Scene 32: Sometime later, Brett and Parker are griping about being brought down to the planet by their captain. They continue work on trying to reroute blown electrical circuits so they can take off.
Commentary: Brett especially is really difficult to like or sympathize with. The man is unpleasant. At least Parker tries to cover his jerkishness with some humor.
Scene 33: Meanwhile, in medical as Kane lays out on a table with the thing still stuck to his face, Ash is studying the internal scan. The way this is filmed and scored leaves us feeling uneasy about what is happening, even though overtly nothing seems to be.
Commentary: Also, it is an extremely unfortunate angle on Ian Holm. Not only does that stool look extremely uncomfortable to be working for hours on, but his ass looks absolutely huge!
Ripley joins Ash, who quickly turns off his monitor. She asks after Kane to be told there are no changes and Ash still doesn't know quite what their new lifeform is. The real reason that Ripley is there however is to read the riot act to Ash for breaking a quarantine and risking an infection aboard ship.
Kane at first tries to pull the "I was obeying a direct order" card, but Ripley counters with "Dallas and Kane weren't onboard, making me the senior command officer". He plays forgetful of that fact. She wonders about his forgetting the quarantine procedure -- he admits he didn't forget that, he simply ignored it because Kane needed medical attention immediately.
By the time their little chat is over, Ash and Ripley are clearly set up to be at odds for the rest of the movie.
Scene 34: Dallas has retreated to the shuttle where he listens to classical music, feeling the pressures of command where things didn't exactly go by the book.
A call from Ash buzzes through telling him to come to sickbay. He calls Ripley to meet him there.
Scene 35: When they join Ash, they find Kane still lying on his biobed but missing his passenger. Our trio enters the infirmary gingerly as they look for the parasite now missing from Kane. Dallas checks his vitals and apparently finds him alive, but there isn't any sign of the facehugger.
Commentary: And, they keep the effing med-doors open for a ridiculously long time. Are you trying to let the damned thing scurry freely out into the ship!?! CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR!
After a terse, tense search in all of the nooks and crannies of the bay, Ripley is standing over Kane's prone form when the parasite falls down from the works above the bed onto her shoulder. There is a moment of panic, but Ash reveals that the parasite is dead.
After briefly examining it, Ripley and Dallas want to ditch it out an airlock. Ash insists it has to be preserved and taken back to Earth for study. Since it is clearly not a zombie-parasite, Dallas gives in to Ash's request to hold onto the thing for the trip back. Ripley disagrees with this decision most hardily.
Scene 36: Ripley follows Dallas out of sickbay, with him complaining at her about her complaining at him. Ripley finally tells Dallas straight-up that she doesn't trust Ash... even more so when she discovers that Dallas doesn't know anything about him, as the science officer Dallas usually ships out with was replaced only days before the current run with Ash.
He turns conversation to the ship's status. He's a bit miffed when Ripley tells him that repairs are pretty much done, but she points out that 'pretty much' isn't the same as done. She runs through a partial list of things still to be finished, but Dallas overrules sitting on the rock any longer and orders them to take off and get away from this moon as quick as humanly possible.
Scene 37: The Nostromo takes off, but there are some more problems due to the damage on the vessel. It briefly appears that they may not make it to orbit, but they do and the crew is relieved to be able to return to their actual duties and get back to Earth.
Scene 38: After Nostromo reconnects to the refinery, Dallas, Ripley, Brent and Parker are bickering over what to do next about Kane. Parker still wants him to go into the freezers and then let Earth deal with any disease he may have picked up from the hitchhiker. Dallas is short-tempered as he's... really... not much of a commander and this mission has not gone according to plan.
As Dallas is telling everyone that Kane will be placed in quarantine, and Ripley is griping that they all will now, Lambert arrives to inform them that thanks to the side trip, they're now 10 months out from Earth, using a low fuel consumption trajectory.
Ash buzzes the dining room from infirmary to report a change in Kane's condition.
Scene 39: Everyone rushes off to sickbay only to find Kane sitting up, mostly alert and seemingly only slightly worse for wear.
Kane doesn't remember anything about what happened to him, other than vague impressions of smothering. The crew reports that they're getting ready to return to the freezers, but Kane is starving. Dallas lets the crew have one more large meal before they return to cryo-sleep to finish out the journey to Earth.
