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Recap / Star Trek S3 E20 "The Way to Eden"

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Dr. Sevrin (the bald man in front) and his followers.
"I reach that, brother; I really do!"

Kirk and the Enterprise are in hot pursuit of the stolen spaceship Aurora. The Aurora isn't giving up easily and leads them on a high speed chase. (As in warp speed, high speed.) The cruiser's engines become strained from the chase and the whole thing goes ka-blooey! Fortunately (or not), Scotty manages to beam aboard the six miscreants before the cruiser explodes.

The six spaceship jackers are a group of young idealists in search of the mythical planet Eden and led by the brilliant but insane engineer Dr. Sevrin. Among them are Tongo Rad, the son of a Catullan ambassador (which prevents Kirk from simply throwing them all in the brig), Adam, who mostly sings Protest Songs, and Irina Galliulin, a New Old Flame of Chekov's.

Kirk wants to bring this group to the nearest starbase, but of course they have other ideas. They've come up with a Zany Scheme involving pressure points, ultrasonic sound waves, the Galileo, and a musical hubcap.


The Fan Nickname for this episode is "The One with... The Space Hippies".

Tropes for this episode include:

  • Absentee Actor: Uhura is not in this episode.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: A planet that was technically habitable (right sunlight and air quality), but all the flora excreted a deadly acid, and the fruit was lethal.
  • Bald of Evil: Dr. Sevrin.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Dr. Sevrin (a rare male example) and Irina.
    • As you can see from the page image, Irina's navel is visible, despite the oft-referenced rules against this on TV at the time.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Sevrin and his followers go from being a nuisance singing nonsense music to knocking out everyone on the ship and taking control. Kirk should've really had a talk with security after this fiasco.
  • Culture Clash: Starfleet may only be Mildly Military, but still military enough to seriously clash with the way of life and the attitudes of the space hippies. Ironically, Spock of all people is the crew member who has the least problems dealing with them.
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  • Deconstruction: A rather anvilicious one, of idealistic societies framed outside accepted social norms. A blatant Take That! at hippies.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Dr. Sevrin and the space hippies. At one point, Scotty even disparages them as "barefooted watchacallens."
    • Agony of the Feet: The grass of Eden is so badly saturated with acid that it inflicts horrific burns on the feet of every member of the hippie cult except Adam, the only one who has any kind of footwear at all — leggings.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The space hippies' dreams come crashing down as a result of too much acid. (Including grass laced with acid.) On top of the common theory that Dr. Sevrin is based on Timothy Leary, it starts to seem like the writer is trying to tell us something.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dr. Sevrin had to have known the fruit was poisonous, but he just didn't care.
  • Evil Luddite: Dr. Sevrin. And wouldn't you know it? He has a condition that makes it dangerous for him to visit any world that isn't sufficiently scientifically advanced.
  • False Utopia: Eden, as the plants turn out to be acidic, and the fruit is poisonous.
  • Flower in Her Hair: You can't have hippies without them! Irina wears violets in her hair. Not sure if it counts, but Sevrin has a daisy painted on his bald head.
  • Future Slang: A hippy-like cult uses "reach" as a synonym to "understand in an age-of-Aquarius way." I reach you, man!
    • And if you don't like it, you're a total Herbert!
    • That Vulcan instrument in Spock's quarters is real now!
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Sevrin believes this.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together: Dr. Sevrin uses ultrasonics to stun the Enterprise crew. Even The Spock can't bear the pain and Kirk mimes turning his head into a Large Ham sandwich.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The one Red Shirt assigned to watch Sevrin gets too caught up in listening to music to do his job. Meanwhile, nobody else is bothering to keep an eye on the other hippies.
  • Hidden Depths: Spock has a musical side. Who would have guessed?
    • Anyone who'd seen him playing the lytherette (lyrette, Vulcan harp, lyre, lute, or whatever they're calling it this week) in "Charlie X" or "Amok Time". He was supposed to play it in "Elaan of Troyius" but it got cut. Uhura snitches it to play "Beyond Antares" in "Conscience of the King".
    • Fanon calls the round instrument played by the blonde woman a "Berengarian dulcewires". Early fan Ruth Berman coined that name for her Kraith story "The Disaffirmed".
  • Literary Allusion Title: Gene Roddenberry may have been a proud atheist (if not antitheist), but he was fond of alluding to themes from The Bible.
