Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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sgareview: isolation s4e13

I'm still not sure what to think of that cactus.

Luckily, I was completely and utterly unspoiled. Like, so unspoiled that Rodney getting the ring out was a complete and horrific surprise.

It went like this.

Episode, episode, episode....

seperis: ACK
seperis: NO!
eleveninches: hhdshfsjj
eleveninches: i think you were the ONLY PERSON ON LJ not spoiled for this

Which is probably true and saved myself weeks of seething hatred. This is why I avoid spoilers unless pre-vetted by amireal for my fragile sensibilities. And she even breaks them down into tiny pieces first. Just to be sure.

One - that was an ugly ring. But I don't blame Rodney for that. My first BIL had something picked out for my sister that defied description. We will never speak of this again.

Two - seriously?

Three - wow.

So we're done with that part. I have not been so disturbed since the first time I was introduced to the Rodney Cactus and realized that Dr. Brown's childhood included a lot more hentai than previously believed.

I'll just--spare everyone my secondary reaction, because then Other People came on the screen and I buried my Ack beneath mature contemplation.

Okay, there was this.

seperis: Her ears are weird.


The episode could be titled "Relationships and What They Mean", with a side of "And the Plants and Pigeons That Somehow Got Mixed Up in This Shit".

John/Teyla, John, and the Tick of the Biological Clock

Their adorableness is legion. Teyla has suddenly had a great and powerful growth spurt, which is a moment of awe, and John is having flashbacks to Alien and every romantic comedy in the history of civilization. John, I am with you. I, too, had a horrible moment of wondering if Teyla would go into labor and John, instead of being sensibly thrown into the waiting room to pace and hit things and worry, is required to participate and no one wants that. I mean, seriously. The jokes about expectant, frantic fathers were made in anticipation of John Sheppard's existence. I can only imagine the horror in store for any woman who marries him and they have kids. That's just asking for a war for some unfortunate civilization to begin when labor commences. And that will be the preferable version of events to letting him be within ten feet of actual events.

Seriously. I love him, but I'd ask for sedatives for him the second the water broke. Just saying.

That said: John and kids. It's one of those things that kind of hurt me when I watch this, because John's state of sexuality aside, he and kids are something that makes me ache. He's so good with them and he likes them and I can see him telling them stories and tucking them into bed and keep thinking that in his perfect life, he's married somewhere with like, five of them and teaching them to surf and play football and lecturing them about cars and secretly loving when they bring the entire chess club over for snacks and TV in the afternoon and signing up for playdates with other parents and just--that's not something I think he'll ever have. And I think he knows that; I think Atlantis precludes that for him in all and every way. And Teyla's baby is this--this huge thing for him in a way he can't quite articulate.

Teyla: *shocked look*
John: *blank horror* Don't tell me....
Teyla: The baby just kicked.
John: *teleports right to her, grabby hands*

And for all his non-tactile, personal-distance, please-do-not-pet-anything-you-see-no-matter-what, baby. And his expression and his hope and that dawning excitement of baby baby baby. Team baby, which is like the best kind of baby ever, because it's Teyla's and it might not be his, but it's as close as he'll ever get. And eighteen years just flashed across his mind; football and Atlantis-exploring and being Uncle John who lets MiniBoyTeyla stay up too late and feeds him cookies and too much sugar and teaches him to surf and watching Jaws and first right at babysitting duties with like, dire threats to anyone who tries to get in the way of baby-time....

Okay, not bitter at all the lack of MiniJohn's at all, or the fact that he already knows that his time for having babies has already run out. If I ever really wanted to ship John and Teyla, this would be the reason right here; not the love of a lifetime or passion, but he'd make such a good father, and would do anything for his family. I don't think now they could ever fall in love with each other, and they deserve someone that they could, but--I wonder if the other way would be all that bad.

