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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old March 9 2011, 11:22 PM   #1
Gojira
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The Way to Eden

I actually really like this episode and want to see if anyone else can share the love.

I find there are much worse episodes. But there are many reasons I like the episode. First of all the blond hippie singing with Spock is really hot. I was born in the early 60s and I remember the late 60s pretty well and I think the episode really pays homage to that time period. I love the 60s and that is another reason I love that episode. Sure it dates the episode but then again the whole series looks dated to some extent.

I also like the story. It has humor and doesn't take itself too seriously but in the end it teaches that the quest for paradise is in itself and illusion. Since I practice Buddhism there is a great message in the episode of finding peace and contentment within instead of chasing after it externally.
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Old March 9 2011, 11:39 PM   #2
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Re: The Way to Eden

I guess the only part of the episode that falls short of entertaining me is the idea that our guest stars would be looking for a specific, unique Eden in the RNZ. The galaxy is probably full of places that would meet their criteria; why does Sevrin deliberately aim for one that is bound to trigger an interstellar incident? Is he just flipping the bird on the Federation out of spite?

The bit about Adam being the one to die of apple poisoning is a bit silly, too. But there's a lot to be said for the overall counterculture idea, for the as such reasonable 23rd century ways of looking for happiness, even if none of it is sufficiently removed from the 1960s roots to really count as "scifi".

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Old March 10 2011, 02:02 AM   #3
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Re: The Way to Eden

I think this works better with the passage of time and being further away from the actual '60s era.

I wasn't crazy about it when I was younger, but I don't mind it now. Trek has done a lot worse over the years.
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Old March 10 2011, 02:28 AM   #4
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Re: The Way to Eden

Timo wrote: View Post
I guess the only part of the episode that falls short of entertaining me is the idea that our guest stars would be looking for a specific, unique Eden in the RNZ. The galaxy is probably full of places that would meet their criteria; why does Sevrin deliberately aim for one that is bound to trigger an interstellar incident? Is he just flipping the bird on the Federation out of spite?
Perhaps a nod to an idea that found some favor in the 60’s counterculture, rejecting private ownership of land. Like the song that came out a year after The Way to Eden with lyrics, “What gives you the right to put up a sign to keep me out or keep Mother Nature in”?

The 23rd-century version of these people don’t acknowledge the concept of Federation space, Romulan space, and a Neutral Zone, and like their 20th-century forbearers aren’t pragmatic enough to respect the fact that other people do recognize these concepts. They might even pick something in the Neutral Zone to make a statement about everybody having a right to be everywhere and nobody having a right to keep them out.
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Old March 10 2011, 03:34 AM   #5
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Re: The Way to Eden

The 23rd-century version of these people don’t acknowledge the concept of Federation space, Romulan space, and a Neutral Zone, and like their 20th-century forbearers aren’t pragmatic enough to respect the fact that other people do recognize these concepts. They might even pick something in the Neutral Zone to make a statement about everybody having a right to be everywhere and nobody having a right to keep them out.


So you think they would still feel that way when the Romulans showed up and blew them away?
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Old March 10 2011, 03:47 AM   #6
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Re: The Way to Eden

In balance I think it's every bit as good as The Day of the Dove. Its main problem is that it's one of the easiest episodes to make fun of. But, I like it. I reach.

P.S. It's also a Lt. Palmer episode.
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Old March 10 2011, 10:34 AM   #7
Timo
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Re: The Way to Eden

So you think they would still feel that way when the Romulans showed up and blew them away?
Some of them might have ideas of martyring themselves so that a Romulan violation of the RNZ would lead either to a corresponding UFP violation and an armageddon war, or then to both sides seeing the insanity of it all and the benefits of disbanding the RNZ.

These folks didn't seem politically active in this sense, though. Perhaps they just didn't care.

And yes, seeing hippies from the 21st century perspective sort of gives them the required alien qualities - just like seeing Vic Fontaine was a scifi experience for me, as the whole concept of 1960s-80s lounge lizards was so totally foreign, the fashion odd, the music no longer played (the nostalgia music around here is European 1960s stuff, not Sinatra).

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Old March 10 2011, 12:23 PM   #8
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Re: The Way to Eden

Rulius wrote: View Post
The 23rd-century version of these people don’t acknowledge the concept of Federation space, Romulan space, and a Neutral Zone, and like their 20th-century forbearers aren’t pragmatic enough to respect the fact that other people do recognize these concepts. They might even pick something in the Neutral Zone to make a statement about everybody having a right to be everywhere and nobody having a right to keep them out.


So you think they would still feel that way when the Romulans showed up and blew them away?
Like I said, not very pragmatic. They think peace and love is the answer to everything. If they thought with their heads they’d realize that a loving soul is no defense against a Romulan warbird, but if they think with their hearts instead of their heads they might make irrational decisions.
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Old March 10 2011, 12:45 PM   #9
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Re: The Way to Eden

I think it's clear from the story that we are supposed to understand that Sevrin is insane due to his inability to cope with his illness, and that the rest of the commune is troubled or worse by their rebellious instincts. They are flawed. Their reasoning is flawed. That's established in the story. But that, in and of itself, doesn't make the story flawed. That's the job of other issues. There are many interesting stories about flawed people making bad decisions that lead to tragic consequences. I happen to like this episode better than many TOS episodes, but less than others. But to demand in a story that the decisions its characters make be perfect is to demand an absurd standard on that story.
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Old March 10 2011, 01:43 PM   #10
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Re: The Way to Eden

Oh, I don't know. If the only type of adversary our heroes are allowed to have is a flawed one, it doesn't speak well of the abilities of our heroes. If they manage to overcome an adversary who thinks straight despite thinking at a different angle from that of our heroes, this ought to score them more points than a victory over a bunch of idiots...

