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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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sgareview - common ground, s3e7
dangerous sheppard
seperis
Um, yeah. This is squee. This is the pure, uncut stuff.



1.) Harpoon? Made of awesome. Disturbingly practical, too, and fairly low-tech, comparatively speaking. I loved that so much.

2.) I have no idea how to even do this. My numbers? May not be sufficient.

The John Hour was amazing, beginning to end. Did not fail in pace, did not fail in characterization, did not fail, more importantly, in showing how far Atlantis has come from idealism to practicality. John's compliment on the harpoon? Very John. Kolya's extraorindary soldier thing? Damn *straight*. When Kolya offered the trade, I knew they wouldn't take it, but I didn't completely expect the way Elizabeth thought about it. Of course the team would, left to their own devices, shoved Landon right through the wormhole with a bow and pre-cuffed. But Elizabeth, even in these grey times? Huh. Did not expect the writers to go there.

I loved the fact that Carson made it clear that he thought the trade was likely. Not saying don't do it. But saying, do it soon.

I loved Ronon very close to flat out blind rage. That was so hot.

I love John's absolute faith he's getting out of there. The contrast to last year's Epiphany is a marked change in how John sees himself and his team. I love that. I love him believing every second that they're coming for him. They're just delayed. Just--so much love. Just wanted to crawl in that cell and promise him anything he wanted for that. He believes. Fed on three times and believes.

The first time, I honestly could not breathe. I bet John couldnt' either. Kolya won no points with looking regretful. I'm sorry, but he still ordered it. Interesting note--this is the first time since Gaul we've seen a survival after this much feeding. John got, what, a total of four hits and was still *alive*? I wonder if it's the Ancient in him or the Iratus? Inquiring minds wnat to know.

Of course he's going to say don't trade. Of *course* he is. John says stupid shit. And it was the right stupid shit, dammit, which is why I locked my teeth over yeling at Weir "SELL THE BASTARD. I DON'T LIKE HIM. LET LANDON DIE." In capslock, even. I loved John and teh Wraith chatting, both before and after John found out his prisonmate was a Wraith. Mostly because his attitude didn't change that much. John's default setting really *is* finding help wherever its available and using it to the best of his abiliites. And it says a lot about him that he was fed on three times and lounging in his cell at the ripe age of freaking *eighty* and still managed to talk the Wraith into doing what he wanted. It takes some serious cajones to negotiate with a Wraith when you're hitting your geriatric and believe you can pull it off.

So after every feeding, back to the cell, where Wraith *watched* him, that was--interesing. Mostly because I really doubt the Wraith, outside their worshippers, interact all that much with their food source. A Wraith kept semi-starved for years, brought down to the level of human, talking to a human. This is our first decent exposure to a Wraith since Michael, and Michael whine and pouted too much for me to really give a shit. This one though--the description of Wraith hunger, his conversation with Sheppard--trusting him. That was--I dont' even have words.

Okay, back to a few numbers.

3.) Rodney getting very--excitable--when he saw John tied to the chair? Fantastic. Talking *over* Elizabeth? Also fantastic. Just barreling through, screw the small talk. Rodney in the conference room--we can't send Landon through! Then thinks, and says, hopefully--can we? Later, Rodney doing his soldier speech--I've said it before, I'll say it again. He's a soldier. They send Marines, uberwarriors Ronon and Teyla, and *Rodney* (and Carson, yes, but he had a handgun, not a P-90). We've established the team does everything together now. And I love that. I just love that.

4.) I like Landon without the mustache.

5.) Okay, going back to John.

