Alien: Covenant
What really caused Ashes Meltdown in Alien?

What really caused Ashes Meltdown in Alien?

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XenomorphMember1261 XPMar-15-2017 3:25 PM

Have you ever wondered what really caused Ashes meltdown in Alien?  I know Bishop said the Hyperdyne 120 A/2 systems were twitchy, and Bishop also being a Hyperdyne Droids(341B model). I think it goes a bit farther than that.  If the hyperdyne models are built in anyway similar to the weyland models.

I think Ripley caused Ash to meltdown when she slammed him against the wall in the MUTHUR interface room. The reason I believe this is where the processor is located at the back of the skull.  Think the beam sticking out (picture above) might have damaged the processor.

You can see where the AMD processor is located at the base of the head on the Walter Model.  All things said all computers built today are located in the same general location regardless is processor manufacturer.  With humans being creatures of habit I think this would hold true and carried over to the droids in the film.  

Thanks in advance for the input.


49 Responses to What really caused Ashes Meltdown in Alien?


XenomorphMember1234 XPMar-16-2017 1:19 PM

I think there's mundane explanations for the doors closing (ie. scope for someone to be pushing a button off screen).

Or Ash has Bluetooth.


OvomorphMember39 XPMar-16-2017 6:32 PM

Or did Ash suffer from a bit of what wrecked HAL9000's brain?

Lambert: You admire it. 

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. (Italics mine.)

This has always suggested to me that Ash admired its pure unclouded instincts, himself being bothered by his own conscience, feelings of remorse and conflicted morality.  The way Ian Holm delivers the lines seems to imply something deeper: perhaps that Special Order 937 wreaked havoc with the synthetic consciousness that was 'Ash'?

Or then again, maybe it was just Bluetooth...  :)



XenomorphMember1234 XPMar-16-2017 6:42 PM

I don't think Ash had a conscience or was capable of remorse of morality - just mimicking (possibly via Bluetooth :) ). I read that line as him having a go at the humans and how he saw them as deluding themselves than they were somehow better than the animal trying to kill them.  The Alien doesn't pretend to be something other than what it is.

It's a kind of mockery akin to David (or indeed Roy Batty's) use of "You people".


XenomorphMember1261 XPMar-16-2017 7:19 PM

S.M You know Ash could have been connected to MUTHUR through Wifi and uploading the info to corporate on the Xeno the whole time.  Remember Call had a wireless modem, granted a couple of hundred years more advanced.  At the same time I have all sorts of gadgets at home connected to my network through wifi and bluetooth.


OvomorphMember38 XPMar-17-2017 1:27 AM

When Ripley enters "EMERGENCY COMMAND OVERRIDE 100375", is it possible that any attempt to override Special Order 937 is to be treated as a hostile act?


I'm wondering if Ash was programmed by W-Y with a "terminate with extreme prejudice" mode, prior to the Nostromo leaving Thedus, in the event that anything were to jeopardize the fulfillment of SO 937. 


OvomorphMember39 XPMar-17-2017 4:26 AM

"It's a kind of mockery akin to David (or indeed Roy Batty's) use of "You people"."

True, that. An interesting through-line across the years...and franchises. 

I can agree with the mimicry and would really expect the synthetics to be dead-pan and mechanical in their movements when not with humans, but a lot of the 'business' Holm does with the character cured me of that POV.  (The most chilling "android" moment in Alien for me is Ash's lack of expression as Dallas has his encounter with the creature.)

I rewatched Holm's scenes by himself to remind me of his performance.  The mimicry includes many unnecessary human gestures in the performance of his duties when no one is watching.

If the mimicry is so embedded in his programming, it seems that something certainly disrupted it for him to have exhibited such a restricted affect during his encounter with Ripley after SO 937 was out of the bag.

Was it a mechanic reason (damage) as has been proposed, or a breakdown in his mental processes resulting from possible conflict?  We'll never know, I suppose.

Ridley Scott's depiction of artificial humans in his films suggests some interesting assumptions on his part.  Curious that a comprehensive analysis hasn't been written yet.  Maybe with the coming movies and possibly more revelations on this topic, we might see such...or better yet, something in his own words?


XenomorphMember1234 XPMar-17-2017 6:20 AM

Next time you watch the film watch Ash when Dallas tells Ripley and Ash to take the main airlock while he goes into the airduct.


OvomorphMember75 XPMar-17-2017 4:25 PM

Very interesting theory.

However, Bishop II in Alien 3 contradicts it.


XenomorphMember1234 XPMar-17-2017 7:16 PM

Bishop 2 was human.


OvomorphMember75 XPMar-18-2017 11:53 AM

I'm sure it's been debated that Bishop 2 was an android.


PraetorianMember2674 XPMar-18-2017 12:13 PM

Hi Rick :)

Ash appeared to malfunction after the confrontation with Ripley. It may have caused him to blow a few circuits, or chip damage, certainly seemed that way to me.

