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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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sgareview - common ground, s3e7 - the anti-squee
children of dune - leto 1
Well, some anti-squee, some clarification, some thinky stuff. To avoid fannish buzz-loss, all packaged in it's own neat area here.

Also, for the record--John is still perfect, still my favorite ep ever.

It's easier to number my annoyances, unlike my incoherence on Friday. Huh. In no particular order:


1.) Okay, I'm in. Let the Carson-irritation free. Right here. This is freaking Seven of Nine of Voyager all over again, but at least I could *write* my way into zen with that one. Is this *happening*? Why is he in every episode, taking up premium screentime doing *nothing*?

I do not care what kind of wonderful rapport the actors have off-screen--it is not translating on-screen at all. I cannot believe I'm saying this--I am *not* of the wallflower wilting Rodney needs hugs and puppies constantly school of thought--but, Carson, back the fuck *off*. He's *field*. If he wants to order Marines and shoot mice? You smile and let him. He's combat experienced and he's faced a *shitload* more in a month than you do in a year, okay? Pardon my dramatic rendition here, but what the *hell* was that? Marines can mock Rodney--frankly, I'm of the opinion that Marines can mock anyone they damn well please, they are *scary* and they carry a lot of weapons, and they're Marines--and they *didn't*, cause hello? That's a field team member who is hysterical about his friend being tortured by the Wraith and they can totally get that. You, my friend, are not a Marine. Shut up.

What are the writers *thinking*? Are they reading this out loud and seeing how it *sounds*? I can take it on a textual or metatextual level, and either way, someone needs to take away the keyboard and say, hey, stop making Carson look like an asshole.

2.) Why is he on strike-team missions? I hate using Rodney constantly as a barometer, but he's the only other civilian and so he's the comparison--again, Rodney's *field-trained* and that's his team leader and friend. Him going along isn't mindbogglingly freaky. Carson going along as a medic--okay. But why, why, why is he with a scary strike team here? Medic in jumper. God, this is Sateda all over again, where I can't figure out why in the name of God they're pushing Carson so hard at us so badly.

I mean, I get there are logical reasons behind this that can and have been made, and I'm not arguing with that. But my kneejerk is that it feels forced and just--too much. In every ep so far he's been way too front and center compared to, oh, the last two seasons, and in comparison to his actal role. I do get that the writers are trying to show sga expedition love and etc and okay, if this is what I have to deal with to get the characters having character moments, I'll live. But if he's going to be shoved into this, at lesat, minimum, give him a practical reason to be there.


3.) I have serious reservations about Layden. a.) I still can't quite figure out or remember how to spell his name and b.) He's officially admitted he's a backstabber. Which we already knew from Cowen, but none of us liked Cowen anyway. I kind of like Kolya. On a purely illogical level, I really wanted Elizabeth to make that trade, cause John being tortured hurts and makes me wince and makes me want to break things. But a tiny part of me--and for that matter, a part of every person dealing with Layden--knows he's going to fuck Atlantis over when he's got a good opportunity. This guy is not just not trustworthy--he's not trustworthy and he's--slimey. It's like dealing with a serpent. You come away feeling faintly sick and need a serious shower. Kolya's a soldier--he's passionate and vicious and I'm thinking lately a little around the bend mentally, but he's a soldier--he might fuck you over, but he'll do it to your face. Torturing John he never gets my forgiveness for, but it was never personal, he never enjoyed it, never didn't acknowledge what he was reduced to doing, what it cost him, what he *knew* he was giving up in humanity in doing it. It was in his face and his body, the acknowledgement of those things. He let revenge be everything and anything. He tortured a man with the Pegasus galaxy's living nightmare for the sake of revenge, but he didn't like it.

Layden would have done that, for less reason, and liked it. And that's this gut reaction to every smooth word Layden poured out and I was more and more convinced that while dealing with terrorist Genii Kolya might be a mistake--Layden's leadership of the Genii would be moreso. Elizabeth could not make that trade without a better--or more politically aware--reason than saving John. But she wanted to, and I suspect it's for that same gut feeling.


4.) I love, love, love Ronon's single-minded determination to get his favoritest commander ever back. I do. I really do. But seriously, tone it down. I'm sorry, but you officially lost your free pass on being caveman stupid when we got to see Sateda and you were nailing a doctor. I love when you are grrr and scary and omgmustsavesheppard! Trust me on this--you get so many free passes for that you have no idea--but my God, one notch is all I'm asking here.

Also, your stripperesque gear? Let's take that back a notch so it's all ooh hot newness again, and less, wow, where do you shop, Frederick's of Hollywood? Every. Week. We all get he is alien and muscular and omghot. But it gets boring if that's all we get to see.

I'm--wow, done. Carson was pretty much the bulk; he's just too noticeable doing nothing and standing around. Gah. OTOH? God. *John*. Still in the paper bag mode.

God I love this icon. I need to get a whole plethora of icons with John looking various stages of omghot and omgdangerous and omggoofy and--well, John like. Happy place.

