Wandering back through Gundam Wing it strikes me that a lot of Our Heros’ problems can be explained by the fact that they’re all involved in special ops when most of them really aren’t suited to that.
Take Quatre, for example. He acts like a line officer, maybe one pretty fresh out of academy and still with all his shiny ideals about honorable, soldierly behavior, lawful surrender and so on. He even has a unit to command, one that seems far more involved in straightforward combat than anything else.
Wufei might have had a bit of an edge, psychologically, coming, allegedly, from a culture in which the collective good has primacy and whose history provides some damn pragmatic philosophy to serve the collective good. But he seems to ignore that in favor of very individual pride in his individual, one-on-one fighting skills. He’s just not sneaky enough, and won’t let himself be.
Trowa seems to be the best suited of all in some ways, and he surely has the skills, but he’s also pretty personally disconnected. That could simply be the mark of someone born to deep cover, but to be honest he doesn’t seem quite… quirky enough to survive. This probably sounds dreadful, but he doesn’t have enough of a sense of humor about what he’s doing–or, perhaps a sense of the ridiculous. Well, he is fifteen, after all.
As for Heero… well, my own interpretation of his weird moments is that J took someone who is totally unsuited to special ops and trained him in them intensively anyway. He’s far too in touch with conventional morality and the idea that Killing Is Wrong. He’s also straightforward as a bulldozer, and if he weren’t, to all appearances, bulletproof, that would have killed him many times over.
Duo, on the other hand, might actually have been trained to be a good spy and saboteur, given he’d already made mental peace with the whole breaking and entering thing. He displays both social connectedness and pragmatism, and personally I think he has the best chance of coming out of the experience both successful and sane.
Which opinion explains why there are small whimpering sounds coming from this corner whenever I try to go back and read most GW fic, but that’s an entry for another day.