Posted in Blog, Reviews, TV Review

StARe 12 – Common Ground!

I am so excited!!

I didn’t realize how close I was to ‘Common Ground’ after the last book and when the episode queued, I almost scared my mother I was so happy!

I’m calming down now, but not too much cause Todd!!

Okay.

There are going to be, I think, about the same amount of episode catch-up posts as there will be book review posts until the end of Season 5. Unfortunately, there are only about 2-3 books each for Season 4 and 5, but that’s okay because after Season 5 is the ‘Legacy’ series that I’m pretty sure is supposed to wrap the series up.

Can you say, ‘heck to the yeah’!?

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…Todd! (I fully realize that the review for ‘Common Ground’ will be longer than the others, but I can’t help it!)

Season 3, Episode 7- Common Ground

(I should mention that I’ve re-watched this a few times in-between other episodes because I love it so much and will be watching it while doing this review too in case of more insights)

In Common Ground, Colonel Sheppard is captured by the Genii Kolya. Kolya doesn’t want Atlantis or weapons or anything like that this time. Instead, he wants revenge on the person who usurped his ‘throne’ and led the revolution that took the Genii people out of the current regime.

Ladon Radim is that person. The Genii’s highest ranked scientist who had been on the strike team during the Atlantis attack so long ago. Now, Ladon is an ally of Atlantis (I actually kind of like him now because he seems to be a good leader and not just out for power but wanting to help his people) and comes when Weir calls to try and help.

Kolya wants a straight trade. Ladon for Sheppard.

Weir says no.

Kolya brings out what he believes to be his ace up the sleeve that will force Weir’s cooperation.

A Wraith. (IT’S TODD!!!!) And he lets the Wraith feed on Sheppard before putting them back in their adjoining cells (Bad move Kolya). I’m not cold hearted ya’ll. I don’t like that Sheppard suffers cause I like him, but this is a really great episode when it comes to Wraith/Human relations.

Eventually, after several feedings, Sheppard gives Todd enough hope that they can escape that they do.

And now this review takes a different turn from the others because I have so many feels!

Most of my observations are around the feeding itself and what it does for a Wraith because it tends to be overlooked by Atlantis. Something I think is a vast oversight as they probably would have had more luck defeating the Wraith if they’d considered them as something other than monsters.

Todd has no hope when Sheppard meets him which indicates that he’s been a prisoner for a very long time (a comment later makes me think other Wraith may have tried to rescue him but were not successful). Maybe not Kolya’s but certainly the Genii’s as they have a specially made metal glove-like contraption that keeps Todd from being able to feed while it’s on.

When Todd and Sheppard first talk, Todd sounds like an old man in his eighties or nineties. After he feeds the first time and they talk again, he sounds better (I’m using his well-fed voice as comparison here). Another note is how weak he is at first, because when we first see him it’s really just his legs as he’s sitting in deep shadow (and the guards are definitely holding him up when he first appears). After the first feeding, he stands as most of the Wraith we’ve known do, which is to say preternaturally still as to reserve as much energy as possible.

Something I noticed were Todd’s teeth/fangs. I could swear other Wraith have longer, closer together teeth, but Todd’s are pretty small and there’s obvious room between them in the few moments you see them when he talks to Sheppard. I wouldn’t put it past the Genii to have removed his teeth so he was less dangerous. This particular observation isn’t something I’ll be able to figure out for a while cause Todd doesn’t get near enough screen time for my liking (he doesn’t show up again until Season 4).

Another thing is his skin tone which ranges from a green to a white. It could be the lighting in some cases but also definitely varies on his current level of starvation I think. Don’t worry about his hair though cause it’s always that unkempt looking.

He’s more vocal than the other Wraith we’ve met and though the talking to Sheppard thing can be attributed to his being lonely, he growls and groans a lot too. Again, it can be put down as his being injured, he does get shot several times and bleeds quite a bit, but I think it’s more that Wraith are vocal in general just not wordy, if that makes sense.

So, when they get out of the bunker itself, there’s a point where Todd collapses and tells Sheppard he should go on without him. Of course, Sheppard says no, but then realizes that Todd has no idea where the Stargate is. To his credit, Todd is remorseful at having deceived Sheppard but explains it’s been many years since he was brought to the bunker.

Todd also tells Sheppard that they’re (in reference to the expedition not leaving people behind) more like Wraith than they know and that there’s more to the Wraith than they know.

Sheppard cracks a few jokes and gets Todd to laugh which is one of the reasons I love him so much. He has a great laugh! (and sense of humor but we’ll get to that much later)

He’s lying down on his back looking at the stars and says it was all worth it if only to see the sky again. Sheppard, of course, has higher expectations and says they’ll rest for a bit before moving on.

When Todd senses the Genii closing in he very obviously scents the air, before going to where Sheppard is leaning against a tree asleep and takes even more energy from him. He looks like a corpse at this point.