Quick note. Layden would have done that, for less reason, and liked it.

Just my impression, but every time Ladon said "interrogation" I thought: this man is torturing for information. Then I thought: Weir has got to know that's what he's doing.

Dunno. I'll have to rewatch it for facial subtext. When I'm finished hyperventilating over our spry old guy.

Nope. That, too, was all over his face. He was torturing them and liking it. It was just--there.

I love the episode, but believe me, I said pretty much the EXACT SAME THING ABOUT CARSON..I swear he's jealous of Rodney or something..and big props to Teyla having his back though, while I realize that Rodney doesn't usually take command, he doesn't need to be undermined by Carson, I think that remark was uncalled for, really, he comes off acting bitchy towards him.

**sorry if that sounded like a rant, really I LOVED THE EPISODE, but that comment pissed me off.

According to spoilers this was the episode in which we would get a glimpse of Sheppard's backstory. Since I haven't seen this ep yet (*sobs*), I have to ask: did we get some Sheppard backstory or did the writers cut it out of the script again?

I think they said there would be some backstory in the next episode even though this was the one all about him. There was some advancement in his acceptance of Atlantis as family and some reliance on his friends, but no real background. Although, there was one part where he says something about being in a prison never stopping him before which could be a history snippet or maybe a reference to earlier missions. Who knows.

Definitely yes -- there are enough medical emergencies to give Carson storylines, like when Elizabeth was knocked out in the Real World, and Wraith genetics, and whatever. The Carson-Rodney fight over saving Ronon in Sateda was worse (Carson is not on Ronon's team! Not weapons proficient!), but this was iffy, too. When exactly did Carson turn into Mr. Super Stud Field Ops Dude?

Marines can mock Rodney--frankly, I'm of the opinion that Marines can mock anyone they damn well please, they are *scary* and they carry a lot of weapons, and they're Marines--and they *didn't*, cause hello? That's a field team member who is hysterical about his friend being tortured by the Wraith and they can totally get that.

*loves X infinity*

Ronon going caveman, well, they've painted him that way despite the backstory. I'm kind of used to that stupid. Elizabeth letting him nearly take out a guest TWICE? Super stupid. She's the head of Atlantis and responsible for visitor safety (and for finding John). She would put Ronon on a leash or get him the hell out. Duh.

May I add something to this? What is Teyla, the wallflower? She mostly repeats stuff, has no noticeable character arc and as far as I can see, no solo episode in the season whereas all of the main team has had or will have one. I am disappointed that the kickass female on the main team is relegated to second place to Carson of all people. He didn't need to have that many lines in the episode. Also, leader of her people, hello!

And it's spelled Ladon, I think. I think Kolya's appeal is also that the actor plays him in a very charismatic way in that he doesn't come across as weaselly, just really really bad. Ladon comes across as potentially squirrelly. Also, when you really think about the plot, wouldn't it have been easier for Kolya's inside men to assassinate Ladon? And what if the harpoon had missed? Haha, that would have been a waste of time.

Kolya: "Muahaha, Sheppard, I have you now" *aims harpoon* *shoots* *misses*
Wormhole: Closes
Kolya: "Shit" (or Genii equivalent)
Episode: ends

I agree with every bit of this, but I'm particularly glad to see that I'm not the only one annoyed by Ronon's constant growling lately. I've liked it in the past, but they're starting to overplay it.

Also, everything you said about Kolya -- yes, exactly. Robert Davi did a fabulous job getting across so much of this non-verbally.

One more thing. When exactly did Carson stop being scared to go offworld? He used to always drag his heels and moan about it and now he's all Mr. Badass with a gun and everything? I'm starting to wonder if maybe Carson's alone time with Michael in Misbegotten could somehow factor in here. They keep telling us there's still a lot we don't know about the Wraith, so what if they have some way of remotely influencing a person's behavior? Or maybe they can transfer some sort of controlling essence/influence into a host (rather like the Goa'uld)? I don't know. I'm totally open to this just being a crappy writing/characterization issue on the part of TPTB, but it's such a marked difference that it's got my brain looking for other explanations as well.

yes. this is pretty much where I am vis a vis Carson and Ronon. Carson I've never been particularly fond of, but he was fine in his role as doctor and fearful ATA carrier. And back then, I could tolerate the way he treated Rodney because a)Rodney treated him much the same way and b) they were pretty much equally geeky, frightened of danger and 'outsidery' with the cool kids. However, the sudden unexplained change in Carson's status to one *of* the cool kids makes his condescension less bearable. I agree with you about who in that group had the right to mock rodney and didn't. Teyla, for instance.

And Ronon. I love Ronon. I just don't want him to be 2nd lead. Yes, Ronon toning it back a notch and also letting Teyla lose *her* shit over John would have worked better for me.

a)Rodney treated him much the same way and b) they were pretty much equally geeky, frightened of danger and 'outsidery' with the cool kids. However, the sudden unexplained change in Carson's status to one *of* the cool kids makes his condescension less bearable.

