on her homeworld New Halana for the rest of her life, and wishes she could remember Fenna, but she can't. Before she leaves, she asks Sisko what Fenna was like, and is told, "She was just like you."
"Admit it, chief, if you were on a station where everything worked, you'd be miserable."
"You may be right, sir." [sparks fly from the panel he's working on] "But I'd be willing to give it a try!"
- - Benjamin Sisko and Miles O'Brien
"If something's bothering you, major, I want to hear it."
"It's just that… every morning for the last year, I've seen you walk in here and start your day with a raktajino."
"I love raktajino."
"I know, you never even talk to anyone until you've had your first cup."
"Because I'm not awake until I've had my first cup."
"So… how come you're drinking Chiraltan tea?"
[pause] "I, uh… I just felt like having something different. That is all right with you, isn't it, major?"
"Of course, you can drink whatever you like."
"Why thank you major, I appreciate your support." [drinks]
- - Benjamin Sisko and Kira Nerys
"Do you always do that?"
"Say exactly the right thing."
- - Sisko and Fenna
"Of course it'll work: I never fail! Well, I did once, but I found it didn't agree with me, so I swore never to do it again, and I never break my word."
- - Seyetik
"The last time I saw her, she was wearing a… she was wearing red."
- - Benjamin Sisko, describing Fenna
"It's hard to talk man-to-man with a woman."
- - Dax, to Sisko
"Commander, do you think he'd notice if we weren't here when he got back?"
"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."
"I know, he told me."
- - Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko
"Commander, obviously you have mistaken me for someone else."
"Seems that way… doesn't it?"
- - Nidell and Benjamin Sisko
"So honor the valiant who died 'neath your sword",
"But pity the warrior who slays all his foes."
- - Seyetik and Sisko, citing a fragment of G'trok's "Fall of Kang"
"Keep your eye on the viewscreen, commander, you'll never see anything like this again. Let there be light!"
- - Seyetik's last words
"I wish that I could remember Fenna. What she did, how she felt. But I can't, I'm sorry."
"It's all right. I can remember for both of us."
"Tell me one thing."
"If I can."
"What was she like?"
"Fenna? She was just… like you."
- - Nidell and Benjamin Sisko
Story and script
- 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. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- 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 (p. ?))
- Seyetik was based on director John Huston. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 65)
- The poem referenced by both Seyetik and Sisko is called "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. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- 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." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- Dan Curry and Gary Hutzel used a blue screen effect to show Deep Space 9 from Sisko and Fenna's perspective from a viewing port in an upper pylon. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- 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." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- Michael Piller commented "It had a great premise. It's the old Portrait of Jennie idea where a mysterious woman keeps disappearing in front of your eyes, and we should have made it work". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 66)
- Writer Mark Gehred-O'Connell enjoyed the final episode, commenting: "When I saw it on the air, I was thrilled by it. The change [the writers] made in their draft were largely dialogue changes. Their number-one critique of my writing was that my dialogue was far too romantic – too 'purple', in Michael [Piller]'s words. I was trying to write romantically because 'Second Sight' was a love story, but they thought it was too romantic. Michael strongly believes that it's possible to create romance without hearing the characters speaking romance. That was another lesson I learned.". Gehred-O'Connell enjoyed Avery Brooks' performance and thought that Salli Elise Richardson was wonderful: "I couldn't have imagined anyone better to play the woman of Sisko's dreams". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 10)
- This episode marks the first appearance of a USS Prometheus in Star Trek. Although the Nebula-class is externally similar to the Galaxy-class, not a single piece of any standing set from The Next Generation appeared – the wall outside Seyetik's quarters is a single length of stock Starfleet wall built specifically for DS9 scenes, Seyetik's quarters are a brand new set built from the remains of the runabout aft section seen in TNG: "Timescape", and the bridge is a re-dress of the USS Excelsior bridge set from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, combining its forward and aft walls. This smaller starship bridge continued to be seen throughout the series as the bridge of various ships, both Federation and not; it later appeared in DS9: "The Jem'Hadar" as the bridge of the USS Odyssey.
- This is the first episode of the series to be directed by Alexander Singer.
- This episode takes place on the fourth anniversary of the Battle of Wolf 359, although the stardate of the episode does not correspond to the anniversary.
- Seyetik's last words, "Let there be light," comes from Genesis 1:3 of the Bible.
- The dress worn by Fenna is reused and worn by Antonia in Star Trek Generations and Leosa, Barclay's seducer in VOY: "Inside Man".
- The concept of reigniting a dying sun was previously explored in TNG: "Half a Life".
- Lwaxana Troi suggested to Odo that an upper pylon would be a good place for a picnic in DS9: "The Forsaken", much as Fenna suggests to Sisko in this episode.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 15, 6 June 1994
- As part of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Second Season Vol. 1 LaserDisc (Japan only)
- As part of the DS9 Season 2 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
Special Guest Star
- Bill Hagy as Prometheus ops ensign
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Mark Major as Beakface
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- Leslie Stump as Explorer #1
- John Tamaki as Explorer #2
- Unknown performers as
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- USS Prometheus dedication plaque: 40 Eridani A Starfleet Construction Yards; Berman, Rick; Chief of Staff; Piller, Michael; Roddenberry, Gene; Yoyodyne Division
- "Second Sight" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Second Sight" at Wikipedia
- "Second Sight" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Second Sight" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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