In Aliens

just before Vasquez and Gorman blow themselves up in the air vent

this line always puzzled me...

Vasquez: You always were an asshole, Gorman!

Vasquez's line is something you'd say to someone you've known for a long time, but Gorman is referred to as "the new lieutenant" in the mess hall scene.

Hicks: Looks like the new lieutenant's too good to eat with the rest of us grunts.

Frost: Boy's definitely got a corncob up his ass.

Later he's shown to have little experience.

Ripley: How many drops is this for you, Lieutenant?

Gorman: Thirty eight... simulated.

Vasquez: How many combat drops?

Gorman: Uh, two. Including this one.

Drake: Shit.

Hudson: Oh, man...

Did Vasquez and Gorman already know each other? Did she hate him for more than

getting Drake and most of the squad killed?

Deleted scenes, director's commentary, novelizations, speculation... go at it.

  • 1
    Pure speculation? But... wouldn't that make the question opinion based?
    – Mr Lister
    Mar 29 '15 at 12:42
  • 1
    @MrLister Informed opinions are fine here on SF.SE so long as they have some backup. What I'm saying is it doesn't have to be 100% supported by canon, but can't contradict canon either. For example, Gorman has no combat experience, so proposing that Vasquez and Gorman may have served together in another unit doesn't fly.
    – Schwern
    Mar 29 '15 at 15:56
  • 1
    Gorman doesn't have "no" combat experience. He has one real combat drop. Also, I'm guessing you don't get made lieutenant without at least some training at base.
    – Valorum
    Mar 29 '15 at 16:03
  • 1
    There's nothing in the audio commentary to suggest that he knows Vasquez. Also, the script strongly suggests that the first time she's met him is in the hangar bay aboard the mothership.
    – Valorum
    Mar 29 '15 at 21:02

Vasquez's comment was gallows humor in the form of a dry, bitter complaint about Gorman's failure to perform. In other words, "Gorman, you've failed me again." First Gorman led the team into the Alien ambush and then panicked, forcing Ripley to take charge and extract them. Then Gorman got injured, leaving a noncom in command. Finally the team got into difficulty in the med lab and Gorman again failed to get the job done, running out of bullets before killing all the pursuing Aliens.

  • 2
    Yeah, that's the simplest read. Leaves me unsatisfied. "You're still an asshole, Gorman" would make more sense to mean "this one act of heroism doesn't make up for all your failures". Then again, there was a lot of ad-libbing on the set.
    – Schwern
    Mar 29 '15 at 19:48
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    No, it was the sort of banter the marines exchanged amongst each other. By coming back for her, he showed that he finally "got it" and she was accepting him as one of the team. Then she hugs him and boom.
    – Gaius
    Mar 30 '15 at 6:27
  • 1
    @Gaius She isn't hugging him - she's making sure her body takes the full force of the grenade. Jan 26 '17 at 17:38

No, Vasquez didn't know Gorman before the mission. The comment was to show she accepted him finally as one of the team. He'd screwed up plenty, but he wasn't a bad Marine (just an inexperienced leader, probably deliberately chosen by Burke to fail), and she figured at the end when he came back for her he was "one of them" instead of how he'd been seen earlier in the movie ("looks like the new lieutenant's too good to eat with the rest of us grunts"). You can see it reflected in how Vasquez gives the "double hand grab" earlier with Drake, with whom she was closest in the group - she does the same to Gorman while he's holding the grenade. The banter between the Marines in the movie shows how they could make fun of each other but of course had trust in each other.

"You always were an asshole, Gorman" is shades of humor, acceptance and camaraderie from her in their last moments.

At the end of the day, Gorman's incompetence earlier wasn't a reflection of his true character, and she accepted that. The aliens were a formidable foe, and pretty much none of them were prepared for it.

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