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Alien: Covenant nonsense explained

A:C is the disappointing sequel to Prometheus. Prometheus wasn’t perfect, but at least it did break new ground and advance the story. A:C’s crowning achievement is to have stagnated the Alien back-story.

Prometheus Questions?

A lot of people were unnecessarily confused by Prometheus. So I might begin by going over a couple of the so-called “unanswered questions” from that film. 1. Why does David poison Charlie? Because he’s curious. It helps if you understand that David isn’t “evil”. 2. Why did the engineers want to kill humans? This question has answered by Ridley Scott himself – they go back to planets they seeded with life and wipe out life if they don’t like what was created, it’s that simple. It is also answered in the film itself – the Juggernaut was going to head to Earth roughly 2,000 years ago, suggesting that Jesus was taken to earth by the Engineers (either as an Engineer himself or from a more advanced society) and they were not pleased when he was crucified by the Romans. Or perhaps they simply wanted to use Earth to test their bioweapon. Maybe they want Earth for themselves. In any case the real unanswered question isn’t why did they want to destroy Earth – but why has no one been back to LV-223 in 2,000 years given that there are many Juggernauts loaded with the pathogen stored on the moon? And we have to assume that they were all victim to the accident that happened 2,000 years ago that killed the crew of the Earth-bound Juggernaut.

Okay so now we’ve got that out of the way let’s move onto the two possible directions the next story could have taken. Either the alien that bursts out of the engineer will stalk Shaw and David and follow them to to the engineer home-world, or it ends up on a different Juggernaut and ends up spawning the xenomorphs we are familiar with, and that Juggernaut ends up crashing onto LV-426. Or it just does nothing.

Now there’s one other question that no one ever asks regarding Prometheus, and that is why does the ancient constellation drawing lead them to a bioweapons facility and not the engineer home-world? The answer I believe is that it does lead to the home-world, they just chose the wrong star in the constellation to explore.

Alien: Covenant explained …

The one good thing I will say about A:C is that it does advance the overall narrative surrounding David and human space exploration. But that’s really as far as it gets. So let’s first work out what’s actually going on in A:C and then go from there. For the record I think the movie is fairly straightforward, going over these questions is just for the benefit of the audience.

1. Did David take Shaw to the engineer home world? I’m going to keep this simple and say that it probably is their home world. The main reason to think so is that it has a giant scorpion-shaped docking station for their Juggernaut ships.

2. How does the ship crash? The most likely explanation is that it was attacked after David drops the payload on the engineers/humanoids.

3. Why isn’t there another Juggernaut or spaceship on the planet somewhere? If there was David could escape the planet and continue his experimentations wherever he chooses. It does seem odd that there are no spaceships on the engineer home world, especially given the “many” number of them stockpiled on LV-223. How are they going to defend themselves from an attack? One possible explanation is that any spaceships on the planet fled after David unleashed the pathogen, but that doesn’t explain why they left him there for up to 10 years to further decimate their home world.

4. How does Shaw die? While the pilot engineer in Prometheus survives the crash, he is seen visibly injured. It’s likely Shaw simply died in the crash on impact. Perhaps she survives and later dies on the planet while marooned there with David either from the pathogen or from one of the many monsters the pathogen creates. Another explanation is that the alien at the end of Prometheus boarded their Juggernaut and made a face-hugger egg. Or she may have died from the original infection she contracted from Holloway as many more parasitic alien life forms grew inside of her. I doubt the last explanation as the parasitic aliens whether xenomorphs or other morphs always end up killing the host when they burst out. I also doubt the engineer’s morph had time to gestate and burst out of the engineer before they leave LV-223, and it is shown emerging after they have left the moon.

5. Why did David kill Shaw? I don’t think he did, the engineers killed her by attacking the docked Juggernaut.

6. Why did David kill the engineers? I don’t think that he thinks through the consequences of his actions very carefully. He wanted to experiment with the pathogen, but he also would have been fearful of the engineers killing him and Shaw.