Carter, Radek, and the Many Ways He Is Not Rodney

A million years ago, someone said that deliberate care was taken every so often to remind the audience why Rodney, despite being kind of an asshole, is the Chief Scientist of the expedition for a reason. The elevator with Carter shows a lot of that reason, though I'm not sure the reinforcement, at this point, is all that necessary. Radek's nicer and more collaborative and doesn't call anyone an idiot; he also lacks Rodney's focus under pressure and that streak of absolute certainty in himself. Radek doesn't have it and I'm not sure he ever will. He doesn't believe in himself like Rodney does,

Also--seriously. Radek. Crushing on every woman who is your superior? Wow. Your life has been interesting, I have to admit.

Notes of Pondering: pigeons. Pigeons. Sam trying to make conversation. Radek being weirdly shy. The pigeon joke. Sam taking a moment to wish she'd said Hell and No when they'd asked her take command of Atlantis, because these people are weird.

Ronon and Keller

They are so adorable it's like sugar shock in a good way. I love Ronon is this weird combination of cynical adult and overgrown teenager; he couldn't have been all that old when he lost Melina (though at least twenty-one, twenty-twoish, so he's probably thirty or thereabouts at this point). Keller's exposition matched with Ronon's felt the least expositiony of anything SGA has pulled off yet. She's smart and cute and still awkward with that edge of uncertainty in the *person* she is, not the professional, and I love her for that.

Ronon and explosives! Ronon and improvising! Keller gaming going along because heck, this is Atlantis and it's not like she's not used to people taking what's at hand and making things blow up. The way Ronon looks at her, and the way she looks at him, and the fact that they are just. Fucking. Adorable. I just can't get over it. I just make these ridiculous sounds and flap my hands and want there to be a prom that Ronon can ask her to and get her a ridiculous Athosian corsage and they can dance and right, I am connecting with Keller here.

McKay/Brown, McKay, and that Damned Cactus

Again, my shock was so total I spent several lines being deeply unpleasantly unhappy, but whatever. I don't like the ship, and it's not just the fact I've had only sixish eps to even get used to it, with long, long dry spaces where it did not exist anywhere and so always came as a shock when it was mentioned again. I do blame the writers for that one; they're perfectly capable of writing in the friendships fine and giving lines to John to keep Rodney in mind, so they're perfectly capable of having McKay mention Brown or the fact he's in a relationship more often than once ever six or seven episodes.

So I have no investment, and I'm not particularly sorry. She got on my nerves and that plant completely freaks me out. I don't care if that's not mature; that plant freaks me out. The first time I saw it, I started twitching, and seeing it in it's full glory with the--

Brown: I've been kind of doting on it, giving it a little extra TLC, and it keeps getting bigger...and bigger....
Rodney: *coughing hysterically to stop this line of questioning right now*

I'm sorry. I just--stare at it in horror. It has spines. It has that--*gestures*--thing on top. That is not part of nature. I have seen this anime. And apparently, the SGA writers have too.

Writers: What. Were. You. Thinking?

Okay, all that aside:

My biggest problem with this was the fact it was a deliberate set against every other relationship on the show. The compare/contrast was weird and it was true and it still hit my embarrassment squick hard and fast and painfully. Rodney freaking out with his team is fine; Rodney freaking out alone is okay and kind of hilarious; Rodney freaking out with Brown felt--invasive. I don't even know why, but that was the first time I felt like I was watching something I shouldn't and don't want to, not only because Rodney's vulnerabilities are so open, but because it was so raw and awkward and horrible when the person with him was just as embarrassed to witness it.

Embarrassed and uncertain what to do with it, like she'd never met him and maybe never wanted to, and that in a nutshell is what's between them. She's never met him, no matter how many dates they've had.

Which may come down to why I don't particularly see this pairing, because she was sweet and kind and fluttered and tried to be comforting and honestly seemed lost that she didn't make a dent in Rodney's descent into gloom and self-pity. There was this slow escalation that on the show usually gets short-circuited by John (Teyla, Ronon, Elizabeth, Carter); say what you like, Rodney's interaction with human beings has never been fluffy or particularly sympathetic, so where the idea came from that all he really needs is someone to cuddle him to make all right kind of loses me. He should have been disassembling a wall to get out, and instead, he's lounging across the floor convinced he's dying.

