The Host

Beverly Crusher is in love with a new guy. He is a sensitive soul with a body to match, until he moves into another body – the one usually inhabited by Commander Riker. Can Beverly’s love make the move with him? Oh… and her lover has to stop a war. Meet the Trill when we put The Host in the Mission Log.

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  1. deaddropsd says:

    Who “loads phasers”?!?! Lol

  2. Heather Maria says:

    Ok, how is what Dr. Crusher and Odan did with Riker’s body not rape? It appears that the Odan parasite completely takes over the host body and suppresses their old personality (in contrast to the Trill on DS9). Riker consented to being a temporary host to get through the peace talks; even though Riker is Riker, he did not consent to sex with one of his coworkers. I agree with you guys that it was nice to give Dr. Crusher something to do, but the whole Riker situation just did not sit well with me.

    • deaddropsd says:

      No means no, but yup they didn’t even give Riker a chance to answer, but I’m sure he was good w the plan…lol

    • It’s a great point, Heather. I think we got sidetracked with many of the other issues happening in the episode, but you are absolutely right. Maybe that’s a bit of conversation the characters should have had before it went there.

    • Durakken says:

      This isn’t all that hard to explain how its not rape, unfortunately our laws currently are contradictory…

      Basically it goes like this –
      If you drink and drive, you are responsible for the actions and decisions you take while drunk as though you had set out to do those things and you are held to the highest punishment possible, whether or not a car accident is in fact your fault. That is to say… You get drunk and drive. Someone else hits you and dies. They are fully culpable in the accident. In that case, you are held as the responsible party and you are held as though you in fact took your car and purposefully rammed into that person to cause their death…

      The reasoning is that when you make a decision, such as getting drunk, you are actively deciding to impair your judgement to allow you to do whatever and as a result you are taking that responsibility and that making that decision to put it in the hands of an impaired version of yourself.

      In other words, When you drink alcohol, or any drug really, you are consenting to the actions and decisions that you while in that state.

      Now we apply this to the host situation. Riker is consenting to have his body used by Odan and anything that Odan decides to do with it. This makes what happens not rape, because Riker did consent.

      To cover responses…
      When you get drunk and have sex the above is how it should be handled. It’s logical and consistent with all other laws regarding the subject, though it isn’t how law currently handles it.

      There is also an extra dynamic here. While it should not be rape in either case, There is a matter of etiquette and manners that should be observed. With alcohol most times you can tell when the other person is impaired, and in the case of Odan and Beverly they should both have been courteous to not do such things with Riker’s body that he likely wouldn’t appreciate. I don’t find it a grievous offense if I let you borrow my pencil and then you break it, but I still think it’s fairly rude to do and you generally shouldn’t do it.

  3. Matthew Carlson says:

    Beverly got catfished.

  4. Wildride says:

    “Say, Riker, while you’re lending out your body, can we use it to bone?”
    “Uh, no! Weirdo!”

    • Wildride says:

      “I mean, I know I’m the host, but that’s stretching the expectations of hospitality. If you want some bread and salt, OK, but I’m pretty sure you’re taking advantage.

      • deaddropsd says:

        I’d be ok w it. Gates McFadden is a pretty lady…but yeah, there’d have to be some parameters…maybe like Sheldon’s Roommate Agreement…lol

        • Wildride says:

          Well, sure, but it’s not like you’re really getting the benefit. It’s not that kind of show, but …

          “Commander Riker, I’m pregnant, and you’re the father.”
          “How is that possible?!? We’ve never had sex.”
          “…That you know of.”
          “So, did you ever hear about that time some aliens stole some of my genetic material, to make a clone, without my permission?”

    • Heh – well said.

  5. DesertDweller79 says:

    The problem isn’t that Beverly might have preferences. It is fine if she prefers men. The problem is that she says maybe WE won’t be so limited. She is claiming humanity can’t deal with this. When in reality it is just her. That is why this episode comes across as slightly homophobic. If Beverly had just said, “No, I can’t handle all the body switching, and I prefer men” then it would have been fine.