Dude, yes. That's it exactly. Carson didn't talk down to Rodney before, and he definitely does now.

Absolutely agree vis-a-vis Carson. The decision to bring him in more is perplexing, and obviously metatextual, or however you describe director-loves-mcgillion-ness. Also, randomly, his accent TOTALLY slipped in this ep.

I remember that Michael hinted that he'd done something to 'take care' of Carson and it probably means we're going to get more stuff revolving around him in the future. It just drives me nuts that he gets twice as many lines as Teyla!! GRAH!!

See, personally I didn't understand why either Carson _or_ Rodney were on the strike team. I understood that they should be _there_, but I was shocked when Ronon blew down the door and they _all_ ran in. I see Rodney as field-trained as well, certainly moreso than Carson, but not to the point of storming a building.

(Deleted comment)
Word. Also, Marines? Are ALL trained field medics. It's required -- if they don't leave a man behind, they've damn well got to be able to get the bleeding stopped long enough to get him back. Plus they would have a specialist medic as a standard member of any striketeam.

It's so annoying. Carson's a friggin DNA research geek and infirmary administrator. He had NO business going at all. Unfortunately Paul McGillion's contract guarantees him a certain amount of screentime -- but they've written the character into such a corner that all he can do is act like a complete idiot every week. I wish Carson would get kidnapped, brainwashed, and returned as a new person. It would be interesting to see what PMcG would do with Carson if he had a fresh start.

Thank you for posting this -- I always feel like such a freak when everybody is so happy. Not that I'm not happy; I loved the episode majorly, loved it, but . . . Carson's behavior toward Rodney, in public, in front of the Marines, was so inappropriate. I can forgive the rabid rat moment because that's apparently what all the writers except Gero know to do with DH, but Carson is supposed to be both a professional and a friend of Rodney's.

And I completely agree with ileliberte about Teyla: give that woman a story arc, an episode, or even a couple lines now and then. Is it really that impossible for those writers to write for her?

Finally, you are so write about Ladon torturing his personal aide and 2IC; we're clearly to understand that that's what he was doing, and Weir certainly knew. I kept flashing to the black site prisons the US uses in countries without laws against torture. But you know what? That's one think I actually like about SGA: however obliquely, they talk about stuff like that, torture and black sites, and they made hideously inappropriate decisions and move on. It scares me, but it draws me, too.

Anyway. Thanks.

That thing with Carson annoyed me ..grrr. Even if I watch Sateda -- when he questions why Rodney's coming with on the mission? Or him saying Rodney's a terrible shot? (he aimed at that Wraith in The Defiant One just fine, thank you)
I just want to smack him.
But back to Common Ground. I'd much prefer that that mouse thing was something Carson did (for example when walking next to Rodney). Imagine Rodney 'defending' Carson to Ronon, Teyla & Marine co with same words. It'd be much more effective. And funny. Now I just cringe.

On the other hand -- I wonder -- are there really that many Mckay haters that writers tune in into their wishes?

Also? Teyla needs more time. Definitely.

*nods emphatically*Yesyesyes, Rodney would sooo defend Carson for shooting the mouse, but what does that little git? Nothing! He even mocks him every time Rodney opens his mouth, argh! I wait for the time McKay says something physics related and Carson opens his stupid mouth.

On the other hand -- I wonder -- are there really that many Mckay haters that writers tune in into their wishes?

A while back I tried to start a poll on who's the favorite/least favorite character on SG-1&SGA
...it didn't work fandom-wide. Maybe I'll try it again. I'd really like to know if they hate Rodney that much.

Amen on all of it. And it has nothing to do with any OCs I've created or secondary characters I've used who'd be better for the purpose. Carson in anything but a lab coat? *Twitch*

I'm just getting so tired of Rodney being used as the joke every week.

Now honestly, I could see him being teased to within an inch of his life by any of the marines -- on the firing range. Or on a so-far completely quiet mission in the middle of no where.

But not by a civilian -- who is lower then him on the chain of command -- when he's doing a remarkably good job of channeling his zomgmyboybestfriend'sbeingtortured freakout.

Why is he in every episode, taking up premium screentime doing *nothing*?

We're getting spammed with Carson doing not much for the same reason SG-1 is getting Vala spammage -- it's in the actor's contract to be in every episode, so they're there even if it doesn't make sense for them to be there. As far as Carson mocking Rodney, that goes back to some of the writers not being able to see Rodney being heroic and not just the butt of jokes and speaker of technobabble.

And I like Carson, I just want him being there to make sense. It would have made sense for him to be on the mission as a doctor, but not as a soldier.

Layden might be willing to torture for information, but Weir and Company haven't exactly been angels in that department. And no one seemed to point out that even if they had turned Layden over to Kolya, there's no guarantee they'd have gotten John back alive. Even if he was alive, without the deus ex Wraith, would he have wanted to be alive?