Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 20

The Way to Eden

Aired Unknown Feb 21, 1969 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
169 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Enterprise picks up a group of space "hippies" looking for Eden.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • You read it right! 9 for 'bottom of the barrel'

    This one shows off the best and worst of Trek in the 60s.

    Best because it wants to show opposing points in an issue without being preachy (hippies who want to get away from the technological society that eats away at them), and best because this one is as hokey as they come!

    Chekov is now a wind-up soldier than a half-rebel.

    For season 3, Spock is surprisingly well handled.

    And I dig the music...

    But given how astute they\'ve been in the past, where are the Romulans? Why do the hippies agree to Doctor Severin\'s goal to murder the crew of the Enterprise?! They seem concerned, but are so spineless they\'ll blindly obey that creep?! Doesn\'t make much for their purported morals... And best of all, Charles Napier with go-go boots on! Although the hair dye was atrocious...

    All in all, the only thing this episode tackles is the hippie crisis of the 1960s. It, much like the hippies, don\'t know what to go do with themselves but sure look and sound nice...

    It\'s so bad it\'s good. I can't deny it's mindless guilty pleasure fun, and the music is so cool I bought the Star Trek complete series soundtrack collection in part because of the music in this episode... not bad for a show that was already considered "garbage fodder" by the not knowing the show had reached their target market since day 1 (the Neilsen rating issue - makes a good webmoreless
  • Ughhh

    This is one of the weakest episodes. Space hippies, bad space hippie music and a guy with cauliflower for ears.. It's just awful and by the end of you are glad they all die.!
  • Explains the times to a "T"

    "Headin out to Eden......yyyyeaaaaaaaa bruthaaa" I actually sing that to my 3 year old and 10 month old sometimes in the morning. How life changes!

    As a child of the 70s and 80s somehow this was a key part of my hippie understanding. Although, growing up in the SF Bay area - a LOT of folks pretty much looked like these guys! In a way; this is a great reminder for me of what it was like to walk through Berkeley back then.

    The songs to me are somewhat profound and I think in 50 years this episode will be used to explain the times to a T. Remember; the hippie movement and indeed the punk rock movement (to which I'm a bit more related to due to my age) were not orchestrations with 60 piece symphonies but improvisational from-the-heart verses that skipped a lot of fakery.

    I've heard people who have commented that this episode as unqualified since it was written by a man in his 40's. Wow, I remember going to meetings as a 9 year old kid watching guys in their 40's telling kids in their 20's what to do and HOW to protest! And as far as it being unrealistic that the 'hippies would kill the enterprise and bail' to their Eden? How nave that thought is about the times and the hippie movement or any strong movement. Selfish people i.e. Jim Jones, Lenin, et al will do whatever it takes to take power and further their goals. If it means killing off an antiseptic flying aluminum space computer (Enterprise) or 3,000 people in South America with Kool-aid - then these are the choices they had to make. 1990's Heaven's Gate Cult was in the same boat. Hippies, Nazis, Zulus, whomever they'll do what's needed to get their long-smoked-over ideals implemented. Right?

    The third season is the truest reflection of the times of all the seasons (of course) and it seems sometimes they almost completely lose their space subtext and went metaphor all-the-way. Case in point one of my favorite episodes "The Savage Curtain" which explains all you need to know about the conflict back then. Are we rid of it? Don't kid yourselves.moreless
  • Every time you eat a steak, a space hippy's hackysack goes in the sewer.

    Yes, it's the "space hippy" episode. The main problem is that it's written by Arthur Heinemann. Heinemann is a competent dramatic writer but s.f. is never his strong point. "Wink of an Eye" was equally weak (although I have a soft spot for his third ST story, "The Savage Curtain."). He must have been at least 40 when he did this episode, and knowledgeable on the counter-culture, he ain't.

    As such, the hippies engage in stereotypical counter-culture behavior and do a few musical numbers, and they come across as being written by... well some guy in his 40s who watched a sit-in or two on the TV.

    The actor not withstanding, Dr. Sevrin never comes across as a charismatic leader. There's some potential to portray him as a Jim Jones-type cult type, but it never gels. The anti-tech message is interesting (particularly in technophile Roddenberry's "ain't science grand?" Trek universe), but again it never goes anywhere. Sevrin is declared insane, and that's it: nothing to see here, move along.

    Walter Koenig actually gets to do some emoting, and demonstrate some of the talent he'll show later in B5. Leonard Nimoy is oddly cast as sympathetic/curious to the hippies: an attempt to cash in on the character's heightened popularity in the third season.

    Charles Napier is just... weird. I imagine his friends pull out this episode and make him watch it when they want to give him a hard time.

    The Eden allegory is anvilicious and having Adam die from eating an apple crushes everything below the weight of irony. The idea of a planet with totally acidic plantlife (apparently an odorless acid) is mildly chilling, but you wonder how Adam made it to a tree and ate some fruit without noticing.

