Episode 38. Alienation, Part 1: Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)

Alien ep 1

Catch Jonesie the cat and keep the work loader handy because Alex and Andrea are on an express elevator to LV-426 discussing feminism, mothering, special effects and the enduring influence of classic science fiction in the Alien franchise. Stay tuned for Part 2 in June!

REQUIRED READING

Alien. Dir Ridley Scott, 1979.
Aliens. Dir James Cameron, 1986.

EXTRA CREDIT

Strange Shapes – a blog dedicated to everything Alien.

Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films by David Konow.

H.R. Giger – Giger’s Necronomicon and the making of Alien – A documentary on HR Giger, the artist behind some of the arresting imagery in the movies.

Alien Behind the Scenes – The extensive making-of doc taking a look at all that went into Alien.

The Making of Aliens – The equally-extensive featurette about the second film, featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

Get That Life: How I Co-Founded Bitch Media – A history of the evolution and influence of Bitch Magazine.

COURSE NOTES

 Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher.
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22 thoughts on “Episode 38. Alienation, Part 1: Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)

  1. Joshua says:

    First off, let me just gush. This was a banner episode and I loved the insights into one of my most favorite horror films, Alien. The way both of you discussed the fine points made the ideas fresh, reinvigorating a film that I know backwards and forwards.
    I would like to comment and expand on some points you mentioned. For Ripley, I am so happy you both tossed out the pseudo-sexual nonsense about panties in the end sequence. I remember watching a making of Alien on A&E and hearing mention of how the xenomorph at the end was supposed to be bewitched (I’m paraphrasing) by Ripley’s sensuality—puh-lease! That final scene when Ripley does let her guard down forms a nice bookend to the initial scene when the crew of the Nostromo awaken from hyper-sleep. There seems to be a total lack of awareness of bodies or sexuality as the men walk around in tighty-whities. I get the impression that, in the context of the film, that the old sexual stereotypes are sort of broken down and the taboos of male and female figures is loosened to be more banal and bodies are acceptable. Perhaps there is some sort of re-discovered innocence about the human form?
    This brings me to an idea that struck me about the theme on technology. Mother is a computerized system that controls the functions of the Nostromo. She is the all-encompassing presence that both sustains the crew and rules over them. In some ways, I saw the crew of the Nostromo as childlike in the way that they are dependent on this technology and how, as the centuries progress, so are we more and more dependent on technology (can you remember life without the Internet?) Ripley calling Mother a ‘bitch’, I read as her asserting her independence, asserting her will as a human being to decide her, and was in no way derogatory.
    Finally, I want to touch on something Andrea mentioned about Alien being a ‘haunted house’ movie. So true. While watching it through for the podcast, I had this feeling that much of the horror stylings were similar to Gothic novels about old, spooky mansions. The doors open and close seemingly one their own; there are mysterious sounds and breezes; a sense of claustrophobia persists as the camera delves through a maze of hallways and secret corridors. The xenomorph is also somewhat ‘ghosty’ as it passes through walls and dissipates into darkness.
    While I enjoy Aliens, it is for a different reason. Aliens was meant to be a blockbuster and to bring back something you mentioned in your podcast about World War Z and The Haunting, how Hollywood blockbusters attempt to assert a paradigm—often time this is a stereotype of gender, and as seen in Aliens, 20th century gender norms are reinforced.
    Sorry about the long post. Just loved the episode! Thanks!

    • Beyla says:

      On the subject of similarities to old gothic novels on rewatching this so soon after a fresh read of Dracula I felt that it was reminiscent of the logbook of the Demeter. The Nostromo is in motion carrying this thing to it’s destination for some nefarious purpose (which is the focus of later installments even if it disappears into the background to emphasize the immediate need for survival in Alien)

  2. Tessa says:

    Yay! This episode was excellent!

    Food for thought — there’s an amazing article where this guy discusses all the details/design of the Nostromo and the objects the characters interact with:

    http://typesetinthefuture.com/alien/

    It’s phenomenal!

  3. love_rob says:

    You said everything I’ve been saying about Ripley in Aliens and more! In Alien she is an awesome feminist character, and it’s like when it came time to do Aliens they didn’t know what to do with that. She is still a strong character but Aliens tries to label and compartmentalize her and it flattens her somewhat. She doesn’t grow, like you said, she wakes up in a more sexist world both in and out of story and takes a step back. It reminds me of Cabin in the Woods when they’re gassed and start acting like the archetype they’re supposed to represent and lose part of themselves. Such a wasted opportunity.