Commentary: I like this brief moment between the crew before all hell breaks lose. You can see that when things aren't going pear shaped, they actually do get along relatively well. It's an impression that you may not have gotten before considering all of the griping back and forth they've been doing.
Scene 40: At the dinner table, everyone is joking and talking over one another, etc. etc.
There is a very brief moment where Ash is looking a little too intently and with interest at Kane. It may only be because of the sheer amount of food he's piling onto his plate... or it may be more....
Parker and Kane complain that the food they do have isn't any good and Lambert points out that it isn't stopping them from pounding the stuff away. Parker tells her he'd rather be eating something else, but right now he's thinking of food which gets him a look of mild disgust before she breaks out in a laugh.
In the meanwhile though, Kane appears to be having some sudden discomfort that the others are a bit slow to realize. As everyone tries to get Kane to tell them what is wrong, he goes into a seizure like fit. They get him onto the dining table, where he strains against them while making pained grunts.
Kane begins seizing and giving strangled yells as the others try to pin down his limbs and force a spoon handle into his mouth, thinking he's in danger of biting his tongue off... but his problems are far more severe than this, I'm sure you all know.
A spurt of blood shoots out from under his shirt over his chest shocking everyone, but then Kane goes into another series of tortured yells and flailing and they need to try to restrain him again. And this is the infamous chestburster scene.
Commentary: So, by now this scene has been replicated, parodied, badly copied and become a part of our societal consciousness to such a depth that modern viewers will not be shocked. That is SUCH a shame. The first time I saw this movie on HBO as a young teen scared the crap out of me and left me a bundle of nerves for the rest of the movie. The great thing rewatching it now is how well the special effect for Kane's death still works. There is a major issue when the ALIEN zips off across the table that clearly shows its puppety-nature, but until the crew watch it scramble away, this scene works to be horrifying and the effects of the alien springing up from John Hurt's chest cavity while he continues twitching is extremely unnerving. Excellent, excellent work.
So as everyone is either crying hysterically (Lambert), or staring down in stunned horror (everyone else), the alien life form gives a (kinda cutey) growl and then takes off on them to hide in the ship, leaving them all looking after it frozen in place.
Scene 41: We get a (nicely filmed) pan around the corridors as we hear the crew looking for the creature, but it has disappeared into the nooks and crannies.
Scene 42: A bit later, we rejoin the crew on the bridge. They're standing in silence while Dallas stares at a monitor. On this, is Kane's wrapped body in an airlock. Dallas asks if anyone wants to say any last words, but everyone remains silent. Kane is ejected into the depths of space.
Scene 43: We get a nice shot of the refinery drifting through the large expanse, looking very isolated.
Scene 44: We rejoin the crew, where Brett explains a cattleprod that he's put together so they can try to stun the creature without releasing its highly acidic blood into the ship. He's hoping they can use it to herd it into a trap.
To assist, Ash tells the others that he's cobbled together a motion detector to pick up changes in micro-air density that should tell them when there is movement in front of them.
Ripley pushes him for details on its operations, and Ash impatiently explains what it is doing. Dallas breaks the group into two teams to find the alien, herd it into a net and take it to the airlock for disposal.
Scene 45: We follow Ripley, Brett and Parker who have gone into the industrial section of the ship. They pick up on "micro changes in air density" that tells them they have something moving close by (somehow, this allows them to 'see' the movement beyond bulk head doors -- which even Ripley is having trouble believing).
They enter a storage room [and again... they leave the damned door wide open].
Ripley locates the movement from within an unlatched locker and the group crowd around it. After a few tense moments of shuffling to get ready, Parker pulls the locker open, only for them to be confronted by the cat, Jones. Brett keeps the others from netting/shocking it and explains to their outraged exclamations that it was just Jones, causing nervous relieved laughter.
But, the problem with Jones having been allowed to dash away, is that they'll only end up tracking him again. Somebody has to go fetch him so they can lock him in a carrier to keep him out of the way. Brett gets that task, while Ripley and Parker continue on.
Scene 46: We follow Brett as he tries to track down Jones in the heart of the processor/condensor plant [and if you don't already realize that Brett is DOOMED, then you really need to watch more horror movies, posthaste].
