**** (4 stars out of 5)
"Doctor Beverly" has a boyfriend. But handsome Ambassador Odan has a secret he's playing close to his vest. In fact, it's inside his abdomen.
While on a mission to resolve the dispute between the people of a moon with an energy siphon, and the people of a moon that's getting screwed over by the energy siphon, Odan and Bev fall for each other. And on top of each other.
Odan is the first Trill the Enterprise crew has ever dealt with, from a race they know little about. Does this qualify Dr. Crusher for a First Contact merit badge?
Unwilling to risk the transporter, Odan is injured when his shuttle is attacked, and he must reveal his true self to Crusher: he is a parasite (known as a symbiont) within a swappable host body.
The new body is on back order, so when Odan's host dies, Crusher must improvise a temporary host in volunteer Will Riker. He's the first human to be joined in this way, and it takes a toll on him in medications and fever.
This does not stop Beverly from eventually getting it on with Odan in Will's body, however. Fever for the flavour of a Pringles indeed! (In this case, I am likening Riker's thoracic cavity to a can of potato chips, where the tasty chips are the bit inside, not the package. And I DO mean his package! I've said too much.)
Troi saw this coming and gave her consent, despite the awkwardness. (Although this story doesn't make it clear, we are later told Trill joining doesn't block the host memory. So... awkward. For Will, Bev, and Troi, probably.)
Odan, pushing his human host's health as far as he can, succeeds in stopping the moons of Peliar Zel from going to war. Off-screen. Somehow. Maybe everybody moved to Alpha Moon so they could suck Beta Moon dry. Maybe they watched 'The Lorax' together and decided to be more environmentally responsible. I just don't know. Or care. It's only the B-story anyway.
Beverly reaches the limit of what she's willing to put up with (sex-wise) when Odan's new host turns out to be Kareel, a female. Which is to say, she doesn't have the whole package.
The outie filtrum and golden forehead arches look is seen for the first and only time in Trills. I can only assume that, like Romulans with and without prominent brows, this variation only means they're Canadian Trills.
"The Host" introduces an intriguing new alien race in the Trill. New stories to be told and new questions to be asked, particularly some squelchy and uncomfortable ones.
How important is physicality to true love?
What limits do we put on ourselves, and what are we willing to be with our partners?
Is that a symbiont in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?