Robots Are Dicks.

We see it all the time in film and literature. They’re always messing up the mission, misunderstanding an order, or generally being a pain in the ass. If robots aren’t making mistakes, they’re pursuing some secret objective or programming that ruins the hero’s day.

Let’s take a good hard look at the Androids, excuse me, Artificial Persons from the Alien films. Going in release date order, ’cause, you know, that’s the way it happened.

Alien – Science Officer Ash

The Start of It All

Ash played by Ian Holm in 1979

Slid in on the unsuspecting crew of the Nostromo just before departure, Ash is the Sneak-King-Cock of the Alien universe. The company, Weyland-Yutani, sent him onboard with a secret agenda, Special Order 937, to pick up an alien life-form at all costs. Crew expendable. Right, cause he costs less than a few shares and supplies. After people start dying, Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver, finds the Special Order and this happens….

But why a magazine??

Yeah they get him eventually and Ripley ends up the sole survivor. But what does this say about the female/male power dynamic in the film?

Aliens & Alien 3 – Science Officer Bishop

The Ever-Dying Hero

Bishop played by Lance Henriksen in 1986 & 1992

The only non-ass in the bunch, poor Bishop is truly tragic. He’s completely self-aware and understands that he is a non-human construct. But he’s cool with it. Bishop is encoded with the 1st of Asimov’s Three Robotic Laws: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. Sounds great, right? It works out, too, even after the Alien Queen rips him in half. The character spans two films, Aliens and Alien 3, ending up in a junk heap where Ripley goes to get one last slug of advice…

Ha! A glorified toasted accepting of death

I actually cried the first 45 times I saw this scene. Is there a chance for Droids in the Alien universe?

Alien: Resurrection – Engineer Call

The New Asshole Model

Annalee Call played by Wynonna Ryder in 1997

Nope, nadda, no chance at all.

Call, possibly the WORST synthetic character in the franchise, makes my eyes curdle like droid blood left in the sun. She’s a completely different kind of asshole. The character is flip-switch bat-shit crazy, entirely too dramatic, and while a somewhat-valid attempt at producing a female synthetic, she’s pathetic on a basic, fundamental level. Equipped with a mother-savior-martyr complex, Call is made even worse by being female. Way to fuck up the balance on the male/female power struggle by whining about being yourself, Call. Thanks bunches.

Prometheus & Alien: Covenant – David

To Be a God

David played by Michael Fassbender in 2012 & 2017

Deemed insidious and terrifying, David rocks a far-too-human urge: creation of life. This psycho stalks Dr. Elizabeth Shaw of Prometheus though her dreams, across the moon near LV-223, and straight into the alien Engineers’ ship. The two go gallivanting off into space while he’s only a freakish smiling head and she’s so emotionally damaged-near-drooling it sounds like a good idea to take a little stroll. Somewhere between there and Covenant, David has reduced Shaw to a headstone in the garden and an experiment on the table. But he cries about it and says he loves her, so that makes it okay, right? Sounds familiar to every domestic abuse survivor who fell for “I’m sorry.”

Too bad the most human synthetic never gets what’s coming to him.

Alien: Covenant – Walter

Less Than Human

Walter played by Michael Fassbender in 2017

Not the same synthetic, nor even the same model. But the same actor? Sure, why not. Let’s make the film that much more confusing.

Walter, a David upgrade minus the crazy and plus a few automatic self-repair features, accompanies the colonist aboard the Covenant as a convenient while-they’re-in-hyper-sleep maintenance worker. He is the most “robotic” synthetic character of the franchise, completely lacking in any and all human emotion. It’s a testament to Fassbender’s acting abilities that he’s able to keep a straight face for so many scenes. Walter is touted as harboring some hidden love for Dani, the sniveling Ripley wanna-be, when in reality he’s calculating survival rates. No romantic hero here kids. But wait…. what’s this?

A damaged creator meets his ‘better.’

Finally a little bit of truth. Unfortunately, it comes too late (or too early?) for the humans in the films. The only way to create perfection is to leech the humanity out of the life being produced. This makes the character completely incapable of carrying on a healthy person-to-person relationship. Yeah, sounds about right, par for the franchise.

Nature does not build in straight lines. Only mankind seeks perfection… Which is definitely fucked up.

Catch ya on the flip side, kids!


Image Credits:

David Image:, Walter, Bishop Image:, Ash Image:, Call Image:

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