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Lanteans: Out-Wraithing the Wraith

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    Lanteans: Out-Wraithing the Wraith

    After re-watching all of Todd's episodes, I’m struck by how Wraith-like the Lanteans really are, and wonder how long it will be before their actions and attitudes come back to haunt them.

    Todd's experience is a perfect example of what I mean. We are introduced to him as a character who has given up on life...but then has his hope restored, only to be disillusioned, and eventually encouraged to look out only for himself. And who encourages him to do so? A Lantean...yes, a Lantean teaches a Wraith how to be a Wraith. Go figger.

    Follow me through the first three Todd episodes, and you'll see what I mean...

    COMMON GROUND

    1. We learn for Wraith, hunger burns inside. This isn’t something they can control, but part of their nature. They must feed in order to live. This establishes that all they do is motivated by a basic instinct to survive.

    2. Todd has been in prison so long, he's given up on life. He shows admiration for Sheppard - his strength, his determination to escape. He pays Sheppard the highest honor possible: he compares Sheppard to Wraith. This takes humility on Todd’s part to elevate someone from the ‘human herd’ to his own, superior level...to even go as far as suggesting he's a 'brother'.

    3. Todd proves himself to be a Wraith of his word, a Wraith of honor. He helps Sheppard escape, then encourages Sheppard to go on without him because he’s too weak. Todd was willing to die there, just so Sheppard had a chance to survive.

    4. Despite being ravaged by starvation, Todd has control over his feeding. He hesitates before feeding the second time, and stops himself the third. He also doesn't take Sheppard's life the last time he feeds (though he certainly could have), but instead uses the strength he gains to save them both, then he goes as far as giving Sheppard back the years he took. He did NOT have to do this – but he feels an obligation to 'repay the debt' - something we previously thought the Wraith incapable of doing.

    In this episode Todd proves that - despite their aggressive, superior nature – Wraith are capable of altruistic deeds. We also get a sense that Todd is truly awed by what Sheppard has done for him, for the trust he was willing to show - and for the hope he restored in him.


    THE SEER

    1. Todd - perhaps still believing there is a bond of trust between them - desires to meet with Sheppard on neutral ground, but instead he’s taken in and held as a prisoner.

    2. Todd shows humility once again by asking the humans for help, and shows trust in coming to them in the first place, and sharing his data. On the other hand, Sheppard schemes to play along, with the idea of shooting Todd's hive out of the sky once they get what they need. Not once - but twice - he suggests double-crossing Todd. Nasty business, that.

    3. Todd is kept chained in the lab, or caged. When he holds back part of the virus, the Lanteans get testy. Todd explains that he had to do it because he had no guarantee that the humans wouldn’t double-cross him once they got what they wanted (which was Sheppard’s idea all along). Of course, Sheppard takes offense at the idea, the little weasel that he is.

    This indicates that Todd knew much about human nature, and how closely it resembled Wraith – he foresaw his capture (tracking device), as well as a double-cross (withholding part of the virus). But nothing Todd did indicated that HE intended to betray the humans. Instead, it was all the other way around. The Lanteans were actually out-Wraithing the Wraith.

    4. After Todd's hive is destroyed, Todd appeals for Sheppard's trust, and he's denied it. Instead, he's pushed by the guards towards the lab - his treatment perhaps no better than what he experienced at the hands of the Genii. Up to this point he seems to truly believe there’s a bond of trust between himself and Sheppard, and though he took precautions to ensure his survival, he also took a great risk by putting his life in the hands of the Lanteans, and now he’s been burned by it.

    MILLER'S CROSSING

    1. The episode starts with Rodney saying that they didn't need the Wraith's help, and that he wouldn't help them anyway. This suggests that something major changed after Todd's hive was destroyed. Did he stop helping because he was being held prisoner, with no chance of freedom, or did he stop because he was getting too weak - and miserable - due to hunger and fatigue?

    2. He's brought in – staggering and chained like an animal - to help with Rodney's sister. He has no prospects of ever feeding again, he's facing death by starvation, and yet the Lanteans continue to expect him to work like some sort of slave. At least with the Genii he was allowed to feed on the occasional prisoner (‘no one has ever left this place alive’), but with the Lanteans, he had no such hope. The masters may have changed, but Todd was still a prisoner, and the Lanteans were proving themselves no better than the Genii.

