‘LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD’ (TOS)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This has to be one of my favourite episodes from the original ‘Star Trek’ series. My Mum and Dad aren’t as keen on this episode as I am which is interesting. Not sure how highly rated it is in the poll.
This episode has the Enterprise on a mission to the planet Ariannus. But on the way, they pick up a survivor of a stole Starfleet shuttle craft. The survivor happens to be an alien with very unusual skin.
The survivor called Lokai happens to have a skin-colour that is divided between half-white and half-black. Kirk questions Lokai in sick bay why he stole the shuttle craft, but Lokai evades the questions.
Eventually, the Enterprise comes across an invisible spaceship in their path. They try to evade it but the ship collides with the Enterprise before it disintegrates. It deposits however this alien presence.
The alien presence turns out to be Bele, another alien similar to Lokai with half-white, half-black skin. Both Bele and Lokai are from the planet Cheron. Bele is very intent on taking Lokai back home.
This episode is rather thought-provoking and was controversial at the time of its broadcast in the 1960s. The episode is clearly about racism and race warfare, due to Bele and Lokai’s skin-colours here.
Bele and Lokai clearly hate each other, but the Enterprise crew members are oblivious to why they should hate each other since they look so similar. But it’s not all…err…’black and white’ as it appears.
The difference between Bele and Lokai is rather subtle. Seeing them, Bele is black on the left and white on the right while Lokai is white on the left and black on the right. Are you with me on this bit?
I didn’t notice this difference between Bele and Lokai before it clicked in later on during the episode. Kirk and Spock didn’t notice the difference either, which is so intriguing with 23rd century standards.
Frank Gorshin guest stars as Bele whilst Lou Antonio guest stars as Lokai. Frank Gorshin is known for playing the Riddler in the live-action ‘Batman’ TV series with Adam West at the time of this episode.
In the episode, Bele takes control of the Enterprise using his will as the ship diverts off its course from Ariannus to Cheron. I wonder how aliens like Bele have the willpower to control the Enterprise.
Kirk demands that Bele releases the Enterprise back to his control and return it on a course to Ariannus. Bele adamantly refuses since he’s so determined to take his prisoner Lokai back to Cheron.
With Bele and Lokai on the bridge, Kirk threatens to have the Enterprise destroyed if he does not have control. Bele believes he is bluffing, but Kirk means it as they start the self-destruct sequence.
It was really tense with Kirk, Spock and Scotty going through the self-destruct sequence and giving the correct authorisation codes. The camera work focusing on the characters’ eyes was very intense.
Just before the thirty-second countdown reaches to five, Bele eventually agrees to give control of the Enterprise back to Kirk. This is a relief and the Enterprise won’t get destroyed until ‘Star Trek III’.
After their mission to Ariannus, the Enterprise is about to go off to Starbase IV. But Bele takes control of the Enterprise ship again, disabling the self-destruct sequence, as they head off to Cheron.
They eventually arrive at Cheron, but the planet is devastated by the war between Bele and Lokai’s people. The two soon fight it out with each other, before they beam down to the planet at the end.
‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’ is a very thought-provoking ‘Star Trek’ episode about race hatred. I liked the question Uhura asks at the end about Bele and Lokai and the answer that Kirk gives her.
The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 4 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.
‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’ (TOS) rating – 9/10
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