‘THE WAY TO EDEN’ (TOS)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This ‘Star Trek’ episode has the Enterprise crew meet a group of hippies. This would have suited the late 1960s period well, since the hippie movement was pretty strong and prevalent around the time.
‘The Way To Eden’ has the Enterprise chasing a stolen spaceship with six people on board. These six people are led by a madman scientist and have hippie-like beliefs when in search of the planet Eden.
Soon the Enterprise ship gets hijacked as these hippie-like people go to great lengths to reach this Eden planet of theirs. But is the planet they find really pure paradise or will it be the death of them?
I found this episode interesting if not unusual. Having a hippie theme prevalent during this episode was quite daring and it was enjoyable to see how Kirk and the Enterprise crew interacted with them.
The hippies refuse to co-operate with Kirk and keep calling him ‘Herbert’ as an uncomplimentary form of ridicule. Spock somehow manages to get through to these people, knowing of their beliefs.
Eden of course refers to the Garden of Eden in the Christian Bible. I found it interesting how these hippies were seeking for their Eden and that their beliefs would still exist even by the 23rd Century.
The hippie gang are led by Skip Homeier as Dr. Sevrin. Sevrin was once a former scientist who abandoned his work to pursue the dream of finding Eden. Sevrin has larger ears compared to Spock.
It transpires that Sevrin is insane. Spock discovers this when he has a conversation with him and informs Kirk. Sevrin is also a carrier of a disease, discovered when refusing a medical scan in sick bay.
Charles Napier guest stars as Adam, one of Sevrin’s gang and a jovial guitar player. The name Adam of course is based on the original Adam, the first man who was made by God in the Garden of Eden.
The Adam in this ‘Star Trek’ episode is a really good singer when he plays his guitar-like instrument. I got the impression that Charles Napier was also a singer in real life as well as an actor in this episode.
There’s also Mary Linda Rapelye as Irina Galliulin, a female member of Sevrin’s group. Irina was interesting since she happened to be a former lover of Chekov’s and was once in Starfleet Academy.
I enjoyed Chekov’s story with Irina in this episode. Chekov seems responsible and more grown-up compared to his Season 2 appearances, especially when he rekindles his relationship with Irina here.
The rest of Sevrin’s gang include Victor Brandt as Tongo Rad, who is an alien member of the group. There’s also Deborah Downey as Girl #1 (what was her name?) and Phyllis Douglas as Girl #2 (Mavig).*
Lt. Uhuru seems to be off on holiday in this episode as Elizabeth Rogers takes her place as Lt. Palmer. Isn’t it funny how you notice characters’ absences from ‘Star Trek’ such as Uhura, Sulu and Chekov?
Spock gets a chance to play his Vulcan harp during the episode. This is when Adam and his hippie gang have this music session to entertain the Enterprise crew and Spock soon enters in to join them.
Very soon, Sevrin’s hippie gang hijacks the Enterprise and make their way escape to the planet Eden, which is in the Romulan Neutral Zone. The Enterprise soon recovers and they go to find the hippies.
On the Eden planet itself, everything looks lush, beautiful and promising as it could be. But the plant-life and fruit are poison, full of acid. Soon Sevrin takes a bite out of the fruit and he’s killed instantly.
‘The Way To Eden’ has been an enjoyable excursion for ‘Star Trek’ into the hippie culture of the 1960s. I wouldn’t say it’s a favourite, but I enjoyed Chekov’s romantic journey during this TV episode.
The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 5 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.
*Thanks to Ken Masterson
‘The Way To Eden’ (TOS) rating – 7/10
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