Commentary: I like the sound design for this scene, because there isn't any ambient music, but we do get a nearly-subliminal mechanical pump noise in the background that manages to sound like a heartbeat to help ratchet up the tension as Brett [YMMV - possibly a bit too slowly] closes in on Jones' position.
Brett finds Jones, but the cat takes off on him again in a panicked flee. As he does so, the cat dislodges something onto the floor which Brett finds a moment later. When he picks it up... it looks very much like snakeskin... as if the ALIEN has been molting while our crew was busy elsewhere. Brett does not immediately say "screw this" and run back for the others. Pity him.
Scene 47: Instead he follows Jones deeper into the inner workings of the refinery portion of the ship.
Commentary: Again, great use of ambient noise only with dripping water from condensation from the machineworks automatically running, processing the ore and chains being rattled from either ambient breezes from the ventilation system, from Jones' passing by them, or from...? It's another great ratcheting up of the tension because we already know that Brett is going to die here since he just had his chance to get away when he found the moulted skin, and didn't, but we still don't know where it is going to happen or what the ALIEN looks like now that it has shed its skin.
Harry Dean has a nice moment where Brett looks off the way he came and you can see that he knows this is a really bad idea and that he should just forget trying to retrieve the cat. He doesn't listen to his own advice.
Scene 48: Brett-eye-view pans around the interior of the processing chamber and we can't help but notice all of the impenetrable shadows in this space. He stops under the dripping water to wash his face and get ahold of his nerves. Through the sound of dripping water onto his face and hat, we hear the rattling chains for equipment handling and something else... a slight noise in the background like a bar hitting metal.
Brett calls to Jones again, and sees the kitty hunched into a tight corner. He tries to get Jones, but the cat lurches back with a hiss. Over Brett's shoulder, we saw a brief glimpse of something long and black drop down from somewhere above and behind him. And, then we see the rest of the black shape drop silently down behind him -- it is much, much taller than the tiny Kane-burster.
Commentary: I LOVE this shot. This is the pay off really for the extended sequence of following Brett around. Forget his death approaching rapidly, this is where you get the thrill in the spine of seeing the enemy and realizing the crew is in deep shit and don't know it. This scene gives the tingling in the spine I look for in horror [as opposed to jump scares, no matter how well done [like the face hugger launching out at Kane] or the gore; I like the chills].
Brett catches onto Jones' warning a little too late. He spins around to see the ALIEN standing over him, but rather than terror, he just stands in stunned surprise. Which gets him killed, of course.
Brett screams in pain as the ALIEN's inner jaw punctures his brain and he's hauled up into the ductwork above with Jones watching impassively (because cats are evil and scheme with ALIENs to kill their crewmates).
Commentary: And right here, I think is a great example of the Your Mileage May Vary-ness of Ridley's direction. This entire sequence with Brett following Jones, meeting the ALIEN's new form and getting killed is unbroken by jump cuts to the rest of the crew. We literally follow Brett for 4min, 32 seconds between the time he leaves Ripley and Parker until we hear his death cry while Jones stares.
Now, for modern filmmaking this is an eternity and when you've rewatched this for the dozenth time, this can seem to be much too long but at the time of release this sort of protracted sequence was almost unbearably tense and worked the nerves beautifully. I think it still works, but I'll admit I wish that it was about 90 seconds shorter.
Scene 49: Some point later, Brett's fate has been learned as we join Parker telling the others that whatever it was, it was big... much larger than their visitor. Dallas wants to confirm that the ALIEN took Brett up into the shafts, which Ripley can confirm [though it isn't explained how, exactly since we don't see them actually track Brett down].
Discussion turns to how to drive the creature off of the ship and Dallas decides that he's going to go into the maintenance ducts with a flame thrower. The plan is to drive it along the main shaft which will lead back to the airlock and then out.
Scene 50: Ship drifts through expanse, isolated from help.
Within MOTHER's interface room, Dallas asks 'her' what his chances are of surviving his upcoming encounter. She can't help him as she doesn't have enough information to work with ... despite Ash's having been entering data about the facehugger he was examining, one would think.
Dallas sits staring at the monitor and contemplating that he's going to die....
Scene 51: Everyone gets prepared with Ash and Ripley setting up near the airlock. Parker and Lambert stand by with a tracking device aimed in Dallas' general direction to warn him if the ALIEN appears on sensors. Dallas goes into the dark, cramped ductwork with nothing but a light and a flamethrower.