    • Konservenknilch says:

      Hm, that’s a good point actually.

      • JusenkyoGuide says:

        You know, I disagree slightly. With the WE won’t be so limited, I think she was saying that hopefully one day we would be able to live up to the often stated romantic ideal that it’s the person, not the appearance that matters.

        I mean, if you look at romantic tales such as Beauty and the Beast, we often hold that idea up, seeing the “beauty” within and being able to fall in love regardless.

        But here’s Next Gen going, well, really now, are we REALLY there? And, what would that mean?

    • Bryant Burnette says:

      I think it plays on a meta level, almost as though Beverly is apologizing for the standards of early-nineties American culture. It’s a bit clunky, but I suspect that was the intent.

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Ya, I really disliked this. As you said, just say she could not handle the changes and call it good.

  6. Konservenknilch says:

    About Ken’s point: Don’t worry about perceived homophobia. I’m gay as fuck, and I can perfectly understand Beverly here. Yes, people always like to say “I only love humans, not their appearances”. But we do fall in love with appearances. And we love certain gender sets – some people are really into dingdongs or vajayjays. If your significant other disappears only to come back in another body and with opposite sex toys, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to not be into that automatically.

    And as you mentioned on the show, him not telling her about Trill biology is just plain bizarre. “Hey, I’m actually two people, but it didn’t seem important at the time”. Screw that guy.

  7. deaddropsd says:

    Franc Luz “Odan”- I guess he retired from acting in 1999? nothing more recent….

  8. Techweenie says:

    I don’t believe Beverly was in any way homophobic either. If the ideas of homosexuality and heterosexuality exist in Star Trek’s 24th century, it might be that Beverly just isn’t, as Dan Savage says, “heteroflexible” enough to have a relationship with another woman. It’s no more insulting that a homosexual person not wanting a relationship with a person of the opposite sex. It could also be because of the many changes in a short time or the lie as Ken said, or the fact that Beverly can’t have an ongoing relationship with a one-off guest star as John said.

    Unfortunately, homosexuality and other non-one-man-one-woman-relationships are not universally free from stigmatization, alienation, and in some cases guilt and shame. Hopefully by the real 24th century we’ll just think of the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality as constructs we used until we could truly figure out our sexuality in general.

    And just for reference, udon is a Japanese noodle, Rodan is a Japanese Monster, Odin is a Nordic god and Odan is a Trill negotiator. Hope that clears things up for ya.

  9. Eryn Mills says:

    It would have been interesting, and it would have changed the entire plot of the episode, and hence your discussion, if Beverly had been the only one on the ship that could have temporarily carried Odan’s symbiont (symbiote? Just enough SG-1 to confuse myself) and then they wouldn’t have had
    to worry about hiding her belly.

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      That would have been a strange twist

      • Earl Green says:

        Yeah, but hadn’t we already had enough of Beverly talking to herself in one season? (Thinking “Remember Me” here…) But I do like the idea. Heh heh.

  10. Dave Steph Taylor says:

    I add a few thoughts

    1- I am confused about the status of the folks on the planet versus the moons. If I recall they said that residents of the planet left and settled the moons. Yet they talk about them as if they are less evolved.

    2- The whole Riker/DeAnna/Beverly/Picard moments are quite enjoyable/painful to watch.

    3- I agree that Trill should have told Beverly about himself. My only saving grace is that perhaps he was about to, but the mission interrupted it.

    4- I am still curious if Riker ever has dreams of his encounters with Beverly. And Beverly surly will remember that night. Awkward.

    5- Adding the confusion at the end. Sure the Trill inside remains the same, but the different hormones and chemicals from host to host has got to affect the Trill somewhat.

  11. Troy Brooks says:

    I’ll admit it, I have a hard time enjoying this episode because of my love for DS9 in general and Dax specifically. I just kept thinking how much they later changed the “rules” for Trills

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Almost wish they had different names because I too was constantly thinking of Dax

    • Konservenknilch says:

      Yeah, the Trill changed quite a lot. It’s one of these weird minor races that the writers could never get a handle on but put into major positions, see also Betazoids. A race of telepaths would be fascinating (B5 did a lot with that storyline), but we only get “that evil Romulan looks suspicious” Troy and occasional Lwaxana.