    Her backstory with her daughter didn’t seem well thought out. I don’t know how long their mission was from the first movie, but it was definitely over a year. It’s a little weird to think that any parent would leave their developing child for such a long time. Her child comes across as a clunky device to explain her attachment to Newt. I also had a hard time believing Newt managed to survive all this time. I mean, she was hiding in the vents which is something the xenomorphs were perfectly comfortable with traveling though. It felt like a by-the-numbers character motivation set-up to lead to the “mother vs mother” showdown at the end. I wasn’t a fan of Newt as a plot device and have to say I was very pleased when she didn’t make it into the third movie.

    • budroMax says:

      A woman would not have left her child for that long if she did not have someone on whom she could completely rely. Coupled with your approximation that this is a step of society somewhat removed from or current sexism, to acheive a relationship like that would be something monumental. To me, this is whats meant to be portrayed; the massive loss Ripley faces, that would break the sanity of the majority of people. Not only did she survive… she grew beyond. Yes, forced to, yet she chose to, because Newt needed someone. Ripley was floating through experience until she found the child, in a realm where Mother had been forgotten. Then she chose to fight, to evolve. Even through the rest of the storyline this theme continues. Ripley fought for what she cared about. When it had to be herself, she floated. But why float unless you expect more to come?

  4. Meredith says:

    This episode was tight. In the 1980s, in the States, corporations were on the rise, it was the decade that inspired American Psycho after all. It was the beginning of death of unions, and birth of resurgent neoliberalism. This makes the character of Burke in Aliens a little more subversive.

    I found the Vietnam metaphors to be stretching it a bit, but I fear neither thought experiments nor rabbit holes. If we follow that metaphor a little further that makes Aliens overtly racist as fuck.

    It’s interesting to think about the contrast of Alien / Aliens in terms of 70s auteur Hollywood vs post-Jaws/Star Bores blockbuster Hollywood. You can really feel the tonal shift.

    As a young person, Aliens was definitely a horror movie experience for me. It was on TV all the time, and I’d only watch it in the day time as all the low light scenes would be obscured by screen glare.

    Fantastic episode!

  5. Billy says:

    Another awesome episode! Thank you Faculty, it is always such a delight when another installment drops.

    Now I have to spring to the defense of Aliens, one of my favorite movies of all time.
    As with most of Cameron’s “Directors cuts”, the theatrical version remains superior, even though I do like those scenes with the automatic turret guns! 🙂

    I don’t agree with some of the criticisms against the “Aliens” version of Ripley character. In the context of the story, I find it quite natural that Ripley would assume a nurturing mother role towards Newt, given her recent loss and the fact that all the other characters are either jarheads or that one coldhearted corporate official. Ripley assuming a mother role also happens while simultaneously ascending to the top of the military hierarchy. So I for one don’t understand the argument that the Newt plot-line undercuts Ripley’s strength as a female character. If anything she is a mother, a natural leader and a no-nonsense ass-kicker which I find to be an inspiring and delightful combination. As you point out the only non-rational decision Ripley makes is to go and rescue Newt. Besides the heightened emotional stakes involved in heroically rescuing a child from a veritable dragon, for me that decision also signifies that Ripley is conquering her fear of the Aliens. Compare her nightmare in the beginning of the movie to the final showdown against the Queen. She has a nice empowering character arch.

    I also don’t agree that Cameron’s affinity for shorter hair and pushups makes his characters less feminine. The two main examples, Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor, are also prominent mothers, and I’d say there are few things more feminine than that.

    As for the misogynist language of the marines. I don’t find it odd that the aggressive culture of the marines would facilitate such a hostile environment. And from a storytelling perspective, Ripley conquering that sort of demeaning environment makes her journey even more impressive and speaks to the strength of her character. Drama through conflict, strength through adversity, right?

    As for the movie logic of old fashioned, harmful sexual norms still being in place 50 years after Alien… I think that’s a weak argument from a pure storytelling standpoint. Science fiction is mostly commenting on our own times after all, and would it have made for better film if Ripley had woken up on the Enterprise of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

    Anyways, the opinions of one guy at least. Thank you for a good discussion and eagerly looking forward to the next episode!

    • love_rob says:

      Here is how I see it. Traditionally women could only be strong in a limited number of ways. They could embrace an established societal role and become a seductress, they could eschew their gender and adopt male characteristics or they could personify their biology and be a nurturing/protecting mother. One of the great things about Ripley in the first movie is that she broke this mold. She was strong, not by embracing some extreme but simply being herself. Her strength was not dependent on her gender identity. In Aliens she loses that distinction. She is now more socially acceptable and her character implicitly endorses that role.

