Star Trek 3.20: The Way to Eden

The Way to EdenThe Way to Eden“… and so we move from one of the best episodes of season 3 to one of the worst. It has space hippies and six, count them… six groovy musical numbers, including Spock playing along while the hippies and Enterprise crew dance.

The hippies arrive on the Enterprise after being rescued from a stolen ship. They are seeking the mythical paradise planet of Eden, and behave in a very 1960s anti-authoritarian way, including some far out slang. Spock, weirdly enough, is the only crew member who gets along with them, as we see his spiritual side and curiosity come out. He also pulls out a Vulcan harp to jam with the hippies and their wacky musical instruments. During one of the musical numbers, we see Sulu on the bridge tapping his toes and grooving to the rhythms, implying that they are broadcasting them throughout the ship for no apparent reason.

The story, as far as it goes, is that the leader of the hippies (though he refuses to be called a leader, saying that they are all equals) is the previously respected Dr Sevrin, a former professor of acoustics, who has rejected civilisation and wishes to find Eden where they can all live in harmony. McCoy finds in a medical examination that Sevrin is a carrier of a fatal infectious disease, which Sevrin denies exists in a deniariffic act of denying denial. McCoy wants to isolate Sevrin lest he infect his followers or anyone else he comes into contact with, which upsets the hippies. (While confined, we even see the brig guard toe-tapping to the piped music from the hippie/Spock jam session.) One of the hippies is an old flame of Chekov’s and there’s a minor subplot about how they don’t understand one another any more.

Of course, Sevrin escapes and the hippies take over the ship from auxiliary control, disabling the main bridge with ridiculous ease. Sevrin uses a sonic attack to cripple any resistance and takes the ship on a wild ride through the Galaxy until they find a planet that he claims is Eden. How he knows this is anyone’s guess. The hippies steal a shuttlecraft and go down to the planet, which looks nice enough when Kirk and Spock go down to chase them. There is a comment about Sulu being interested in botany – the first we hear about that since way back in season 1. But the beautiful vegetation is acidic and poisonous, and the hippie Adam and then Sevrin die after eating some of the fruit. Eden is an illusion, and the remaining hippies are left to find their own way again.

Wow, it’s just a horrible episode. The hippies are straight out of the 60s, just dressed in wacky space clothes variants of hippie garb. The musical numbers are obvious filler. The Enterprise operational procedures and security make no sense whatsoever. Kill me now!!

Tropes: Musical Episode, Pleasure Planet, Future Slang, Xenophone, Cult Colony, Typhoid Mary, Science Is Bad, Selective Obliviousness, New Old Flame, Cardboard Prison, Brown Note, Poison Is Corrosive, Death World, Reactionary Fantasy, No New Fashions In The Future, Filler.
Body count: Adam, Dr Sevrin (both from eating poisonous fruit).

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