Monday, 9 November 2020

Forget Me Not: Discovery S03 E04

Adira’s revelation that they are the carrier of a Trill symbiont ended episode three on nifty little cliffhanger with only one real resolution - we’d be taking a trip to their home world pretty soon.

Loe and behold, guess where we’re headed this time. However because the symbiont is in a human body there’s not quite the warm welcome Adira was anticipating as they attempt to make connections to one of her previous hosts who was a Starfleet admiral.

It is always welcome to step into Star Trek history and visiting the Trill home world and the Caves of Makalah for the first time since Deep Space Nine’s Equilibrium is a huge pleasure. Blu del Barrio has the most difficult job this week being not only a fairly recent addition to the cast but also carrying the weight of this weeks narrative. They do so incredibly well, portraying Adira’s fears at connecting with the symbionts perfectly both in reality and on the metaphysical plane. 

The news that a large number of Trill humanoids were killed in The Burn and thus led to a shortage of suitable hosts isn’t great news but the twist that a human has successfully been joined offers some sort of positive outlook for the future at least to some. While not as insular as Earth has become, Trill has nothing to do with the Federation either and is also suspicious to a point. 

The way in which the connection to the other symbionts within the pools of the caves has been turned up a level with those connecting now rolling to white eyes and descending into a tentacled, wiry, organic mainframe. With the success at reconnecting with her symbiont - Tal’s - past, we are also introduced to Ian Alexander. Alexander’s arrival in Discovery has been as publicised as del Barrio’s with them being the first transgender actor in franchise history. His role looks to be recurring for the season and integral to Adira’s development as she comes to terms with her lineage. With that now more transparent, del Barrio conveys some slight tweaks in confidence with Adira’s character in the last few minutes of Forget Me Not in which we are also told how they received the symbiont.

So what of this relationship with Tal's last host and Adira's boyfriend, Gray? Deep Space Nine's Rejoined indicated that reuniting with those from a previous life was a dangerous affair and while that isn't directly what we see here, it does appear that Adira and Gray are more connected than any of the symbiont's former hosts but is this for the best? 

Up,on the Discovery, it’s good to see Doctor Culber spotlit and not just for his relationship with Stamets. His medical assessment of the crew has uncovered that while they are physically fit, their mental health is suffering under immense strain and something needs to be done ASAP.

Detmer has been a glaring example of this since she successfully piloted the ship to its temporary grounding in episode two as well as traversing that wormhole from the 22nd Century but the challenges appear more widespread. While Culber is the one to throw the doors of this wide open, Captain Saru is the person tasked with the solution.

This is where something we’ve been waiting to see for over a season finally starts to come to fruition. The brilliant Calypso Short Trek is the gift that keeps on giving and while we didn’t exactly realise it at the time, this superb 15 minutes of Star Trek told us everything we needed to know about the direction of season two and beyond. The sudden introduction of a different voice for the Discovery computer which advises Saru will be a shock to no one familiar with Calypso and alerts us to the emergence of Zora. Saru does, at the end, join the dots and remind us precisely about the sphere data collected and protected by the ship’s time jump however I would believe everyone was there about 20 minutes before.

Discovery hasn’t gone too over the top dealing with the mental challenges facing the crew. There are some niggles, people testing their boundaries and over stretching their limits which are all exposed during the dinner hosted by Saru for the bridge crew (and Stamets, Culber, Linus and Georgiou?!) and takes a turn for the worse.In less than the starter course it uncovers the chinks and weaknesses faced by some of the officers present giving not just the main cast a chance to stretch.

Emily Coutts it’s fair to say has been pushed more to the fore in these early episodes than she has been since early season one on the Shenzhou and has been subtlety playing out Detmer’s struggles over the last two weeks finally allowing her to open up to Culber and begin the healing process. I’ve enjoyed watching Detmer’s journey in Discovery and to be provided with such a big character building opportunity must show the faith the writers have in Coutts and her character. Hopefully this is a sign that others such as Bryce and Owokesun will see their roles and personalities fleshed out more in season three.

Forget Me Not’s change of pace and more cerebral nature make it a refreshing part of the run after three weeks of hectic action, reunions, phaser fights, space chases and Century building. It’s a much more thoughtful episode and although not a direct nod to a certain former Cardassian mining station it’s cool to see one of the elements that that show explored being taken and run with through Adira. Technically the Trill were a creation of The Next Generation’s The Host (where, ironically, a human host DIDN’T work out of the symbiont) but it was the subsequent Deep Space Nine and the Dax lineage that built up the backstory. 

The enhancements made thanks to a larger budget with the communion process give it a stronger sense of realism and overall the cave sequence is a strong section of the episode. Ok, there have been a couple of tweaks to the Trill background (humans can commune?) but the direction here is spot on and there's a genuine feeling that this is a show now honouring its past and striking out very much on its own. The utilisation of the Trill and Tal's former host in particular to give us the chance to fill in some of the gaps from the last 1000 years is a masterstroke although you might be thinking that there's more to it than that - and more than likely there will be.

What are your thoughts for the season after seeing Forget Me Not?

ALSO check out our full set of season one reviews from Lower Decks HERE!

Track back on our season three Discovery reviews HERE

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