And then there was more John Sheppard meta!
An anon sent me an ask (which was really sweet, btw, thank you anon!) asking me what I like about John Sheppard.
Little did anon know a monster that can never be tamed had just been released.
So here are some slightly disjointed thoughts around that! And sadly there’s more where it came from. In the future I might have to assemble a spread sheet, because I just have so many feelings.
Also a big thank you to everyone who sent me asks about the two previous metas –I’m always open to discuss a point further and I was pink-cheeked with joy over every one, I swear.
Firstly I don’t think we should discount the fact that Sheppard is the one to hold the narrative, so to say. We are inherently sympathetic to his goals because for all intents and purposes they’re our goals as well. We connect to and invest in Atlantis and its inhabitants gradually more and more, to echo the Sheppard journey. When he sets out to save the city or one of the other characters – especially Rodney/Teyla/Ronon – that seems like the only right thing to do.
(I might be a little less sympathetic to his plight if I were, say, a Genii underling who got word that my superior officer just kidnapped Doctor McKay again. In fact I’d probably just piss my pants and abort mission ASAP if it weren’t for the fact that Kolya would not look kindly on deserters, from what we’ve seen. Or hell, maybe I’d just go for it; my chances of being killed like a wounded redshirt limping across the savanna of fiction would be pretty equal either way)
So, as the uh most main of the main characters we are connected to him.
The thing about him that gets me the most is of course the bizarro nature of his character, what with the slacker-attitude, that time with the lollipop (sob), the hair, his wonderfully silly expression and inability to refrain from slouching even when nominally standing to attention, what a little shit he is to his superior officers, the gloriously crazy hair-pin turns of his thinking when it comes to battle strategy… and the fact that despite all that he’s patently terrifying when it comes right down to it, in the true spirit of his place in the O’Neil tradition. Him talking Wallace into offering himself up as Todd’s buffet of the day in “Miller’s Crossing” doesn’t really come as a surprise for us, because despite the occasionally goofy exterior this is the dude who killed sixty Genii at the flick of a button and took the rest of them out in a highly one-sided game of Atlantis hide-and-seek.
All of these points, obviously, always and forever. But specifically on the competence front: he does seem kind of calculated on how much he lets that show (because its so exposing, people might look closer and actually see him and oh honey). He totally relies heavily on his, as put, glib, superficial charm. But the thing that makes me happiest is that he abandons this as soon as he goes into leave no man behind mode. Or, you know, when he’s showing off for/saving
Rodney his team (see Brotherhood: “It was on a Mensa test”; Search and Rescue: “Just a hole in my abdomen, nbd, gotta save Teyla and Rodney”; and approximately seven thousand other examples). Gah, just the whole routine of not letting anyone develop high expectations of him so he can’t be a disappointment still leaves me in a foetal position. Though it’s probably a self preservation thing, since he already has a guilt trip that spans the whole freaking galaxy. I can just picture him snapping and punching a tree when they come across another culled village because there’s nothing he can do. Wait, did that actually happen? I don’t even know anymore.
I also really like the observation about him being the straight man to Rodney’s bluster. It makes so much sense to me that he wouldn’t be theatrical (again, too exposing) except for that one time with the jealous flouncing.