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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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sgareview: miller's crossing, 4.9, specific reaction
john behind bars
seperis
Everything I Would Say about Miller's Crossing and John by liviapenn.



Seriously. Seriously. That wasn't psychotic, sociopathic, or insane. Immoral, sketchy, ethically questionable, yes.

Randomly, and separate from Livia's post.

What seems to be overlooked is that Wallace is the least innocent victim here. He kidnapped Jeannie and then McKay. He injected Jeannie with nanites to get them to work on the cure. He did not fall from a magical cloud of innocence to be brutally killed so John could continue getting free access to Rodney's ass and/or satisfy random bloody urges. Wallace injected Jeannie knowing there was no cure. If Jeannie had died, he was a de facto murderer right there--it was premeditated, he did mean harm. And I'm pretty sure that "I didn't mean to kill her with it</i>" isn't going to fly in the face of the fact that at the time there was no cure for the nanite problem.

It was ethically wrong, and probably bad bad bad--but on the other hand. Hmm. On the other hand, I don't see a problem with it at all. I don't have a problem with John killing Kolya when Kolya was going to kill him and his team, or the Genii in The Storm/The Eye who were going to kill teh people of Atlantis, I had very little problem with Ronon killing his commanding officer for fucking them over, I seriously have no issues with the death of random Wraithes at all.

I'm not sure why Wallace gets a special classification when he's as guilty as they are.

And I dont' see how a choice that John makes between the life of Jeannie (and Rodney, the Pegasus galaxy, and maybe all species of life in the universe) and Wallace falls under psychotic.

To me? It feels pretty damn human.


*squints* people think it was psychotic? i thought it was pretty logical, in exactly the way you've mapped it out. immoral, yes, but absolutely logical and not psychotic.

*nods* Exactly. Immoral, yeah, but pretty much a *normal* reaction. And not any differnet from what Wallace did to Jeannie.

people think it was psychotic?

I am trying to block the memories of the entries I read that were all OMG SO PSYCHOTIC!!!!11! and SOCIOPATHIC HEE because dear God. Gah.

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I don't have a problem with John killing Kolya when Kolya was going to kill him and his team, or the Genii in The Storm/The Eye who were going to kill teh people of Atlantis, I had very little problem with Ronon killing his commanding officer for fucking them over, I seriously have no issues with the death of random Wraithes at all.

ITA. If someone's going to classify John as psychotic then they're going to have to classify Ronon and Teyla psychotic as well. Hell, if that's the basis for John being insane, Teyla must be super insane after Missing.

God yeah. Ronon? Super Psychotic, admit to ward yesterday. Teyla, same deal. Hell, half of Atlantis who ever carried a gun. Rodney's shot at people, which is intent to kill someone be psychotic.

...I shall have a diet pepsi now and be dark.

Totally. It didn't even feel immoral to me. I'm repeating myself here, but I think that John felt it was maybe a little bit horrible to feed someone to a Wraith? Okay, really horrible. But that guy took *Rodney*. And Rodney’s *sister*. And hey, Tod was *hungry*. John just did what needed to be done, that’s all. He didn’t enjoy it. He maybe kind of wishes the guy hadn’t freaked out at the last minute and that he’d had to hold him still for Tod, but really, he only did what had to be done. Because Atlantis needs Rodney. And if the Marines that were there maybe kind of look at him funny now, well, they’re all at the SGC, so he doesn’t have to deal with them anyway, right?

*starts giggling hysterically*

I'm sorry, but the image is just--too much. Must lie down now kthx.

Word. I expected John to spell it out, though he didn't; but I figure it was going through Wallace's head anyway: Wallace admitted he knew he was going to prison when he first kidnapped Jeannie. He had to know he was courting capital punishment when he went the next step and injected her with the nanites. So he could either let Jeannie die and face his own grief and guilt and the additional knowledge he'd torn apart the Miller-McKay family as well, while waiting for his kidnap-murder trial to wend its way through the courts. OR, he could escape the suicidal grief he'd been trying and failed to prevent, and try to prevent another wrong consequence from his actions at the same time. Frankly, I don't think John had to push too far. Wallace's choice, and he made it.

The other dodgy bit, I thought, was that Tod will get a black mark on his record from John's report that he overpowered "food" that was freely offered to him. Rodney was talking about ways for him to prove his trustworthiness to them -- which, I hate to say, so far he has -- but the record won't reflect that. SGA-1 will know he's been cooperative and safe, but random SGC and IOA decision-makers won't.