Commentary: This setpiece is fantastic. The cramped space is claustrophobic and completely dark outside of the very small bit of light cast by Dallas. And we've all seen that the 'air density tracker' device that Ash had designed isn't completely reliable. I also love the way Tom Skerritt is trying to handle the flame gun in this cramped space. It isn't CGI fire and it's really dangerously close to getting him on several occassions [which I'm assuming weren't scripted, just the cost of using real flame in a real cramped space], which just adds this underlying feeling that even if he does encounter the ALIEN there may not be enough sheer room to work with this unwieldy flamegun. All of the elements come together to make this sequence sickeningly tense and I love this whole sequence which is again a drawn out affair, like with Brett. I think the extended time devoted to this sequence is better used, because of the set, than it was in following Brett.
As Dallas passes through junctions, he closes off the portal irises behind him, basically locking himself in as the places where the ALIEN could be lurking dwindles.
Meanwhile, Lambert reports to Dallas that she can see him on her tracker which beep-beeps almost like a heart rhythm. My first thought when I first saw this was a) why is Lambert doing this when she's the most likely one to flip out at any moment and become useless and b) Dallas is in a 3-d space, but the monitor is only showing in a crude 2-d graphic without any sort of information display... how exactly is this going to help Dallas know where the ALIEN is coming from... above? Below? We can't tell from the display panel, which means Dallas can't tell.
Scene 52: As Dallas continues, a second signal is received by Lambert and she reports to Dallas that the ALIEN is right around the junction that he had just passed through. Dallas comes to a up/down corridor and Lambert warns that the creature is right around his area [see the limitation of a flat display with no text information about angle of travel]. He sprays fire down the ladder to the next level, but nothing reacts. With his being at the top of junction three (deck 1), he has to climb down without being able to see what is or isn't waiting for him.
Lambert gets a panicked look on her face as the ALIEN signal disappears. She tells Dallas that he has to hold his position while she takes a new reading, and you can tell she's fighting a losing battle to remain calm. Lambert tells Dallas to look around him carefully as she's sure that it is right nearby him.
Worse for Dallas, he finds a trail of slime at his feet indicating that yes, the ALIEN was there extremely recently. In counterpoint to Lambert's obvious growing fear for him, he takes a deep breath and comes to the conclusion that this was a bad idea. He asks Lambert if he's clear so he can get the hell out of there, but at that moment, Lambert picks up the ALIEN signal again... heading toward Dallas' position!
Lambert really starts to panic now, as she tells Dallas it's moving right towards him. Of course with four directions, and the limitations of the monitor, it's hard to tell from where it is coming, leaving Dallas with only bad options to get moving or to hold his ground. He fires off a few streams of fire, but he hits nothing and the indicator signal doesn't react.
Lambert now is in full on panic mode. Parker doesn't take over and should have! She screams over the headset for Dallas to move, to get out of there. He climbs down the stairway because he thinks he saw a shadow moving above him. Dallas comes to the bottom of a stairway and Lambert is yelling "NO, DALLAS! Not that way!"
Behind him, we see the shape of the ALIEN in the darkness [this was actually more effective before DVD because you didn't really see it as well so it came as more of a complete shock that it was there over his shoulder... with the clarity of DVD, you can see it lurking there much more easily and before the shock-trap is sprung on you]. Dallas spins and in his light, the ALIEN is there with a squeal and reaching out its arms at him.
Over the headphones, Ripley and Lambert hear the ALIEN's screech and then empty feedback with no response to their calls. Lambert collapses into hysterical crying.
Commentary: I LOVE THIS SEQUENCE. It is truly nerve-wracking, even though I've seen it several dozens of times.
But also, I want to talk about the casting for a moment here because Ripley has become an icon of female power, especially with ALIENS. But, at the time that this movie was released, no one knew that Sigourney would be the central character. Dallas, as the conflicted captain, was set up to be the hero of the movie and our survivor... he was even listed first in the credits! So, when we lost the character here, it came as a complete shock and left us flailing about trying to figure out who our surviving character(s) would be. Parker would be a serious contender, except he was black and well... alas, even in '79 we knew he was doomed. Lambert was way too weak and crying, so she was dead. Ash was too cold and methodical... scientists weren't heroes anymore. Ripley was kind of a bitch, what with her continually getting up in Dallas' face... plus she was a girl... she couldn't be the hero.
