written by D.C. Fontana
STORY OUTLINE REVISED, dated August 27, 1968
with further revised pages, dated September 5, 1968
report & analysis by Dave Eversole
Onboard the Enterprise, Lieutenant Uhura
receives a distress call from a small group of travelers stranded on a planet, after their
"homemade" spaceship crashed. The Enterprise diverts there, and beams aboard
young Doctor Sevrin and his "23rd Century Flower Children," all of whom belong
to a galaxy-wide movement known as "The Artists."
Kirk, Spock, McCoy are in the transporter room as this group materializes. A lovely young woman (Fontana notes the role could possibly be played by either Nancy Sinatra or Bobbie Gentry) steps forward, stops in front of a suddenly frowning Doctor McCoy.
"Hello, Dad," she says.
McCoy is visibly angry, does not reply. Spock asks if "Hello, Dad" is some archaic form of Earth greeting. McCoy finally speaks tartly, "This is my daughter -- Joanna."
We learn of the group known as "The
Artists," and their peaceful ways. Kirk is furious that they have been in space in
their rinky-dink little ship, upsetting shipping lanes by crossing with no flight plans,
etc. Sevrin apologizes and states that they are desperate to find the planet Nirvana.
Nirvana, a paradise world with lovely peace-loving inhabitants, is a legend, Kirk says. But soon we learn that one hundred years ago an old "space prospector" claimed to have found it in uncharted space. When he was finally able to return to Federation space, he could never recall exactly where it was located, thus most people think he was lying. Sevrin assures Kirk that he had pieced together old records and logs of the prospector and thinks it is true.
Kirk declares his intent to take the bunch to the nearest Star Base and drop them off and have them sent back to Earth.
Joanna attempts to talk to her father, but he is quiet and lacking in his usual warmth. He is cold toward her because she has been lying to him. For the past three years, the few times she has contacted him she has told him she was studying to be a nurse, and now he finds out she is running all over the galaxy with a bunch of gypsies. Joanna tells him being a nurse wasn't what she wanted, and besides, this stranger called "daddy," whom she has seen exactly three times in her life after he left her and her mother doesn't have any right to
tell her what to do. She has musical talent and wanted to pursue that, and now she wants to help her fellow "Artists" find Nirvana. She tells him if he can't forgive her for being what she is, she can't forgive him for being what he is -- "A coward!" She walks away, leaving McCoy shaking with anger.
Spock takes what info Sevrin (a former computer programmer) has on Nirvana and sets the Library Computer to work on locating it.
Sevrin says he and his followers will return to the Star Base as Kirk wishes, but Spock notes that Sevrin suddenly begins to read up on the ship (to increase their knowledge "To learn is to grow."), and reports this to Kirk.
Joanna McCoy comes to Kirk for advice, knowing that in the few times they have communicated, McCoy has mentioned their deep friendship. She wants to rebuild her and her father's relationship, but he is shutting her out. Perhaps Kirk could intercede. He declines, as this is one area of his life that McCoy will not even breathe a word of. Kirk tries to talk her out of the futile search for Nirvana, but she is intent. Kirk and Joanna, despite their differences, seem to warm to each other though.
Sevrin and a couple of his men make their way to the Auxiliary Control Room, overpower the men there, and begin doing things to the equipment, referring to the micro-tapes they borrowed from Scott.
Joanna has an invitation to dine with Kirk in his quarters. When he is not looking, she plants a "bug" listening device in the room.
Sevrin and men throw their final switches. Subspace radio goes dead, navigation and helm controls are overridden. Sevrin informs Kirk that they have rigged the matter/antimatter mass to blow if Kirk tries anything.
Sevrin wants to go to Nirvana, and there is nothing Kirk can do to stop him.
Joanna acts as liaison between Sevrin and
Kirk. Kirk finds her attractive, intelligent and sensitive. He is growing to like her, and
McCoy can't help but notice. He tells Kirk that Joanna is a witch just like her mother,
and that is why he left her (mother). Kirk says he doesn't want to hear about McCoy's
marital problems and divorce. "She'll cut your heart out," McCoy warns,
"and carry it around in a jar. She's no good!"
Kirk, Spock and Scott try everything, but cannot regain control of the ship. Kirk then decides to separate the saucer from the main drive and jettison the nacelles. But when he attempts to do this, we learn that Sevrin already knows, he has heard everything via the bug that Joanna planted in his quarters.
The ship arrives at Nirvana, then swings away on its on, under control of Sevrin's programming. Sevrin and his Artists steal a shuttlecraft and head down. Kirk goes to the shuttlebay with guards. They will follow in a shuttlecraft, while Spock and Scott attempt to regain control of the ship as it moves away. McCoy joins them, insists on going.
Kirk and McCoy follow the stolen shuttlecraft down, land and find that Nirvana is a dead world. The surface of this once lovely planet has been ruined, overgrown, wild... and dead.