    3. Rodney's appeal to Todd. To me, this is the turning point for Todd. He is totally disillusioned by the Lanteans – they are no different than Wraith. I believe this is where Todd puts aside any altruistic inclinations he may have had, and starts to once again think about himself. He had already shown himself trustworthy, but to no avail – there was nothing more he could do to prove his honor - Rodney even recognizes this. So, instead, Rodney appeals to Todd's sense of family - first boring him, and then touching a nerve when he mentions the lost hive - then he makes his appeal: "Do this for yourself - do this because you know you can."

    That may have been the most dangerous idea ever to put into Todd's head. Whereas Sheppard gave him hope in that Genii prison, Rodney gave him the key to unlocking the human chains that bound him.

    From here on out, Todd is a changed Wraith.

    He is starving, he needs to feed…and the humans aren’t going to provide him with a meal. And Rodney already told him that they wouldn’t let him go because he knew about Atlantis. So, it’s very possible that he collapsed on purpose before finishing the programming. The programming was his ONLY leverage for a meal – finish it, and he’d be as good as dead. But collapse BEFORE it’s done, when he’s still very much needed…appeal to the humans’ sense of compassion…and see what happens.

    And what happened? He got fed. I truly believe he may have manipulated the humans here – and rightly so. They certainly would NOT have fed him afterwards.

    Remember what Sheppard said to him in prison? ‘Are they gonna let you go after I’m dead?’ Todd’s not a dumb Wraith – he knew without leverage, he was as good as dead. So, better to use his hunger to his advantage BEFORE he’s done the coding, then afterwards when he’d have nothing to ‘bargain’ with.

    Todd has gone from hopeless, to hopeful, to disillusioned, to self-serving. He has gained more control over his situations, now manipulating humans to do what he wants, instead of the other way around. AND he certainly seems to enjoy the game – perhaps it’s even more enjoyable to him than hunting down the occasional runner for sport. This is chess at its highest, most complex level. He talks his way out of his chains and back onto a hive, he breezes over the reasons Shep & Co. were stunned, he gets the Lanteans to rescue him from the cloning facility, he again breezes over the fact that he stole the Midway information, and he talks them into giving up their research on the Hoffan drug. All of this happened after Rodney’s little pep talk.

    I wonder if the Lanteans refusal to trust Todd, as they refused to trust Michael, will come back to haunt them. Have they created yet another monster to contend with in the future? I’m sure Rodney’s words to "do this for yourself - do this because you know you can" continue to ring loud and clear in his ears, spurring him on, encouraging him to try to beat the humans at their very own Wraith-like game.


    das
    Last edited by dasNdanger; March 5, 2008, 04:15 AM.
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    #2
    Very nice analysis. Much to think about!

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      #3
      This is a very thought provoking post lots of insight to the Wraith and the Atlantians. Todd is a very smart and clever Wraith he has a keen insight on human behavior though he will not reveal it. He knows how to plays his hand.
      Sheppard may think he is using Todd because Rodney gave him partial info on the Hoffan poison I can't exactly remember what Rodney said something about the poison killing the wraith I have to re watch that episode again or read the transcripts. I lost my train of thought. Sheppard may think he is using Todd but Todd is also using Sheppard. We know that Sheppard will evenically back stab Todd. Sorry if I have gone off track here. I'm going to re watch Todd eps. I won't be able to watch the Seer since I don' t have that on my DVR. I am getting tried. Nice points of view das.

      PS the form dosn't have spell check Just wondering

      LS

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        #4
        Yeah, he's a pretty cool guy. I just wonder if the writers actually realized what they did with him.

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          #5
          Originally posted by AutumnDream View Post
          Yeah, he's a pretty cool guy. I just wonder if the writers actually realized what they did with him.
          Cynic that I am, I doubt it. I can hope that they understand, though.
          Tilting windmills since... well... too long ago to remember...

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            #6
            Originally posted by AutumnDream View Post
            Yeah, he's a pretty cool guy. I just wonder if the writers actually realized what they did with him.
            if the writers don't, they need to. to kill off todd would be kill off one of the most interesting aspects of the show right now. to me, at least.

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              #7
              Originally posted by naamiaiset
              if the writers don't, they need to. to kill off todd would be kill off one of the most dynamic aspects of the show right now. to me, at least.
              You've said that, twice now...

              They won't kill Todd. Much to yummy to do so. Just like they won't kill Mikey yet.

              And Todd is a scientist. He doesn't seem the type to create a Runner... Just compare him to Mr. Ugly, and you'll see my point, I hope.


              In Loving Memory of Wraithlord.

              I wish I got to know you better.

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                #8
                Originally posted by GoSpikey View Post
                You've said that, twice now...

                They won't kill Todd. Much to yummy to do so. Just like they won't kill Mikey yet.

