Episode 70 – TOS 3×15: “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

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So this episode needs little explanation, being well-known, even to those living under literal rocks, as Trek’s Clumsiest Racial Prejudice Metaphor, but just in case you were unsure about where we were, here’s a reminder:

The two-tone assholes facing the camera, one side of their faces white and the other side black. Different sides, being the message.
We spent ages trying to work out how they got that crazy-straight line. Painter’s tape? Stencils?












This episode gets a score of slightly below 50% for, okay, explicitly tackling an extremely controversial, extremely relevant issue of the day, but, uh, totally blowing everything by implying that the faults on both sides are equal. I mean, we’re sure the censors of the day played a role in swaying the message in a more “level” direction, but it would have gotten a better score if the episode had spent slightly more time on driving home Genocide Is Morally Indefensible Regardless of the Circumstances versus handwaving via Oh Well It’s All Descended Into Chaos Now We Are All at Fault. Let’s be clear, kids: genocide and activism against genocide are not morally equivalent.

Lokai threatens Bele and the bridge crew.
Look, Nick Spencer, moral relativism about genocide isn’t even okay in space, okay??











Basically this whole episode boils down into a pretty toothless object lesson about how hate is bad, hate just ends in death and destruction and extinction and rational beings descending into unending violence, which okay, sounds very Star Trek, but I guess our standards have been ruined by Jean-Luc Picard’s much more sensitive and intelligent take on things as they hover over the burning, lifeless planet Cheron.

The planet Cheron, appropriately with a dark shadow over half its face.
Now do you see where gerrymandering gets you?













Although in fairness, I can easily imagine all the later captains taking one last look at these two assholes who decided that the last thing they wanted to do with their existence as the final two members of their species was to chase each other through the smoldering corpse of their dead homeworld, and peacing out back to Earth, like Kirk does, though I like to imagine JLP would have given us a better speech than Spock’s boiling-down to the fact that “extreme viewpoints are illogical,” because okay, yeah, but guys? Genocide. Gen-o-cide. Jeez.

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