Episode 75 – TOS 3×20: “The Way to Eden”

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So this week’s episode is about checking your privilege!

The Enterprise trips over a stolen ship full of young space hippies who have fled the oppressive embrace of socialist Federation utopia, where all their needs and desires were met for free, to… start a commune in the desert.

the space hippies, singing
And stage sit-in musical numbers on demand. They just. Kept. Singing.











Sound familiar? I mean, no, this isn’t about the Manson Family – the episode predates the most sensationalized event in Manson Family history by something like a year – but it’s definitely saying something about middle-class kids who ran away to Los Angeles in the 1960s and fell under the sway of acid-peddling “gurus” and their ilk. In the real world, these kids largely got lied to, taken advantage of, and sometimes, uh, dead of various preventable diseases. In this case, the desert commune is the never-explained mythical “Eden,” and the part of the guru is played by a cauliflower-eared anti-vax douchebag who is knowingly exposing unprotected people to his deadly, drug-resistant space syphilis, something he’s sure the Eden “primitives” can cure him of, with their “pure” and “simple” lifestyle (ah yes, the racist cherry on top).

the leader of the space hippies and his cauliflower-shaped ears
Anti-vaxxers can go straight to hell.











Maybe it’s just that we’re all old, but nearly everything about the space hippies was infuriating. Their complaints about the oppressive society they’re fleeing ring somewhat less than true, since nearly all of them come from hyper-socialist 23rd-century Earth. Their leader’s ulterior motives are totally self-serving, to literally no one’s surprise.

And they hate technology, saying it’s taken us too far from our roots/nature/oneness/that high they’ve been chasing since undergrad, I guess? Now I, personally, am sent into a towering rage by luddism (there is nothing romantic about the past, the past sucked), but even I would have been totally fine with these space idiots jetting off to die in deep space if they hadn’t initiated their grand quest by straight-up stealing someone else’s space ship, which they then proceed to drive straight into Romulan space, risking interstellar war and the deaths of billions of innocent people, but who cares, right? They have a destiny! It’ll all work out!

Kirk turns away from the space-hippies staging a sit-in in his transporter room, to collect himself
Like Kirk, we fear we may just be too old to see things the hippies’ way.











In the end, it turns out that beautiful, unspoiled Destination Eden was a sham all along – worse, it’s a poison planet where literally everything is made of ultra-corrosive acid. Two space-hippies, including Leader D-Bag, gets exactly what a real life in the fake-idyllic pre-technology past will get you: an existence that is nasty, brutish, and short.

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