"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is one of those Star Trek episodes that everyone knows about or has seen but nobody actually likes. It has a memorable appearance by Frank Gorshin, cool make up, a memorable ending not to mention an important and brave anti racism message for a 60's television show, but one thing hurts the episode bad: the episode is SMOTHERED by this message.
The story has the Enterprise running across a stolen shuttlecraft and find it's lone occupant onboard ill. Said occupant has skin half white and black and the crew is amazed at this find (never mind the blinks of light or other more elaborate aliens they have met). Lokai (the alien) claims to be from planet Cheron which Kirk says is: "in the southern most part of the galaxy" Lokai is a passive aggressive prick throughout the episode and garners little sympathy, begging for asylum from Kirk one minute then insulting him the next when Kirk doesn't deliver on the request. Not too much later, the Enterprise runs across an invisible space ship (budget cutting) and before the ship collapses, Bele another member of planet Cheron transports to the bridge. Bele is very different then Lokai-he is half black and white instead of Lokai's half white and black. Bele is some kind of governement agent who is easily the Javert to Lokai's Val Jean in that he has been following Lokai for 50,000 YEARS!(?) Bele even makes sure to state that it is in Earth years too. That's a LONG time to be following ONE guy. Either Lokai is craftier then he seems, or Bele is dumber then Wile E Coyote.
What did Lokai do? It's pretty vague. Other then cause trouble here and there and be a jerk, Lokai has used people to rally his cause of freedom back home and in doing so gotten people hurt or killed, but Bele says his people WERE freed but in a manner that an insensitive white might argue that blacks were freed but who cared about civil rights. Bele certainly isn't sympathetic representing a white power authority figure but his cooler head and better presented argument makes him more likable. Yes you read that right, the VILLAIN is more likable then the VICTIM. Even when Bele takes over the Enterprise to direct it towards Planet Cheron he remains a cool presence.
Bele and Lokai are the biggest reason why this episode is a stumble. As I said above, Lokai is the Red to Beles Blue. Lokai is very emotional and fighting for a just cause but as like I said before is a passive aggressive jerk who starts pouting when he isn't given what he wants(Kirk doesn't give him asylum since he is a criminal in stealing the shuttle). Bele represents a government that gave Loaki and his people freedom after enslaving them for years and acts incredulous when Loaki wants basic human rights and respect. his dealings with Kirk and Spock are far more diplomatic and level headed making his argument stronger even though morally everyone knows he is wrong.
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield is like a football game that is 4th and inches, and the Quarterback getting sacked and losing the game. It makes such a strong message but it's heavy handedness and poor realization of it's characters and how they are used sinks the show. The ending while powerful is undermined by some silly gesturing and of all the characters to get sidelined on the show, you'd think this would be one where Uhura would get to have her voice heard alongside Kirks about how Earth ended it's petty differences in race. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield is one for the ages on how to almost make something important something minor.
The Enterprise crew gets involved with the dispute of two men whos trivial differences have led to years of pursuit and hate between each other. Real thick on it's message, but for it's time it was pretty ballsy and does represent what Trek was about, real world issues and mankind out in space.
Subtle is the last possible word that could be used to describe this episode. It is blunt and a bit over the top in making a point about race hatred. It all begins with the Enterprise pursuing a shuttlecraft stolen from Starbase 4. After a tractor beam brings the craft on board the Enterprise, a being from Cheron (Lokai), with one side of his face white and the other black, staggers out and collapses on the deck. He is immediately taken to sick bay where Spock and McCoy are in agreement that his … more
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There's blunt and then there's really blunt. "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is certainly the latter, a thick fable about the absurdity of intolerance, a story so obvious it becomes energized by its own, sheer audacity. Frank Gorshin, a 1960s television icon for his recurring role as the Riddler onBatman, plays Bele, an extraterrestrial cop pursuing a fugitive named Lokai (Lou Antonio). The latter is chalk-white on the right side of his body, and ebony-black on the left, an arrangement despised as inferior by Bele and his race, whose own color scheme simply reverses the two. While Captain Kirk (William Shatner) decides what to do about Lokai's request for asylum, the old race hatred between both sides looks increasingly ridiculous. Interestingly, the episode originated as an idea from producer Gene L. Coon, who envisioned an endless chase between a devil and an angel. Eventually it was decided that the sheer stupidity of prejudice would be underscored more clearly in the final arrangement and, indeed, several decades after the fact, the show does have a surrealist punch to it. Incidentally, theEnterpriseself-destruct sequence seen here was reprised in the feature filmStar Trek III: The Search for Spock.--Tom Keogh