Watching Alien for the umpteenth time and notice that my perspective has changed a little. There is some spoilers here, but honestly if you haven’t seen Alien yet then you shouldn’t be reading anyway.
Normally Ash is pegged as the villain but honestly he/it was just following orders. After repeated viewings I am going to say that our intrepid captain of the USCSS Nostromo, Dallas Koblenz Arthur is the man that caused all the deaths on the ship.
Evidence of bad decisions:
- Dallas went down with the landing party probably against regulations…
- …which caused him to be emotionally compromised when a friend needed help.
- Dallas then blatantly broke regulations when Ripley calmly reminded him of procedure giving Ash an opening to execute his agenda.
- On transporting the face hugger Ripley tried to get Dallas to blow it out the airlock, wary of what it could do, even when dead. Ash used this opportunity to convince him that the Weyland-Yutani needed to run tests.
- At this point Dallas gave up completely and delegated all responsibility to Ash being the science officer and argued.
- When Gilbert Kane awoke, Ash did not bother to rescan his body probably knowing what was going on. Having been given full authority by Dallas no one questioned it.
By this point in the movie it was already too late. Dallas then had the gall to go ahead and get killed early on so he didn’t have to deal with the rest of the movie. Remember that Ash was under no obligation to make accurate tracking equipment, so he may have been the literal cause of Dallas’ death, but the ultimate responsibility relies with Dallas’ actions.
Granted with the company telling Ash ‘all other priorities are rescinded’ the dairy blooded automaton may have figured out a way get an egg on the ship and bring it home anyway, but it may not have happened with the same amount of short term carnage that occurs in the two hour running time. What happens is basically a really gooey version of ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’.