John's absolute faith in his team continued as the Wraith leaned into the window, looking at his *strongest foodsource ever* slowly dying but still utterly determined to get out. He does have a lot to go back for. I love John's ability to pretty much get anyone to do anything. The way they came out of hte cells parallel--a glance--"Ready?" "Ready." "Let's do this.". John--who is like eighty at this point and enjoying early geriatric years, and limping, and only two hours from being lifesucked--beats the ever living shit out of two bouncy Genii soliders. My God. Took them *down* like the dogs they were, got their weapons, threw a knife oh dear God I'm not getting over that in the near future. Just--turned his head, pulled hte knife, threw it. Right into the heart of the third Genii. Which gives John a better kill ratio than the Wraith. It makes me happy. I mean by happy, orgasmic. Then he reluctantly gets a gun, turns with a second one, and hands over the keys so the Wraith can be free.

Their trek out was fun--John and the Wraith worked well together, almost disturbingly well. That they have a shitty sense of direction was funny. That they *bickered* was just--too much. Bonding with Wraith. That's an all new place to be, John.

Okay, skipping to.

6.) The Kiss of Life

I got it in Smallville, I get it here. After the Wraith sucked John's life away, he sucks down two Genii soldiers (I am clapping at this point) and gives it right back, which was just--disturbingly hot. I'm pretty sure I lost a year off my life doing a short compare/contrast, Chaya versus Wraith, in the ways John manages to have not-sex with alien beings that could, if you squint or if you, you know, not even squint, just pay attention, seem to get a kick out of getting pretty intimate with the untouchable one. It's for worshippers, and for brothers, says the Wraith, and considering the hives we've seen are all male and one female queen--um. Yes. You call it that, Wraith. I'll be over here, thinking John is freaking alien-bait.

After the sharing of essence--seriously, it's Chaya all over again, just less Ancient--John lets his Wraith go. On a planet with darts overhead, waiting for him to wake up, waiting to look into his face, waiting to see what he does, what he is, why he did this. Leaving only after the Wraith has found his feet again. All bets are off, they say, but I'm not sure that's as true as either one of them want to believe.

Even More Random

nymphaea1 says here that it was the Everyone Loves John episode, and God knows, it is. Kolya, with his ruthlessnesss and his reluctant respect for the soldier that John is, beneath the dorkiness and superficial charm, what John is to the bottom of his feet, what maybe even John forgets. Kolya never forgets the attack on Atlantis, never forgets that John took five of his men's lives personally and a few dozen more shutting down the gate, never forgets the shot John took over Weir's shoulder. And I don't think he forgot John in that hole in the ground with the gun to his face, and the way John pulled back. Not for Kolya. But because he's a soldier, and Kolya was no longer a threat.

I think he forgot that John knows how to sacrifice, though. *thoughtful* And so does Atlantis. They're learning.

But yes, everyone loves John. Evne freaking Wraith, half-mad from loneliness and isolation and starvation, who sucks the life from his body but still can't quite get around this guy, his only food source, who's dying in his cell and still wants to make a deal. A guy he follows through Genii halls, listens to his silent orders, collapses with outside beneath the stars, finally free but not really free of Sheppard. John Sheppard, he calls him, and that means something on a show where names never seem as casual as they should be. We talk about Rodney calling Sheppard John, about Ronon and Teyla both going by their first name--but the Wraith don't use the names for their cattle. Except for John. And when the Genii come, he leans over, taking all but a drop of John's life--for the power it gives him to kill those Genii, but--okay. Yes. But. Also? John couldn't take them now. The part of me that's watching this Wraith with John, the way they talk, they chat--he reaches out and protects John the way John protected him. Took him out of the fight, took the Genii and their lives with a smile, and goes back to Sheppard, who stares up at him with no surprise, not really, and gives it all back. With a touch that's not death, slow and strange and amazing, special, saved for the most devout of worshippers--and doesn't that make all kinds of scary sense--and Brothers.

Brother and *named* John, who keeps his promises.

Now I wnat to know more about Wraith culture. I want to know more about the Wraith's earlier comment about how much alike they are. And I want John to wake up and still feel that, the shocked pain of first contact and last contact, when his life was drained away to the final seconds--and that perfect moment when the Wraith gave it all back, and how he did it, and why.