The scenting of the air thing is pretty neat as it tells us the Wraith have a better sense of smell than humans. Not surprising as they’re also stronger, faster and can heal fatal wounds if they feed.

Back to the feeding itself.

Todd feeds on one Genii soldier after knocking two away and pinning the remaining two under his hands. We don’t see it, but he looks at the second Genii soldier and you can tell he has every intention of feeding on him as well. The question is, does he feed on all four or were the two enough to not only heal him but restore him to a level considered acceptable to Wraith without glutting themselves?

Since he gives Sheppard back more than he took (thank you for the observation Rodney!) I’m going with Todd fed on all four Genii. It would make sense for several reasons as he doesn’t know when he’ll get another chance to feed and he intends to heal Sheppard so he wouldn’t want to revert to a starvation state again.

However!

Rodney comments that there are eight life signs outside the bunker and that the number decreases to two, one of which is Sheppard (tracking device tells all) so what happened to the other two Genii? Did Todd need to feed on them as well or did he simply kill them?

We’ll probably never know.

I’m going with he fed on them too.

When he returns to Sheppard’s side, Sheppard tells him to finish it (thinking Todd is like every other Wraith he’s met before). Todd reiterates, in a much deeper and healthier sounding voice (yum!) that there’s much Sheppard doesn’t know about Wraith.

Then he gives back more than he took.

Interesting how that works isn’t it? They have the ability to heal but that isn’t an Iratus bug trait. It also isn’t a human trait either.

This is one of the reasons I think the Wraith were a race of beings before the Alteran’s decided to screw with them. Maybe they could always heal and used to be able to eat food instead of feeding on humans. Maybe the Alteran’s messed them up so bad they developed the healing ability along with the dependence on feeding to survive.

I’m really hoping the ‘Legacy’ series gives me more information!

Another thing I just remembered I wanted to mention.

Clothes!

First of all, the Wraith have cool clothes, but mostly the fact that they can feed through different material suggests that the enzyme is acidic enough to eat its way through so the Wraith can feed. Obviously, it’s easier to feed if there’s nothing in the way, but I wonder if the expedition could have created a type of chainmail or Kevlar shirt that could have stopped the enzyme or whatever substance was eating the material?

Now, I have read quite a bit of fanfiction because you can never have too much Stargate, and I’ve only come across the supposition that the healing (sorry! They call it the Gift of Life) is pleasurable….it could have something to do with my taste in fanfiction which is more likely.

Fact is, when a Wraith feeds, the result is that the humans’ cells degrade very rapidly, which is why they look like they’re aging, and it is intensely painful because their energy (or life force if you’d prefer) is being dragged out of them.

Here, we hear Sheppard yell in what sounds to me like pain while Todd gives him the Gift. My personal opinion (and may change later if books give more info) is that its both painful and pleasurable when receiving the Gift of Life. Pleasurable because you’re feeling better with the new energy you’re receiving, but also painful because your cells are being restored as quickly as they’d been drained.

Can’t be fun ya’ll.

When the team reaches Todd and Sheppard, Ronon pulls Todd away and is about to kill him when Sheppard orders everyone to stand down.

Now that Sheppard’s people are there, Todd believes he’s either about to die or be taken prisoner again as evidenced by the fact he tells Sheppard he didn’t truly believe Sheppard would keep his word about them both leaving the plaent alive.

Ronon hands Sheppard his gun and Sheppard shoots Todd.

The looks on Rodney, Teyla and Carson’s faces say a lot. They can’t believe that he would go back on his word even if the one receiving it is a Wraith.

Ronon takes back his gun and notes that Sheppard had it on stun instead of kill.

Sheppard tells the Marines to pick Todd up and bring him with.

Not as a prisoner though.

Sheppard finds a planet where Wraith are (I have no idea how but I’m pretty sure they didn’t go back to Atlantis because Weir wouldn’t have allowed it) and drops Todd off.

They have an understanding and even though Sheppard says that if they meet again all bets are off, you can’t help but understand that things will be vastly different between the two individually and between the humans and Wraith from that moment forward.

It takes quite some time before we meet Todd again and Atlantis won’t be kind to him, but there is more trust between Todd and Sheppard than anyone is comfortable with so things keep happening where they meet up and work together.

Todd is pretty formidable amongst the Wraith, as evidenced in later episodes by the fact that he can control so many Hive ships without a Queen. This is something that’s noted on and I think it’s due to the Queen’s mental abilities being different than the males which allows them to keep a Hive together.

I also think it’s insinuated that Todd is old. About 10,000 years old or older which is based on comments and knowledge he has about Atlantis and the Alteran’s and such.

That, however, is for another time and another episode. For now I shall bid you adieu and I hope you are as excited about things as I am and as in love with Todd as I am because he is flipping awesome!

Ciao for now!

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