29 December 2007

Noble Wraiths


They stripped away everything that made him who he was - took his memories, changed his body to match their own image - and expected him to become one of them. They failed. In the aftermath of their failure, he and they came to some respectful understandings.

Or so he thought. Until they betrayed him and tried to do the exact same thing a second time, as if no understandings had occurred at all. Not just to him, but to an entire shipful of his people. And when they failed again, they tried to destroy all of them.

Even after that he willingly allied with them against his own people. And even after he helped them that time, they betrayed him again.

Then, when he was exiled from his own people because of what they did to him, and the only option left to him for survival was to create his own army in self defense, in their paranoia they wouldn't allow him even that.

He who called one of them brother

Once upon a time he allied with one of them to escape a common enemy. The two together succeeded, and he was so impressed with the other's honor that he called him brother.

On the strength of that experience, he sought out the same one again later on for another alliance. In return he found no recognition of that shared experience at all. He endured imprisonment, their extreme paranoia, and the loss of his entire hive of loyal followers, all without losing patience. He helped save the life of one of them, someone of no importance to him whatsoever; to do so he worked without complaint among them and never once asked to be fed, not even when he collapsed from starvation.

They used him and put him back into imprisonment when they were done, and when they no longer need him they will throw him away.

So who are the actual good guys and bad guys of Stargate: Atlantis? Because I'm finding it difficult to sympathize with the humans of Earth. They have no honor, they never learn and they do their best to burn every bridge they encounter when they could be building them.

It would be much different if the wraiths consciously chose to feed upon the humans when they could choose other food sources - but they don't have that choice. Their only choices are to feed upon humans or to die. How are they evil by not choosing to die? And how much more fascinating a storyline could there have been, exploring the nature of a sentient race that must feed upon another sentient race?


Shawn Powers said...

I'm with you. No, I'm no wraith worshipper, but either kill the bad guy or let him go. What's next, wraith waterboarding?

I used to think the wraith were such cool bad guys, because like you said, their situation is one you can understand. To a point. They certainly aren't looking for ways to suck the life out of tofu -- but it was an interesting premise.

Don't get me started on the amazingly similar "replicators" with the totally different history either. Did anyone but me think the ancient version of the replicators was the biggest cheapskate of an idea for a bad guy? In SG1, the replicators (the cool ones) evolved in time dialation into "people" but the ancients created the EXACT SAME creatures from nanobots? WTF?

Megadeus said...

Interesting. Kind of reminds me of parts of Farscape or the new Battlestar Galactica.

Now, I haven't watched anything past the first half of the first episode of SG:A, but would you say they've jumped the shark? I've always had this image of the show as a shaky spin-off, and I'm surprised it's lasted as long as it has.

Shawn Powers said...

I very much enjoyed the early Atlantis, and the "science" is fun to watch. Their social take on the universe, however, I think may be "jumping the shark" as you very well put it.

MWT said...

Heh, see Shawn - my take isn't to either kill him or let him go, so much as it is to let him win. Let his storyline end in a way that's happy for him.

I did think "it's been done already!" when the Ancient replicators first appeared, but they aren't doing as badly with them as they could've. Still, creativity does seem to be lacking lately when it comes to intriguing bad guys in the Stargate universe, and for that matter even new good guys. I remember when SG1 seasons 1-6 had peoples at all technological levels of superiority/inferiority to Earth. Now, not so much.

Someone I talked to last night pointed out that the Writers Guild strike might have something to do with the decline in overall writing quality. I'm hoping so, because I don't know how else anyone could explain this past season. (Seriously, Seer? WTF was that POS? That wasn't a story, that was a collection of unrelated events that all happened to occur at the same time, and they completely wasted their opportunities with the Seer character in favor of endless tedious rounds of "is he lying? is he telling the truth?" Aaarrrrrgghhh...)

On a happy note though: Yay Someone Else that actually watches SG:Atlantis! :) (Voluntarily, at least.) I was beginning to think I was the only one, Shawn.

Anne C. said...

I don't regularly watch, but I happen to know which character you're talking about, 'cause I've loved that actor from his days on Enterprise (another uneven waste of potential). I only watched his first appearance on ST:A, but it's nice to see he managed to make an impression in that universe. On ENT, he made his character into one of the more nuanced and sympathetic characters on the show and won over more than one dubious viewer. It's fascinating to see he's done the same on ST:A.

MWT said...

Yeah, I watched the first couple seasons of Enterprise. Liked it, but not well enough to actively pursue it when they started messing with the scheduling. At some point I might get around to catching up on the parts I missed.

The guy who used to play Miles O'Brien is another recurring character in Atlantis.