Post-Trinity

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: post-Doranda fic, Doranda, Arcturus
Related: Episode Tag, Rodney-whumping
See Also: Whump, Grovelfic
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Post-Trinity ("PT") is term used by fan to refer to a substantial category of Stargate Atlantis fanworks in which the events of the Season 2 episode Trinity play a major role.

The events of the episode, Rodney being berated for his arrogance and failure after a disaster, and especially the break in the friendship between John and Rodney spawned (it seems like at least) 1000 fanworks focusing on these themes. They are often fix-it fics, attempting to make sense of characterization, and contain varying levels of angst.

Even fanworks written many years later or that do not have the Post-Trinity Phenomenon as a central theme will often mention John's coldness towards Rodney or Rodney's unhappiness or what he learned from "Doranda" or "the Arcturus Project" in passing.

In general, "true" Post-Trinity Phenomenon stories focus heavily on Rodney-whumping, and although they exist as gen and alternate pairing works, the majority seem to be McKay/Sheppard.

Some common tropes utilized: whump, You Big Bully, Grovelfic, and fix-its.

The phrase "Post-Trinity Syndrome" was coined by iibnf in the 2007 to refer to these kinds of fics, vids, meta, and general discussion. See: Stargate: Atlantis -- The Post-Trinity phenomenon.

Canon Background

In the episode, the team discovers an experimental Ancient weapons platform, called Project Arcturus, on the planet Doranda. Rodney McKay, convinced of his own genius, persists in working on it even after one of his scientists dies during initial testing.

Despite concerns voiced by his colleague Radek Zelenka and others, Rodney persuades expedition leader Elizabeth Weir and Colonel Caldwell that continued testing could have major benefits if they succeed in making the weapon work; not only for defeating the Wraith in the Pegasus Galaxy, but also other alien threats to Earth.

Lt. Col. John Sheppard accompanies him to continue the tests, but despite Rodney's assurances that he knows what he's doing, the weapon destabilizes and becomes extremely dangerous, destroying not only the planet it is housed on but 5/6th of the surrounding solar system. John and Rodney only narrowly escape due to last-minute unexpected rescue by the Daedalus.

Once they return to Atlantis, Rodney gets chewed out, and John tells Rodney he's lost John's trust (though he may be able to win it back. Someday. Eventually).

Fan Reaction

Fan responses to the actual episode as well as to the characterization in many Post-Trinity Phenomenon fanworks (of Rodney as unfairly treated) became a recurring topic of debate between fans.{Needs Citation} For example, fans disagreed about how other characters had made major mistakes in canon too and Rodney was just being unjustly punished for his lack of social graces vs. he really was being an incredible asshole who deserved more punishment for what he did than he got in canon and many fanworks.

In Fanworks

As one fan said:

"I really want to see SGA fics that explore the development of their relationship, because I can really, really see it. Starting at this point, yes. Earlier on, no. [...] But. At a moment like this when John has had to ask himself just how much faith he really has in Rodney, and Rodney's had to come to terms with how much of the image that is Rodney McKay he can afford to drop around John, because John's just kicked him where it's hurt and Rodney's going to have to deal with what he's done to their partnership; and John's never really understood until now that they've had a partnership, just the two of them, and he's never really understood what Rodney thinks of him, or how much he thinks of him until just this second, and that's going to take some dealing too, and suddenly everything is wide open."[1]

In April 2007, iibnf compiled a themed list of Post-Trinity Phenomenon fic -- key elements were the level of angst and Rodney-shunning, eventual repentance, etc. (She later added categories for PTP parody and "post-Trinity but not quite PTP" fanworks.)

From the list post:

"What is a classic Post-Trinity fic?
Normally, in a classic Post-Trinity fic, John Sheppard (sometimes the entirety of Atlantis) cannot forgive Rodney for making a mistake, and proceeds to punish him, usually by shunning. A lot of shunning. Oftimes Rodney may also be served lemon chicken in the mess, his work may be sabotaged, people will be mean to him, generally his life is made more unpleasant. Poor woobie.
Now, yes, of course I know that John would never be that unprofessional or mean, and Rodney would either a) not care, b) not notice, or c) destroy them all, mwahahahahaha, but that's not the point. So shut up, okay? [...]
The main point of these types of Post-Trinity stories is that Rodney suffers and John is mean. Actual realistic characterisation need not apply, and that's not the point! Oh, and there must be shunning. The shunning is very important."[2]

On the Post-Trinity Phenomenon themed list, stories are rated according to the level of lemon chicken, as popular fanon had it that the Atlantis mess might, out of anger at McKay for this episode, start frequently serving that dish (which McKay, with his canon/fanon severe citrus allergy, would have to avoid).

On the topic of Trinity-related fic, another fan said:

"[I] realized that just as every dueSouth writer has a post-Call of the Wild fic in them, so every SGA writer has a Doranda fic."[3]

Other Fandoms and Similar Circumstances

Other canon sources have instances that fans consider to be careless, problematic, and mystifying choices regarding plot lines and characterizations.

A lot of these classic fix-it opportunities are the last episode in a series in which things do not go as fans expected or wanted them to go in a different direction: some examples are Post-Gauda Prime (Blake's 7), Call of the Wild) (due South), and [need examples].

Some examples of canon crossroads such as "Trinity" in Stargate Atlantis or the episode "Starsky vs Hutch" in Starsky & Hutch, two episodes that many fans find very unsatisfying and out-of-character.

Fanwork Examples

Resources

References

  1. SGA, McShep (which really is the best pairing name ever), and slash for slash's sake by Aja, 26 November 2005. (Accessed 21 May 2011)
  2. Stargate: Atlantis - The Post-Trinity phenomenon masterlist post by iibnf, started 20 April 2007, last updated 1 September, 2013. (Accessed 1 September, 2013)
  3. Endnote at A Mark In Time by busaikko (asexual!John & Rodney gen friendship furry fic), 29 July 2010. (Accessed 21 May 2011)