DS9 Episode 2.09 – Second Sight

Memory Alpha says: Sisko falls in love with a woman visiting the station, but she is not what she appears to be. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

I find this episode awfully dull. It’s an attempt to start building some more personality for Sisko, who I also find awfully dull at this stage, but I’m not best pleased about the fact that they chose to do this by repurposing a story designed for Julian (and which would make much more sense for someone as naïve and romantic as Julian was at this stage). Sisko’s personality is best revealed by the way he deals with big, commanding-officery problems, not by a rather drippy love story.

So this blog is mostly going to consist of me whining and snotting, I suspect. I’m sorry to be like this, because I’m trying to make myself do more of these blogs so I can actually GET THE RESPONSES I CRAVE instead of just spending all my time squatting on Tumblr reblogging Julian looking pretty and My Little Pony. I will see if I can’t say something substantive as well.

  • Haha! For some reason the disc started playing the German dubbed version of this episode. I didn’t even realise it had that. Sisko’s German voice sounds nothing like Avery Brooks (they couldn’t find a German with a bass voice?). Oh my goodness, I could be watching DS9 in German, French, Italian or Spanish. The idea of Julian speaking Italian to me is making my heart go pit-a-pat.
  • But it might be a good idea to watch it in English because I’ll understand more of it that way.
  • Perhaps today would be a good day to write Captain Picard hate mail.
  • As usual, I like the interaction between Jake and Sisko, but also as usual, this is the main nice thing I can think of to say about these two characters. TV could probably use more dads who kiss their sons.
  • This next scene plays, perhaps intentionally, as if it could be a dream Sisko had after falling asleep on the couch. Fenna’s very pretty, but very overdressed for wandering around the Promenade late at night. I like her elf ears and Bride of Frankenstein bouffant, and I like how the actress’ features are ethnically ambiguous so it doesn’t seem too much like a ‘we must provide a black lady for the black commander to date’ thing. (Though she is, of course, a nice nut-brown colour.)
  • Fenna’s outfit is off the hook. She has, like, a cape, and leggings, and all these criss-crossing shoulder straps.
  • Sisko, you are flirting pretty hard for a man who can’t sleep because he’s weirded out that he nearly forgot it’s the anniversary of his beloved wife’s death.
  • and poof! she’s gone.
  • poor O’Brien, down in his Pit of Suffering, having to tolerate an obnoxiously cheery commanding officer
  • Kira is positively creeped out by Sisko’s change in his morning hot drink order.
  • so Fenna contains caffeine I guess
  • Dax is working at this outlandishly pretty machine, which is a ‘flux generator’:
  • It looks like it’s covered in beautiful snacks!
  • Oh those wacky terraformers. I guess they just keep tampering in God’s domain!
  • Apparently Professor Seyetik likes to terraform stuff like this: ‘Imagine water cascading off cliffs the height of Mount Everest, thundering through continuous rainbows, straight into an ocean the colour of sapphire wine.’ So… what colour is sapphire wine? How can something be wine-coloured and sapphire-coloured? And doesn’t this sound like a poster you could buy in a New Age shop, possibly with a few pegacorns flying through the mists of the waterfalls like swallows?
  • yeah, they’re laying on the ‘tampering in God’s domain’ stuff pretty thick, because Seyetik thinks he’s figured out a way to re-ignite a dead sun and bring life to a solar system. Obviously doomed.
  • IRRITATING: Jadzia takes the last piece of ‘Andorian tuber root’ from Sisko’s plate, because he’s not finishing it and she thinks it’s delicious, and says she’ll need the calories to keep up with Seyetik, then doesn’t eat even a bite of it before she gets up to leave. I know acting with food is not easy, I know it’s usually cold and unappetising on set, I know you may get absolutely sick of it with repeated takes, I know if it’s mocked-up alien food it may not even be an edible substance, but THAT IS IRRITATING. EAT YOUR FOOD, JADZIA.
  • you’re laughing at nothing now
  • she is causing a STRAP SHORTAGE all around Bajoran space
  • and speaking of ladies with outrageous taste in clothes, it seems Lwaxana is not the only person who thinks taking a picnic basket up a pylon is a romantic idea.
  • anyway Sisko thinks Fenna’s, like, perfect, I suppose because she’s constantly agreeable and neither asks difficult questions nor tells him anything challenging – except for the part where she can’t/won’t tell him anything about herself, and seems scared by the request.
  • Jake is telling a really weird story about, I guess, school lunch, which culimates in some poor girl vomiting ‘all over the table.’ I would get told off if I told a story about vomit at the breakfast table. I’m just saying.
  • Jake’s voice is squeaking a lot during this scene. Was it breaking, or was Cirroc Lofton just over-acting a bit?
  • I guess it’s sort of sensible that Sisko goes to Odo for help in tracing Fenna. Is he just now supposed to be consciously realising how little he knows about her, and how weird that is?
  • Avery Brooks’ face and voice when he says ‘she was wearing rehd’ are the creepiest thing.
  • well may you shake your head, roll your eyes and mutter ‘huh,’ Odo.
  • I sort of wish this episode was, instead, about Odo and his guys arresting the villainous short-range telepath he was warning them about at the start of the scene.
  • Awkward conversation where Jadzia wants Sisko to tell her his business and he has an outburst of hyæna-like laughter. But they’re still bros, because he tosses her his baseball.
  • Yeah, Professor Seyetek or ik or however it’s spelled’s personal ship is called the Prometheus. He’s so fuckin’ doomed.