      There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of a strong and protective mother. The issue I have is that she was an extremely rare example of something else, something subversive, in the first film and in the second she isn’t, or at least is less so.

      I would say that being a mother is the most biologically female thing a woman can be, I wouldn’t say it is the most feminine. The most feminine thing I can think of for a woman to be is herself and not what is expected of her. There are millions of childless women who are no less “feminine” as a result.

      As far as the daughter/Newt thing goes I just think it was poorly thought out as well as misguided.

      Thank you for the discussion!

      • Billy says:

        I don’t see “Aliens” Ripley that way. In the first movie she is a very by the books company person. Certainly competent at her job, but she doesn’t have a lot of distinguishing features or personality traits beyond that. She’s fairly bland as a character, which seems by design and part of the subversive nature of the movie. Obviously moviegoers in 1979 would have no idea which crew-member would survive and she’s not telegraphed early on as the obvious survivor. The fact that it is near revolutionary to have a female character just being an ordinary person good at her job, is a sad indictment indeed of the movie industry.

        Again, I don’t agree that Cameron diminished her character when she became a mother. It’s just one of the things and roles Ripley assumes in the sequel. And she’s hardly fitting any conventional movie mould and tropes. Ripley goes from being the original’s by the books professional and I’d say accidental survivor, to a larger than life iron-willed military leader capable of wrestling down alien queens. All while dressing like a normal person and being more rational, decisive and competent than any other character. How many other females in movies can you mention that fits such a bill? Sarah Connor perhaps…? Mad Max’s Furiosa…? Such women in film can probably be counted on one hand the last 40 years, so give her some props. By the time Aliens is over, the character is huge and iconic.

  6. Alex says:

    Thanks as always for an excellent episode; very excited for part 2. I’ve watched every movie in the Aliens saga several times (including one sick-day marathon years ago), and in preparation for the podcast, I marathoned them again, this time trying to pay attention to gender. I noticed something I’d never seen before, and maybe this is as kooky as the eating disorder theory of Drag Me to Hell, but here goes nothing. I think Aliens is a saga about the family unit, and specifically stages of growth in a highly dysfunctional family unit.

    In Alien, Ripley represents an infant. The alien represents our fear for infants—the dark, abduction, physical harm (to particularly vulnerable flesh), and contagion, among other things. The Nostromo is a womb, which sustains life and protects against a dangerous outside world that could kill you from exposure alone. If you’ll allow me a particularly absurd stretch of the metaphor, the chest-burster echoes fears of damaging a baby in the womb through penetrative sex, as well as birth killing the mother (insert analysis of Kane as gendered female). The crew represent the various life support systems of the mother’s body. Ripley will be born—indeed, that is the climax of the movie—but first the crew must be untethered from Ripley, like the severing of the umbilical chord, so that she can be free to eject from the escape capsule. When this theme occurred to me in watching Alien, I found nothing surprising about Ripley’s underwear. It’s not about sexuality, it’s like you said—it’s about vulnerability, a newborn child. Mother, the ship, is a nightmare image of a mother, who wants her daughter to be born, but has designs on her life from inception. The dad in Alien is Ash, who is the worst kind of father. He tries to rape his daughter, but he is impotent. Another big theme throughout the Aliens saga is the impotence of all the men. The only two characters capable of reproduction are Ripley, eventually, and the aliens…

    In Aliens, Ripley becomes a teenager. The marines are her teenage friends. This explains their crude and juvenile jokes and attitudes. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation is Ripley’s family, and Aliens develops the family plan for her. As the company’s name implies, it is a marriage of families, and that is exactly what the company seeks to accomplish with Ripley—to marry her off to the aliens, reflecting an alliance theory of marriage. The company seems to encompass all of humanity, and its men are all impotent. They need the aliens in order to rejuvenate the family. It’s not just about weapons as such, it’s about virility. This is why Carter is so worthless—he is Ripley’s ward, trying to advance the family agenda, but he can’t do it himself. With Newt, Ripley plays mom. And in Bishop, as with Ash, Ripley finds a new father (also impotent). The Queen is literally the matriarch of the alien family, and to both families’ chagrin, Ripley refuses the relationship. But her teenage crush, Hicks, also proves inadequate…

    In Prometheus, we go back in time to see why our saga’s family is so messed up. Bad people have bad histories. Whenever a legendary saga seeks to tell its origin story, it fails (see, e.g., Star Wars Eps. I-III, The Simarillion). Epic history is better left as told by the characters in the present. I won’t belabor the point here but to briefly address the chief complaint in the podcast about Prometheus—that it over-explains—it manages to avoid this mistake in the most important moment of the film, when Weyland confronts the Engineer. The Engineer explains nothing, and simply strikes Weyland with a killing blow. There’s a theory that in parent-child abuse, there is often affliction between generations—the father abuses the child because the father was himself abused. Here, we see the same thing, in its inception.

