darth_stitch: (Adorkable Steve)
[personal profile] darth_stitch
Steve McGarrett is not stupid.  

There's a few times when even the show itself forgets that - hello, Chin Ho Kelly telling a trained Navy SEAL that it's a bad idea to drink from a jungle stream.  This is Survival Basics 101 - making sure you are able to find a drinkable clean water source or you have a way to make said water source clean and drinkable.  I claim to be no military expert but I am quite terrified for U.S. Navy SEALs everywhere if they were never trained on something as basic as that. 

But that's the show and on the whole, with some lapses, they've managed to keep Steve McGarrett consistent enough that we can pretty much give a good accounting of his character.

And yes, high intelligence and smarts are two defining characteristics of Steve McGarrett.

Let's take some things into perspective, given what we know of his background.

He's a Navy SEAL and people, Navy SEALs are a whole different breed from Marines, Rangers, Green Berets and any other member of the US Armed Forces.  If you have ever made the acquaintance of a military man, you will know that it is a fantastically Bad Idea to confuse Army, Navy and Air Force, much less, God help you, anyone who's part of the United States Special Operations Command. 

It's like walking into a bar full of Marines and announcing "Chesty Puller is a wimp."

I'll sit here and pop some corn while the fool who does that gets killed by said Marines.

And no, Steve McGarrett is not a Marine.

Ever check out the requirements for a SEAL on Google?  Much less try to research on their psychological profiles?  The training is one of the most brutal on God's green earth.  Also, try to Google "SEAL psychological profile" on what to expect from a Navy SEAL's character, especially one who happens to be a Naval officer.  

These people are most assuredly not idiots.  They are also and I quote: "assertive, active and conscientious" - people who have been responsible for other people's lives, to make hard decisions on sending men into combat situations and to get them back out alive. 

That takes smarts and courage, not just mindless recklessness and brawn.

Governor Jameson herself introduces Steve to us as "one of the best."  That's not idle flattery.  Her motives may be suspect but if you take a good long look at the candy Steve sports on his Navy dress blues, she really isn't joking.  He is one of the best.

This isn't to say that Steve isn't perfect - we know that his biggest weakness is family.   This explains why the show itself will consistently show him going all "Lone Wolf" and take risks on his own to save the people he considers part of his "ohana."  Steve will be willing to risk himself but to put anyone he cares for in the line of fire is totally unacceptable.  

So what's my beef? 

My beef is the ridiculous trend that I'm beginning to see in fan fiction of Steve being portrayed as an idiot, doing things that would potentially endanger any of the team, much less the non Five-0 side of the ohana, such as Grace.  The general trend is that he's pretty and he's also pretty dumb - which is so wrong, on so many levels. 

Yes, he IS pretty.  

No, he's not pretty dumb. 

While the "immunity and means" premise, even with the new governor in Season 2, isn't really as well defined in the show as much as I would like, all we've seen so far is that Steve's unorthodox approach to crime-fighting does net him good results.  We've yet to actually see the team lose an actual case due to a missed technicality and one assumes that they can get away with this due to the whole "immunity and means" handwave catchall.  

It would be interesting to tell a story that asks that question but you'd have to build up some serious ammunition for this so that your plot works and is plausible without betraying the character.  Because there should be a good reason why Steve has not spent the past several months or the better part of the year studying proper and correct police procedure.  Somebody as quick to learn and as OCD with facts as he is would already have something like this in line.  He'd know what the rules are to determine how far he can bend them and how close he can skirt the line without actually going over it.  And I often get that feel from him within the show itself.

The rest of the time, he plays dumb just to fuck with Danny - my hand to God, I swear that's what he's doing.  

In the show itself, Steve and Danny's different approach to solving crime is often a comedic point.  Steve, of course, will apply his well-earned SEAL-training to resolve difficult situations such as kidnappings, hostage-takings or any situation that will end up in combat.  And that makes sense.  It's what he's trained for and what he's good at. 

Danny is the detective - he solves crimes.  And Chin is his counterpart in this - using his own considerable experience as a detective and his technical savvy.  Kono is Steve's distaff counterpart - mainly coming in when action has to be taken - whether it's engaging her mad sniper skills or going undercover.

And still, the other three still look up to Steve as the One in Charge.  And there's a good reason for that.  Steve is a good leader and he does take care of his people (which is why some of the misses on this in Season 2, particularly in Kono's storyline, were so disheartening).  I find it hard to believe that over the course of the months they've worked together, we can't write a fic showing Steve as boning up on proper police procedure.  Why do I still have to see fic where Steve will end up borking a case completely because of something as simple as a missing warrant .... when the immunity and means catch-all is still in place? 

Also, on the side of endangering civilians - I've yet to see, in the show itself, Steve actually doing something that would put an innocent in harm's way.  He's been trained to avoid something like that as much as possible.  He's probably even more aware of the Rules of Engagement than even Danny is at times, mainly because it is so crucial for men like him to avoid collateral damage of this type at all costs.   He's a character whose sense of duty and personal honor is incredibly high, more so because of his family's Pearl Harbor legacy.   

So a fic where Steve might have inadvertently caused a civilian harm and him angsting over it may make more sense to me versus a fic where Steve is deliberately being a moron and getting some poor innocent sod hurt or killed.

So before we write the next angsty fic in which Steve does something "stupid" and Danny rants at him for it, let's take these things into perspective.  He's not stupid.  He does things differently.  Sure, it may seem odd to the police personnel around him and yes, it can be funny to write something where he may forget that there's a slightly less painful way to do things. Think about his background, think about what he probably had to do and improvise in many a FUBAR'd mission and maybe it makes sense why he'll do something as dive after a suspect from a bridge (yes, he's trained to do that) as opposed to just shooting the dumbass in the leg.

And think, very carefully, before we write him as doing something irresponsible or reckless.  These are two things that he is most assuredly not.  Reckless with his life, maybe.  But irresponsible? Hell no.  Steve already has the death of his father riding on his conscience, an event that might not be his fault, but one he still feels responsible for.  He's more likely to run off to North Korea alone or leave a note for Danny, than consider doing something that would put any one he loved in danger ever again.   

But bottom line - Steve McGarrett is not stupid.

He wouldn't be Five-0's commander if he was.

This Character Reality Check was brought to you by Way Too Many Fics Starring OOC, Stupid Steve....




 
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July 2012

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