**** (4 stars out of 5)
"The Way To Eden" has taken a lot of flak and scorn over the years. I'm one of those rare few who actually loves it!
Enterprise is in pursuit of a bunch of drop-outs in a stolen ship. The Aurora originally looked like they'd stolen it from the Tholians and slapped on a couple of warp engines. The CG version is a splendid improvement.
But there's no way (and no reason) to update the look of Aurora's crew: They're space hippies, and they'll always BE space hippies.
In the summer of '69 (2269, that is) there was a youth revolt. Sit-ins, chant-ins, love-ins. Severin's rebels will never, ever be any good.
They have turned their backs on Federation society and this particular group is trying to follow Dr. Severin of Tiburon to mythical planet Eden.
One is purple-haired Tongo Rad, surely a surfer dude and son of the Catullan ambassador.
Another is Chekov's Academy ex- girlfriend Irina Galliulin. Don't say it too fast, Herbert, it's a mouthful. Irina fled Pavel's disapproval back in their Academy days.
I love Chekov and Irina together. The good solider and the protester girl. (Walter Koenig thinks it's a low point, but I thought they both did a wonderful job. Compare and contrast the zero chemistry of Mira Romaine or some of Kirk's romances.)
Charles Napier is real now as tune-strumming Adam. My favourite of his lyrics: "All kinds of trouble come to an end when a man tells another man 'be my friend'" I enjoy the connection he makes with Spock as fellow musician.
Poetically, Spock describes Severin's movement as an almost biological rebellion against planning, technology, and things being generally nice and orderly. He says the counter-culture has a hunger for spring, which makes me wonder: there's no SPRING anymore?
Spock is not exactly sympathetic to these flower-children of the Scrambled Infinite Egg, but he seeks understanding- Spock, too, knows what it is to feel like an alien in his own world.
McCoy uncovers an ugly truth: Severin carries a nasty little bug called synthococcus novae produced in the last few years by their aseptic, sterilized civilizations. Anyone who catches it from Severin MUST remain in reach of immunizations or die- the primitive planet he seeks is out of the question.
Spock suggests Severin get his people to behave, legally colonize their Eden. But though Spock believes in what they seek, he is sure the Tiburonian leader is insane. Severin blames
computers and science for his illness and wrongly believes that going back to nature will cure him.
While the filthy hippies have their jam session, Rad breaks his boss out and they hijack the starship from auxiliary control. Wouldn't you know it- Eden is in Romulan space.
The poor misguided bastards stun the establishment and take a shuttle down to 'Eden'. Bare feet and trusting mouths are horribly burned- on a world made of acid.
"Be incorrect occasionally." says departing Irina to Pavel, and he urges her the reverse... occasionally.
It is implied the hippies will rejoin society- but is it really such a bad one?