Sunday, February 17, 2019

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

TOS Season 3 Episode 15
Air Date: January 10th, 1969


The Enterprise is on its way to the planet Ariannus to decontaminate the atmosphere of a bacteria that is threatening to kill all life, including the one billion people living on it. On the way to Ariannus they find a stolen shuttle craft that is leaking atmosphere. They tractor it into the hanger and catch the thief, an alien who is bright white on the right side of his face and pitch black on the other.

Shortly after capturing the alien who calls himself Lokai Chekov detects a ship heading towards them. The ship is invisible but can be seen on sensors. As it is about to run into the Enterprise it disintegrates and it's passenger transports to the bridge. The passenger is another alien like Lokai named Bele. Bele demands that they hand over Lokai, a terrorist and mass murderer on his planet Cheron. Cheron is a planet in the "South" of the galaxy outside of the Federation.

We quickly learn that there is a hatred between Bele and Lokai that dates back thousands of years. Some of the things they say makes you believe that they can live thousands of years which means that old grudges don't die easily. We learn through Lokai that his people were enslaved by Bele's people many years ago and even today there are many prejudices that prevent Lokai and his people from a successful happy life. Originally we are under the impression that Lokai and Bele are the same race, but in reality they are the same species but racially they are different. Lokai has black on the right side of his face, while Bele is white on the right side of his face.

It turns out the Cheron people have some kind of power that lets them control technology and even propel things through space at speeds exceeding warp 10. Bele takes control of the Enterprise and sets a course to Cheron. Kirk threatens to destroy the ship if he doesn't get back control which works for a time but ultimately the Enterprise arrives at Cheron to find it devoid of life, destroyed in war. Lokai leads Bele on a chase through the ship ultimately ending with them both transporting down to their world. Kirk decides to leave them there and heads back to Federation space.


This episode is one that I remember well as a child. It may even be the one that has influenced me through out the years in my perspective of racism and prejudices. The episode takes the idea of racism and shows how silly it is to treat someone in a particular way just because of some physical trait that they cannot control such as the color of their skin. On Earth the visual differences are significant enough that some people don't see it that way, but with Cheron the difference disappears just be looking in the mirror. Yet even then prejudices form and people act on hate.

The episode was also shot in a different way then most Star Trek episodes. When Kirk calls for red alert, the camera would zoom in and out rapidly. The chase scene between Bele and Lokai would fade to burning cities and back to show the imagery of their sttuggle ultimately leading to their destruction.


"Mr. Spock. I've run tests. Blood is blood, even when it's green like yours." - McCoy

"It is obvious to the most simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed." - Bele
"The obvious visual evidence, Commissioner, is that he is of the same breed as yourself." - Spock
"Are you blind, Commander Spock? Well, look at me. Look at me!" - Bele
"You are black on one side and white on the other." - Kirk
"I am black on the right side!" - Bele
"I fail to see the significant difference." - Kirk
"Lokai is white on the right side. All of his people are white on the right side." - Bele

"You monotone humans are all alike. First you condemn and then attack!" - Lokai

"To expect sense from two mentalities of such extreme view points is not logical." - Spock
"Their planet's dead. Does it matter now which one's right?" - Sulu
"Not to Lokai and Bele. All that matters to them is their hate." - Spock

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