Firstly, I'm really enjoying watching season one. I look forward to my daily episode or two. SGA has once again become something I want to talk about, and I've noticed that I'm started talking about my SGA stories in the present tense, not the past tense. I really hope it doesn't come across as being unduly negative when I talk about certain issues that I have with certain things. I am still very much enjoying the show!
In the last post, I complained about certain aspects of Weir's behaviour. It's only fair that I also note down that I was shouting angrily at Sheppard at one point, too. It's back in Rising, when he and Weir are talking about the wisdom of going on a rescue mission to get Teyla and the others back. "I'm right," Sheppard basically says, "because I'm right."
Now, I think this conversation is entirely in character for the Sheppard that we come to know over the course of the series. In the past, he's earned himself censure by going against orders to try to rescue a comrade, and in Search and Rescue, we see him risking his own health to do the same. "Leave no-one behind" is something he believes in and acts upon, so it is entirely right that he puts this argument at this point in the show.
However, I do find myself wishing that he'd given some stronger reasons. It was a difficult situation with good arguments on both sides, so when he just effectively said "My view's right, end of story," it may well have biased me a little against his character, had I not already fallen in love with him in the few later episodes I'd already seen. I do tend to react negatively when characters state categorically that their own moral views are the only correct ones.
The bit that caused me to really shout at him, though, was a little bit later, when he headed off alone into the depths of the Wraith base, despite Ford urging caution. Sheppard is the only person who can fly these people out of here! If Sheppard is lost, it doesn't matter if the rescue party is successful, because everyone else is doomed. Yes, it's in character for Sheppard to want to be personally involved in a rescue mission and not to give up… but in my opinion, this particular incident just makes him look dangerously foolhardy. I do wish they'd had Sheppard say something like, "Stackhouse* can fly the jumper, too. If I don't make it back, leave without me."
(* Or is it Markham? I can never remember which one's which.)
I am also now wondering how it would have been if Sheppard hadn't been allowed to lead that rescue mission. Sumner would still be dead, so Sheppard would still be de facto military commander, but there would be no Teyla and no alliance with the Athosians. But there would also be no - or very few - active Wraith, so we'd have a less interesting background there. Waking the Wraith is pretty pivotal to the plot of the entire series, after all.
But what would the effect be on the characters? Would Sheppard forever reproach himself for not even trying to get them back? Would it undermine his own confidence and self-respect? I suspect that a Sheppard who tried and failed to save Holland, and earned a black mark, is still perhaps a happier Sheppard than one who'd never even tried.
Would relations between Sheppard and Weir be forever strained because she refused to let him go? Would Sheppard's authority with the other soldiers be undermined by the fact that Sumner's fate was unknown - that he might still be out there, a prisoner, to return one day? Not that we ever see a lot about Sheppard's dealing with the men under his command in the show itself. Sumner open disapproved of him, he's an outsider, new to the project, and he's just been forced to kill his commanding officer. There's bound to be authority issues there, and they do appear occasionally - e.g. Sheppard's dealing with Bates in Suspicion - but not a lot. I do wish we'd seen a bit more of Sheppard the commander, as well as Sheppard the team leader.
Anyway, sorry for rambling on. Some of this talk is giving me vague little germs of ideas for possible future stories, so it's all good that way.