(Why, oh why, with that makeup job, didn't they name him Ace?)

*nodnodnod*

Exactly.

You know, with Todd, they're doing a *lot* better job of making the Wraith understandable than with Emo!Michael.

Exactly! Yes, dammit, Exactly that! I don't get the psychotic classification either.

I loved that John gave up a piece of his soul to do something that some might view as morally or ethically questionable to save his people, who were innocents in this. I adore the implications that John has to and can make those kind of hard decisions. And I love that this ep will stick with me for just those reasons. It's the same reason the Michael ep sticks with me. All the moral and ethical dilemmas.

But Wallace? *He* killed his own daughter, nearly killed Jeannie and if John chose to remind him of that and give him an option that helped out those Wallace had hurt . . .

What haunts me? What happened in that room when the Wraith fed on Wallace. John witnessing it. Did Wallace go gentle or will his screams haunt John?

What gives me fangirl squee? OMG, the *lengths* John will go to to protect his own. What if there had been no Wallace? Would he have been in there offering himself instead?

Exactly! Yes, dammit, Exactly that! I don't get the psychotic classification either.

It's got to be an omgsohot thing. Which I totally understand. *g* In fanfic. That's AU. Gah.

But Wallace? *He* killed his own daughter, nearly killed Jeannie and if John chose to remind him of that and give him an option that helped out those Wallace had hurt . . .

Yes, exactly. *Exactly*. And with Jeannie, unlike with his daughter, he *knew* it was going to kill her. So yeah, low sympathy there.

What haunts me? What happened in that room when the Wraith fed on Wallace. John witnessing it. Did Wallace go gentle or will his screams haunt John?

John witnessed it, I totally agree there. He wouldn't let it happen any other way. Though I kind of wonder if they knocked Wallace out first, which would make better sense for both emotional and practical reasons (not wanting Wallace to suffer, or back out, or you know, *fight*.)

What gives me fangirl squee? OMG, the *lengths* John will go to to protect his own. What if there had been no Wallace? Would he have been in there offering himself instead?

*mulls*

Yeah, he would have, I think. John's always put the mission/his people/the greater good first. I can't see him, given the choice, not doing it if that was what had to happen.

You could maybe, maybe say that it was temporary insanity on Wallace's part having been driven to extremes for what he did to Jeanie, but to be honest I don't think that the text reads that way at all. He seemed to be acting perfectly rationally and calmly. I mean the guy had the needle there all set up and ready to go - it was basically the great motivator of 'if my daughter dies, your sister goes with her'. If that isn't attempted murder I don't know what is, and if Jeanie had died, hell yeah he'd be up for murder. It would be no different than him injecting her with cyanide and expecting McKay to come up whisk something up.

And no, I'm sure he wasn't in his rational mind when John sat down for their little talk, and there was pressure (I love the fact that John went out and flinched those photos). But he wasn't stating anything that wasn't true, the guy was responsible for Jeanie, and by his actions it would mean that a husband and a child would lose her.

Do I think that John would have pulled this if it wasn't one of his 'team', probably not. But do I think he was psychotic for doing so? Not even close.

So, erm, I agree. :)

I'm not sure why Wallace gets a special classification when he's as guilty as they are.
I have no problem with what John did, but I did like seeing Steven Culp on SGA, and would have enjoyed seeing more of him.

I'm just utterly amused at the line "John Sheppard, pretty pretty psycho princess". Or was it "John Sheppard, psycho pretty pretty princess"?! I get so confused....

But seriously. Poor John. And now Atlantis doesn't even have a sketchy shrink for him to avoid seeing...

Otherwise? What you-all said.

*pleasantly* ONe day I am going to snap and rant at fandom for that princess thing. It will feel very, very good.

...and end me up on fandom_wank?

But it will be worth it.

I completely and utterly agree with everything you say. I haven't seen too many "psychopath" comments, though, and I'm glad about that. *sighs*

*flat look* I have never been so close to flipping out. But luckily, I had coffee.

...I had coffee *then*.

I am glad that my limited involvement in SGA fandom means that the people reacting to this on my friends list did *not* go to the "psychopath" place. That... you're right. It doesn't fit at all.

I love when people diagnose without any idea of what they are saying. I sometimes say the sky is made of marshmellows. It has the same legitimacy.

