97 – The Host

Grade: C-

The Host (1991) on IMDb


The Enterprise is transporting an ambassador named Odan. In the ten days that he has been on the ship, Dr. Crusher becomes completely infatuated with him. Odan is needed in some negotiations to help prevent a war.


I was pretty reluctant to watch this episode, because I knew it wasn’t one of my favorites. In all honesty, I think some of the most mediocre Star Trek episodes deal with romantic storylines, and this one is no exception. It’s hard to buy it that Dr. Crusher could fall in love with someone we’ve never seen before and who only came onto the ship 10 days earlier. But this episode isn’t about how Dr. Crusher and Odan met and fell in love. Instead, it’s about what happens when she falls in love with someone without really knowing everything about him. Specifically, that Odan is a symbiotic alien – a combination of a parasitic life form and a humanoid host. Their romance becomes complicated when the humanoid host dies.

It’s an interesting concept, and one that deserves some attention. In the real world, sometimes relationships can survive major changes and sometimes they can’t. This episode does a pretty good job introducing these concepts and exploring how Dr. Crusher responds to these developments. But in all honesty, the episode really doesn’t go deep enough. Maybe the writers didn’t think the audience would accept a more in-depth treatment. But whatever the reason, I think it’s a little too superficial.

In addition to that, the acting is pretty weak – except from Patrick Stewart. Gates McFadden carried the episode, but I don’t think this was her best work. The script was really bad – much worse than I expected from this season. The music was pretty bad – seems to have reverted back to the second season soundtracks. And the aliens look pretty fake, except for Odan. Well, maybe because these aliens are only seen for a few minutes, they decided not to spend much effort in creating realistic costumes and makeup for them.

But I still think the weakest part of this episode is that it tried to do way too much. There’s a good chunk of this episode dedicated to Dr. Crusher’s relationship with Odan. That really could have been enough for a full episode by itself, but then they had to add putting the Odan symbiont inside Commander Riker. How could that possibly happen? Whatever. Anyway, so then they had to deal with Crusher’s feelings for Odan, all the while knowing it was Riker who was hosting him. This also deserved more screen time than it received.

The new host is female, and once the symbiont was added to her, Crusher now has to deal with her feelings for Odan yet again. This is now the third relationship she has to deal with, and in this case, it’s too much for her. This really deserved more screen time.

On top of all that, you have Data mentioning global warming, you have two alien races at odds with each other, and you have some negotiations taking place on the Enterprise. It’s just way too much for one 42-minute episode. I don’t object to the storyline – just to how superficially everything is dealt with.

I have more questions about the Trill but I’ll save it for Deep Space Nine when we deal with Jadzia Dax. Or maybe I won’t. We’ll just have to see how I feel about it.

Anyway, I just wish this episode had picked just one of these story threads and completely developed them rather than just sprinkled us with a few clever ideas.

Of Note

This is the first time we see the Trill race in Star Trek. In Deep Space Nine, the character Jadzia Dax is also a Trill, and she is one of the main characters. But here is the first time we hear about them.