Most often contended to be the "hippie episode" (although the earlier "This Side of Paradise" more accurately represents that description; perhaps the benefit of hindsight holds the difference, where one depicts how they're remembered now while the other how they considered themselves at the time), "The Way to Eden" is something of the Charles Manson story in space.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier later paralleled much of the same story, while Deep Space Nine explored the back-to-nature idea in "Paradise," and there's Star Trek: Insurrection to consider as well, plus similarities to "Fusion" (the start of a whole character arc) in Enterprise. That adds up to something of a considerable legacy for the episode.
All that adds up to plenty going on in the episode. "Way to Eden" is one of those episodes that's probably better now then it seemed at the time.
four quarter analysis
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