• Various/Onna Carr

Stargate Atlantis, Conversion: a Study in Character

Updated: Apr 8, 2019


Post by Onna Carr

Today, is the the day "Children of the god's" premiered on television in 1997, twenty-one years ago! Just wanted to share this momentous tidbit before going into todays post!:)

Stargate Atlantis, season two, episode eight, Conversion, is my favorite Stargate Atlantis episode for two reasons:

1. Conversion features my favorite character, Lt. Col. John Sheppard.

2. Conversion features Lt. Col. John Sheppard's greatest trait, character.

John is brought to the infirmary early on in the episode as he was attacked by a creature possessing the iratus bug virus and was cut and bleeding after the scuttle (this virus is sort of the intergalactic equivalent of rabies). However, he has no apparent cuts despite the escapade upon check-up with Carson. This oddity is followed by Sheppard's newfound pleasure in a jog around the city with Ronan. (Don't get me wrong, but the idea of Sheppard taking off on a jog for fun immediately tipped me off as even a first-time viewer of SGA of the the graveness of his situation).

The reason for my alarm was that Lt. Col. John Sheppard does not ever appear the exercising type throughout the entire series (okay, there was that one run to get supplies when he was staying with the wanna-be, in-process ascendants, but that involved impressing an ancienty-lady). Lt. Col. John Sheppard is busy saving the galaxies with his trusted team from insurmountable odds and various naughty guys. Between the diet of power bars, sleep deprivation, and stress hormones that are severe endocrine disruptors, how would he have the time or the energy for a "jog" around the city?


After the jog, Sheppard develops a nasty, bug-looking sore on his arm and Dr. Carson Beckett discovers that Lt. Col. John Sheppard's DNA is changing not-so-slowly into that of an iratus bug (perhaps because of the exercise??). An excellent reason not to jog--at least in the Pegasus Galaxy after getting attacked by a creature with the irratus bug virus, can be made here)!

As Lt. Col. John Sheppard realizes what is happening, he orders one and then two security groups to guard his quarters as he knows that is his friends cannot find a cure, he will be a serious, liability with unpredictable actions and a dangerous risk.


As Lt. Col. John Sheppard's friends try to save him, his cognescent behavior is overridden by the virus, and he tries to escape his lockdowned quarters, eluding the two security teams and eventually being stopped by Teyla and Ronan (with his gun set on stun--friendlier);).

Lt. Col. John Sheppard is then taken to the infirmary again, and given medication to help him to regain lucidity and given a mission, to track down the anti-virus by collecting some Irratus Bug's egg as he is the only one whose scent will keep him from danger from the annoying critters. He succeeds at the mission and is brought back, stunned again by Ronan (Jason Momoa had fun on this episode, I imagine), and the anti-virus is developed. Lt. Col. John Sheppard regains fully human DNA, and he apologizes to Teyla for his unusual behavior. The reason I like this episode so much is because even though Lt. Col. John Sheppard is not entirely in control of his actions in this episode, he creates several stopgaps before that point to protect his friends to the best of his ability: that he makes sure no one one he cares about gets left behind, even if that means leaving himself behind, and that is character in action.

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