During this act, we cut back to the
Enterprise several times as it races away. Spock and Scott work to regain control.
Since subspace radio was shut down, Kirk cannot call them, they cannot reach him.
McCoy and Joanna continue to be cold to each other.
Sevrin thinks its a great opportunity. He and his group will start over, tame this world, make it a paradise again. Kirk points out that none of them have any practical experience in even staying alive on a wilderness world. Sevrin says Kirk will show them. Kirk shows them simple things like starting a fire. Sevrin becomes annoyed as his followers begin to look to Kirk as a leader, and not him.
McCoy wants to know why Joanna follows this clown. "Because," she says, "he doesn't condemn me for being something I'm not."
McCoy reacts angrily, but when she is gone, we see that he is in terrible anguish.
We learn of the history of this planet via
a recording device found in a ruined building. The inhabitants were a beautiful,
peace-loving people who allowed their baser emotions to take over. They destroyed
Sevrin gets madder and madder at Kirk's effortless leadership.
Spock and Scott work to regain control of the Enterprise.
The Enterprise is regained, and returns to Nirvana.
Sevrin tries to kill Kirk, but is beaten and surrenders.
McCoy and Joanna talk openly. She says that she was thrown out by her mom for being too much like her father. McCoy smiles. They're not truly father and daughter yet, but they have taken their first steps toward reconciliation. Joanna says after they have served their sentences for hijacking the Enterprise, perhaps she will reconsider nursing as a career.
McCoy finally says that he would prefer that she do what she wants to do, whatever that may be.
Yes, the rumors that have surrounded the
much-maligned (but I think enjoyable in an "Ed Wood, so bad it is good fun"
fashion) "The Way To Eden" for nearly forty years are true. This episode had its
basis in a far superior story written by the celebrated D. C. Fontana.
The structure is tighter, the story more personal, and we are spared Walter Koenig's and Mary-Linda Rapelye's rather suspect Russian accents.
But -- BIG BUT -- I feel the character of Doctor McCoy is somewhat ill-served and out-of-character in this 16-page outline. Surprising, as, again, this was written by Fontana, who probably knew the emotional cores of the characters better than even Gene Roddenberry, and at least on an equal basis with Gene Coon.
McCoy's hysterical shaking with anger, his absolutely vile characterizations of his daughter (having been married three times, I'll give him a pass on the put-downs of his ex-wife--sadly, we men do that, whether we mean it or not) seem a bit too much. Anger, yes. Pain, yes. Hard feelings, yes. But "She'll cut you heart out and carry it around in a jar. She's a witch! She's no good!" No. I don't buy it.
Granted, this is only an outline of the major beats of the proposed episode, and I do think Fontana probably chilled McCoy out, and toned down his rage when she went to first draft. And, had the episode been filmed, the brilliant DeKelley would undoubtedly have played McCoy's anger, no matter how spiteful, with an undercurrent of anguish and despair.
Though I'm glad we got to see the gorgeous, talented Deborah Downey as Mavig and the delightful cheesy hoot of a performance given by Charles Napier as Adam in "The Way To Eden," I'm sorry we never got to meet Joanna McCoy. And, for the record, in my humble opinion, Bobbi Gentry would have been infinitely more desirable in the title role than Nancy Sinatra, though having just seen Kathryn "Gem" Hays playing a spunky young ranch owner in an old episode of the Chuck Connors series Branded, I would have preferred her.
D. C. (DOROTHY CATHERINE) FONTANA: she was Gene Roddenberry's assistant, and after her first sale of a script to Bonanza, she soon began writing for Star Trek. Her work for the Star Trek franchise includes "Charlie X" (Story by Gene Roddenberry), "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," "This Side of Paradise" (Story by Nathan Butler (Jerry Sohl)), "Journey To Babel," "Friday's Child," "By Any Other Name" (w/Jerome Bixby), "The Ultimate Computer" (Story by Lawrence N. Wolfe), "The Enterprise Incident," "That Which Survives" (Story, using her pseudonym Michael Richards), "The Way To Eden" (Story, using her pseudonym Michael Richards). In addition, in 1995, after nearly thirty years, Fontana finally revealed to Harlan Ellison that it was she who rewrote the majority of the aired version of his "The City On The Edge of Forever." Fontana went on to serve as the story editor, script supervisor and associate producer for the animated Star Trek series. In addition to her duties, she wrote "Yesteryear." When Roddenberry decided to bring forth Star Trek: The Next Generation, he turned to Fontana, Justman and Gerrold. Unfortunately, she and Roddenberry had several disagreements, and her only contributions to Modern Trek were "Encounter At Farpoint" (w/Gene Roddenberry) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Dax." Ms. Fontana has also written for Ghost Story, Fastastic Journey, The Six Million Dollar Man, Babylon 5, and presently is writing for the fan-made film series Star Trek: New Voyages.
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