Star Trek: The Original Series
"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"
Air date: 1/10/1969
Teleplay by Oliver Crawford
Story by Lee Cronin
Directed by Jud Taylor
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
The Enterprise becomes the newest battlefield for two bitter enemies, Lokai (Lou Antonio) and Bele (Frank Gorshin), who have been at each other's throats for millennia—a microcosm of the schism based on racial hatred that divides their world. Determined to take Lokai back to his home world for punishment, Bele seizes control of the Enterprise navigation as the ship's crew is helpless.
About the only thing "Last Battlefield" has going for it are some good intentions. The story is way too unfocused and meandering to work as reasonable allegory. Reducing racism to absurdity is certainly something that provides the opportunity to be pointed by conveying the sheer stupidity of the ideas behind pointless hatred. Unfortunately, the allegory is too preachy and pretentious and fails to say anything except in the very broadest of terms. (Prejudice has many troubling shades of grey that this story fails to acknowledge.) Only one scene stands out among the mayhem—a scene where Bele is appalled that no one recognizes the reasons for his hatred.
An extended sequence involving the Enterprise self-destruct sequence only manages to draw the story further off course. And while the director of photography's choices here exhibit an ambitious need to be atypical, the results are mixed—too often distracting rather than enhancing. Morality plays are well and good, but not when they're as haphazardly assembled as this one, which is a waste of a perfectly good opportunity.