    In Alien 3, Ripley becomes an adult, ready to bear children. She’s surrounded by double-y chromosome rapists and murderers, who paradoxically, have taken vows of celibacy (continuing with the male infertility theme). The prisoners, whose population has notably dwindled, are Ripley’s potential suitors, but none of them are worthy. When one tries to rape her, the others stop him. She sleeps with the doctor, but he recognizes that she has been promised to someone else (and possibly recognizes her pregnancy), asking if she’s married shortly before he is killed by the alien. Meanwhile, Ripley has become pregnant. Insistent to the last, she resigns herself to suicide rather than to accept her arranged marriage. The human model for Bishop shows up, here again the father, ready to bless the union and take the child into the family. And there is no mother figure other than Ripley herself, who in the ultimate ethical act, rejects motherhood itself by diving into the furnace.

    Finally, in Alien Resurrection, we have Ripley fully realized as mother. Having done everything possible to escape her fate throughout the saga, we find her resigned to her fate, married to the alien, virile, fully alive. While, let’s be honest, this is a pretty terrible movie, if we take the motif I’m advancing, it actually works pretty well. What is self-actualization other than to accept the monstrous within ourselves? And what is more monstrous than family? Than our children? Call struggles with her identity until the end of the film, crucially noting that even Ripley is part-human (most importantly, the reproductive part). Ripley transcends. For the company, now the government and the military itself, their dream of family alliance through marriage is realized as a nightmare. The men, again, are weak and infertile. The doctor’s lust for the aliens reflects his own weakness, and Perez, like Gorman and Andrews and Aaron before him, is a fool. Here, we finally meet the father, in the guise of the ship, and it is completely out of control, impotent. We re-meet the Queen, and she delivers the love child of Ripley and herself, a grotesque hybrid that is human enough to resent its own mother and kill her. Well, the Queen at least. There’s an interesting gender dynamic here where the final alien has two mothers, an elevation of Ripley into the matriarch of humanity, even if she as a clone is already part alien (aren’t we all?). The saga ends with a conversation between Ripley and Call, the two most human non-human characters, recognizing the ambiguity of the situation. They are strangers to Earth. For Ripley, we’ve followed her across space and finally back home, but home is not the same, and Ripley is not herself. That is how all homecomings are. For the first time in the saga, Ripley is free.

    I won’t touch AVP here, but rest assured, I’ve seen them before and I’ll watch them again just for y’all, but they’re really not canonical :-). I hope you enjoy this family theory. It is far from perfect, very much a rough sketch, but I think if you really noodled over it you could find a lot more than what I’ve touched on here. The Alien saga does a lot with gender. The aliens are very trans (the first alien penetrates but can only render its partners into a womb for others, the Queen lays eggs and is also impregnated). The human men, for all their sexist jokes, are infertile and impotent (“Have you ever been mistaken for a man?” “No. Have you?”). Ripley runs away from an arranged marriage and motherhood, only to find transcendence in embracing it. While that ultimate message is deeply flawed and worthy of criticism, it is also much more interesting to read the saga through this lens than to take it at face value. Because at face value, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection are “a shithole,” as Johner says of Earth. But Ripley and Call disagree–“it’s beautiful.”

  7. Stacy Livitsanis says:

    A typically engrossing episode, but your shows are always riveting to listen to, something rare among film podcasts. “Get away from her you bitch!” always bothered me, so it was interesting to hear that moment deconstructed. Surely the sexism, homophobia and transphobia of the marines is meant as an indictment (albeit a fairly toothless one) of military culture than something endorsed by the film? Ripley is our viewpoint character and we’re clearly shown that she’s not amused by these comments. Later Cameron films say otherwise though (True Lies anyone?). Aliens marks the beginning of James Cameron’s decline as a filmmaker. He peaked with The Terminator, and I still love Aliens, but everything since has been a journey into his own rectum.

