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Star Trek TOS - Season 3 - Episode 20

Star Trek TOS - 3x20 - The Way to Eden

Originally Aired: 1969-2-21

A charismatic leader and his followers hijack the Enterprise in their search for "Eden." [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 2.99

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 80 15 14 11 9 6 9 8 5 11 16


- Uhura is remarkably absent from this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Spock's careful handling of the space hippies.
- Adam: "I crack my knuckles and jump for joy! I got a clean bill of health from Dr. McCoy!"
- Chekov: "I am proud of what I am. I believe in what I do. Can you say that?"
- Chekov respectfully submitting himself for punishment.

My Review
This episode is famous for being terribly bad and overly silly. Essentially a band of dropout space hippies go on a religious quest to find Eden. Then they discover, much to their discontent, that there is no Eden. Fans vigorously bash this episode, but I am less critical. This episode features no incredible technical problems; nothing in this episode couldn't have happened in the canonical Star Trek universe. Indeed, I think this episode holds historical value on many levels. It shows the pointlessness of the whole hippie movement of the 1960s by showing the same pointlessness in the 2260s. Basically, extremist groups guided by religious beliefs never accomplish anything. Another redeeming quality of this episode is the fact that for once the Enterprise doesn't feature superior condescending malicious guests. Instead, they are ignorant, misguided, and in fact have good intentions. Now, admittedly, the acting is ridiculously silly and very over the top. I give it a low rating thusly. But not nearly as low as many fans would say it deserves.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Peter on 2010-08-12 at 11:05pm:
    Human behaviour appears to be sillier and sillier with hindsight, the only reason being that you were either not living at that time or were not really involved. In contrast to other "bad episodes" many fans give very high ratings to this episode, as I do myself. Because there is a lot in this episode that seems to elude many people. Of course, the crew of the enterprise is confronted by characters of the late sixties, a guru, hippies, dropouts, whatever you call them. First of all, it is a funny episode with a tragic and realistic ending. In fact, even the "insane" Dr. Sevrin is a far more credible evil guy than many other entities that roam our galaxy. I like the idea that an expert of future acoustics will use his knowledge to paralyze the crew of the enterprise much more than blinking lights that grow more powerful by the emotions released in ridiculous sword fights of Humans and Klingons. In fact there is a basic and dominating idea in this episode: What can sound and our voices be used for? For entertaining music, for derising authorities (rarely Kirk is more helpless when he is called "Herbert") and for "evil actions". The whole story is well constructed, e.g. the scenes of Chekov and Irina are beautiful and well played as is the music, in particular when Spock is involved. I think that Spock really FEELS and not only UNDERSTANDS what the quest of the space hippies means: finding UTOPIA or EDEN. Maybe the best idea in the episode and implied by Spock is that this EDEN/UTOPIA is not ready-made but has to be created by us.
  • From Mosh on 2012-08-07 at 2:25am:
    Well now that they've encountered a planet with such hostile conditions, maybe they will stop blindly beaming down to new planets and start sending probes or at least wear an environmental suit of some kind. Somehow I don't think they'll learn their lesson, though.
  • From Glenn239 on 2012-11-24 at 1:31pm:
    “Captain’s Log: While we’ve had a lot of bad episodes lately, at least we haven’t been hijacked by space hippies yet.”

    At first I’m watching this thinking, ‘do I reach?’, but then around that groovy scene where Spock and the chick are jamming with the bicycle rim I’m thinking, “That’s now. That real now.” It starts to chime, man. I reach.

    26 zero ratings? You guys are total Herberts. Stiff man’s putting my mind in jail. Ok, so the dueling bad Russian accents might have been painful. But don’t get jelly in the belly, man. The space hippies die on an acid planet. Do you reach, Herbert? The episode was all about a bad acid trip. Gotta give it a ‘6’ for that.
  • From jd_juggler on 2015-03-30 at 3:40pm:
    Notwithstanding a few memorable moments, this is not a good episode. Kirk (who seems overly bothered being called "Herbert") defends the group by saying to Scott "I used to get into a little trouble when I was that age, Scotty, didn't you?" - though the groups leader seems at least as old as Kirk. The others aren't exactly teenagers, either. At that age, Kirk would already have been in star fleet, and the only "trouble" he got into was not firing fast enough into that creature that later appeared in "obsession", a ratting out his friend ("court martial").

    Nor were these people peace-loving hippies. They intended to kill everyone on board ship to achieve their objective. Checkov's ex-girlfriend irina realizes this, but offers only a token objection. She, like the others, is prepared to murder well over 400 people to ensure what she supposes to be a happy life, with only a handful of humanoids as companions. And after they fail, everything is still fine and dandy between "pavel" and irina. And apparently, no charges are ever filed against the survivors of the "hippies".

    At the beginning of the episode, the group apparently didn't know the location of Eden. So when dr sevrin asked to be taken there, why wasn't the answer "we don't know where it is"? It was only later that Spock, with checkov's help, was able to locate the planet, which was deep in romulan territory. That raises two questions: how would romulan space have been mapped? and how come no romulans appeared? This is the only time I can recall the enterprise EVER entering romulan space without encountering a romulan ship.

    How did Kirk and Spock simply wake up after the sound waves rendered them unconscious?

    And by the way, what are "space studies" (in which Tong Rad had "extraordinary abilities"? Physics? Anthropology? Navigation? Geology?

    I will say that the blond girl musician was absolutely gorgeous. The brunette who flirted with sulu (same actress was one of the "Galileo 7") was cute, too.
  • From thaibites on 2015-10-21 at 7:34pm:
    Typical low-score TOS review by "Herbert" Newport. It's obvious that he didn't grow up with TOS, so he doesn't understand.
    I thought the whole thing between Chekov and his old girlfriend was really sad. Having to give her up for star fleet is a tough choice to make. She looked awesome in that futuristic outfit!
    Spock jams! They should've brought Jimi Hendrix on to guest star in this one.
  • From Steve on 2020-10-27 at 7:08am:
    1) The pointless hippie movement was the crucible from which many sociological changes occurred.

    2) The "hippies" in this episode are caricatures. They are there to add humor to the storyline. Less that 5 percent of hippies behaved as outlandishly as this travelers, but that isn't known to folks who grew watching the interpretations of who we were. In the 1970's and beyond, textbook writers made certain to diminish and discredit what had been accomplished. Entertainment also found that lampooning the movement (i.g Cheech and Chong) was profitable.

    3} Your judgment that "extremist religious groups" never accomplish anything has no business in a review, and no basis in fact. Virtually every major religion began as an extremist belief in their time.

    4) They did a pretty good job of mimicking the music of the time.

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