Whether from the force of Ripleys slamming him into the wall, or her physical attack caused a robotic arousal and he blew some circuits! He began to sweat 'milk'. That could explain the ****o mag fellatio attempt on Ripley! ;)

However, he knew she was suspicious of his motives. She confronted him about letting the crew back on board, tried to get Dallas to stop him from keeping the facehugger specimen, questioned his scientific inability to get further than "collating" when it came to dealing with the Alien, then discovered his special order. He considered her a threat to his directive of obtaining a specimen, therefore she needed to be eliminated.

From ALIEN The Weyland-Yutani Report:

Ash was designated to be fully loyal to Company interests.

Ash was unable to procure a Xenomorph specimen as directed. The company line, following Ripley’s deposition was that Ash misinterpreted orders, in fact the AP functioned properly and appropriately and, even after its injury at the hands of the Nostromo's crew, worked to obtain a specimen right up until its disconnection.

Ash’s attack on the Nostromo’s crew was not out of keeping with the specificity of Company orders. The Company was able to blame Ash’s behaviour on a design flaw, there was no secondary backup for the magnetic synapse chamber in the “brain”.

COMPANY NOTE: Ash was indeed following orders, it might have been able to carry them out, if not for the interference of crew members.



"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger


FacehuggerMember203 XPMar-18-2017 12:14 PM

When you say Bishop 2, you're referring to Lance Heinrickson at the end of Alien 3 right?  He was also Weyland in AVP but that isn't considered canon. I can't recall Alien 3 that well did he identify himself in that movie?


OvomorphMember38 XPMar-18-2017 12:54 PM

SteveRogers1973, he did. Here's the dialogue from the scene where they interact down in the furnace (credit to the Alien 3 wiki for the dialogue).....


[after killing the alien]
Ripley: Don't come any closer.
Aaron: Wait. They're here to help--
Ripley: Stay where you are!
Bishop II: [steps forward] Ripley.
Ripley: Bishop?
Bishop II: I'm here to help you.
Ripley: No more bull****. I just felt it move.
Bishop II: Do you know who I am?
Ripley: You're a droid, same model as Bishop. Sent by the ****ing company.
Bishop II: No. I'm not the Bishop Android. I designed it. I'm very human. The company sent me here to show you a friendly face, to demonstrate how important you are to us... to me.
Ripley: You just wanna take it back.
Bishop II: We want to kill it and take you home.
Ripley: Bull****.
Bishop II: You're wrong. We want to help.
Ripley: What does that mean?
Bishop II: We're going to take that out of you...
Ripley: ...and keep it.
Bishop II: We can't allow it to live. Everything we know would be in jeopardy.
Ripley: You don't wanna take it back?
Bishop II: Ripley, time is important. Let us deal with the malignancy. We've got a surgical base set up on the rescue ship. Come with me.
Medic: It's very quick. Painless. A couple of incisions... you'll be out for two hours.
Bishop II: And then it's over. You still can have a life. Children. And most important, you'll know it's dead. Let me help you.
Ripley: What guarantee do I have, once you've taken it out... that you'll destroy it?
Bishop II: You have to trust me. [approaches her] Please, trust me?
[a short pause]
Ripley: No. [slams gate, then begins to position the machine away from the group]
Bishop II: What's this going to achieve? [a soldier shoots Morse in the leg] STOP!
Morse: AHHH! Oh, Jesus!
Ripley: Morse, will you help me?
Morse: What do you want me to do?
Bishop II: It was a mistake! There was no need for any of it!
Aaron: [picks up a large wrench, then hits Bishop over the head with it] ****ing android!
[a soldier shoves Aaron back, and another shoots him to death]
Bishop II: I'M NOT A DROID!! Ripley, think of all we can learn from it! It's the chance of a lifetime! You must let me have it! It's a magnificent specimen! [to cameraman] No pictures!
[after a long pause, Ripley makes her decision, looking into the furnace]
Ripley: You're crazy.
Bishop II: What are you doing?
[Ripley holds her breath, then falls from the platform into the furnace]


XenomorphMember1234 XPMar-18-2017 1:49 PM

"I'm sure it's been debated that Bishop 2 was an android."

It has been debated, yes. But with overwhelming evidence that he's human, it's always been rather one sided.


XenomorphMember1261 XPMar-20-2017 5:12 PM


I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the debate as being over.  I've been keen on the idea that Bishop 2 could be an infiltration droid(red vs milk).  Who on earth can take a hit like that to the back of the head, have your ear just hanging there flapping around and still be able to move and have a conversation?


OvomorphMember31 XPMar-20-2017 6:04 PM

Scott stated in the extras on the Alien Anthology that the Ash attack sequence was meant to explore the idea of whether robots could experience sexuality. 