This is the guy who walked into a black cloud, shot a Wraith point blank, and in another world programmed a computer while water rode up the walls to drown him. He crawled into a tiny tube on the Aurora to rescue John; he was a thousand feet below the ocean and still half-saved himself, chased down a ship to rescue his best friend, he went into John's dreams to rescue him from his own doppelganger; Rodney is Rodney is Rodney--this kind of situation is where he shines, where the brilliant parts of him explode like a star going nova, where he finds himself at his essence. This is someone anyone could fall in love with, because this is what he is at his core.

That's the man Atlantis, Pegasus, John Sheppard helped build, that Rodney's team and his friends helped find; it's who Rodney's fought to become.

Rodney McKay doesn't lie down on the floor to die; he's years from the man who knew how to give up. Every other argument aside, and there are a lot about stability and having someone to come home to, all well and good; Brown is not the person who wakes up the Rodney who can save a galaxy with the power of his will, the one that makes him reach into himself for something better and something stronger and something more. He deserves someone who can be that for him, coax out brilliance and selflessness, mkae him be so much more than he thought he could be.

Brown doesn't do that and she never has. She won't ask him to be more because she doesn't know there's more to find; she'll never make him search himself for reserves he didn't know he had, strength he didn't know he could claim, make him question who he is and who he wants to be. And these things are important to the person Rodney's become; he didn't get here, he didn't fight his way from being a scientist to being soldier by being careful, by being kind, by being easy.

These are the things she doesn't see, and until she does, she can't be what he needs.

John, Rodney, and God, What the Hell Was That?

I don't ship randomly; that I think Rodney and John are totally MTB is personal preference and also fucking canon. John tossed into a situation without a gun is the mirror of Rodney in a lot of ways, but he carries his encouragement in his head, in a tiny voice that reminds him he so much more than a soldier. John chose to be a soldier, not a scientist (though I think an argument could be made that if John had chosen the sciences, he'd have been gleefully settled in engineering building utterly insane, insane, insane things that have little practical use, but I will say this: he would have had individual propulsion packs invented before his thirtieth birthday, I swear to God. And playing with them constantly.)

John brings out Rodney's strength and his passion; Rodney brings out John's mind, the stuttering jump between soldier and the guy who was secretly in the chess club and played D&D for thirty-six hours straight and is totally obsessed with comic books and bad sci-fi. No one else wakes up the part of John that turns a room of miscellaneous equipment into a super-duper pully thing(?) in Grace Under Pressure, remembered the language of mathematics in a cave with Rodney's life on the line, thought his way through Atlantis' systems to stop Kolya, wandered through his totally platonic female OTP's ship with glee (whee physics! you could hear him thinking so loudly it's like a shout), fix a gate chair and bring a ship under his command with the power of his mind.

Rodney is John's living, breathing reminder, like John is Rodney's. You're more than the sum of the parts you see, there's so much more; show me everything. John didn't need to be taught to be selfless or brave, but he needed to be taught he was valuable for more than his aim. He's more than a pilot because that's what Atlantis made him, that's what his team made him, that's what Rodney made him. He flies a city and plays RPGs with Rodney in his spare time; the thing is--this wasn't who he was four seasons ago. He thinks of Rodney because the parts of him that remember passwords and chair configurations and disabling subspace beacons were what Rodney gave him. It's easy to die for someone, and John gets hot and bothered when he can, but it's harder to live for them, live with them, live with what they make you and make you be; if Rodney's learning that, John is, too.

Through the show, John and Rodney are together even when they're not; he's there in John's mind, telling him what to do ("Jesus, Colonel, just type in the password"), and the soldier crawled the building but Rodney's student was the one who knew how to disable the beacon.

In a show that was about relationships, what they mean, what they are, what they're not, the one that hovered as a constant over them all was the one that barely spent a scene in the same room.

I just--I love them, and I love that they don't have to be in the same room to be together.

Tags: episode review: stargate:atlantis
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