                And Todd is a scientist. He doesn't seem the type to create a Runner... Just compare him to Mr. Ugly, and you'll see my point, I hope.

                I didn't see that it posted twice for some reason. I'll fix that.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by naamiaiset View Post
                  I didn't see that it posted twice for some reason. I'll fix that.


                  Glad it wasn't my eyes that went all wonky, with a slower wireless connection all things could happen, I try to scroll down when it's loading, but then you sometimes see things double...

                  In Loving Memory of Wraithlord.

                  I wish I got to know you better.

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                    #10
                    That was actually a well thought out posting on todd and the lanteans...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I'd like to go back a bit before Todd entered the story to give some additional perspective to why events might have unfolded as they did. This is rife with spoilers for all seasons, so let the reader beware.

                      Originally posted by dasNdanger View Post
                      After re-watching all of Todd's episodes, I’m struck by how Wraith-like the Lanteans really are, and wonder how long it will be before their actions and attitudes come back to haunt them.

                      *************
                      I wonder if the Lanteans refusal to trust Todd, as they refused to trust Michael, will come back to haunt them. Have they created yet another monster to contend with in the future? I’m sure Rodney’s words to "do this for yourself - do this because you know you can" continue to ring loud and clear in his ears, spurring him on, encouraging him to try to beat the humans at their very own Wraith-like game.

                      das
                      The SGA team came to a distant galaxy in search of Atlantis and on their arrival were warned of a terrible enemy that defeated the Ancients. That enemy was the Wraith. With that in their minds they began to explore other worlds in in the Pegasus galaxy and learned of the Wraith practice of culling humans on every world. They experienced a culling of their new-found friends the Athosians and had their own team-members taken. In an attempt to rescue their their comrades, they discovered how the Wraith sustain themselves -- by feeding on the life-force of their prey leaving an aged husk behind -- and accidently caused the premature awakening of that hive and consequently every other hive in the galaxy.

                      All of this led the Lanteans to fear the Wraith. And why wouldn't they? The Wraith are so powerful that they defeated the Ancients, feed on humans and they attacked the SGA forces at Atlantis.

                      Truly an inauspicious beginning in intergalactic-interspecies relations.

                      Now on the defensive, the Lanteans began their counter-attack based primarily on a retrovirus that would render the Wraith helpless by removing their Iratus bug based Wraith DNA, leaving only the human DNA behind. An ill-fated meeting with the inhabitants of the planet Hoff added a Wraith-killing protein to the possible anti-Wraith weapons, but although they helped the Hoffans develop it and this was never actively embraced by the Lanteans. However, they did test it on a captive Wraith -- probably the first step they took down the slipperly slope of unethical treatment of another sentient race.

                      They continued along this line with their continuing retrovirus experiments which produced Michael and later were weaponized in an unfortunate alliance with the Queen of the hive to which Michael belonged. This little episode left Michael as a very dangerous outcast, ostracized by Wraith and human alike.
                      And the devious Wraith queen stole information and tried to use it to expand her feeding grounds to include the Earth.

                      Intergalactic relations seem to be getting a lot worse, and we're only at the end of Season 2!

                      But not all of the Pegasus humans were technologically backward, nice, friendly folk like the Athosians. The SGA met the Genii, humans that were just as power hungry as the Wraith as well as devious, unscrupulous and in possession of an atomic bomb.

                      At this point Sheppard fell into the hands of Kolya's rogue Genii. While there he met a Wraith who was very different that those he had met before. Das gives an exceptionally insightful analysis of what happened to Sheppard and Todd in Common Ground in her post above, so I'll refer you back to that.

                      Todd came to work with the humans to defeat the Replicators, their common enemy, and behaved honorably at every turn in spite of his ill-treatment; but, inexplicably, Sheppard put less and less trust in him as time went on. The end result was Todd being forced to practice some deception in the interest of self-preservation.
                      "Do this for yourself - do this because you know you can."

                      That may have been the most dangerous idea ever to put into Todd's head. Whereas Sheppard gave him hope in that Genii prison, Rodney gave him the key to unlocking the human chains that bound him.
                      I agree that this may indeed have been the turning point. He was mistreated by the Lanteans and now that he is free, will only deal with them on his own terms. Todd is a military commander and scientist. He has been a leader of the Wraith with many hives loyal to him, even after his extended absence. You don't maintain a position like that, especially in a species as devious and suspicious as the Wraith, by being politically naive. Todd is old even for a Wraith and has had thousands of years to learn to play the game. He plays it well and enjoys it. .

