6 Things Alien Franchise Characters Do That Get Them Killed
This article spoils Alien: Covenant because that movie has been out for a couple weeks now and this is a pop culture comedy website.
Dear sir or madam,
Congratulations! We've reviewed your application and decided that you would be a fine addition to the crew of the Covenant, a colony ship that Weyland-Yutani is launching into space with 2,000 frozen colonists and over 1,000 embryos with the explicit intent of starting a new planet. We're not sure how we're going to make any money off of this, since we mainly specialize in building robots who are preoccupied with the purpose of their own existence and filling random rooms with priceless works of art for those robots to look at, but we're sure whoever is in charge of this wacky experiment has something in mind. Maybe?
Anyway, though this is a dangerous mission, we at Weyland-Yutani have the utmost confidence that you will survive and do us all proud, provided you follow these very specific guidelines.
Don't Investigate Weird Signals
I understand that space is quite massive and you are likely to be of the curious sort, given the nature of your chosen profession. But you are not here to explore. You're not a scientist. And you are specifically not mandated by the head office to explore any possible evidence of alien life, like certain other ships. Your job is simply to get the thousands of innocent frozen people in your spaceship all the way through space to the cozy new planet we picked out for them. That's it.
Again, there is no reason to investigate any weird signals, even if they're playing John Denver, and especially if Danny McBride is excited about it.
I never would've guessed that the guy with the cowboy hat would be into country music.
This advice goes double if you've just suffered some kind of weird space catastrophe that damaged your ship like oh, say, a "neutrino burst." Even though that may be something I just made up (not sure?) it sounds like the kind of thing that would mess with your sensors, planet-detectors, John Denver analyzers, and so on. Spaceships are huge, complicated machines full of cutting-edge technology and are vulnerable to mistakes.
So yeah, just stick to the plan. There's literally no reason at all not to.
When you're investigating that weird signal, please take some (or any) precautions
If for some reason you ignore that last piece of advice (I'm sure, if you have a reason, it's a good one -- it's not like you're a bunch of idiots or anything) please at least take serious precautions before landing and walking around on an alien planet. Put on a space suit, or something. Don't just throw on some REI gear and call it good.
This is a great example of a stupid thing to do.
You're not Indiana Jones, you're space explorers on another planet that's in space. You can't possibly know for sure that there are no weird gases or malicious microscopic organisms that might, I dunno, burrow in your nose, grow into a chihuahua-sized albino lizard monster, and explode out of your throat in a really cool way. I know that sounds like a paranoid, nutty thing to write down in a list of safety advice, but I really need to stress that we're talking about space here. Anything is possible.
This seems pretty ordinary in comparison to some other stuff I could think up, if you give me a minute.
Because the entire purpose of our mission is to travel to a new planet and set up a colony, you can rest assured that the Covenant is chock-full of the sort of technology you'd need to test out an alien planet and make sure it's inhabitable. How do I know that? Because it'd be absolutely mac-and-cheese-smoothie ludicrous if we didn't have those resources. Surely our current plan isn't to land on Origae-6 and have you walk on out there and suck air through your teeth until you either give the thumbs up or die horribly. I know what we're paying you, and it's a lot (McBride could easily afford a new hat, for example), but it's not enough to do that.
If I'm wrong and we don't have those precautions, then really I'm just gonna have to refer you back to the first point, man.
Once You're Investigating A Weird Signal Without Having Taken Any Precautions, At Least Stick Together
So for reasons that are, again, surely not totally idiotic, you couldn't follow my first two bits of advice. And now you're wandering around on an alien planet, dressed like you're going on a day-hike with your grandpa, lighting cigarettes and shouting and casually remarking about how "there are no birds, no animals at all," before you just stick your nose right into what appears to be a clutch of black eggs that squirts sparkling dust into the air that is one of the most ominous and suspicious things I can imagine encountering.
Fine. I guess. Maybe don't split up though?
You're not under any time constraints. You're not worried about running low on fuel. You'll have plenty of time to test the water's ammonia and nitrate/nitrite levels and scan the atmosphere for flesh-eating viruses over the next few days, or weeks, or months. In fact, you should probably get to that signal before you even bother running any tests, because maybe you're going to find whatever was broadcasting the John Denver and realize it's John Denver. And then what if he forcibly impregnates you, and a tiny John Denver bursts out of your chest and kills everyone on your ship? Does that sound like the kind of planet you'd want to colonize? One jam-packed with murderous John Denvers?
Is this the future you want for your kids?
Watch Out For That Blood!
If you've ignored all the previous advice for a variety of increasingly stupid reasons, then there is sure to be at least one big puddle of blood. That's fine, as long as you:
Slip in it.
If one person slips in a puddle of blood, that's a mistake. If two people slip in the same puddle within a few lousy minutes of each other, then I'm starting to wonder if this is less a "spaceship crew" and more "improv comedy." You don't need to "Yes, And" the alien, guys. He's not a team player. He's an alien and he wants to kill you.
(At this point it's safe to assume your spaceship is lousy with aliens. I mean, how can it not be).
And even if that alien is freaking you out please, please, please don't just fire your weapon wildly in a room full of stuff that can-
After Your Pilot Blows Up Your Ship And You're Rescued By An Obviously Evil Fassbenderbot, Be Cautious About Which Robot You Trust Because We Haven't Updated Their Appearance Yet For Some Reason
Like all responsible Space Adventure companies, we've put a robot on your crew. To keep it from becoming evil, we gave it an American accent.
Works every time.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "But the robots are identical! What if they try to switch places, and the evil British one fakes the American accent?"
Oh, you weren't thinking that? It hadn't occurred to you at all? You're thinking about log cabins?
Where do we find you people?
If You're Going to Try and Engineer a Bioweapon, At Least Don't Make It Worse Than the BioWeapon You Already Have
Hi, David. I imagine by now every single member of the Covenant's crew is either dead or has been tricked into hypersleep by you, the only intelligent person in this whole movie. So this last tip is for you:
If you're going to use the Alien Engineer's black-goo technology to make a new race of killer aliens, at least don't make the monsters less effective than they already are? I mean, the pale dog-alien thing that can headbutt through glass and can infect you without you even realizing it seems a lot more scary and dangerous than the thing that burst out of Billy Crudup's chest and immediately started to raise-tha-roof. And that alien, by the way, is a lot tougher than the aliens we meet later in the Sigourney Weaver movies. Seems like your experiments are just making everything lamer. Seems like you're kinda bad at what you do.
Maybe don't mess with a good thing? Maybe just leave it alone? You know what they say: "Curiosity killed the cat." In fact, you should say that out loud during the movie, especially since it's the core theme of the entire franchise. And don't worry about being too on-the-nose -- in space, no one can hear a theme.
JF Sargent is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked and a huge, huge, huge fan of all the Alien movies (even Resurrection!). Give him a shouty-shout on Twitter or Facebook.
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