Episode # and Episode Name: 20 – “The Way to Eden” and 21 “The Cloud Minders”
Setting the Stage: I started around 6:00 pm, still watching Netflix and using their viewing order. It’s apparently my 11 year anniversary of living in North Carolina. You can take the girl out of Jersey, but I will never want to pump my own gas or say “coffee” correctly. It is a rainy, windy, possible tornado night here – so Professor Zoom pretended there was no such thing as the outdoors and was a lap puppy almost all night. Thankfully we didn’t have flooding and kept power, but I know there are others in the area who were not so lucky. Tonight’s writing music is Joe Satriani, and more specifically his album “Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock“. Now say that 5 times fast.
Quick Summary with my Impressions: “The Way to Eden” begins with one question – where the fuck is Uhura? Someone else is at communications and I don’t like it. Anyway, back to the episode. Apparently we’re doing a “hippie” episode where a group of anti-establishment types, led by Dr. Sevrin, have stolen a space cruiser and are looking for the planet “Eden” to start anew. Kirk condemns them as a bunch of hoodlums (he’s very “Get off my lawn!”) while Spock is curious about their group. They call Kirk “Herbert” which is apparently their version of “ok boomer”, but are to be treated as gently as possible because one of the group is the son of an ambassador.
Chekov encounters a woman he went to school with and they each talk about why they made the decisions they did, clearly he loved her. During the medical check ups, Dr. Sevrin is found to be a carrier of a deadly virus, but he brings up a good point about being subjected to the exam against his will. That is the last sane thing he does, by the way. Spock believes Dr. Severin is insane and he asks McCoy to check him out, turns out Spock is 1000% correct, as usual. Chekov is trying hard to resist the charms of his old flame, but fails miserably. Turns out that the group each had their own orders to find out information about the ship and they are trying take over the Enterprise, dun dun dun. They put on a concert, methinks a distraction, or maybe this is why every show does a damn musical episode at least once. Nah, it was a distraction and the group takes over auxiliary control and is heading over into Romulan space.
Adam reminds me of Arlo Guthrie and I’m not entirely sure why, but it must be because a dear friend introduced me to this version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Adam’s voice just reminds me so much of that. Spock tries to explain to the rest of the group that Sevrin is insane, but they won’t hear it, though they suspect something is off. As the crew of the Enterprise is knocked out, the group beams down to Eden. Spock, Chekov, McCoy, and Kirk beam down – but almost immediately Chekov is burned by the flowers and we find out everything is full of acid. Shortly after Adam is found dead, the rest of the hippies have had their feet badly burned, and instead of going to be treated, Severin climbs a tree, eats some fruit, and dies. Everyone else goes back to their lives and we end the episode.
Okay, so I totally get the space hippies thing. I also completely love that everything was actually poison and that cult leaders are always insane. I even liked the fact that everyone in the group worked to take over the ship so they could get to where they intended to go. In fact, I didn’t actually hate much about this episode except for two things: Sevrin and I THOUGHT I WAS WATCHING STAR TREK. First, we have Sevrin who isn’t really like any of the other megalomaniacs we’ve encountered in Trek before. I mean there have been quite the list of insane men (and a few women) in these last 70+ episodes, and Sevrin just isn’t anywhere close to being charismatic or crazy enough. He’s not someone I can look at and say “well, I understand why those kids followed him” and at the same time he’s also not someone I look at right away and go “wow, he’s batshit crazy”. I also can’t legally every diagnose someone as “batshit crazy” because it’s not in the DSM, but I digress. This episode had not much to do with science fiction or defending the galaxy, and seemed out of character for the Enterprise to get involved. I guess maybe they were the closest, but it doesn’t do anything for me. That being said, it’s still better than some of the others I have watched recently so that earns it a 4 pound bag of precooked bacon.
Uhura is back in “The Cloud Minders”, yay! Kirk and Spock are to be beamed to the mining entrance, no wait to Bespin, ahem, Cloud City, ahem, Stratos, to pick up a shipment of zenite that will help a whole planet survive a terrible plague. When they change to the mining entrance, they are lassoed by a group who clearly mean to use Spock and Kirk as hostages, when more people beam down and save our two leading men.
When a piece of artwork is found to be damaged in some way, we find out there are some on the surface who are “disrupting” the peace of the planet. The daughter of the council member, Droxine, is hardly wearing anything and is apparently attracted to Spock, she even uses the word fascinating! Spock flirting is quite interesting and Droxine is totally hot for Spock. Looks like someone is trying to kill Kirk as he sleeps, and it’s the same woman from earlier who tried to kidnap him. Apparently those who live down on the surface below are inferior in intellect, they are “just workers”, but those who live in the clouds are artists and philosophers, and now we see the issue of a ruling class versus a worker class. McCoy figures out that something is wrong in the atmosphere below that damages the brain of those who dwell below the clouds, they aren’t really inferior they just have been exposed to an element those who live in the cloud city have not. Kirk develops a plan but it requires her to trust him, and then he gets himself captured. He overtakes her, traps them in, and then has Spock beam the advisor so that they can see the effects of the gas, which all three eventually do. Kirk gets what he came for (the zenite), and Spock comes away with something he didn’t plan for (the adoration of Droxine). They go to save the planet (with 2 hours and 59 minutes to spare!) and away we go.
Even though it was corny in some parts and the plot was pretty terrible, I actually enjoyed this episode in a few small ways. There was some political uprising, a medical mystery or two, some diplomacy, a scantily clad woman each for Spock and Kirk, and a happy ending for all involved at the end. Oh and Shatner’s acting like a lunatic when exposed to the gas was quite entertaining. If you abstract out all the actual detail, it’s a great episode. It’s those pesky little details when you dive in where the problems begin to surface. What did Spock see in Droxine that caused him to flirt back? Why was Kirk so into a woman hell bent on trying to kidnap him? Why did they waste so much damn time when this zenite stuff was so needed and there was a time crunch? There are too many unanswered questions for me to really give this episode a higher rating than 4 polka dotted pink plastic flamingos.