                      The humans of the SGA are very different than those of the Pegasus Galaxy. The Wraith have seen this. Most of them consider the SGA a threat, but that is not true of Todd. What happened between Sheppard and Todd could have been a huge step for two disparate cultures to begin to understand one another. Sheppard has seriously damaged that. If Todd is able to re-establish himself in Wraith society, he could be a valuable ally. He is intelligent, rational and honorable -- at least when he is dealt with in a honorable fashion.

                      The Lanteans have gradually become less honorable and less ethical as time has passed. They view the Wraith as cruel and deceptive, but have become more and more like them. In fact they may have now reached the point where they really do 'out-Wraith the Wraith." I think the Lanteans will have to prove that they are capable of treating others in an honorable and ethical way before Todd will be willing to trust them and work with them again. At the very least, Sheppard will have to do so. They better hope they can do it before they need his help again.

                      Is there a chance for eventual peaceful coexistence for humans and Wraith? As long as the Wraith need to feed on human life-force, the humans will always distrust them. But is there a way around this? Possibly...

                      Of course all of this presumes that TPTB see the Wraith as more than just a convenient disposable enemy that needs to be replaced after a couple of seasons. I hope they see the same potential for development and interaction with the SGA that I do and will continue to keep them active in the plot.
                      Sparrow hawk

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                        #12
                        I admit that I found myself thinking, "aw, come on, not cool, Shep!" a few times, BUT... weren't we all calling them imbeciles for the events of "Allies?"

                        It's only natural that they'd take this hard line after letting themselves get repeatedly screwed for being too trusting ("The Storm" anyone?).
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                          #13
                          @dasNdanger and @Sparrow Hawk focused on the Wraith and what treating they receive from the Lanteans. I agree with both of them. But the Lanteans' didn't come out of nothing...
                          Spoilers, mostly for season 1.

                          The Lanteans definitely have a problem with understanding and treating other people properly, not to mention the Wraith. They seem to think about themselves as some kind of conquerors and still claim they're 'just peaceful travellers'. We had multiple instances that showed us how much they 'care' about the Athosians (let's get rid of them from Atlantis... they want to go? thank you Lord!) and finding them. In Childhood's end they were close to become just thieves, same in The Brotherhood. In Poisoning the Well, they cut any contact with quite an advanced civilisation because they didn't do what the Lanteans wanted. Was the vaccine really a good reason to treat the Hoffans as criminals? After all, they didn't force the vaccine on anybody. And they paid for it, Michael's actions could have been discovered earlier if the Lanteans didn't just take offence. In Sanctuary they also behaved as if they had a right to whatever weapon they expected to find. They would do anything just to prove that they're 'good guys'. What do they think they are? Masters of the Universe?
                          These were just some examples and I exaggerated them on purpose. The point is that if they treat other humans like that what do we expect about threating the Wraith. Actually, I was glad when they weren't meeting other cultures so often after season 1, because if that's their way I just can't stand it.
                          I'm sorry if what I wrote sounds harsh. It doesn't mean that I dislike the show or the characters. I know that they have many other advantages. It's just their attitude to other cultures and races that makes me angry. They should work on it as it's the main cause for all the trouble they are in.

                          Icarium

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by dasNdanger View Post
                            After re-watching all of Todd's episodes, I’m struck by how Wraith-like the Lanteans really are, and wonder how long it will be before their actions and attitudes come back to haunt them.
                            It already is, I think. You got Michael, Asurans, hybrids, and Hoff plague. I'm waiting for them to lose their Athosians allies somehow. I think SGC and IOA would prefer that the Team lose them. Who else have the Atlantis screwed over?

                            And the Travelers better screw the Expedition over! Otherwise I'm going to be really irritated. Here's a group that mistreated Sheppard and there's nothing in their actions that should garner trust. Yet they do. I feel like the Travelers are getting an alliance on a silver platter while the others have to work and maintain it. And it's not even about Todd! All the other allies had to do it by keeping up with trade relations and talks. But the Travelers get to fly off, with Atlantis being unable to contact them unless they contact Atlantis first.

                            My reaction? --> WHAT?

                            Great analysis, dasNdanger! I agree with you for the most part. I've got comments! But I sort of disagree about the "bond of trust," though it's a hair-splitting issue. And I think Sheppard and Todd both made some missteps. But I agree Sheppard is the one who is acting dishonorably. Also disagree with the difference in Todd's treatment between the two different captivities. I think Todd fared better than he did with Kolya.

                            I'll post about the Genii treatment first. (The rest much later once I get my thoughts organized.)

