Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 3 Episode 5

Second Skin

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Oct 24, 1994 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
159 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 48244.5

Major Kira's very identity comes into crisis as she is abducted by the Obsidian Order and told that she is one of their long-term undercover operatives.

Watch Full Episode

Your Autoplay Preference: On | Off

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Clever little episode

    DS9's own take on "Face of the Enemy" (TNG's sixth season episode) takes its great hook (Kira finding out she's an undercover Cardassian) and turns it into a fun mystery episode with a nice payoff. (If "Face of the Enemy" is Quantum Leap, "Second Skin" is Total Recall).

    Kira, serving as the audience surrogate, disbelieves the whole premise of the episode but must deal with the increasing evidence that it's all true. Nana Visitor's performance, taking Kira from angry and uncooperative to confused and broken down, is top notch.

    Meanwhile, spun off from the A story is a Sisko/Garak B story about their trip to Cardassia to recover her. Unlike "Tribunal", Sisko's trip to Cardassia includes some logical obstacles (and some stock footage to help overcome them!) Garak, of course, is delightful. ("Ah, it was just something I overheard while hemming someone's trousers. I suggest we get away from here as quickly as possible")

    While not as powerful as "Duet", the talky episode nevertheless packs an emotional punch and is a fan favorite.

  • Interesting and emotional episode, but it falls a bit short of it's potential. An intriguing twist in Bajoran-Cardassian relations.

    The basic premise of the episode is great. What starts out looking like a simple mix-up turns into a kidnapping with a lot of intrigue and mystery. The story was well put together, the plot points all worked nicely. The resolution was convincing and satisfying. So everything sounds perfect, right? Unfortunately not quite. This is one of those Star Trek episodes where you get to the end and you can't help thinking this was so close to be an absolutely brilliant episode but it just didn't quite turn the corner. A corner that it absolutely should have turned. The main problem with the episode is the middle section. I'm going to throw in some spoilers so that this makes some sense. The section in question is the period in which Major Kira is told of her supposed real identity and Major Kira's subsequent rejection of that identity. Unfortunately this part just isn't told convincingly enough. A combination of an unimaginative script and some rather bland acting from Nana Visitor make Major Kira look like a stubborn, two dimensional, cry-baby who gets more annoying with every passing second. Had, in particular, the dialogue been a bit crisper and had Visitor's performance during this part been a bit stronger this episode truly would have easily found its way into the ranks of Star Trek's best episodes.

    I still rank this episode highly because Nana Visitor's performance picks up quite a bit toward the end. She becomes much more interesting and vivid. The plot is also, as I mentioned, very good, so that helps as well. I also appreciated seeing Kira find the strength to warm up to a Cardassian. I think this provides a nice stepping stone for what could have been an interesting development in her relationship with Cardassians. In my opinion this development would not be used enough, really at all. I think that's a bit unfortunate. However, overall, this is definitely a recommendable episode. It's not perfect but the story is interesting enough and the acting in the long run good enough that it overcomes its flaws for the most part. Hence my 8.5/10 rating, a solid B.moreless
  • Emotionally rich.

    This is yet another chapter in the education of Kira Nerys - confronting her prejudices against the Cardassians a la "Duet". Though it doesn't come close to matching the emotional intensity of the earlier episode, it offers plenty of it and gives a great story to boot. The writers in fact screw around with us enough to make us wonder whether Kira really is a former Cardassian operative.

    Ghemor is our second look at the "Noble Cardassian", and perhaps a setup for the nuanced Dukat character that would crop up over the next few seasons. Except unlike Dukat, he is a genuinely good man.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Garak: I'll go along on your fool's errand, but I want one thing to be perfectly clear. I have no intention of sacrificing my life to save yours. If it looks like we're in danger of being captured, if there's any sign of trouble at all, you're on your own.
      Sisko: Mr Garak, I believe that's the first completely honest thing you've ever said to me.

    • Entek: (interrogating Kira) What are your duties as first officer on Deep Space Nine?
      Kira: I told you, the Federation runs the station. I'm not even allowed in Ops!
      Entek: How many Starfleet personnel are stationed on Deep Space Nine?
      Kira: Hmm, thirty, forty thousand. Don't tell them I told you.

    • Garak: (after shooting Entek) A pity. I rather liked him.

    • Garak: Treason, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    • Sisko: Is the communications holo-filter ready?
      Jadzia: I can make your com-image look like a three thousand ton screech rino if you want me to.

    • Kira: Sorry, but you've got the wrong Kira Nerys. Believe me, if I'd been held in a Cardassian prison, I'd remember.

    • Quark: You've obviously never been in the right holosuite pogram. If you'd like, I could...
      Kira: You could. But you'd life to regret it.

    • (Roped into helping rescue Major Kira)
      Garak: Commander, this is extortion.
      Sisko: Hmm... yes, it is.

    • (after convincing a Cardassian commander to back off)
      Sisko: Well done, Mr. Garak.
      Garak: Just something I overheard while hemming trousers.

  • NOTES (5)

    • In the original script for this episode, Bashir was not supposed to be able to tell conclusively if Kira was Bajoran or a Cardassian spy.

    • The original idea for this episode involved O'Brien discovering that he was a Cardassian operative instead of Kira. However, writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe ran into trouble when he had to explain how a Cardassian and a human could have a completely human child.

    • Lawrence Pressman (Tekeny Ghemor) would later reprise his role in the episode "Ties Of Blood And Water". In addition, he would later play Ambassador Krajensky in the episode "The Adversary".

    • Colm Meaney (Chief O'Brien) and Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) do not appear in this episode.

    • Nana Vistor had trouble filming this episode as a full-fledged "rubber-head" due to her claustrophobia. Her experience in this episode led the producers to cast a body double for her in "Meridian" during a scene that required her to wear another headpiece.