...I am working on my temper, yes. *g*

My problem with it (and I mean problem in the sense that John is going to be wearing the scars from this forever) is that it wasn't an honest death. Wallace had given up, he'd already been captured — John just…talked him into suicide. There's something elementally frightening about that. If he'd attacked, then yes, I think it would have been easy for John to shove him in Todd's direction and say, “Have at it!” but he brought him into the room all calm-like and handed him over. I don't think John's psychotic, adn I think that Wallace's guilt/innocence is a separate issue from what John is going to be feeling in the wake of all of this.

John just…talked him into suicide. There's something elementally frightening about that

You betcha. It *is* sociopathic, in that it involves (apparently) cold-hearted manipulation of other people's feelings for his own ends. John isn't a sociopath, because he's not like this all the time, but the fact that he can get in such close touch with his inner sociopath is *extremely* scary.

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It'll probably take several days for my own post, but it seems to me that when people say John is "psychotic" they're trying to avoid thinking about what he really is, which is a war criminal. People talk a lot about him killing the Genii with the shield, but I think that's an expression of their discomfort with the idea of soldierly killing in general -- because by military standards that wasn't problematic *at all*.

But there are a bunch of things he's done (and Weir, and the rest of the expedition) that are *way* beyond the bounds of military ethics, especially in their treatment of prisoners and their laissez-faire attitude toward torture. Wallace is the most human example, but he's not the first.

Calling John "psychotic" is a way of rejecting his behavior here, saying "I would never do such a thing, you'd have to be crazy." It's also a way of saying, "John scares me" -- as well he should. He's a terrible soldier, both in the sense of inspiring terror, and in the sense of being bad at it. Rodney is quite right to scoff at John for dragging out the chain-of-command argument, which canonically emphasizes that what John does is deeply unmilitary.

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As I saw it, John acted perfectly in character. He is all "leave no man behind", and leaving Rodney behind would have also meant leaving Atlantis in trouble. The only rhing a bit OOC was the "let's go lunch"-type of ending, like the writers wouldn't themselves have truly realized the moral issue they raised

But, his act *was* highly unethical. Talking a murderer to commit a suicide would be just as much criminal than talking an innocent perso for committing one. Overall, the victim's sins should not be taken account when determining the legality of a killing act.

*nodnodnod* Yes.

Also, argh, it went through before I finished.

But, his act *was* highly unethical. Talking a murderer to commit a suicide would be just as much criminal than talking an innocent perso for committing one. Overall, the victim's sins should not be taken account when determining the legality of a killing act.

True--I won't argue the ethical wrong here--but I do argue that there's a pretty big divide between Jeannie McKay and Wallace in terms of ethical boundaries. I do see a very big ethical differnce between those two things in terms of ethics, because in this case, Wallace is being asked to fix his own mistake.

I wonder, though. If Wallace had set a bomb and was the onloy one that could defuse it, sending him in to defuse it so people wouldn't die but he definitely would--would that be "more" ethical?

I think the problem I'm having is the fact that Wallace's actions are the direct cause of this. He *did* deliberately infect his own daughter, and then when she was in danger, infected another woman with the equivalent of an incurable disease. I--honestly can't see how the greatest evil going on is John telling him, you need to fix your fuck up.

Edited at 2007-12-02 09:47 pm (UTC)

Well, you know I have no patience for that sociopath nonsense.

These discussions highlight precisely why I will never be BFF with fandom. Armchair psychology annoys me on the best of days even when applied to characters whose lives are remotely similar to your average fan person's.

While I would certainly never advocate not talking about the ethics of what our characters do, I would like it to be done with a) a whole hell of a lot less glibness and b) on a more even playing field.

People have been bitching at the team to compromise with the Wraith since pretty much season one. Well, this is what happens when you make the Wraith your allies rather than fight a war with them. They still have to be fed, which means you have to choose who you're willing to sacrifice. Those are your choices. Fight the Wraith with whatever weapons you have or at best choose who dies. There's not a morally un-murky choice to be had there.

And you know, if we're going to call people to the carpet for their war crimes, there's not a single team member who shouldn't be on trial. Even Rodney the woobykins. The minute I see some posts calling him a psychopath, I will at least be able to see there is some method to this whole sociopath madness. Until then, I will continue to look at it as it is--selective blindness.

OH hell yes. But the day anyone accuses Rodney of not being an innocent victim of everything and nothing he ever does is even *vaguely* ethically suspect....

It will be like seeing a unicorn. IN one's living room. Offering three wishes.