                            I think Sheppard treated Todd better than the Genii. Yes, Sheppard treated Todd dishonorably (cuffs, imprisonment), but it was better. Sheppard isn't cruel. Kolya is. We know that Kolya starved him, fed him to keep him alive, fed him to experiment the effects of Wraith feedings, and used him as a torture instrument. We don't know what else Kolya and his group did to him. But seeing how broken and dispirited Todd was, I would be very surprised if Todd hadn't also suffer other degrading treatments. Such as beatings, electro shocks, and using feedings and starvation for behavior control and submission.

                            And even though Todd starved in Sheppard's hands, it wasn't out of cruelty that Sheppard let that happened. It's because Sheppard can't feed Todd. Not without choosing to sacrifice someone in a non-combat
                            situation. And Sheppard, who is also a soldier, will only kill in order to protect. Like he did in Miller's Crossing, and I don't think Sheppard will lose too much sleep over what he did. If a different opportunity that allowed him to feed Todd came up, I think Sheppard would have taken it. He's a soldier and Black Ops at that. Because the Asurans are out there wiping out worlds.

                            Although Sheppard brought the situation on himself when he captured Todd. His dishonorable act has already started to come back to bite him.

                            And I'm sure Todd understands why Sheppard won't feed him. It's why I'm also sure Todd never asked to be fed.

                            Originally posted by MrMcKayCan View Post
                            I admit that I found myself thinking, "aw, come on, not cool, Shep!" a few times, BUT... weren't we all calling them imbeciles for the events of "Allies?"
                            They were imbeciles because they took NO security precautions, decided to trust Wraiths that they had no prior relations to, decided to trust a Wraith (Michael) that they previously experimented on and deceived, and most importantly, they got blinded by their self-centered egos. (Oh! Aren't we great! These evil Wraiths have come to see the goodness of us! We can change them! We're do-gooders making a difference! Go humans!)

                            And when Todd comes, they reacted to the opposite extreme, even though the relationship with Todd comes from a totally different, and more honorable, circumstance. However, I'm keeping in mind that they just lost Weir and Heightmeyer, so I can understand why they've become more flippant about betrayal. And I think Sheppard may feel his judgment compromised so his decisions seems to be trying to compensate for that.

                            Idiots in both situations. This is why I worry about Todd's fate. It seems like SGA are doomed to repeat their mistakes.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Icarium View Post
                              I'm sorry if what I wrote sounds harsh. It doesn't mean that I dislike the show or the characters. I know that they have many other advantages. It's just their attitude to other cultures and races that makes me angry. They should work on it as it's the main cause for all the trouble they are in.
                              It isn't harsh at all. You raise some excellent points. The Lanteans have treated the people of many worlds they have visited badly. They seem to think that they know what is best for everyone else and, as far as we have seen, seldom deal with any other people as equals.

                              Part of this may be because the human worlds in Pegasus have been oppressed by the Wraith for thousands of years and are technologically way behind the Lanteans.

                              Living in Atlantis seems to have a deleterious effect on the occupant's ego. The Ancients became arrogant and overconfident and it led to their fall when the Wraith became advanced enough to challenge them. Now the SGA expedition is suffering from the same arrogance. They seem to believe that being more technologically advanced makes them superior.

                              And they have also become rather casual about back-stabbing. From The Seer:
                              SHEPPARD: Well, if you believe that, then you believe Atlantis is gonna be destroyed, and we might as well pack up our bags and go home. How ‘bout this: we play along. We wait for them to transmit the programme to Rodney's computer, then blow ‘em out of the sky.

                              CARTER: Betray them before they have a chance to betray us.

                              DEX: They're Wraith. Anyone gonna lose any sleep over this?

                              (John shrugs.)
                              Just one example and I'm sure people can come up with others. This is not the attitude I would want in a team I sent out to explore new worlds.

                              But I think there is still some hope for them. I thought about the "turning point" das mentioned in her opening post and I realized that the incident in Miller's Crossing was also a turning point for Rodney. While he was making his appeal for Todd's help, he began to put himself in Todd's place, to see things from Todd's perspective. He realized that Todd had suffered a horrible loss when his hive was destroyed and showed Todd some compassion; no one else in Atlantis had showed the least concern for him before that. From that point on, Rodney treated Todd as a colleague and an equal. Rodney even says later, referring to Todd in Spoils of War: "That's our old friend, the Wraith that helped me save Jeanie and got us all those hive ships."

                              Could it be that the Rodney is really the best of the humans in Atlantis when it comes to dealing with other cultures?
                              Sparrow hawk

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