So, you can see why the point in the movie was so surprising. I do remember wondering if Dallas isn't killed after all and he'd make a dramatic break for freedom from the ALIEN's lair later in order to save Ripley. That, awesomely, doesn't happen. Ripley has to save herself and despite my ONE TRUE OBJECTION to the film later in which Ridley tries to humiliate her, she remains an action-woman icon for a good reason.
Scene 53: We rejoin our diminished group. Parker slams Dallas' flame thrower on the table. Apparently they'd gone in off-screen to find him and this was all that was left where he disappeared. There wasn't even any blood (see my belief above that Dallas was alive and he'd still be the hero in the final act). Parker is pissed off, Lambert is weepy, Ash is standing off to the side withdrawn, and Ripley - now in command - is struggling to come up with a new plan.
Ripley tells the others they should proceed with Dallas' plan to flush the creature out. Lambert objects that they should get onboard the emergency shuttle and abandon the ship, but Ripley points out the shuttle isn't designed to take four people [that seems like bad planning]. Lambert says they'll draw straws. Parker is pissed off and isn't leaving. He wants to hunt down the ALIEN and kill it.
Over Parker's continued desire to just storm through the ship until they find it, Ripley lays out a plan to basically follow Dallas' plan, but with all four of them going into the air ducts in pairs and moving forward step by step until they corner the thing and incinerate it, or are able to push it back to the airlock as in the original plan.
Parker goes to recharge Dallas' flame unit and to calm down. Ripley, struggling with her own emotions, turns on Ash for any help that sciences or MOTHER can offer.
She's shocked and angry when Ash tells her that he's still collating data. [Really, Ash?! 'Collating'... that's all Science Division has to say?!] With Ash, and supposedly MOTHER having zero to offer, Ripley dismisses him snottily. Now that the two more senior crewmembers are deceased, Ripley can access MOTHER herself for some answers.
Scene 54: In another part of the ship, Parker is rushing around thinking the ALIEN may be behind every turn in the corridor. He storms into a storage room, where there is nothing untoward.
Commentary: Okay, I sorta-kinda get this scene. It's a way to throw some tension in because we think Parker is going to get it. And also, we'll see this room later and I suppose there is supposed to be this subconscious feeling of safety associated with it because we saw nothing dangerous was here in this scene -- but really, it's just a strange insert with no relevance.
Scene 55: Inside the control room of MOTHER (with a soundtrack that includes breathing noises to up the tension), Ripley dispenses with the type of questions that Dallas asked. She's far more interested in Ash's inability to assist them with options and the way she keeps looking over her shoulder suspiciously, we gather that her distrust of the science officer has reached new heights after his lame-o "collating" comment.
MOTHER at first won't help her, as she directs attention to a special order that is for science officer's eyes only.
Ripley is able to use a command override to at least tell MOTHER to list the special order's instructions... and they're not good:
Scene 56: As Ripley absorbs the fact that The Company has sold her and her crewmates out in order to retrieve the organism currently killing them, Ash reveals that he also has access to MOTHER and was able to get in completely silently [which is a ridiculous conceit... the door hisses when it opens].
Ash offers that there is an explanation, but does so in this very weird line delivery that makes me think he's not all-there. Ripley isn't interested in hearing his explanations, and one can't really blame her since it all seems pretty clear: ALIEN = VALUABLE, CREW = EXPENDABLE doesn't really require a lot of supplemental material to grasp.
Ripley has an angry-tears breakdown while throttling Ash, as he continues to give this very off-kilter response. She storms out of MOTHER's control room with Ash... robotically [heh!] following behind her.
Scene 57: Ripley heads back into the main living area. Parker is still down recharging the flame unit, Lambert is apparently taking a pee I guess. Neither of them respond to Ripley's attempt to call them.
Commentary: This shot is weird as well, almost like it was filmed out of sequence? I'm not sure. Ripley's nose is bleeding here without explanation, unless she managed to clock herself in MOTHER's control room while shaking Ash around. You'd think that this would have been planned to have Ash hit her first before the nose injury, so the fact that when she comes out of the control room her nose is already bloody... is just... continuity-cracking.