      The post-atomic horror podcast has done DS9 already, and they pointed out that the Trill rules don’t even work within the same show. There’s a whole episode about how Trills are forbidden to engage with former acquaintaces, because of I don’t know. But Dax hangs out with Sisko despite of Curzon. Then Ezri comes back to the same workplace, where her husband(!) works despite there being no need for her.

  12. Lou Dalmaso says:

    I would liken the Trill Status to the Betazoid status.

    Is Troi going to announce she’s an Empath to everyone each time she enters a room? Should she be obligated to? I’d say yes in both cases, but at least the trill stay inside their own “heads”

  13. Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

    Just finished rewatching this episode this morning after literal decades, and am currently finishing up the podcast, and it’s amazing how much you’ve already reflected my changed opinions of it. I remember when I first watched it, thinking that the ending had been a cop-out.

    Now, however, with the advantage of being twice as older as I was, I can see that Beverley’s rejection of Female Odan is valid – as is the important issue that Odan, and indeed the Trill race, has kept back things. Oh, he may try his Word Fu on her, but this is hardly a minor issue like a kink or a history of parking tickets – it’s an essential part of his/her/their being. I had thoughts about how my wife would react if I was in an accident and was disfigured, or unable to speak – but even that is not a good analogy, as that would be a change that occurred after we built a relationship, and not something I kept hidden from her beforehand.

    And it’s a shame that the negotiations took up so much airtime, as the nature of the Trill/symbiont relationship and their culture would have been far more interesting.

    • Muthsarah says:

      While I think “The Host” handles its B-plot better than most (for the record, the Beverly/Odan parts are the A-plot), it’s true that too often TNG and DS9 both seemed to lack confidence in their main story – that which is supposed to make the episode unique – so they can throw in a super-serious/conventional action/thriller/technobabble element that often could have been put in ANY episode. Usually, these additional elements aren’t that interesting, and, at worst, they can seriously detract from the story’s main point and leave not enough time to really flesh things out and explore how out there some of these dilemmas can feel for the characters.

      These B-plots probably exist to give everyone something to do, but as we’ve seen, Deanna, Beverly, and Geordi get written out all the time, so…meh. If they can find time to give Picard five lines of dialogue in an episode that has nothing to do with him, they should have been able to spread it around for the others.

      Again, I don’t think it’s a serious detraction here, as this is almost as much “Riker’s” story as anyone else’s, but we’re gonna get a heaping helping of this in two weeks with “In Theory”.

  14. Durakken says:

    1. The Global Warming thing…I’m pretty sure you’re wrong here, but I’m not 100%. Back in the 80s there was research indicating Global Cooling and that was a big concern. That’s why they say “Climate Change” now adays, not Global Warming

    2. I think its interesting that the Federation representatives we have come across have largely come down on the “physical bodies matter” in almost every episode we’ve come across where there is a love where the body is different from the “norm”

    3. The beginning thing “We tried to do nothing. It didn’t work. What do we do?” <- Prime Directive doesn't always work as shown here.

    4. Could the relationship between Riker and Picard get any more awkward? This isn't about Riker and Picard, but given all the things between them in the past they must have a really fascinating perspective of each other.

    5. This episode is ok with where it is in the series, but looking back the story doesn't work in universe. The Trill have that policy of not maintaining relations across hosts and it isn't just considered taboo, but rather somewhat ilegal and subversive which means Odan should not be blending with anyone. Similarly different hosts "blend", not take over completely, even though they can. If I remember right it's wrong for that symbiote to take over completely like that… These things together would make Odan a subversive to the Trill culture which makes me wonder how is he in the position he's in?