    When Burke says, “I don’t think you or I or anybody has the right to arbitrarily exterminate them”, Ripley’s instant response is a shocked, “Wrong”, said as if she’s baffled and disgusted at the mere concept of not murdering them all, which is after all, the only reason she came along on the mission. I like that this vengeful aspect of Ripley was explored more in Alien 3, leaving Aliens to be the ‘feel-good’ nuke ‘em genocide romp.

    The biggest issue I had with this episode was the comments about Aliens being an allegory for the Vietnam War. It was unfortunate but sadly not surprising to hear you perpetuate common myths about Vietnam.

    I might be getting carried away with this, as this was a show about Alien/Aliens and not about the Vietnam war, but since it was discussed in some detail, it’s worth addressing. I guess my biggest problem with the Vietnam parallel in Aliens, at least with the highly generalised way you framed it, is that it continues the American tradition of presenting the war in movies and popular culture as a tragedy for America, with the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – the people who truly suffered horribly and in vastly higher numbers and who continue to suffer from America’s war crimes – as utterly irrelevant and invisible. (Remember all the sympathetic, nuanced and various Vietnamese characters in all the great Vietnam war movies? Neither do I.)

    Alex said: “And the notion of the lack of a use of firepower… ‘We’re going to fuck everything up if we use all of these technological weapons that we have’, in a lot of the same way that Americans felt during the Vietnam War. This war was fought on terrain that they were not used to, that they could not use their kind of firepower that they had developed, so they had to do really long drawn out battles.” In the fictional world of Aliens, that might work. But in the reality of Vietnam, bullshit. The idea of the United States being restrained from using force during that conflict is ludicrous. More bombs were dropped during the Vietnam War (especially in Laos, the most bombed country in history) than were dropped on all of Europe in all of WWII. It was the most systematic, technologically sophisticated and prolonged bombing campaign in the history of the world. The idea that the war was primarily fought by American GI’s on the ground in unfamiliar jungles against devious invisible foes is Hollywood idiocy. The US aggressively invaded several countries and devastated the populations with transparent war crimes, for which no one was ever or will ever be brought to justice. Despite this being all a matter of public record, somehow that’s still a controversial statement for many people.

    If Aliens had shown the colonial marines mass-murdering, raping, starving, torturing, imprisoning and napalming the aliens, that would have been closer to what Vietnam was like. Aliens is allegorical only of the state-endorsed and culturally codified myth of Vietnam, not the reality. It’s more about Vietnam War movies than the war itself.

    • Billy says:

      James Cameron has stated on multiple occasions that Aliens alludes to the Vietnam war, specifically the concept of an technologically superior, arrogant american army being woefully unprepared for the conflict they encounter on the ground.

      Aliens is also a sci-fi horror action movie. It’s not Platoon, Full Metal Jacket or any other of the numerous war movies that tries to deal with the ACTUAL Vietnam War.

      I don’t think it’s particularly useful to discuss what the movie is NOT, rather than what it is. And if you draw the conclusion that Aliens is insulting to the population of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia because the adversaries are faceless monsters, you are definitely taking the Vietnam allegory too far. There are endless facets to the Vietnam war. Cameron latched on to ONE idea that was popular among the american anti-war movement, the notion of technology failing against nature. He let that one idea inspire the plot structure of his action movie. Aliens is obviously NOT meant to symbolize Vietnam any further than that.

      George Lucas has also stated that the Ewoks toppling the Empire’s walkers in Return of the Jedi is inspired by the Vietnam conflict. Does that mean that he believes the Vietcong were furry teddy bears?

  8. Ade Griff says:

    Great episode of a great podcast.

    I always thought Ripley was the great feminist character because nothing she does is dependant of her gender. She’s juts a competent person.

    Indeed, assuming this is real…

    http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/alien_early.html

    …we can see that the screenwriters’ original intention was that “the crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women”.

  9. Christine says:

    I’ve always felt Aliens is one of the weakest films in the series, despite its critical acclaim. While many critics praise James Cameron and his female characters, I have lots of issues with his portrayal of Ripley. She goes from a badass survivor in Alien to a overly protective mom. To me, he does the same with Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. “I’m a shitty mom who must atone for my sins by overprotecting young ones.” Interestingly, the alien queen takes the same position with fiercely protecting her eggs. Cameron manages to transform the alien’s inherit desire for survival at all costs to something grossly maternal. While Ripley and the alien queen have numerous layers, focusing on their maternal instincts almost makes their other characteristics null and void.

