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OK, I'm watching "Aliens" for the umpteenth time, and it just now hits me - why does Ripley attack the queen alien? Ripley has the kid, and the queen just let her pass in return for not torching the eggs. Ripley could have just left at that point. After all, she knows the facility is going "BooM" in a few minutes. Why start anything?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The two "attendant" xenomorphs back off at the queen's command, but then we see one of the eggs open up as Ripley and Newt are leaving. The implication is that the queen is not bargaining in good faith. That is when Ripley burns the eggs and launches grenades at the queen.

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It is this action in poor faith that leads Ripley to assume the queen had no intention of keeping her tacit agreement to allow them to leave. Ripley simply decided to not let the affront go unpunished. It was the right decision. –  Thaddeus Aug 3 '14 at 2:46
I'll accept this one, as it sounds more plausible. I imagine the egg opening reminds Ripley that she's dealing with an alien animal, not having a mother-to-mother moment. –  Joe L. Aug 3 '14 at 11:21
Although I stand by my answer as plausible, this one does sound a bit more like the intent of the scene. –  GladstoneKeep Aug 3 '14 at 22:57
@GladstoneKeep I was undecided between the two. I think in-universe the answer would be a combination of yours and Will F's. But as you said, I think Will F's is closer to the intent of the writer/director, and it shows more than it implies. Tough call, though. –  Joe L. Aug 4 '14 at 2:21
The only reason that the egg hatched is because its in its "nature" to "hatch" Not because it was signalled by the queen, when Ripley saw this she came to a conclusion of "revenge" pure and simple and the fact that these things could wipe out the entire universe she wanted to simply take part in wiping "them" out. –  user31666 Aug 14 '14 at 12:50

To get back to the ship, Ripley would have to exit the queen's chamber. Away from the chamber, Ripley would pose no further threat to the eggs, and the minions could easily capture her then.

Ripley's only solution would be to blast away the eggs, creating pandemonium that would occupy the queen and minions long enough to give Ripley time to reach the ship.

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