  • He’s supposed to be this big fancy polymath who has exhibitions of his paintings and has written a nine-volume autobiography and just seems insufferable. It’s that awful thing where we have to listen to characters tell us why they’re impressed with this other character, instead of actually seeing him do anything impressive. And why the hell would anyone write off van Gogh as ‘dark and dreary and dismal’? Yes, the man was suicidally depressed, but nobody could paint SUNSHINE like van Gogh. I think Julian is very politely trying to say that the most impressive thing about Seyetik’s own art is that it’s really big.
  • O’Brien is just lurking in the background of this scene making faces of ‘can you believe this wanker; what am I even doing here’ and I love him so much.
  • haha Kira wants to bolt
  • there is a gorgeous little reaction when Julian says ‘I for one find him remarkably entertaining’ and O’Brien’s expression changes from smiling at Kira’s exasperation to one  of utter weariness with Julian’s Julianness.
  • THE PLOT TWIST: Seyetik’s wife is identical to Fenna.
  • Well, he’s clearly an overbearing blowhard in his marriage too, and Fenna is lonely, bored and worn out from living with him.
  • The napkins are black and silver lamé. There’s no way those are absorbent.
  • And Nidell/Fenna is stuck clearing the plates away, because she’s apparently a subservient housewife. In the Bashir version of this story, the mystery woman is actually being abused by her husband and creates the Fenna personality to have an escape; in this version we’re supposed to like Seyetik but think he and Nidell are just mismatched. And yet she seems so worn down. In the next scene Odo is going to tell us she hasn’t been off the Prometheus in the time they’ve been at the station, so she doesn’t even leave ‘the house.’ It’s creepy.
  • Weirdly, Jadzia seems to be down with having affairs with married women, or at least says Curzon would have been. This increases my belief that her speech to Julian about joined Trills not looking for romance or dating was just an effort to get him to quit humping her leg.
  • Quark really is the station’s counsellor. EZRI WAS SO UNNECESSARY.
  • EVERY SCENE WITH FENNA I’M DISTRACTED BY HER STRAPS. And her wildly swinging earrings. Oh, gosh, her elf ears have two tips! Forked elf ears!
  • gosh darn it, these vanishing women! they could drive a man to drink.
  • Gloriously understated bit: O’Brien has got the engines on the Prometheus to do warp 9.6.
    Dax: I thought the theoretical maximum for those engines was warp nine point five?
    O’Brien (almost sheepishly): It was.
  • Oh hi, blond guy in a TNG uniform! Looking good. So the Prometheus is a Starfleet ship rather than Seyetik’s own?
  • The only really interesting thing about the ensuing scene is the mention of a Klingon poem called ‘The Fall of Kang’ which is required reading at the Academy. I’m not sure exactly why they make Academy cadets read poetry, unless the idea is just ‘this’ll help you understand the Klingons’ as opposed to ‘we have a liberal arts requirement.’ Anyway, apparently this is not the same Kang who met Kirk in ‘Day of the Dove’ or who turns out to be BFFs with Dax. Just in case you were worried.
  • urgh this guy is such an enormous toolkit
  • he’s reminding me so much of fuckin’ Ira Graves, the same thing with a naïve young woman with no experience off her own world, and his fuckin’ beard
  • at least he shows a flicker of humility in acknowledging that he doesn’t know why Nidell loves him (or loved him) (or said she loved him). I DON’T KNOW EITHER, PAL.
  • wow Dax, you’re all business; you could shake hands before getting out your tricorder
  • Has Nidell OD’d on something?
  • like Fenna is such a big villain
  • What is this supposed to mean? ‘Halanans mate for life. She can never leave me, no matter how much she might want to.’ Is divorce not allowed in Halanan culture? Would Nidell not be allowed to go home to start over? Or are they suggesting that there’s some survival-based reason why she can’t separate from her husband, who is not, after all, a Halanan himself? This just sounds like a bullshit hand-wave line that was thrown in because they’d decided to get rid of the abusive husband angle. If Seyetik actually wanted to make Nidell happy, he could divorce her, or, and I realise Star Trek wouldn’t actually go there, they could agree to have an open marriage so she could also be with someone who makes her happy – or just be by herself! I mean, there’s no reason why she actually has to travel everywhere with him, is there? If the ‘years of togetherness’ are the problem, spend time apart! You can do that! You totally have options!
  • But no! Instead, Seyetik decides that the way to put things right is to COMMIT SUICIDE! JESUS CHRIST, this episode is MENTAL and he is MENTAL!
  • and I hate, hate, HATE how Nidell is not allowed by the script to be AWARE of any of this, to have a CHOICE about any of this! The story is all about the feelings and choices of the MEN, about Sisko and Seyetik, and she’s just turned into an object, an irrational psychic dreaming woman, while Fenna who at least displays some agency and some wishes of her own is just a figment!
  • And Nidell is allowed no realistic reaction to the fact that her husband, who she did apparently love in the beginning, killed himself in front of an audience to set her ‘free’ and oh, incidentally, burden her with enormous guilt for the rest of her life – and if this ‘mating for life’ thing holds true then she still can’t ever be with anyone else, just be a widow until she dies. There is no emotional truth in this ending!
  • ‘I can remember for both of us.’ Yeah, I liked that line better when it was Lal telling Data ‘I will feel it for both of us.’
  • She was NOT ‘just like you’! She looked like you but she didn’t act like you or dress like you or do her hair like you! And those were the only attributes she was allowed to have!
  • THIS EPISODE IS FUCKED UP. That is my final word on the matter.