7. How did David have time to experiment with the pathogen spawned life forms when he already killed all the hosts? Simple – he didn’t kill them all. He killed most of them in the initial attack on the city, but there would have been engineers both living elsewhere on the planet that survived this attack, and also under quarantined conditions or in other situations that led them to be unaffected by the vaporised pathogen after it had dissipated enough in the atmosphere. Notice the atmosphere itself was no longer toxic enough to kill the crew of the Covenant, and it wouldn’t have been toxic enough to kill all life on the whole of the planet unless David had gone and dispersed it properly which he didn’t do, he just dropped it all in once place.

8. How did David switch places with Walter? This question is actually far more difficult to explain. The android that runs to the ship has the exact facial wounds that Walter just sustained in the fight that no one other than he and David witnessed, AND doesn’t have the chin hole. The only way this could happen is if David uploads his consciousness into Walter – but the problem with that explanation is that he wouldn’t have the same ability to express his free will in Walter’s body as he’s a later more mellowed android. The more likely explanation is that we’ll have to ignore the facial scarring inconsistencies because come the next film when the engineers arrive to find their planet has been obliterated and Walter is there to explain to them what happened. Whatever happened, David would have had to have gone back to his workshop of horrors to swallow the face-hugger embryos to take with him.

9. Why does David help Daniels and Tennessee kill the xenomorph? David doesn’t have an agenda to kill the remaining crew and colonists of the Covenant. His agenda is to continue refining the xenomorph. Anyway, he can’t very well go about killing crew members and expect the ship’s computer to be complicit. He needs to take things slow and deliberately.

10. Why does David admire Shaw? I think there are two things here. Firstly, David and Shaw grew close on their journey to the engineer home world/”Planet 4″. Shaw repaired him, and he taught her to pilot the Juggernaut (yes obviously I’m ignoring the 4 minute prologue that purports to show David putting Shaw into hypersleep). They needed each other. Secondly, she is the presumed mother to his xenomorphs. He can’t start with the black goo as it’s a pathogen, so he starts with her living tissue (whatever remained of it) and opened her up so he could witness how the gestating monsters grow.

So where did it all go wrong?

Okay, Prometheus had some very annoying poorly thought through elements. Guy Pearce as Weyland. Vickers is Weyland’s daughter “plot-twist”. Vickers crushed by rolling Juggernaut. Weyland stowing away on the ship in secret. A “Pauling medical pod configured only” for men that “does bypass surgery, what do you need it for?”?! It obviously does more than just bypass surgery… and besides, wouldn’t they need something like it on their spaceship? Shaw able to get to the pod without the two other people subduing her, and able to take a Caesarean whilst fully conscious and then rush out of the pod to David and Weyland. But for all of its flaws it was a great film, it was scary, it had great visuals and well designed creatures, and the moon itself was just creepy.

A:C has none of this. It has a bunch of generic crew members who do stupid shit all film long, while exhibiting horror-cliché behaviour. The story is so formulaic that it is basically just the 1979 Alien story retold with no suspense. I baulked at the Guy Pearce and David scene. Now, retconned for no apparent reason, David must be at least 40 years old by the events of Prometheus and at least 50 by the events of Alien: Covenant! Um, what? To everyone in Prometheus David was the latest technology. Next we meet the bland and unlikable crew. I’m not even sure that we like Daniels the lead female in this film to be honest. The creature design in this film is terrible – okay sure the protomorph is OK, the facehuggers too. But the xenomorphs are a joke.

I think the worst part is that it’s just not a scary film. The setting isn’t creepy, and the xenomorphs are not in the least bit scary. And the reason why they’re not scary is because they barely kill anyone, and when they do they are people who are doing stupid shit not being alert and vigilant. We also are not invested in the crew – the best example of this is in the Walter and David showdown. Now if there was Bishop we would have rooted for him – but Walter is just a generic droid/synthetic that we don’t care about. And that’s fine, we don’t need to be invested in Walter, but it also means there’s no point in doing a final showdown with David. It doesn’t really make any sense anyway – sure Walter perceives David as a threat to the crew and colonists of the Covenant… but Ash is a more advanced synthetic and he has no problem with ‘crew expendable’. And also, it was the wrong way to end the film – Alien and Aliens both end with the xenomorph being flushed into space – why recycle the same plot AGAIN??

 

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