Star Trek: The Original Series
"The Way to Eden"
Air date: 2/21/1969
Teleplay by Arthur Heinemann
Story by Michael Richards and Arthur Heinemann
Directed by David Alexander
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"The Way to Eden" is an example of trying to fit an elephant into a birdcage, and it comes off looking about as silly as a visualization of the said analogy. For starters, whoever came up with the idea of "23rd-century hippies in space" was stretching the idea of allegory beyond even Trek's abilities. (Does this strike only me as a Federation oxymoron?)
Maybe a new view of the Federation could've theoretically been revealed, but the episode is far too inept to come up with one. Instead, the "insanity" of Dr. Sevrin (Skip Homeier) becomes the driving force of the story's impenetrable plot involving the search for "Eden." And what about "Eden," anyway? Is it supposed to be a myth or a planet? The episode can't seem to decide. One wonders if the search becomes one for a charted planet that simply happens to be named "Eden."
Characterization is also way off: Chekov as a stolid, conservative, by-the-books Voice of Starfleet doesn't make any sense given his character, and Spock being absorbed by the hippie cause lacks dramatic payoff, instead seeming like an excuse to warrant his presence in several annoying musical numbers. Honestly, I'd rather watch "Spock's Brain" again, because at least it's dumb enough to laugh at. "Eden" is not particularly laughable. But it is rambling, unenlightening, misconceived, mischaracterized, pointless, and requires sheer endurance to sit through—comprised of yet another plot where a group attempts to commandeer the ship for its own purposes. It's like "And the Children Shall Lead" with older children; the meanings behind the hippiedom aren't considered for a moment, resulting in zero digestible substance.