There's a very good chance they'll be more later. There's so much here I dont' feel I've even scraped the *surface*.

Also, loved cjandre's question in chat:

cjandre: hey - did you notice again, the berating of himself in thrid person when he thinks he's made a mistake?
cjandre: "great john, you screwed up again.... " yada yada
cjandre: but really - what does that say about his up bringing?
cjandre: who's voice is he hearing in his head when he does that?

Three guesses. If you don't get it on the first? What show are you watching?


I love John's absolute faith he's getting out of there. The contrast to last year's Epiphany is a marked change in how John sees himself and his team. I love that. I love him believing every second that they're coming for him. They're just delayed. Just--so much love. Just wanted to crawl in that cell and promise him anything he wanted for that. He believes. Fed on three times and believes.

I was just saying that over in my own LJ, though much less coherently. I haven't even read the rest of your review yet, but I think that was the part that got me the most. He never gives up hope for one second. God.

Not evne when he's dying. God. *John*.

*sighs dreamily*

Let's see, three guesses *G*? If John isn't channelling the late, unlamented full bird Colonel Sheppard, Sr., I'll eat my Obi-Wan Kenobi action fgure.i

You know, it's a bit bizarre to be quoted by you. I had no idea anyone but my loyal ann_tara was reading my ramblings. I mean, good bizarre, but to my general lurker self, bizarre.

Kolya, with his ruthlessnesss and his reluctant respect for the soldier that John is, beneath the dorkiness and superficial charm, what John is to the bottom of his feet, what maybe even John forgets. Kolya never forgets the attack on Atlantis, never forgets that John took five of his men's lives personally and a few dozen more shutting down the gate, never forgets the shot John took over Weir's shoulder. And I don't think he forgot John in that hole in the ground with the gun to his face, and the way John pulled back. Not for Kolya. But because he's a soldier, and Kolya was no longer a threat.

Yes, exactly. And that's why I love Kolya as a character even if I would like to get to see Ronon get all Ezekiel 25:17 on his ass. I think that's partially a failure of the Wraith as enemies. Kolya's good because his appreciation for Sheppard as a foe makes Sheppard seem more competent. And I love the soldier side of John and wish it was made more use of.

The part of me that's watching this Wraith with John, the way they talk, they chat--he reaches out and protects John the way John protected him. Took him out of the fight, took the Genii and their lives with a smile, and goes back to Sheppard, who stares up at him with no surprise, not really, and gives it all back. With a touch that's not death, slow and strange and amazing, special, saved for the most devout of worshippers--and doesn't that make all kinds of scary sense--and Brothers.


Yeah, pretty much total love for that, too. I really cannot express my appreciation for John's ability to make these deep instant connections with people (and/or Wraith and Ancients as the case may be). He's not terribly good with words but that's not at all the same as not being good with people and it's where most of my lack of patience with extremely dissociative takes on John comes from. The Wraith/John interaction was extremely intimate on both a sexual and not level. It was really remniscent of John's relationship with Ronon which made Ronon and John's interaction at the end even more interesting. I wish they'd make all the Wraith this complex and relatable. It would make me sympathize with their wish to make the Wraith war more morally gray a hell of a lot more.


You give *amazing* meta. *grins*

I can see why they don't do John-as-soldier since they tend to use him more in leadership and strategist/tactics/plans, and also, it gives Ronon and Teyla something to do. But it is nice to be reminded that John's proven over and over he's pretty good at taking care of himself, along with the planning.

I really cannot express my appreciation for John's ability to make these deep instant connections with people (and/or Wraith and Ancients as the case may be). He's not terribly good with words but that's not at all the same as not being good with people and it's where most of my lack of patience with extremely dissociative takes on John comes from.