    Plus, he’s an egomaniac douchebag who I will never forgive for bring those 3+ hours of Titanic-torture into my life.

    And I must admit, I’d be the irrational person saving Jonesy along with myself. This is probably because I really like cats rather than me being a woman or not wanting to be the sole survivor.

  10. BG says:

    One of the challenges with Prometheus is that it frequently hit the wrong notes, in terms of cinematic tone. In places it borders on comedic – the opening sequence just looks too much like an advertisement for the worst espresso in history.

  11. Corey says:

    Terrific talk, thanks for this. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on Alien3 (for my tastes, the most underrated of them all, and likely the one I’ve watched the most) and Alien: Resurrection (which I love even though I know most of it doesn’t quite work).

  12. Richard says:

    Isn’t it great that Jonesie is, in the end, the ONLY survivor of the initial Nostromo expedition? I think that little shit showed his horror movie survival chops when he’s the one who backs away when the full-grown alien first shows in the first film.

  13. Antonis Dervenis says:

    Early in the episode Andrea says Alien isn’t a slasher film. But isn’t it? I’ve been reading Men, Women and Chainsaws by Carol Clover and I find you can apply some of the points Clover makes to Alien.
    Alien came out in 1979 after the first wave of slasher films, such as Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and of course Black Christmas, but before the big slasher boom of the 80s.
    The first comparison we can make between Alien and a slasher film is the fact that it’s about a group of characters that get killed one by one by a monster. Alex and Andrea addressed the male/female dynamic of the alien. Something that reminded me of the male/female dynamic in a lot of the slasher killers: Norman Bates, Leatherface, the killer in Dressed to Kill, The killer in God Told Me To,… This comparison doesn’t completely work because with slasher killers it’s about gender identity and with the alien it’s just biology but it is still an interesting point.
    Next we have the death of Kane. Carol Clover talks about how male characters in slasher films die quickly while the deaths of the female characters are drawn out and often sexual in nature. I feel like they subverted this in Alien with Kane’s death.
    Lastly if alien is a slasher film, is Ripley then a final girl? On the panties scene I am reminded of a quote in Men Women and Chainsaws “we have Ripley wandering around in only her underwear. A little reminder of her gender, lest we lose sight of it behind all that firepower?” I agree more with what Andrea and Alex said about how is shows her in a vulnerable position. And in the end Ripley isn’t a final girl. Unlike the second film she has no female or more importantly male gender roles trust upon her.
    So in the end I agree with Andrea that Alien isn’t a slasher film but I find the comparisons and the influences fascinating

  14. Bruce from Missouri says:

    Just a couple of comments about this episode…
    I also am irritated by the critical reaction to the panties. You would think by the way some people talk about it that she was wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie, not the ill-fitting, unsexy, functional panty and undershirt combo that she was. The only “sexiness” in that scene is the innate sexiness of Sigourney Weaver, and even that was undersold by what she was wearing.

    The language of the Marines didn’t shock me, because that’s how they talk now. I really didn’t think about how that might change in 100+ years, and I guess the writers didn’t either.

    A couple things about Vasquez: She has her own trope on TVTropes.com “Vasquez always dies”. Michelle Rodriguez seems to have a lock on that trope these days. Also, a little bit of her back story, which explain why she and her partner were so balls-to-the-wall. Jenette Goldstein said on the “I was There Too” podcast that Vasquez and her partner were sentenced to Marine service, and were lifers. Death was their only way out, so they were a little more cavalier with their own lives than the other Marines who had families and homes to go home to.

  15. Shannon says:

    I loved this two-parter podcast! Ripley became the queen of my heart when I was a kid after she went back and got the cat. It’s what I would have done.
    I do want to bring up the 2014 video game Alien: Isolation. I feel it is a worthy addition to the Alien series as a whole because I feel it really captured the tone of the first film.
    It’s about Ripley’s daughter Amanda Ripley. 15 years after the events of the first film, she is approached with a recording of the Nostromo being recovered on another ship. She goes to find out what happened to her Mother and then everything goes to shit. There’s an alien on board and she has to survive much like her Mom did.
    The game is quiet, lonely, at times emotional and absolutely terrifying. It feels like the first movie. We also get voice work from the original cast and downloadable content featuring them. Sigourney Weaver agreed to do it because she liked the script and felt it was true to the first one.
    I feel like it should be mentioned alongside the films because they did such a good job with it.

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