She goes to storm off after Parker and Lambert, but the doors shut in front of her... exactly like she cut off Dallas' escape from her earlier when he wanted to storm away from her arguments about Ash. Ripley rushes to another set of doors, but Ash shuts those as well. She yells at him, but he's just staring at her in his bizarro-person way like someone who is not-all-there and has suddenly become extremely dangerous.
When Ripley goes up to him and tells him to open the doors, she and we see a drop of sweat rolling down Ash's face... but it's a tear of milky-white... like milk.
He starts going into some weird facial contortions and grabs Ripley by the hair violently, as she pulls out of his grip leaving some of her hair behind. She starts a desperate crawl/scoot/run from him, but he remains right behind her. Easily, he picks her up and throws her across the room against the wall and onto a bench, leaving her stunned by the blow.
Looking like he's in a daze of some sort himself, Ash gazes down on her before rolling up a magazine and trying to stuff it down her throat.
Commentary: I want to take a second to discuss this attack, because I don't like it but at the same time I can justify it within universe. The reason I don't like the way this attack sequence is being filmed is that Ripley is obviously being forced to orally take a phallic symbol down her throat, while in the background there are naked pictures of women on the walls. It's hard not to take this as mysogenistic, thanks to that completely unnecessary detail in the set design. It's also hard, at first, to justify Ash using this bizarre means to try to kill her when he could have strangled her, broke her neck, bashed her head in, etc.
But, from the outside, I can also see where this is coming in from and I don't think it is violence directed at Ripley for being a woman thinking she's in command or wanting to punish her in a sexually degrading way, as you could accuse Scott of doing at first glance. This is actually a replication of how Kane died -- the phallic symbol being forcibly inserted down the throat in an oral-rape nightmare scenario. Now, the commentaries for this film will confirm that the facehuggers modus operandi was deliberately chosen to enflame male fears of male-on-male oral rape so you can see the thought that they would have Ash attack Ripley in the same way here as a parallel to that fear... equating them as equally repellent. But then they undercut the assertion by surrounding Ripley with nude female images which I cannot imagine would have any other use except to add a sense of titilation, which destroys the original (possibly) intention of filming Ash's attack on Ripley in this way. I'm confused as to what Scott meant by this scene because of this pointless detail in the set design. It makes it feel less reflective on Ripley's attack with Kane's attack and more just mean spirited against the woman in command and yet, Ripley is amazingly effective and strong and she's been shown to be completely right throughout the movie with the men making the fatal mistakes. It really leaves me muddled on how Ridley feels about this character.
It's almost like he's saying "Look at this powerful woman - you don't need to be a man to be the hero, you dullards... And, I really resent that fact!" It's weird, especially with Lambert basically playing the usual hysterical, useless ball of screams and tears. Is he admiring Ripley, or does he wish she was more like Lambert and leaving the heroics to the men. Obviously, he wants her to fight and win... but there is this undercurrent that he wants her to pay for it for being a woman.
IN Universe, though, Ash's attack here actually makes a weird sort of sense. Mini-spoiler of what we're about to find out anyway: Ash has been directed to sacrifice his crewmates in order to retrieve the alien lifeform. But Ash is also a robot... SURPRISE... and he's been programmed to take care of the biological and medical needs of his crewmates. He's actually been given two differing command sets that are diametrically opposed to one another especially once he figures out that the ALIEN requires the death of its host in order to procreate. This is actually exactly like HAL's breakdown in 2001/2010 that caused him to kill his crew... except far more logically, here.
It even makes sense that with Ash having a schism due to this conflicting command setup, that he'd be fixated on the ALIEN's processes. You could see Ash wishing to kill Ripley, Parker and Lambert in a way that mimics the ALIEN's in some weird psychotic desire to perpetuate the breeding of the ALIEN for the company in order to bring more of them home. He could just as easily command the ship to return to LV-426, incapacitate the crew and infect them which would be more logical, but at this point, Ash's entire "psychology" is damaged by the conflicting nature of his dual missions. In a heavily, psychologically "Dangerous Minds" way, his mode of attempting to mimic the ALIEN's own breeding cycle with this attack on Ripley could be seen to make sense.
