Flashback Friday – Star Trek: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (S3, Ep 15)
On this edition of Flashback Friday, we’re reviewing Star Trek’s original series and the season three episode, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.
We’re reviewing the original Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. It starts with a stolen Starfleet shuttle resurfacing, that contains a two-toned alien (Lokai). An alien that Spocks feel is a mutation. X-Men in space? If only. A grand new insult is introduced during Kirk’s interrogation; monotone. It’s like the X-Men insult “flatscan”. Lokai really feels like a manipulative ex, just gaslighting his way through the crew.
An alien ship arrives but it’s unviewable, cheap wot save on the budget. The Ship goes on Red Alert but no one on the ship seems to be concerned, however. The alien ship disintegrates but the alien piloting it appears on the bridge. His name is The Belellder….Sorry, just Bele. Bele is played by the legendary Frank Gorshin, who played The Riddler in the 1960’s Batman series.
Bele is here for the other alien, Lokai. Turns out Bele is super racist. Shocking he’s not a Cardassian. Lokai is a revolutionary and wants to go to war to free his people from Bele and his. Captain Kirk negotiates a peace for the two, temporarily and informs them both that Lokai will be turned over to those at Starbase 4 for judgment.
Law and Order: Starfleet Victims Unit.
The Enterprise gets mind jacked by Bele and redirected its course to Cheron so that Lokai can be returned and held accountable for his alleged crimes. Bele can apparently mind-jack spaceships. That’s a nifty party trick. Kirk’s had enough of this drama and sets the ship to self-destruct. Totally not an overreaction.
Kirk then calls off the self-destruct order after Bele agrees to return control of the ship to Kirk. After talking to Starfleet and the Bele, it’s revealed that Bele and Lokai hate each other due to an irrational color swap. Not for a good reason, like putting pineapple on pizza. Bele is black on his right side, while Lokai is white on his. This color swap has turned them into violent opposite forces, steeped in racism.
After the Enterprise completes their mission of mercy at Ariannus, which started the episode, Bele again jacks the Enterprise, and Bele flat out goes full racist on the entire bridge crew. Eventually, Kirk gets the ship back but still takes the duo back to their planet. They find that the planet is completely wiped out, and only Bele and Lokai remain from their respective races.
So now that they’re the last two beings alive, what do they do? A Scooby-Doo chase scene, obviously. The two men end up back on the dead planet, and where they will end up hating each other to the end apparently.
Let’s go to the scores.
Acting: Fantastic acting, especially by Frank Gorshin. The pointlessness of the vitriol was well executed by everyone.
Writing: Bele was the logical one, but blinded by his hate. Lokai was wronged but used innocent people to fight his battles. Such conflict was beautiful to watch.
Design: The designs were simple but effective. The singular color of their uniform really enhanced the fact that this conflict was largely pointless.
Special Effects: It’s from the ’60s, so cheesy graphics were on the menu. They did the best with what they could.
Enjoyability: It was a very poignant episode that was much heavier to get through than I first expected. Too heavy to say I had fun watching, but important.
Overall: 22/25 (88%)
The episode really does come at a time when people are more violent towards one another than ever before. It’s a hard episode to watch today, with very little in the way of the classic Star Trek charm. This episode was clearly designed to prove a point in a period that clearly needed it. There wasn’t supposed to be any camp this time around.
So it was effective in that regard.