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Alien: Covenant Nearly Passes the Jay Test

I re-watched Alien: Covenant the other day, and I was floored to realize that it nearly passed the Jay Test, wherein 90% of all the human deaths that occur are female. I say “nearly” as a relative descriptor, since it was so close to being 50% of all deaths, which is far and away a better rating than any other movie you might see.

I know the specific metric is nearly 50% because the crew of the Covenant is made of up all couples that are on a colonization mission. There are a few thousand colonists in stasis aboard the ship, as well as over a thousand human embryos. All their fates are unknown until the next sequel, so their deaths won’t even count towards the ratio. However, 40 of the colonists are killed in an accident, their sexes unknown, so again the male/female ratio of those deaths can’t be considered.

The ship’s crew, however, all die in the course of the movie except for two: a man and woman, though it’s heavily implied that they are going to buy the farm at the end.

So, if the crew is all couples, and they all die, except for a man and woman, why is not an even 50/50 ratio of deaths? Well, one couple was gay*: Sergeant Hallis and Sergeant Lope. In the scene where David appears after the neomorph attack in the wheat field, you’ll catch one half of this (formerly) happy couple speaking an informal elegy over the corpse of his better half. If you watch one of the deleted scenes it’s very obvious that Hallis and Lope batting on the same team. So there is one more male death to cast.

Leave it to the gay couple to screw up Equality™.

* A note on this: of all the plotholes, goofs, and in-universe non-realistic plot points critics make up point out in the Alien franchise (the Ridley Scott installments, anyway), I don’t think I’ve read anyone else mention this. There’s no way a director would put a non-breeding couple on a colonization mission. It seems far too risky to not have as many people as possible able to populate a planet. But what do I know? There’s probably a good counter to that.

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Further Thoughts On Prometheus

With the news of Ridley Scott planning to direct a trilogy of films as Prometheus sequels, I intentionally fell into reading more explanations and speculations about Prometheus. I came up with two and a half more unexplained elements from the film that will hopefully be addressed.

1. This one is minor, so I’ll get it out of the way. There’s a scene where Captain Yanek—inside his ship, naturally—is communicating to Fifield and Millburn, who are on the cusp of a total freakout because of all the dead Engineer bodies they’ve discovered. After a few back and forths, Yanek pretends their channel is breaking up, then cuts off the signal completely. Why would he do this? He saw real time video of the Engineer bodies and knows Fifield and Millburn aren’t joking around. Yanek acts disinterested, though there is the possibility of real danger.

My theory is that he finds the entire project a bit silly and is only concerned with the safety of his ship and crew, though I don’t think this scenario is likely. After Yanek discovers the nature of the black goo and what it does, and finds out the surviving Last Engineer plans to head to earth with a motherlode of the stuff, he sacrifices his ship and crew (and himself) to take down the Last Engineer’s ship as it’s leaving. That he sacrifices so much, yet is unconcerned about Fifield and Millburn is a bit of misaligned characterization. Maybe at some point he sees his sacrifice as a point of redemption for his callousness, but that isn’t apparent, even in the deleted scene, as far as I can remember.

2. Related to #1, but more important. The birth of Shaw’s Trilobite could explain the origin of the Facehuggers in the later Alien-based. Since we know the black goo somehow interacts with the DNA it encounters, it chimerically bonded with Halloway’s semen and Shaw’s womb, where it “learned” some form of reproduction; that’s the environment it came into contact with. This is evidenced by the fact that it’s the first Facehugger that implants an egg inside the surviving Engineer, and the subsequent “birthing” scene of the Deacon after the film’s credits. This Xenomorph is most likely the Hive Queen that produces the Facehugger eggs seen in Alien and Aliens.

There’s an idea that the mutagenic black goo not only receives the DNA of the host it’s placed in, but also the “intent” of the host. From the r/movies subreddit, which attempts to explain Prometheus:

The black slime reacts to the nature and intent of the being that wields it, and the humans in the film didn’t even know that they WERE wielding it. That’s why it remained completely inert in David’s presence, and why he needed a human proxy in order to use the stuff to create anything. The black goo could read no emotion or intent from him, because he was an android.

The Alien wiki page for the black goo says it—the black goo is called “Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15″—was created by the Engineers to wipe out entire planets. I don’t know how official that idea is, but it contradicts the prologue of Prometheus that shows an Engineer willingly drink the goo to specifically create life on a planet. Maybe there was a Engineer civil war at some point, or did they eventually believe it a mistake to create so much life in the universe?

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