Space hippies are no fun if their only purpose is to show that hippies are stupid and deserve to die.

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Old March 10 2011, 01:59 PM   #11
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Re: The Way to Eden

Name one flawless adversary in any Star Trek series.
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Old March 10 2011, 02:54 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: The Way to Eden

The ones that come the closest are also the most interesting, especially in TOS:

- Kor: no better or worse than Kirk was in that episode, honorable and magnanimous in both victory and defeat.
- Nameless Romulan commander: again a match for Kirk, although cursed with even worse superiors than our hero.
- Charlie Evans: as an opponent, he was unstoppable, and his human weaknesses merely made him all the more frightening a villain.
- Gary Mitchell: the same, without the weaknesses.
- Edith Keeler: faultless to a fault, and almost Kirk's undoing for the very reason.

It's just too bad that Trek later tended to lack the courage to create formidable foils for the heroes.

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Old March 10 2011, 03:46 PM   #13
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Re: The Way to Eden

Timo wrote: View Post
The ones that come the closest are also the most interesting, especially in TOS:

- Kor: no better or worse than Kirk was in that episode, honorable and magnanimous in both victory and defeat.
- Nameless Romulan commander: again a match for Kirk, although cursed with even worse superiors than our hero.
- Charlie Evans: as an opponent, he was unstoppable, and his human weaknesses merely made him all the more frightening a villain.
- Gary Mitchell: the same, without the weaknesses.
- Edith Keeler: faultless to a fault, and almost Kirk's undoing for the very reason.

It's just too bad that Trek later tended to lack the courage to create formidable foils for the heroes.

Timo Saloniemi
And I rate each of these episodes higher than The Way to Eden.

I agree that the more formidable a villain, the more interesting. However, each of the villains you cite had an Achilles heel, and Edith was not an adversary. Kor is an interesting example, I agree a quintessential anti-Kirk, and I agree that Kirk and Kor were not tested to the end. But Kor, being mortal, too was ultimately flawed as shown in Once More Unto the Breach, one of my favorite DS9's.

Alas, life in the galaxy does not consist solely of confronting virtually flawless opponents. The U.S. government in the 1960's had to deal with annoying hippies, so it's only logical that the Enterprise would take a left turn detour to deal with the headache of irresponsible space hippies.

And they ended up getting burned by acid. By the way, I think that might be a metaphor for having a bad trip on LSD. In hindsight, it seems on obvious play on "acid", especially in the context of hippies.
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Old March 10 2011, 03:55 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: The Way to Eden

What Achilles heel?

- Like you say, Kor and Kirk met on an even footing, kept that footing, and Gods from the Machine resolved the episode. No arrows to heels there, just divine backstabbing.
- The Romulan commander lost in a tit-for-tat where fortune favored one of the great tacticians over the other. If the foe had a tender heel, it was the very same one Kirk walked on.
- Charlie X defeated Kirk, and then his parents came and resolved the episode. Our heroes lost that round fair and square.
- Gary Mitchell was defeated because he wanted to be defeated; he told Kirk to kill him, and did everything he could to reach that goal. He triumphed, that is, died. Not because Kirk would have found his soft spot, but because Mitchell essentially surrendered.
- Keeler destroyed a whole timeline and killed millions if not billions. Definitely an adversary, whom Kirk expertly defeated. After overcoming his own Achilles heel problem.

Alas, life in the galaxy does not consist solely of confronting virtually flawless opponents. The U.S. government in the 1960's had to deal with annoying hippies, so it's only logical that the Enterprise would take a left turn detour to deal with the headache of irresponsible space hippies.
Fair enough. But what fun is a space hippie or space gangster or space Nazi episode if there's no twist to it?

And they ended up getting burned by acid.
I always thought that pun was a saving grace for the fairly trite "adversary gets what's coming" ending. Almost negates the Adam bit, too.

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Old March 10 2011, 08:03 PM   #15
Gojira
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Re: The Way to Eden

Timo wrote: View Post
I guess the only part of the episode that falls short of entertaining me is the idea that our guest stars would be looking for a specific, unique Eden in the RNZ. The galaxy is probably full of places that would meet their criteria; why does Sevrin deliberately aim for one that is bound to trigger an interstellar incident? Is he just flipping the bird on the Federation out of spite?
That part is a bit of a plot hole but easily reconciled. Sevrin is crazy and his people follow him like many follow cult leader and think that his words are the Truth. So if Sevrin feels paradise is on one particular planet that sounds congruent with the ravings of a cult leader.

The bit about Adam being the one to die of apple poisoning is a bit silly, too. But there's a lot to be said for the overall counterculture idea, for the as such reasonable 23rd century ways of looking for happiness, even if none of it is sufficiently removed from the 1960s roots to really count as "scifi".

Timo Saloniemi
I find Adam eating the apple is very symbolic. Paradise is a myth and the only way he could learn that was by dying...very tragic.
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