Monday, 12 October 2009

Juliard St. Claire.

Haha, I've been watching an old show (accidental download while checking out what the latest Stargate is supposed to be all about (so far it's mostly about Robert Carlyle and some triple-checked fool-proof human drama..)) and I came across a really cool character. I know JUST how she feels most of the time. :D

Basic plotline is, a team of scientists has to go to a completely alien location and since stuff's going wrong at home, they're a little bit pressed for preparations. The usual intro into most space adventures. There's something like 48 folks, some soldiers, scientists, reporters and so on, mostly volunteers. The lead is a young reporter and her soldier brother, and they have a friend who is like a nerd, but sort of brave. Again, nothing too annoyingly original. They kind of lead the line. BUT. Somewhere along the way some screenwriter had an interesting night out and some heavy hangover the next morning, and they came up with Dr. Juliard St. Claire.

In the very first scene when she's introduced, amidst all the rush, they explain to the lead trio in a hurry they need to make sure someone else is along, but she's on the base under unofficial circumstances - and heavily sedated. perish the thought she isn't sedated. She's a super kick-ass scientist slash explorer slash commando that was once, a long time ago sent to rescue someone in the orbit, but as they were long gone and communications were severed with her craft, she was left to drift out, till she managed to find a way and return on her own. Basically, the soldier chief admits, they left her in space for four years and now she's really, I mean REALLY pissed off.

Now, although Juliard is in her early thirties (this was from before every female in every show had to be 22 and an ex supermodel) she keeps her face very angry and very ugly all the time, sometimes even when she's sleeping. She really is chronically pissed off. Of course when the group arriveson the new location and starts arranging ad hoc living conditions, the meds eventually run out. She starts to comprehend that not onl ywas her return to Earth intercepted and she didn't even begin any psychological treatment, she is already once more shipped to another hell hole without her consent and everyone is treating her as if she is ungrateful. Funny thing is that at first she just goes around hitting people when they try to speak to her. As someone with by far the longest time in space, she is somewhat of an eminence, but she's really ill tempered.

Fast forward to several episodes in, when the show dares come near her again. (Usually she's just helping fix stuff, though usually for the first half of the episode she declares how she's perfectly happy watching everyone die painfully, but usually comes with the solution in the end and often doesn't even admit it was her who saved the day, the lead characters just suspect it..) The protagonists encounter their adversaries for the show's duration - a race of nasty soldierly conqueror types of humanoid, but not people. They basically steal technology and go around being jerks. Over time their ways have stolen what is useful around the solar system and have pushed those, who were more advanced and didn't really want to fight far away, so our fellas haven't really got anyone to rely on. What fun would it be otherwise?

Well, Juliard is nowhere near interested in being antagonized by someone who, as he puts it, has acquired their comes-with-the-uniform scowl in front of a ship's reflective surface, and she disables their machines and steals one of their crafts with one of their soldiers aboard. Torturing him with 'long speeches about just how bad an innocent astronaut's life can get and a little bit of liquid nitrogen', she returns after two days and organizes a whole defense against the bad guys. Her hostage is kept for further study, but during an attack later in the show he escapes and towards the end of the season returns just so that he could kill Dr. St. Claire.

So on and so forth, I've watched the entire season fast forward, mostly just skipping to reach scenes with her. I like her, because unlike others she's quite two-dimensional without having that held against her. Many other characters, even some of the extras, tend to go deep into personal drama and motives and histories and relationships, yadda yadda, whereas she is just - pissed off. Even though, she gets all the best kicks, best saves and even best sex. Her coming onto one of the bad alien's leaders (she's high at the time on home-made LSD) during their 'negotiations' is hilarious. "I don't care about those others, you can eat them for all that's worth to me, but they say you save one life, you save the day and if you and I could get back together later on and have some quality sexual engagement, you'd really be saving me," she conspires with him, while hanging from his shoulder in front of pretty much everyone in the show.

In the last episode everyone fights and good guys versus bad guys eventually win, highlighting some grave casualties, but Juliard's shuttle, after she's managed to contribute to the final save is attaceked and shot off the main ship and into the orbit of a passing planet. As they are unable to retrieve her, the cast mourns for her, but we see the closure on her story for the time being, as she climbs out of the broken shuttle in some arid wasteland, pissed off some more at her fate. (She knows they won't be able to come and get her. and is not the sort an individual just yet to linger on despair.) And yet, while she takes her time to hate her life before she sets off to fix things for herself (and probably everyone else) again, she realizes her shuttle was hit by another shuttle, even more destroyed, and another survivor crawls out of the debris: her old friend the tortured soldier alien (their subtly sexy hate-hate relationship was one of the grateful storylines.). She realizes she at least won't be bored (a line from a previous debate on the subject of the aliens "If you're wondering what kills you faster - heat, disease, falling from a height or them, you can stop asking yourself right now.") Her last words of disbelief and almost first joy seen on her face, to him, as he manages to climb his feet, but too hurt to launch and rip her apart (you have to understand that those aliens were something like uber fighters, more than humans, kinda like Predators from another franchise - only amore agreeable), are: "Oh.. You are SO fucked."