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In the ninth episode of the first series of UFO, "Destruction", a UFO is shot down by a navy ship. SHADO investigate and find that the ship was going to dump deadly nerve gas into the sea bed, 1,000 fathoms deep. We learn that if the gas gets out, it will kill off all living things on Earth. The aliens plan to strike the ship while they are in the process of dumping the gas.

Since the aliens are coming to Earth to harvest human organs, killing us off makes no sense. While this was aired as number 9 by ATV, according to Wikipedia, it was 20th in production, so the harvesting premise should have been well set by then.

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    There would be some survivors. Those survivors would be much easier to farm
    – Valorum
    Jun 24 at 6:53
  • I suppose that's possible, but, the impression I got when the navy admiral explained it to Straker,was that this would fill off everything, including plant life. There may not be many left to harvest, sure there would be no defense, but they may be harder to find, and perhaps tainted from partial exposure.
    – KevInSol
    Jun 24 at 16:17

2 Answers 2

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"Since the aliens are coming to Earth to harvest human organs... "

This is the misconception you have with the motivation of the aliens in the show. Truth is, the overall motivation of the aliens is never explicitly stated in the show (except individual missions within episodes).

The 'harvesting organs' comes early in the series, when an alien is discovered with human organs - presumably to prolong immersion in our atmosphere so they can operate - so we known it is something they do, but is it the reason behind the invasion? In later episodes they are shown to overcome this in other ways - mind control (in the episode you mention) and fully human bodies (grown a la BodySnatchers?) are two other methods I can think of immediately. Because the show was cancelled so early, the full story just never got explored.

Although the overall motivation is not known, it is presumed by SHADO that these visits are precursors to some form of forthcoming invasion of Earth, but whether this is for water or other resources, or human organs is actually never stated in show (except maybe as guesswork or assumptions by human characters).

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It is silly

This is not a satisfying answer, and I'll admit I never made it through most of UFO, but I suspect the answer is just this: the writers simply failed to adequately think through this element of the story, and so it really doesn't make sense.

Anecdotally, I can say it is sort of a 21st-century thing for audiences to carefully scrutinize the plot and character motivations from television shows. It was less fatal to a show back then to have the occassional slap-dash plotline that didn't quite gel.

What does make sense is that mainstream audiences from that time were generally aware that hostile aliens generally like to do three things:

  • seize the Earth
  • kill all humans (no, not that)
  • violate our bodies

It seems like Destruction is just a grab-bag of that: the aliens are bad, so let's make them want to kill everyone and also violate our bodies, and nobody will care that the aliens' plan to burn-before-pillaging is counterproductive.

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    While I don't disagree with you, in the absence of any evidence you could just as easily say that this was intentional, or that the episode was broadcast out of order, or that this was supposed to be a different faction of the aliens.
    – Valorum
    Jun 25 at 17:28

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