    • Muthsarah says:

      5. & 6. I consider this episode as a “trial run” with the Trill, and not fully in-canon. Same thing with the Klingon makeup change, “Vulcanians” (and other stuff they did with Spock, like Vulcan being conquered), Uhura in a yellow uniform, Geordi going from helmsman (lieutenant junior grade in the command path) to lieutenant commander and chief engineer almost overnight, and probably a whole bunch of other things that don’t line up. For example, the Klingon change doesn’t need to be explained, since the answer is obvious: it was a production matter; when better makeup became available, they Klingoned up the Klingons a little more because it would make for a more interesting and distinctive look. As far as the greater continuity is concerned, the Klingons always looked like the modern ones, Odan was “supposed to” look more like Jadzia, Uhura only wore red, and this episode…has nothing whatsoever to do with DS9.

      Every episode and movie, and its themes and messages, does ultimately stand on its own, but whenever there are continuity conflicts, you just gotta make a judgment call. Was it a conscious change/revision by the showrunners, was it an honest oversight, was it an exception, or was it a “screw continuity, we’re doing this for the ratings” kinda thing (like putting the Ferengi and Borg in “Enterprise”)? In this case, I think the first makes the most sense, and I’m cool with letting them make these changes so long as it doesn’t wreck the show.

      • Durakken says:

        With regards to TOS’s continuity issues…
        With the way canon is TOS and TAS aren’t 100% canon in that what you see is what really happened. What you see on screen is more along the lines of a very old dude recounting tales of past glory with plenty of grandstanding. So those continuity issues aren’t really hard to ignore.

        With regards to Enterprise “continuity errors”… most, if not all of them, aren’t. The ones that are brought up by most people perfectly fit in the continuity that we know, but just never had explanations for these things such as why are the Borg moving towards Earth all the time and seem to have this weird fascination with Earth? Why did the Klingon look change? These are answers to questions, not continuity errors. The Ferengi being in Enterprise isn’t an error either. It is never said when their first encounter was and what we’re told is that there are rumors of they look and act like x. This means that the Federation had encountered them in the past to generate the rumors, so not an error…
        Even if all the things in ENT were errors, they still aren’t, because they don’t happen in the continuity that you’re talking about. They happen in a weird temporal anomaly timeline, not the ultimate canon timeline of the universe… and so again, all the events are not 100% canon to the universe…instead, some version of them happen, but not those exact events… or not even a version in the case of the Xindi.

        With regards to Geordi quickly moving from Lt jr grade to LtC one can easily explain that as him shifting his path and he just happened to be there and the senior officer and trusted so they promoted him. It happens. It’s rare, but it does.

        I think what happened with this episode is that they introduced the Trill here, thought it was cool idea so brought it to DS9 and then as time went on and knowing that only Trill char was on DS9 writers just forgot about this episode and so when things came up they never wrote it down in the show bible or referenced the episode which created contradiction because people didn’t know they were contradicting…

        I personally prefer to think of the two races as separate and just happen to be named Trill and have symbiotes… It’s possible. Consider that we’ve seen how many other “Earths” so it wouldn’t be all that odd in the ST universe.

        • Muthsarah says:

          “With regards to Geordi quickly moving from Lt jr grade to LtC one can
          easily explain that as him shifting his path and he just happened to be
          there and the senior officer and trusted so they promoted him. It
          happens. It’s rare, but it does.”

          Worf started out Lieutenant Junior Grade at Farpoint, and didn’t reach Lieutenant Commander until Generations, whereas Geordi made the leap in a single off-season (EDIT: actually, he didn’t become Lt. Commander until Season Three). Also, helmsman and chief engineer are kinda different skill sets with correspondingly different CVs. Like going from being a pilot to being a nuclear engineer in a supervisory role. You can re-educate and transition, but it’s gonna take time to build up to that level of seniority. A battlefield promotion would have made sense in the case of Torres from Voyager, but TNG had no such in-universe excuse.

          But it FINALLY gave the show a chief engineer (did Gene dislike Scotty or something?) and gave LeVar a better role on the show, so kew.

          As for the Trill, I’m sure the showrunners of DS9 (which included Piller, Berman, and Behr) were familiar with this episode if they thought to bring the Trill along. I’m sure they consciously decided on a revision to the species to make it “official”, to fit what they wish they had originally been. There’s no need to try to make sense of both interpretations existing simultaneously, the latter is by far the more important, for having the more prominent character and deeper exploration of the species. The Odan version of the Trill only applies to this one episode.