To me, the part where Ash rolls up the magazine and shoves it into Ripley's mouth was totally a Hitch****ian "train into the tunnel" moment. Perhaps Ash was sexually incompetent (or impotent) on account of he's, you know, a robot, and maybe the magazine was the next best thing for him. Note that, before he does this, he takes a good hard look at all the nudies hanging on the walls.

The dripping milk is also less-than-subtle. What other male fluid is white and milky? Not to mention he's sweating it (you might say he "had the hots for her"). Then later, with the weird faces while Ripley was struggling, and eventually throwing up milk...I think we all get the point. 

So yeah...Ripley was raped, guys. Which shouldn't be surprising as this idea fits in perfectly with the universe. Lambert was ostensibly raped by the xeno. Kane was raped by the facehugger, which - according to the producers, if I'm not mistaken - was meant to tap into the male fear of oral rape. It might be Freudian folk psychology and of course BS, but the broader point is that the  sexuality invoked throughout the film was intended to make people uncomfortable. 

This all makes me even more intrigued by David's character. He obviously had a huge crush on Shaw in Prometheus, especially with the stalking and what not. Also, note that he chose to infect Holloway of all people. Granted, this was probably part experimentation/part revenge on Holloway for being such a racist to him, but I always liked to think that David saw it as doing Shaw a favor. You know, ridding her of her deadbeat boyfriend, Sling-Blade style. Plus, it's just cuter that way.

That being said, I feel like it's is out of character for David to mutilate Shaw like he allegedly does in A:C. However, this would further his parallels with Ash, as he'd now be the 2nd robot to attempt to forcibly gain access to a pretty female lead's lady parts. 

It's all a very rapey enterprise, this whole thing. But I digress.


Anyway, my two cents. 



Regular Parrot

OvomorphMember80 XPMar-20-2017 7:19 PM

I think that he realizes his mission is jeopardized by Ripley finding out about The secret order 937. She starts the physical stuff and he responds.  He then starts making weird jibber jabber noises (off screen)  which I think is an indication of conflict between protecting humans and harming them. As in one of Asimov's rules.

Today I have been dedicated to post on as many topics as possible until I pass out from drinking too many beers. 


FacehuggerMember194 XPMar-20-2017 8:18 PM

chadsbrothermatt  is correct. The whole episode has an overtly sexual overtone. Ash, who is apparently incapable of sex (Ridley Scott is quoted in "The ALIEN Vault" p. 75 as saying of the berserk-Ash scene that "It's the closest he ever gets to a sexual relationship"), nonetheless has developed some sort of sexual drive or desire. So, unable to have actual sex, he shoves a rolled-up magazine (****ographic, no less!) down Ripley's throat. Interesting that he imitates not human sex but facehugger "sex." As a third party to Kane's "impregnation," standing aside as the little devil shoves its ovipositor down the man's throat, it's apparently all he can relate to or imitate.

This notion that emotion-less androids do indeed develop emotions is touched upon again (quite heavily) in Scott's "Blade Runner." There's a scene where Deckard (who Scott believes to be a Replicant--and I agree unless/until 2049 proves otherwise) coerces Rachel into having sex with him. (Although later in the movie it's obvious that she has developed an attachment to him as he has to her--like Roy and Pris have done during their all-too-short existence).

Flash forward three decades, and this whole idea of androids-developing-emotions/sexual-desire is seen again in "Prometheus." I agree with chadsbrothermatt--it is readily apparent that David has developed an infatuation with Shaw. And in regards to the "android rapist" theme--it's technically one of the first things we see in the film. David essentially "rapes" Shaw, at least psychologically, when he penetrates her dreams and looks into the depths of her private subconscious mind. Afterwards, he's almost obsessed with her.  He can hardly keep his hands off her when she awakens from cryosleep, and he always seems to be looking in her direction when she's not looking his way.

And when he finds and tells her that she's pregnant, he sounds less like a robot telling a human counterpart of her medical condition and more like a man who's found himself ****olded by an inferior rival. Later, when he's merely a disembodied head lying on the ruined Engineer craft's floor, he looks terrified when Shaw doesn't immediately answer him.

What will this mean for Ridley's next SF filim? Will these themes continue?

Fassbender, in a recent interview, indicated that there's a "bond" between Shaw and David in "Covenant" (although this could well be a red herring).

I reckon "Covenant" will continue the themes seen in Alien, Blade Runner, and Prometheus; of androids developing rudimentary emotional responses of their own, although whether it will be more rape-y, like Ash with Ripley, or more affectionate, like Roy and Pris, will remain to be seen.


XenomorphMember1234 XPMar-20-2017 9:02 PM

"I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the debate as being over.  I've been keen on the idea that Bishop 2 could be an infiltration droid(red vs milk).  Who on earth can take a hit like that to the back of the head, have your ear just hanging there flapping around and still be able to move and have a conversation?"

I didn't dismiss it as being over - just one sided.  One could present all the evidence for him being human (including people who've suffered worse attacks than Bishop did), but the debate will never be over as long as there are people who postulate that he could've coloured his blood red.

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