9 Responses to “DS9 Episode 2.09 – Second Sight”

  1. Llin Says:

    “O’Brien is just lurking in the background of this scene making faces of ‘can you believe this wanker; what am I even doing here’ and I love him so much.”

    Ahaha, yes, oh Chief…

    Reading this was like twenty times better than actually watching the episode. No, fifty.

  2. solo Says:

    hahaha oh this episode. I never liked it because it’s one of those stupid dame-of-the-week things, which DS9 rarely does, thank goodness. Just… date someone for a week or bang her, but whenever it’s anything more serious I can’t like it.

    The only good thing about this episode is the terraformer. I thought he was hilarious. So very egotistical and overblown, but completely aware of it and unapologetic. You’ve got to admire an ego like that. Plus they brought a star back to life 😀 I like to see someone get as much joy out of life as this guy does.

  3. Curuchamion Says:

    * “How can something be wine-coloured and sapphire-coloured?” – ROMULAN ALE! Obviously. XD

    (Hullo! Midterms are over! Not that I actually have any more time, but my hurt arm is better, so I can type once again. *grins* So I wish to leave ALL THE COMMENTS.)

    * “I sort of wish this episode was, instead, about Odo and his guys arresting the villainous short-range telepath he was warning them about at the start of the scene.” – I WOULD WATCH THIS EPISODE. (Well, okay, I would watch any episode with Odo in it… but this is why I want to do the Security Logs project! Except it keeps trying to turn into the Rewrite DS9 project in later seasons, which is a different thing.)

    (Did I mention the Security Logs project to you? It’s the one where I want to novelize all the eps of DS9 from Odo’s POV, and when he’s not involved enough in the main story, basically write original fic around whatever he was off doing instead. *insanely ambitious projects #973*)

    * “O’Brien is just lurking in the background of this scene making faces of ‘can you believe this wanker; what am I even doing here’ and I love him so much.” – O’Brien is AWESOME. Yes. *nods in agreement* He is not my favorite, but Odo+O’Brien is very possibly my favorite two-hander; I wish there had been more of them being awesome together onscreen. (I would so totally watch an ep that was Odo and Miles kayaking. And singing. MUSICAL EPISODE DANG IT ALL.)