  • Meaningful Name: The Space Hippie who ate the deadly fruit was named Adam. Also, the name "Irina" means "Peaceful". Good name for a hippie chick.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Herbert! Herbert! Herbert! Herbert! Herbert!
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Well, hippies weren't retro when the episode first aired!
  • New Old Flame: Irina, one of the hippies, is an old girlfriend of Chekov's, whom he's never mentioned before and will never mention again.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dr. Sevrin is probably an Expy of Timothy Leary.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Chekov's character (which in the original story, was meant to have been Kirk's character) is portrayed in this episode as a rigid, rule-quoting straight arrow, in contrast to the writers' initial concept of the character as a younger, less authoritarian character who might appeal to teenage viewers. Walter Koenig has called the episode "badly written" partly because of this. He also called this episode the low point of his character's tenure on the show.
  • Pressure Point: Spock isn't the only one who can neck pinch! Tongo Rad used his knowledge of human anatomy to knock out an Enterprise crewman by squeezing the nerve pressure point at the back of the jaw, just under the earlobe (Truth in Television, though it causes great pain and delayed unconsciousness rather than instant).
  • Protest Song: Adam's raison d'etre, and he plays a bunch of them on an odd-looking guitar-stick thingy.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Space Hippies see themselves as this. Spock sympathizes with their feeling of not being able to fit in, and is much more tolerant of them than Kirk is, which is why they take an immediate shine to Spock and immediately distrust and dislike Kirk.
    Spock: Miss Galliulin... it is my sincere wish that you do not give up your search for Eden. I have no doubt but that you will find it, or make it yourselves.
  • Reality Ensues: Picking the first vaguely Earthlike planet you stumble across to settle and going down with no supplies or equipment whatsoever, then going barefoot and eating random plants? Bad idea, it turns out.
  • Recycled Soundtrack:
  • Rhymes on a Dime: That Adam's a real character.
    Adam: Gonna crack my knuckles and jump for joy; I got a clean bill of health from Dr. McCoy!
  • Some Kind of Force Field: Protects the door to the isolation cell that holds Dr. Sevrin.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In an especially eerie moment, once Dr. Sevrin and the hippies have control of the ship and have knocked everyone else out, Adam plays one of his upbeat little folk songs... as we pan across all the unconscious crew members.
  • Stock Footage:
    • They re-use the footage of Nurse Chapel being knocked out from "Spock's Brain" at the beginning of the season. That's why the lights go out in that shot whereas they don't anywhere else in the scene.
    • A brief shot of the surface of Eden is reused footage of the lakeside from "Shore Leave". A shot of the surface of Gamma Trianguli VI from "The Apple" is also recycled and used in the same scene.
  • Strange Salute: The Space Hippies greet people by making a triangle with their fingers.
  • Subculture of the Week: Hippies IN SPACE!
  • Take That!
    • Want to live in an ideal society outside the established norm, hippies? Too bad, it will turn out to be a dystopia all along.
    • The insult "Herbert" was apparently aimed at a real-life person, but it's still unknown exactly who. The most common theory is that the show's former production executive, Herbert F. Solow was the target, though others have suggested it was Herbert Hoover.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: We spend quite a lot of time with Adam singing his songs.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "Well, here I am on an unexplored planet! What will I do first? I know! I'll eat this fruit about which I know absolutely nothing!"
  • Tractor Beam: The Enterprise tries to take the stolen ship in tow with a tractor beam.
  • Typhoid Mary: Dr. Sevrin, carrier of the Synthecoccus novae virus who was crazy more than he was malicious. While the episode had no reported infections, having to isolate him to ensure that did really tick off his followers.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Reaching Eden justifies killing everybody on the Enterprise.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Sevrin and company see themselves as such.
  • You Fool!: Kirk shouts this as Sevrin takes a bite out of the poisoned fruit. (Incidentally, the image of him yelling this is obviously flipped. His insignia is on his right instead of his left.)
  • You Gotta Have Purple Hair: Tongo Rad has long, purple hair and thick, matching eyebrows. It's unknown if this is a natural hair color among Catullans, but at least it matches the bunch of grapes he has inexplicably painted on his forehead. (Each of the hippies has body art depicting something in nature; birds, flowers, etc.)
  • You're Insane!: A line that's blunt even for Spock.
    Spock (to Kirk): Dr. Sevrin is... insane.


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