“The Way to Eden” is the twentieth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.
The episode was written by Arthur Heinemann, based on a story by Heinemann and D. C. Fontana (using the pen name “Michael Richards”).
It was directed by David Alexander, and first broadcast on 21 February 1969.
In the episode, the Enterprise is hijacked by a hippie-like group obsessed with finding a mythical paradise.
The Federation starship Enterprise is in pursuit of the stolen space cruiser Aurora. In trying to escape, the Aurora overloads its engines and its six passengers are safely beamed aboard the Enterprise just as the Aurora explodes. The group consists of Tongo Rad, son of the Catullan ambassador; Irina Galliulin, an acquaintance of Ensign Chekov; Dr. Sevrin, a noted electronics researcher; Adam, a musician; and two other women.
In responses to Kirk’s questions, Dr. Sevrin says their destination is the planet “Eden”, which Kirk responds is a myth. The group refuses to co-operate with Kirk, but are impressed by First Officer Spock, who is familiar with their movement. They are persuaded to go to Sickbay for a medical examination which reveals the party to be in good health, except for Dr. Sevrin, who is a carrier of a bacterium that is a product of artificial environments. Sevrin is quarantined in the brig, and tells Spock that the planet Eden will somehow “cleanse” him. Spock attempts to reason with Sevrin and offers to help him find Eden in exchange for his cooperation, but concludes that Sevrin is not sane.
The rest of the group plan to take over the ship. After putting on a music concert, during which Tongo Rad frees Sevrin, the group takes over Auxiliary Control and put the Enterprise on course for Eden. On arrival at the planet, Sevrin renders all Enterprise crew unconscious with an ultrasonic frequency broadcast through the intercom.
When the crew regain consciousness, they discover that Sevrin and his followers have stolen a shuttlecraft. Kirk deactivates Sevrin’s sonic device, and then joins Spock, Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, and Chekov in a search for the group.
The planet surface is lush and beautiful. However, all the plant life secretes a powerful acid, as Chekov discovers when he touches a flower. The team soon finds Adam, lying dead from poisonous fruit. Sevrin and the other survivors are then found in the shuttlecraft, all with burns on their feet. Kirk says they must leave, but Sevrin runs from the shuttle, bites into one of the fruits, and dies.
Back on the Enterprise, Irina comes to the bridge to say goodbye to Chekov. Spock advises her and her friends not to give up their search for Eden, as he believes they will either find it, or create one for themselves.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): David Alexander.
- Writer(s): Arthur Heinemann and Michael Richards.
- Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
- Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
- Original Network: NBC.
- Release Date: 21 February 1969.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.