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Star Trek TNG - Season 4 - Episode 23

Star Trek TNG - 4x23 - The Host

Originally Aired: 1991-5-13

Dr. Crusher falls for an alien who relies on "hosts" to survive. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.86

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 20 7 14 16 9 55 17 14 26 3 10



Remarkable Scenes
- Beverly and Odan poorly attempting to avoid Data.
- I like the way Odan is always referring to Dr. Crusher as "Dr. Beverly".
- The character of Odan. Such a nicely confident character.
- Odan discussing personal details about Beverly with Picard.
- Odan/Riker: "Speak softly governor. Those who cannot hear an angry shout may strain to hear a whisper."
- Frakes did such a wonderful job playing Odan's character.
- Odan/Riker mediating the dispute.

My Review
What a fascinating species: the Trill. With a blended species, what defines a person? The symbiont? The host? Or does it vary? Watching Odan merge with Riker and seeing some of Riker's personality bleed into Odan was good fun; these are exactly the sort of alien species ideas Star Trek should be exploring more often. Odan the character doesn't quite do justice to the Trill species concept though. A deeper exploration of the Trill with better characterization would have been nice.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jennifer on 2006-04-02 at 7:13pm:
    In stark contrast to our fab web-master here, I did really like this episode. I liked the romance that Crusher had with the man at the beggining, and the part where she kisses Riker (but not really Riker) is both moving and funny. It's fascinating to see how well Jonathan Frankes carries off another role still technically being the same person. I loved the crushing, totally unexpexted twist at the end.
  • From Andy978 on 2007-05-10 at 2:09pm:
    Who, exactly, says that we have to "dismiss" seven years of DS9? They changed their mind about how Trill are supposed to work after this episode, end of story. It doesn't "negate" anything, nor does it expect us to take one more seriously than the other.

    In short... I don't think your review or argument makes any sense here. Sorry. Your argument seems to be based on a straw-man controversy, and if revelations made in a later series actually ruin your enjoyment of this episode... man, you've got serious, serious problems. (by your logic, we can't enjoy Star Trek IV. After all, there's a woman in the Captain's chair, when we ALL know from "Turnabout Intruder" that women can't be Captains. No, no, it's not that the creators of the show changed their mind 20 years on due to changing social mores... it's *obviously* sloppy writing and we should consider this an "inconsistency.")

    This isn't a flame - this is a great website and, for the most part, I appreciate your opinion and analysis. Please consider it more of a "constructive criticism." Saying "I don't like it because of something that came later that was different," isn't a very good argument, and it's sort of disappointing because most of the time, your opinions at least hold water.
  • From DSOmo on 2007-08-31 at 7:28am:
    - Troi walks into the beauty parlor and takes her seat beside Dr. Crusher. Troi then looks over. A surprised expression comes over Troi's face, and she greets Crusher. Should Troi be surprised to see Crusher? When Troi walks into the room Crusher is sitting low in a chair, with her back to Troi. Shouldn't Troi's empathic sense tell her that Crusher is in the chair? Wouldn't there be something like an emotional fingerprint?
    - There is a minor tension point in the plot near the end, when Dr. Crusher removes Odan from Riker. Odan can survive in stasis for only a few hours, and the host is still nine hours away. The Enterprise rushes to meet the Trill ship at warp 9. What's the rush? Why not just implant Odan into another person on the Enterprise?
  • From JRPoole on 2008-06-26 at 8:42pm:
    I find the debate here amusing. While the inconsistencies mentioned above annoy me to no end, they shouldn't ruin the episode.

    But, why, oh why, does every Beverly-centered episode have to descend into melodrama? At least they didn't go for the shock value of a lesbian make-out scene at the end, though I'm sure it would have heightened this episode's fanboy appeal....
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-10-24 at 4:10pm:
    This is a very emotional episode, and very well acted. Beverly, Picard, Riker, Troi, and Odan pull off splendid performances. Riker REALLY looked sick and unhealthy, like he'd swallowed poison. I think he is underated as an actor.

    Though, I have trouble believing Riker had enough room in his chest for the symbiont. I think his intestines would probably have to be removed and set aside for a while.

    Also, am I to believe that he had sex with Crusher? He didn't look like he was in the condition to do so.
  • From Pemmer Harge on 2010-04-07 at 6:57pm:
    You can't mark this episode down just because DS9 contradicted it, you just can't! That's DS9's fault!
  • From ChristopherA on 2012-07-05 at 7:33pm:
    When watching this episode now, it is very hard to think of anything other than how different this older Trill concept is from the DS9 concept. Yet it just doesn't seem fair to judge this episode down just because they later made changes to the concept. In effect, this episode is about a different species of hosts and symbionts than the ones in DS9.

    In that light, I think the episode is rather thought-provoking. The idea of that the man Dr. Crusher is in love with inhabits the body of someone she knows only as a friend and comrade, and wants to continue their intimate relationship through that body, is creepy and interesting. Also interesting is the question of whether it makes a difference that he never revealed to her his fundamental nature, as well as the twist ending. None of the actual "suspense plot" was particularly meaningful or memorable. But at the same time, it didn't detract from the central point either. I figure that if I come away from an episode thinking and pondering, it must be a good thing.
  • From lumzi23 on 2017-02-16 at 12:15am:
    Regarding what someone above said. I think it is unfair to say someone has "serious problems" due to having issues with changes and inconsistencies as a series progresses. I personally don't always have such issues but as someone who watched Star Trek out of order (for the most part) I can understand why such changes might be jarring especially when they are so obvious.

    Note: I didn't see the original comment and I'm only commenting on this part of what his responder said.
  • From Kethinov on 2017-02-16 at 5:18am:
    The comments flaming me here were in reference to the original version of the review (from a loooong time ago) where I docked points on this episode due to its inconsistencies with DS9.

    In the end, I ultimately found Andy978's argument persuasive and altered both my review of this episode and my stance towards how to handle continuity errors across the board accordingly.

    That's why some of the comments here seem to be flaming me over a nonexistent issue. They convinced me they were right, so now what they were responding to is gone.

    I should probably remove all comments relating to the debate, as there is no debate now. But I'll leave the comments up for now, at least until the new version of the site that's being developed is launched Real Soon Now™.
  • From jeffenator98 on 2019-08-20 at 5:15pm:
    This episode is cringe worthy no matter when you see it. 0/10

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