I do think that it's something that he chooses, too--with Sumner, and with some others, he just does not *care*. But when he does care, he's a genius at this, at making that connection, fast and perfect and very, very real. And lasting. Good call with Ronon--I hadnt' thought of that, but Chaya, Ronon, and the Wraith all show John's perfectly capable--and even *gifted*--at bonding with people. Hell, I'd even throw Teer and her people in on this one, though there, granted, he had a lot more time.

I knew I would love your indpeth review of this episode. Especially your references to Rodney and especially John being soldiers. I've always loved soldiers in fiction (especially career military) but I've always had a hard time with warriors in fiction. You've described why John is one of the best examples of a soldier I love so much better than I ever could.

This! and John! and everything.

Yes.

That is coherent as I'm going to be able to get because I am STILL RIDING THE HIGH.

Seriously. Drugs? No need. I have Atlantis and JOHN BEING LOVED BY EVERYONE/THING.

Too bad the Wraith didn't get a name.

Wow. Awesome. You just...you said everything I was thinking/feeling but like a gazillion times more coherently than I could ever think of doing.

Everybody does love Sheppard. Including ME ME ME! ::Wanders off to watch again even though it is ridiculously late::

Great episode and I see a tidal wave of fic bearing down us even as I write this.

John manages to have not-sex with alien beings that could, if you squint or if you, you know, not even squint, just pay attention, seem to get a kick out of getting pretty intimate with the untouchable one.

Of course now I'm thinking what extra special something might piggy back along with that life coming back.

I can even see them creating Wraith worshipers this way, because I might be a little twisted. But happy! Yes, yes, very happy tonight. *beams*

John Sheppard, he calls him, and that means something on a show where names never seem as casual as they should be.

What I thought was significant, too, was how this Wraith didn't have a name. John didn't give him one and he offers none. All the other Wraith Atlantis comes into contact with besides the queens and that scientist have been named in a sort of pet-like or controlling manner. The old belief that knowing something's true name gives you power over them. Here, the Wraith stands on his own as a fellow prisoner, a fellow victim, and there is a level of respect even between him and John. By not naming him, John honors that, and by naming John, so does the Wraith.

wow...that's an excellent point...hmmm....

Brother and *named* John, who keeps his promises.
Your insight are... scary and disturbing. ;) And make me wonder, where they will go with this idea. But I felt totally spoiled for the ending by the way of neery's story. ;)

Loved the things you said--after two viewings, I'm still having a hard time digesting it all, mostly because I was so overexcited about this episode, that I couldn't really think straight. It really helps to read coherent thoughts about it!

As usual, you hit the nail on the head with your review/summary. Two things I would like to add: I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the change to the black leather; Rodney's reaction to the Wraith giving back John's life force "Come on, he looks younger now than he did before" was so pure Rodney.

I *love* that they went in the direction of making the Wraith more complex! That? Is always a good direction...

This one though--the description of Wraith hunger, his conversation with Sheppard--trusting him. That was--I dont' even have words.

The look on John's face right before handing over the gun. The wariness and fear and trust and hope all at once. Just JOHN. Guh.

Rodney getting very--excitable--when he saw John tied to the chair? Fantastic. Talking *over* Elizabeth? Also fantastic. Just barreling through, screw the small talk.

OMG competent!Rodney - going toe to toe with Kolya without hesitation, ordering the soldiers and sounding like he knows what he's doing even if it was played for humor. I just -- the horror and fear on his face seeing John fed on, but the strength in his voice when negotiating with Kolya. Killed me. Seriously.

And I want John to wake up and still feel that, the shocked pain of first contact and last contact, when his life was drained away to the final seconds--and that perfect moment when the Wraith gave it all back, and how he did it, and why.

YES. I want that bond to have repercussions. I want it to haunt them both. And I'm wondering if other Wraith can somehow sense the gift that was given. Like, the next time John's captured on a Hive ship (and you know he will) the Queen takes one whiff of him and knows he's been given life.

Shep is a HERO.

I love heroes.

Woo!