So, I think that finally, I can justify this sexualized attack on Ripley due to the ALIEN facehugger's previous mode of attack on Kane -- but I don't like the way that Scott chose to film the sequence without later explicating as to why Ash would choose this bizarre form of attack on her. I simply can't know, looking at the sequence as filmed, that Scott placed this much thought into it rather than it simply being an "Ash tries to rape Ripley because he's evil" scene.
This is especially true because of both the upcoming attacks on Lambert and the reprehensible shot of Ripley coming up later that further makes me think Scott may just be a 70's-era douche-head about women being exploited that really undercuts a less mysogenistic read on this sequence.
So, Ash tries to shove a rolled up girlie-mag down her throat. Thankfully for her, Parker and Lambert have returned before Ripley can smother.
Scene 58: So, before we find out Ash is in fact a robot... SURPRISE... we do get indications that he's much stronger than he should be. As Parker and Lambert try to pull Ash off from Ripley, he reaches over and grabs Parker's chest who responds with a shocked surprise of pain as Ash squeezes his pec muscle and basically ignores Lambert's yanking at his shoulders.
Parker recovers enough to grab a fire extinguisher and bash Ash's head. This sends him into a squeaky-cry, a tornado spin of chaos, and a frenzied spew of milky white from his mouth. Parker winds up and hits him again, bashing his head off of his shoulders. Instead of a geyser of red and instant death though, Ash starts stumbling around and bleeding white all over the room. It's obvious now that he isn't human.
It looks like Ash is down for good, but when Parker reaches to take a closer look, the robot grabs at him some more in another attempt at homicide.
Commentary: This scene is, unfortunately, hilarious and isn't meant to be. Yaphet can't keep from looking ridiculous as he "struggles" with the near-headless Ash, so I really wish this had been edited in more modern fashion where you don't get to see much of the kinetic action.
They're finally able to subdue the Ashbot by using one of those stun-poles through his back. Lambert does so, but her hero-moment is let down by her immediate need to screaming-mimi about it.
Scene 59: A bit later, Ripley is working on reconnecting Ash's head enough to talk to him about the ALIEN, over Parker's objections.
Commentary: This again is a situation where seeing a bit less would have been more. The special effects dummy head are fine, but then it's shown in a clumsy jump edit to Ian Holm, which makes it look clownishly obvious. If we hadn't gotten so good a look at Ripley fussing with the dummy head, this transition would have played much more smoothly.
What I do like about this scene though is the acting from Ian discussing the perfection of the ALIEN entity and his near-pity for the remaining crew. I also like the added touch of giving Ian's voice an electronic effect to bring through his android nature.
With Ash assuring Ripley, Parker and Lambert that they cannot kill the organism, Ripley decides to fallback on Lambert's original plan: Get in the shuttle, scuttle the ship and hope that someone out there picks up on their distress call. There is still the problem with the shuttle not being designed for more than two people, for whateverthefuckreason, so they'll need to get extra coolant from the hold of Nostromo to bring with them. Once on the shuttle, they'll have to work out how to maximize their survival chances.
Parker flames up Ash with malice.
Scene 60: Parker and Lambert are sent to retrieve the coolant, while Ripley goes to prep the shuttle for leaving Nostromo and to ready the self-destruct of the ship.
We follow Ripley as she prepares the shuttle. But... sensing that the remaining crew is going to get away safely, Jonesy suddenly makes his return mewing pitifully from somewhere over the comm system. Since they have several minutes while Parker and Lambert are off getting the needed coolant extras, Ripley leaves the relative safety of the shuttle deck [well, safety if she'd shut the effing door behind her... again...!] to go hunt for the stupid cat.
Scene 61: In the hold, Lambert makes as much noise as is possible while retrieving coolant tanks and Parker tries to assist and guard at the same time.
Scene 62: Ripley wanders corridors [but at least she's armed with another one of the throwers] calling for the stupid cat. She grabs a carrier for him.
Scene 63: In the storeroom, roll a cart through corridors with doors not designed for carts... unfortunate planning there... to a side room with more coolant tanks. They're taking much too long and are making way too much noise for my comfort.
Scene 63: Ripley makes it up to command deck, where she continues to softly call after Jones. We can hear over the intercom system banging noises.
Scene 64: Which are coming from Parker checking tanks and throwing them across the floor with maximum noise for Lambert to stack on the too small and too wheeled cart.