          • Durakken says:

            There is no reason to suspect that Geordi and Warf have been the rank the same amount of time so that doesn’t really mean anything.

            Senior positions don’t seem to be truly rank or “seniority” based. Ensign Kim was a Senior Officer coming straight ouf of the Academy.

            We also don’t know how exactly switching tracks works or how ranks specifically work. Each track could have their own rank and they could switch as duty is needed. For all we know Geordi could be command rank in the morning and Operations rank in the evening and the 2 could be different. I doubt this is the case, but its a possibility.

            My guess is however something similar and that is that you where the colors of whatever role you are in currently which explains the moving from command to operations. He really didn’t move, it’s just that the Federation requires you to have experience in various bridge positions and while you’re at those jobs you where those colors… Then he also was an engineer during the time he wasn’t doing bridge duty. It’s just that we saw him on the bridge during the show because of plot convenience that his schedule corresponded with the episode ^.^ So it’s not like he wasn’t an engineer previously and then suddenly was one. He was always an engineer we just didn’t see him being it.

            As far as hopping the rank. That really isn’t that hard to explain. Think about the Chief Engineers previously. They had several that didn’t work for whatever reason. Now you’re Captain Picard, what do you do? You have a promising candidate, you trust him, he has a relationship with Data which he’d going to need to interact with, and he seems to be a good fit for the role over all. Do you continue just rolling the dice with other candidates or do you take the low risk option, promote Geordi, give him the position, and see what happens? The worst that happens in trying that out with Geordi is that it doesn’t work out and he gets experience that will likely make him a better officer in the Future and you’re right back to not having a Chief Engineer. Or you continue on playing a game of roulette to try to find someone who might fit which may never come up.

            I’m taking the option to promote Geordi in that situation. From an in universe perspective it makes sense and Picard, as far as i have read, has the authority to do so. Obviously you make it temporary at first and then if it works out it becomes permanent.

            That’s obviously not wanted happened behind the scenes or what their thinking was, but it still makes sense, and had they realized it they could have made a pretty good episode or 2 of it with geordi coming to grips with command… and in fact this improves some episodes like the ones with Barclay because it then makes sense that he is mishandling Barclay because he isn’t used to being in that command position yet.

          • Thorsten Wieking says:

            We never learned IIRC what classes Geordi took at the academy. Maybe he majored in engineering and Warp theory, no proper job opening in the fleet, hence started as shuttle pilot (where Picard met him), got called onto the Enterprise and then changed to engineering as theorized above. Helmsman and warp drive seem like a logical career path.

            Now come to think of it – why do they send senior bridge officers on away missions? A fixed away team would be way more logical experience wise.

  15. Daniel R. Przybylski says:

    I always felt that Riker being chosen to be the interim host was just a gratuitous attempt on the part of the production crew to force a love scene between Riker and Beverly Crusher. Kind of like the foot massage: was that really necessary?

  16. John Anderton says:

    10% of this episode is the definition of great sci fi: creating a science fiction device to learn more about who we are. But it is housed in such a General Hospital story with such bad acting and cheap visuals that it is really hard to take.Yet *another* treaty negotiation by a sick negotiator? But the ending is wonderful and shocking and makes great fun of our closed minded attitudes.

  17. Pherim says:

    Sorry I’m late to the party, but I’m still working on keeping up with the podcast and I’m only in Season 5 now, so I just listened to this show last week, but I’ve just wanted to add that there is a deleted scene from this episode on the last disc of the season 4 Blu-Ray set in which Riker/Odan comes to join the poker table and he says although he never played this game before, he knows how to play it, after which Data asks him about the exact nature of the joining. He then goes on to explain that usually, the host doesn’t have a personality of his own, but this time, with Riker, it’s different. But it’s good they cut it, because it would really have opened up the question of why anyone would want to become a host, and later Trill appearances would have been even more contradictory.