James Cameron’s Avatar disappoints me as a movie. Without a doubt, it’s a beautiful film that a lot of time and effort went into, but despite all that, the story falls flat in so many other areas. In terms of worldbuilding, the movie’s biggest crime is that none of the characters seem to realize that they’ve discovered the key to eternal life.
I’ve mentioned before that I love stories where enemies have to work together, and as a result, I have read and recced numerous fanfiction that does just that. This month, I tried desperately to find a story that broke out of my comfort zone and wasn’t about some evil asshole being forced to get along and cooperate with the good guys. I was unable to succeed in my endeavor, and so I am here today to rec yet another fic to you about some evil asshole being forced to get along and cooperate with the good guys.
During Stargate SG-1’s tenth season, our heroes go on a quest to find the Holy Grail. These episodes, “The Quest” Parts 1 and 2, were incredible. I swear that they only existed because the writers thought it would be awesome to see our heroes team up with two of their worst enemies and make them all fight a dragon together. As such, when I found a fic taking place during “The Quest”, I just had to read it. W is For Wordless starts right after the dragon is defeated and the characters are gated to a new planet in order to meet Merlin. The fic follows on with the second half of “The Quest”, except that it’s told from the perspective of one of Ba’al’s clones.
It’s no secret that I love Stargate SG-1—it’s got aliens, mythology, and some kickass female characters. Unfortunately, Stargate still has a lot of failings, and watching Orphan Black has brought to my attention at least one more thing that Stargate has done wrong. About halfway through the show, we meet the System Lord Ba’al. Like other Goa’uld, he’s a parasitic creature that has taken over an innocent person’s body called a symbiote. Eventually, when the Goa’uld start losing power, Ba’al tries hiding out on Earth for a bit. While there, he gets the bright idea to clone himself, and the entire storyline never sat well with me.
To start, the whole cloning thing just seemed like a cheap copout to have our villain be in multiple places at once and allow our heroes to kill him over and over and over again without actually getting rid of his character. When I was younger, I also had some concerns for how the show handled this from a more moralistic point of view, and as I said, it wasn’t until watching Orphan Black that I realized exactly what was so wrong with this storyline. For a show that’s so focused on bodily autonomy, I don’t think anyone really thought through the implications of having one of their villains clone himself.
The ‘born this way’ argument, which argues that sexuality is part of your genetic code, the same as brown eyes or the ability to curl your tongue, is currently the most popular defense of queer sexualities in the media. It’s most often used as a way to defend queer people to bigots, in the sense of “why would you hate these people for something that they did not have any choice in being?”
I am of two minds about this way of looking at things. On one hand, I do feel that sexuality, much like race or gender, is something you’re born with; I don’t know that I or any other queer person I know ever made a choice to be queer, or indeed, would choose to be queer in a world that is still actively discriminatory toward LGBTQ+ people. However, it’s sort of shitty that we have to resort to “please accept us because we can’t help ourselves” as a defense. If we had chosen to be queer, why would that make us more worthy of judgment?
Luce and I finished watching the first season of Orphan Black recently, and while the finale addressed many of the questions I had, there are several things I would still like to know about the clones. Out of all of these, the foremost is probably “are they gonna get into how Cosima is a lesbian and the rest of the clones aren’t?” Given that the Clone Club are all essentially genetically identical, I’m surprised no one’s even brought up the fact that of all of them, only Cosima has canonically displayed same-sex attraction.