Friday, July 30, 2021

Star Trek: The Host

Episode: "The Host"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 23
Original Air Date: May 11, 1991

Dr. Crusher has fallen in love with Odan (Franc Luz), a visiting Trill ambassador.  When Odan is "killed," the symbiotic relationship between the parasitic Trill and their hosts is revealed.  The symbiont must be implanted in Riker while a more suitable host is rushed to the scene.

"The Host" is an important episode for a couple reasons.  In-story, the introduction of the Trill makes it an essential prequel to Deep Space Nine, though the concept went through significant development between this first appearance and the debut of Jadzia Dax.  In the broader world, it was the rare story of that television era to address homosexuality and the attendant homophobia, though not directly.  The eventual Trill host, you see, is female.  We know from future stories that switching genders from one host to the next is common for Trill.  But it's a bridge too far for Beverly.

Beverly never actually states that the problem with the new host is that she's female, though it's strongly implied.  Her explanation is certainly a cop out.  She refers to her discomfort as a "human failing."  The better choice might have been for her to acknowledge her personal feelings rather than blaming society.  After all, there are plenty of bi- and pansexuals among humans now.  Surely, the same will be true in the 24th century.  Nonetheless, in 1991, that would have been a far more taboo conversation than it is in 2021.  

In light of all this, "The Host" provides an essential set up for the best Star Trek episode I've ever seen.

Stay tuned.

Acting Notes

Franc Luz was born December 22, 1950 in Chambridge, Massachusetts.  He graduated from New Mexico State University.  Over twenty years, he had a respectable career across theater, film and television.

On stage, he was the original dentist in the Off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors.  On TV, he was a lead actor on the soap opera Doctors, for which he was nominated for an Emmy.  On the big screen, his best-known credits were in The Nest, Ghost Town and When Harry Met Sally...

Retired since 1999, Luz devotes his time to several fine art museums in and around New York City, for which he serves as both a trustee and a tour guide.


  1. This is a very good episode especially with dealing that she loves this thing..sorry, Trill. I would have a problem just being with River whom I never thought of in a romantic way and knowing his I thought it dealt so well with the ending because I could never be with a woman and that does not mean I am prejudiced. I was just born this way and so, call it a failing but I could not be with the trill if it went to a host that is the same sex. It also didn’t deal much with the fact that Bev was lied to. She had no idea she fell in love with a man who was actually a weird worm and the man she kisses is just a host. This was a major lie that Beverly had to deal with.

    1. Right. I don't mean to imply that heterosexuality is a personal failing (though that is the word used in the script). Indeed, I would have the same issue. My point is that blaming her own choice on society's shortcomings is missing the point.

      You're also right about avoiding the sense of deception as its own storyline. They definitely could have made more room to push that issue.

  2. It could read a lot of ways. She fell in love with a person who kept changing on her. At some point the person is no longer the person she fell in love with. There are a number of allegorical takes on it. The obvious one is the one fans fixate on (and has since become a thing of Trek past). Another is that Crusher simply got tired of accommodating all the changes. Some people like change. Clearly Crusher wasn’t one of them. It’s all over her character profile. She could’ve had a romantic relationship with Picard years ago. But she didn’t. She left the Enterprise, then came back. This is not a cop out or an excuse. I doubt just anyone would just be able to switch their sexual preferences. It doesn’t work like that. Now it has been Kira, as we saw in the Mirror Universe. And clearly Jadzia has far less of a problem, too. My family literally stopped watching DS9 because of “Rejoined.” That was the exact point my Star Trek viewing branched off in a singular direction.

    1. (“Now if it has been Kira”…)

    2. (Sheesh. Sheesh. Correcting the correction: “Now if it had been Kira…”)

    3. Yup, I follow you. I still think the more thoughtful choice would have been to address her personal discomfort rather than blaming all of humanity.

      I'm glad you stuck with DS9 even though your family didn't.

  3. At the time I first saw this episode I felt the character of Beverly did cop out when Odan came back as a woman. But as I've grown older I feel Bev's logic did revolve around all that sudden change and the fact that she is largely heterosexual.

    This was a great episode allowing Frakes and Gates to do some serious acting.

    1. Again, it would have been too much for me, too. I just wish they'd addressed it differently.