Possibly a dumb question about Alien/Aliens.
February 23, 2013 4:44 AM   Subscribe

On a recent rewatch of the original Alien and Aliens films, I realized something puzzling.

In Alien, Ash confesses to Ripley that his actions to bring a xenomorph on board were the result of explicit instructions from Weyland-Yutani. That being the case, why would Ripley trust the company (in general, not just Burke) in Aliens? Shouldn't she have smelled a rat from the get-go?
posted by orrnyereg to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I always read it as that she trusted the company would do the wrong thing and was compelled to be sure it was done correctly. It was only after that nightmare she had that she then called Burke (in the middle of the night) to ask if he was going there to kill it and he said yes. Later she learned he lied to her.
posted by lampshade at 5:02 AM on February 23, 2013 [11 favorites]

Best answer: why would Ripley trust the company (in general, not just Burke) in Aliens?

She didn't. She assumed they'd (1) done bad stuff and (2) screwed the pooch in doing so. She went to try to rescue the colonists.
posted by valkyryn at 5:04 AM on February 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Agree with lampshade, she went along to make sure it was dead and not coming to Earth. or worse, Aliens 3.
posted by mattoxic at 5:05 AM on February 23, 2013

Best answer: According to my SO, who loves all things Alien/Aliens, Ripley figured the company would have changed their mind about bringing one back after seeing what happened the first time. That's why they sent the marines instead of a bunch of scientists.
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:01 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In addition to what everyone else has said, she really had no life back home. Her daughter was dead, her skills mostly obsolete. She needed a job and The Company was willing to provide.

I also got the impression that Burke was manipulating things to keep her from getting another good job so that her situation seemed even more desperate, to her.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:47 AM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Just because she agrees to go doesn't mean she trusts the company. Nobody trusts the company, but you have to work with them to do anything, so you uneasily do the best you can. It's like living in a company town, but the company town is all of known space. Ripley thinks she might be able to fix her psychological problems by seeing the aliens destroyed, and the only chance for that is to go with Burke; the risk of betrayal and secret agendas is just how things are.

Her freakout at Bishop's presence indicates her ongoing suspicion. Maybe it also indicates that she's assigned a lot of the blame to Ash personally rather than to the company.

The cracked article linked by cali59 asks a somewhat sharper question: why doesn't she immediately tell the marines about Burke sending the colonists out to find the derelict? Maybe they could imprison him until their return to Earth, rather than leaving him free to make further dastardly moves, as he of course does. I guess Ripley doesn't have much imagination for company-style maneuvering; her own problem-solving style is certainly more direct.
posted by stebulus at 8:32 AM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Just chiming in to agree with the others. Ripley knows the company is heading out to that xenomorph-infested colony, and that she's the only one who has any idea of what they're heading into. The only way she can be sure that (a) the xenomorphs will actually be dealt with and (b) the company won't try to sneak one back to Earth is to personally witness and participate in the mission. It's because of her lack of trust in the company that she goes along. And Ripley has nothing to lose since she has nothing keeping her on Earth, and no sense of meaning or purpose since she's obsolete in this society.

Also, I think Ripley has a compelling personal motivation to go and see these things dealt with -- both for revenge against the creature(s) that terrorized her and killed her crewmates and friends (not to mention putting her in the position of mercy-killing her lover, Dallas), and to gain some closure for all the trauma she's suffered -- including losing her daughter. The nightmares cannot end for her until she goes back and confronts the xenomorphs.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:43 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On one level, it was made clear that the company had a lot of leverage over her future (the "review" took away her flight officer qualification and held her just short of criminal charges), but in-story she was given the jeopardy of the colony and the assurance that the colonial marines would "go out there to kill it", in addition to inducements regarding her career. I think Burke was made to seem just reachable enough that she thought he was potentially trustworthy, and as later shown on the Sulaco, a lot of her distrust was -- perhaps inappropriately -- laid on Ash and synthetics in general (what stebulus said).
posted by dhartung at 6:30 PM on February 23, 2013

Response by poster: So, kind of a dumb question. Thanks all for humoring me!
posted by orrnyereg at 7:11 PM on February 24, 2013

This is a good question, I've never considered this, why would she trust them? Maybe because the military was going along? It was a military operation and supposedly a search and rescue mission, no? Regarding the military authority, this was expressed in the conversation about Hicks being a grunt and not having the authority to nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. I think Burke was just there as an adviser or consultant like Ripley and his job was to represent the company.

Also, I never understood how Ash knew what they were dealing with before they landed on LV-426 in the first movie. In the second maybe she thought that the knowledge learned after the first disaster would convince the company that this thing was two dangerous to bring back. Then again, the company didn't believe her about the creature never before seen on over 300 surveyed worlds in the debriefing meeting in the beginning of Aliens. Plausible deniability and/or top secret status would have kept most in WY uninformed.

Also, I suppose Ripley knew that the mission was going ahead with or without her so she might have well gone.
posted by Che boludo! at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2013

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