Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Dale Sams, Jan 2, 2013.
The Way to Eden is in my "so-bad-it's good" category, though some distance behind Spock's Brain.
Nice character moments for Chekov. Adults exasperated with the youth, but Spock sympathetic, that's a nice character touch too. Plus I like it, which has little connection with reason, I suppose. I like the music too; as noted above, that's a haunting "Yay, brother" moment over the fallen crew. The bicycle wheel girl, too. Yup, we reach, this episode and I.
The idea isn't that bad at all and many of the themes are fitting for TOS.
A disillusioned group, people seeking harmony with nature, disaffected outcasts turning their backs on technological conventions and authority, the common TOS idea of finding a paradise... these could be worked into a very Trekkian story.
That they used an obvious analog of '60s hippies was perhaps too on-the-nose, especially dating it.
TOS has used stand-ins for Communists and Soviets and Vietnam and other modern-day institutions with success.
I wonder if "Eden" would have worked better if the story characters weren't so blatantly space hippies. If their ideas and purpose were similar, but maybe portrayed as something less obvious.
I've never had a reactionary dislike of "The Way To Eden" and I was born in 1959. By 1970 when I first saw the episode I was already aware of hippy culture even if I didn't fully comprehend it. In the end it often seemed to me that the hippies and many (but not all) of the youth movement were rejecting established convention yet without any real alternatives.
I didn't take the episode as a direct allegory of the times. I simply accepted it as an adaptation of the hippy or youth movement idea put into a science fiction story. Like "Spock's Brain" there is a worthy story at the heart of it, but like "Spock's Brain" it isn't fully explored and fleshed out. Star Trek was still essentially an adventure/drama and had to get on with the story. It's rather like The Dark Knight Rises getting cut up because it doesn't fairly and fully address the social divide between rich and poor---Hello! It's a comic book superhero story dressed up with some sense of "realism."
Actually you might argue "The Way To Eden" gets its point across more clearly than The Dark Knight Rises.
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