The Host (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 23) Dr. Beverly Crushes on a Symbiont

Rewatching ST:TNG

Trek explores some cultural boundaries by having Crusher fall in love with an ambassador who is not what he seems.

But before we get to that plot twist, we get comedy from Data not realizing he has interrupted a turbolift make-out session, some decent setup concerning a conflict between two moons of Peliar Zel, a girl-talk scene between Crusher and Troi, and some shuttlecraft pew-pew action.

As the humanoid she thinks of as Ambassador Odan dies, Crusher learns that his personality really comes from a slug-like creature inhabiting a host body. Riker volunteers to be a temporary host so that Odan can continue his mission, and because this is TV, it’s Crusher who performs the operation.

Although we don’t see the beginning of the Crusher/Odan ‘ship, we do get plenty of character moments. Picard offers his support: “Beverly. Whatever else I may be to you, I am your friend.” Troi tells a touching story about missing her father, which (following TV scriptwriting logic) motivates a hesitant Crusher to continue a physical relationship with Odan (who is living in Riker’s body).

The Space Thing of this week is the symbiotic relationship, which is integral to the plot. The diplomatic B-plot gets a decent resolution. The reveal of Odan’s new host made for a striking climax 30 years ago, but that ending seems pretty tame by today’s standards.