It seems that the "Covenant" crew shares the same foolhardiness as the crew from the previous "Prometheus" movie: they descent on an unknown planet without any protective equipment other than rifles.

Even on Earth there are thousands of plants, insects, viruses and bacteria (not counting other dangers) that can kill you when they get in contact with your skin (or, gods forbid, - when you inhale them), and yet the crew decides to land in the middle of the forest dressed as if they were heading for a family hunting trip.

I understand that this is a plot device, but is there an in story or other official explanation for such carelessness?

Edit: To clarify, I'm looking for an in-universe explanation, even something as thin as "Thanks to those super-pills we've taken at home we should be immune to all infections"

  • 16
    All candidates just a tad smarter than that have outright refused the mission. – void_ptr May 17 '17 at 23:46
  • 5
    Because they're all schmucks. – Valorum May 18 '17 at 0:09
  • 1
    Several of these fit (warning: TVTropes): tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StupidityTropes – tobiasvl May 18 '17 at 7:27
  • 2
    Because the USCSS Covenant is a colony ship equipped to transport 2,000 humans to a new habitable world, not to wage all-out war against a race of super-aliens with acid blood and a mouth in their tongue? – DisturbedNeo May 18 '17 at 8:58
  • 5
    @disturbedneo It's BECAUSE they're a colony ship transporting to a new world that they would NEED hazmat suits, precautions, equipment to analyze environmental threats, etc. So where are they? Hell, I wouldn't go to Guatemala dressed the way they were in covenant. – Kai Qing May 31 '17 at 0:38

There was a conversation about the fact that it seemed too good to be true and that the crew deviating from the plan was foolish. It was more the new captain trying to establish himself and placate to the crew (spoiler ahead) after he forbid them to memorialize the former captain. He figured sure it was risky but he could be seen a strong leader if it works out in his favor. Add to that the crew was traumatized, felt helpless to fate in the ship, repairs needed to be done and they had the same potential hazard on the scouted planet. The scene where they debate the merits and suspicions of the signal really explains the motivation.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Can you provide said conversation as a source? Maybe as a transcript? – Edlothiad Sep 5 '17 at 16:05
  • I have to cut out parts for length but this is official script from Covenant 2017: How far is it? Wouldn't even have to go back into hyper sleep. And Origae-6? Seven years, four months.That's one hell of a sleep cycle. Sir, I think it's safe to say that none of us are too keen on getting back to one of those pods. Any objections? This is a monumental risk not worth taking. I'm not committing to anything.This has the potential to be a better habitat.This is good judgment, based on all the data available. You understand? As your second I need to protest. – Benjamin Selassie Sep 7 '17 at 17:11
  • I have never posted scripts here before so I don't know if a link would be better but before this there is also the case that the captains religious slant is yet another reason he feels the need to make a big move. – Benjamin Selassie Sep 7 '17 at 17:14
  • If you provide a link and the relevant parts I can edit them in for you – Edlothiad Sep 7 '17 at 20:12

It's because, to put it bluntly, there has been a steady decrease in quality over the franchise. As John O pointed out, the earlier movies had people being relatively careful. People seem to be dumber in the newer movies because sloppy writing filled with tropes along with less good acting are both cheaper to do.

The focus in the newer movies is on writing the "mythology" as it paves the way for a living franchise. With an increasingly healthy backstory, they can keep producing Alien franchise movies ad infinitum. However, more attention paid to this takes away from the basic storyline as it happens on screen. People tend to pay attention more to the overall abstract ideas and less to the details, so this works out...most of the time.

The real problem here is poor character development. Ripley is a timeless figure - great character onscreen, lends herself well to development as she started out "soft" and got "harder" as time went on. She shares a LOT of parallels with Sarah Connor. Also, unusually, she has a story arc and then dies. I don't think it was a good idea to bring her back in Resurrection.

In Prometheus, some of the characters mattered somewhat because they were tied in with the backstory (Weyland, Vickers) and others were somewhat developed (Shaw, Holloway). There were a few red shirts, like the idiots that got trapped in the caves.

Covenant sees almost no sympathetic characters. Everyone is pretty 2-dimensional - David, Walter and the Engineers are the most interesting of all. I don't remember anyone else - just by their cause of death. "Couple stabbed in the shower", "floating head", "blown up" is how I think of them. The captain doesn't even make it out of his hypersleep chamber. How are we supposed to feel bad about him?

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    I’m not sure if there is an answer here or if this is almost all rant. Could you trim it down a bit with an edit to focus more on the question? – TheLethalCarrot Oct 27 '19 at 18:56
  • 1
    -1 from me and a delete-vote, I'm afraid. "Because crappy writing" isn't the in-universe that OP was looking for. If you want to rant about a film, we're not your soapbox. – Valorum Oct 27 '19 at 19:17
  • There's no in-universe explanation. – Lenny Tompkins Oct 28 '19 at 2:33

It makes for a good movie. If there was no action, rising action, climax, and falling action, there would be no movie. They got to the planet in hazmat suits, do not get infected - movie over. They colonize, find eggs and the next epidemic, one way or another, someone is going to be careless and get infected.

Plus, this is classic horror. People are dumb in horror movies.

| improve this answer | |
  • 7
    This answer is more or less applicable to every such question; besides, OP knows this is a plot point - he said in the question that he was looking for an official explanation. – Gallifreyan May 18 '17 at 8:29
  • 5
    In the original Aliens, no one was dumb. Everyone does the smartest thing they can, it still doesn't work out for them. In its sequel, the colonial marines act smartly... but their training's just not correct for the danger they're put in. Even then, they're damned smart. They never ignored standard precautions. They never went into the situation in a way that makes you think they had no plan at all other than to show up. I'd blame this on Lindleof, except apparently this wasn't his screenplay. – John O May 18 '17 at 20:00
  • 3
    You might want to re-reread (or to read for the first time) the last sentence in the question: “I understand that this is a plot device, but is there an in story or other official explanation for such carelessness?” – DaG May 19 '17 at 19:14
  • You are giving your opinion, here "it makes for a good movie" - this is only your opinion, as I am sure that this minor "detail" was a reason for a lot of people to criticize the film (people actually laughed in the cinema at that scene, me included). If this is indeed a shortcoming of the screenplay (not explained in-universe), it matters to point it out as a flaw or inconsistency: people ask themselves rational questions when they see a film. As the other comments said, there are more logical screenplays in the Alien universe. – MicroMachine May 20 '17 at 5:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.