    * “In the Bashir version of this story, the mystery woman is actually being abused by her husband and creates the Fenna personality to have an escape” – EVERYTHING SUDDENLY MAKES SENSE. That is so utterly visible in the finished product! It’s just… not made explicit, so it becomes “is this the Agatha-Christie-pastiche-writing side of my brain acting up again, or does everyone else find Seyetik’s 100% filtering of our information about Fenna/Nadell kind of creepy too?” (note: I have not actually, sad to say, ever written an Agatha Christie pastiche. :S)

    * THE ACADEMY TOTALLY HAS A LIBERAL ARTS REQUIREMENT. …I have mentioned my crack!theory that parts of TOS are actually fanart of sorts, made up by Academy film students with a holocam and too much imagination, right? It goes with the one where large parts of TNG’s first season are Federation propaganda intended for distribution to backward worlds where they still watch noninteractive recorded telly.

    (And Curzon Dax collects bootleg copies for the lols. And then there’s a Trill custom I totally made up, where most of your last host’s stuff is stored till after your zhian’tara so you can concentrate on becoming your own person instead of sorting junk… and so Kira and Jadzia find S1!TNG in a box and start showing it to their friends. Surely I’ve said all this before.)

    * “and I hate, hate, HATE how Nidell is not allowed by the script to be AWARE of any of this, to have a CHOICE about any of this! The story is all about the feelings and choices of the MEN, about Sisko and Seyetik, and she’s just turned into an object, an irrational psychic dreaming woman, while Fenna who at least displays some agency and some wishes of her own is just a figment!” – ALL OF THIS. SO MUCH. (I’d rather read/see the one where it was Julian/abused woman, especially if because I’m just imagining what it was like it was allowed to be sensitive and give Fenna/Nadell agency and all of this. Or the AU one where Odo actually gets to do anything about, you know, detectiving all the weird stuff that is happening on his station… I would have paid good money to see Odo uncovering the creepy emotional-abuser side of Seyetik and telling him off and figuring out a way to set Fenna/Nadell free. Because Odo is THE BEST AT LOOPHOLES.

    (Also, I really really want that to have been the episode so I can do ALL SORTS OF META about Odo’s different reactions when he is the abuse victim vs when somebody else is. You’re getting to “The Alternate” soon, right? Expect the longest comment ever from me. XD But it is not the episode, and I have not the headspace to write it in. *sadface*)

    • picardigan Says:

      I’M SO GLAD. I MISSED YOU WRITING ALL THE COMMENTS. I am disappointed in my own lack of interesting responses but the problem is my mother is trying to talk to me about finding a job, when I am already trying and what can I say? So inspiration is running low.
      * But ale is not wine! And Romulan ‘ale’ is so obviously a liqueur! Star Trek booze drives me a bit mad.
      * I like this Security Logs idea. Ties in nicely to Law & Order: UFP.
      * Seyetik the filter is so, so, SO creepy.
      * You have actually not said that before! You are just brimming over with notions!
      * YES TO ALL OF THAT. Let’s just play ‘fix episodes we don’t like.’

  4. CC Says:

    I’m just so happy that you’re back!

  5. Michael Says:

    I’m not going to defend the episode in anyway as the first two seasons of any of the Treks are far weaker than their insuing seasons but I have a slighty different take on the ending. I’m assuming that Nidel’s people are much like deeply religious people in our own world. When they mate/marry its till death do you part and they will suffer years of unhappiness not to break the marriage bond. It may well be breaking that bond would cause her so much shame and anguish that contiuing as his wife is preferable. Knowing this Sayatik sacrfices himself to free her of her vows and bonds in what may be the greatest and likley only selfless act he’s ever made for her.(And he still manages it to make it all about him in the end). On a side note I’m not sure if Nidel was forced into being so subserviant or if she just became that way from so many years in her husbands shadow.

    I also think Sisko told her that she was just like Fenna because Nidel was obviously intruigued by her alternate self. If someone fell in love with a projection from my subconcious I’d hate to find out they were nothing like me. Also i think it was what Sisko wanted to beleive as well a hope that something of the woman he fell for lived on in Nidel.

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