    Overall, you can give this one a pass unless you're looking for amusement value.moreless
  • The Enterprise picks up a group of futuristic hippies, one of whom Chekov has a past with. The group, led by a crazed doctor, are searching for a paradise planet, and will go to any lengths to find it. The infamously bad "space hippies" episode...moreless

    Although not a complete classic, the previous broadcast episode, "Requiem for Methuselah", showed that even at this late stage the Original Series was capable of dishing up a semi-reasonable episode. Sadly, with "The Way to Eden", standards really plummet back down, and is a reminder of just how weak much of the third season sadly was. There were some true duds in the third season, and this one may even be worse than the terrible "Spock's Brain"!

    As with many episodes, the story tries to reflect something of the times of which it was made. But whereas others make for interesting analogies, this one just falls flat, and beyond anything else is just pain embarrassing.

    It is an intriguing twist to have Mr. Spock of all people have some empathy with the hippies, but beyond that, very little is interesting about this episode.

    One of the big problems is that the "space hippies" are just not an interesting bunch. The crazy doctor leader (whose ears are enough to make Spock's seem normal!) just doesn't have any of the character or 'oomph' needed for such a story, and his followers are just as dull.

    Charles Napier, a regular TV bad guy of in many guest spots of the 1970s and '80s, seems bizarrely cast here, and Chekov – who looks set to have a storyline devoted to him – has no spark with his ex-girlfriend, who again is a very weak character.

    Then there are the songs, most of which seem added in just to fill the running time, and which have some truly horrendous lip-syncing.

    The regular crew (bar Uhura, in one of just a couple of episodes where her position is filled by another crewmember) seem to just go through the motions here, practically acknowledging that this is a truly bad story from start to finish.

    All-in-all, I'd put this in the worst three episodes of the Original Series. The show is clearly on its last legs by this stage, and this episode feels like one of the final nails ion the once-great series' coffin.moreless
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Phyllis Douglas

Phyllis Douglas

Girl Hippie

Guest Star

Deborah Downey

Deborah Downey


Guest Star

Victor Brandt

Victor Brandt

Tongo Rad

Guest Star

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Nurse Christine Chapel

Recurring Role

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Ensign Pavel Chekov

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • When Irina comes to visit Chekov in Auxiliary Control, she tries to find out more about it. However, she acts as if she doesn't have a clue what it does, despite the fact that she attended Starfleet Academy for at least some period of time.

    • Sulu tells the captain that they're leaving the Neutral Zone and headed into Romulan space. But when did they get into the Neutral Zone? It's a violation to even be in the Neutral Zone, and Sulu would have warned them before they entered it.

    • Adam's songs are obviously dubbed. Not only is his singing voice much clearer than his speaking voice, with no echo or resonance from the set, it occasionally does not match his mouth. This is particularly obvious when he sings his duet with the hippie girl.

    • Not only is the "insane" Dr. Sevrin left with a single guard and no surveillance, but there are no guards and only one crewman in the room from which one can instantly and irrevocably take control of the entire ship! Previous takeovers have happened, but through Engineering after overcoming numerous crewman.

    • After the hippies take control of the Enterprise, they calculate three hours to Eden. Why does Kirk wait until they are actually in orbit around the planet before attempting to break into Auxiliary Control? Granted, Sevrin has threatened them if they attack -- but that would be just as true in orbit over Eden as it was when they were still in Federation space.

    • When the crew goes down the director used footage from "Spock's Brain" - you can tell because Chapel's hair-do changes to the style she had in that episode, rather then the one she wears the rest of this episode.

    • Shots of Kirk are also reversed when he walks out of sickbay after learning about Sevrin's disease.

    • When they find the dead hippie after they land, the actor is still moving his right hand repeatedly.

    • Kirk calls the bridge and asks if they have control of the ship - he gets the answer "No." Then a couple of seconds later he asks if they can break orbit and he's told "I think so." This seems contradictory.

    • For the first and only time in the series, Kirk just mentions "starbase" without qualifying it with a number. We never do find out what starbase they're close to in this episode.

    • When Kirk and company arrive on the planet Eden to investigate, in one scene the film is reversed and Kirk's insignia is on the wrong side of his uniform.

  • QUOTES (6)

  • NOTES (5)

    • Charles Napier's (Adam) acting debut.

    • The original draft of this episode was much different than what appeared on screen. The original script dealt with McCoy and his granddaughter, Joanna, with Kirk, not Chekov, falling in love with her. The script was heavily rewritten and the McCoy angle was dropped, but several novelists have used the initial idea for their books.

    • Actor Charles Napier would later play General Denning in 4th season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, "Little Green Men".

    • D.C. Fontana co-wrote the story for this episode under the pseudonymn Michael Richards.

    • The planet Eden is also mentioned in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and although Sybok was obviously thinking about a different Eden when he and his followers took over the Enterprise for much the same purpose as Dr. Sevrin and company, Kirk, perhaps remembering this adventure, stated many times in The Final Frontier that Eden, as a planet, is a myth.