Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 4, Episode 23

The Host (11 May 1991)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 618 users  
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Dr. Crusher falls for someone who's not at all what she expects him to be.

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Title: The Host (11 May 1991)

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Storyline

Doctor Beverly Crusher is secretly in romantic love since weeks with Federation ambassador Odan, who is on his way to the Alpha moon which is rebelling against the planet they were colonized from and cause potentially fatal environmental damage to its Beta moon. Crusher ignores her humanoid lover's body has an alien symbiont in his entrails, but Counselor Deanna Troi empathetically senses emotional swings which set her on the trail. Then an unrequested escort vessel from the Beta moon approaches and attacks the Enterprise shuttle which Commander Will Riker was piloting to bring the ambassador to his destination. When Riker brings Odan back to the Enterprise badly wounded, Crusher's diagnose reveals the 'parasite' and she learns his true identity. Odan urgently needs another humanoid host to perform his peace mission, for which task Riker is chosen... Written by KGF Vissers

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11 May 1991 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The appearance of the Trill symbiont would change its appearance from when it initially appeared on this episode to how it would appear on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). In this episode, the symbiont's appearance was made to resemble a caterpillar with the head of an octopus. According to Make-Up Supervisor Michael Westmore, the symbiont was re-made for DS9 to be more "stream-lined" to make it easier to handle. Also the appearance of the Trill hosts would change as well. In this episode, the Trill hosts had semi-ridged foreheads and no body spots , but on DS9, they have normal foreheads, and body spots. See more »

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Doctor Beverly Crusher: The first man I ever loved unconditionally was named Stefan. He was a soccer player, and I would watch him as he would race down the field. And I thought my heart would stop, because he was so beautiful. We married, and had three children: twin boys, Andrew and Alexander; and then, later, a little girl, Jennifer. Stefan became an artist, very famous. He created huge, breathtaking metal sculptures. He came to adore me as much as I worshiped him. In my daydreams, at least. Stefan was eleven and I...
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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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The Host vs. DS9
30 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode is decent. The following nitpicks are directed at Star Trek continuity in general.

Here are the differences I counted between the Trill in this episode and every single episode of Deep Space Nine:

1: Spots/ ridges - (Obviously) in this episode the Trill have ridges on their foreheads instead of their trademark spots, apparently because Terry Farrell was allergic to the prosthetics.

2: Transporter - In this episode Ambassador Odan said he couldn't use the transporter or he would "die". This is of course contradicted hundreds of times by DS9, every time Dax beams anywhere. Obviously this would have been a major hump to get over in writing DS9 episodes, so they hoped that everyone forgot about it.

3: Federation knowledge of the Trill - The Federation in "The Host" doesn't know anything about the Trill at all, yet Curzon Dax was a Federation Ambassador during the Khitomer Accords and Torias Dax (2 hosts back) was revealed to be a star fleet officer. Don't know why they had to change this one. Dax could have been the first Trill in Starfleet and it wouldn't have made much of an impact on the show.

4: Symbiont and host relationship - In the TNG episode, the symbiont, Odan, completely retains his personality when joined with each host (Riker's personality, for instance, is totally buried under Odan's, hence: his having no problem becoming romantically involved with Crusher). It is spelled out numerous times in DS9 that the host and symbiont meld personalities to create one. Again, why change this? I guess it was more interesting to have previous hosts with problems etc…

5: Humans joining with the symbiont (TNG)/ host dies after symbiont is removed (DS9) - This is contradicted by the existence of Ezri Dax. She explains that she was the only trill on board (whatever ship it was) and that's why she wasn't properly prepared for the joining. But, if they followed the TNG episode's rule, it would have been no problem to use her as a carrier and then transport the Dax symbiont into someone more worthy when the opportunity arose. Was this writer's forgetfulness or laziness?

6: Taboo of rekindling past host's love affair absent - Every host Odan shows to inhabit in this episode wants little more than to get back with Doctor Beverly. This is of course contradicted by the DS9 episode "Rejoined", in which exile is the price for letting your past catch up with you. Though I suppose seeing Terry Farrell kiss Susanna Thomson was worth a complete disregard for continuity (sarcasm). It should be noted, I guess, that Odan could have been some kind of rebel, or his love of Dr. Crusher was so strong that he couldn't help himself, but I think that this episode's message (love the person underneath, etc…) would have actually been strengthened by the inclusion of this taboo. So in conclusion: the writers invented it for "Rejoined" ignoring "The Host" completely.

7: Symbiont Dies (TNG) if not joined almost immediately - This is of course contradicted by the episode "Equilibrium" in which we see several symbionts "taking a swim" in the caves on the Trill home world. (side note: despite what an earlier reviewer stated, it is a different prop.)

All this could have been avoided by DS9 by simply calling the race something else. It could have easily been another joined species. There are, after all, at least three shape shifting species (Metamorph, Comaloid, and of course, the Founders)


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