“Forget Me Not”
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 4 – Debuted Thursday, November 5, 2020
Written by Alan McElroy and Chris Silvestri & Anthony Maranville
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper
With a strong Star Trek theme, “Forget Me Not” keeps the momentum of season three going with a fine balance of intriguing mythology and plot development along with emotional character development. Actor Wilson Cruz ably carries a lot of this load, connecting the dots between the storylines.
WARNING: Spoilers below!
“They feel lost. Disconnected”
We enter “Forget Me Not” through the medical log of Dr. Hugh Culber, who guides us (and the Discovery crew) through this episode. Hugh went through a lot being lost in the mycelial network and being reborn in season two, giving him a sort of Zen master view of things as he diagnoses the two big issues in this episode. One, the dislocated crew is going a bit cray cray after all they have gone through. Two, in order for the season’s “find the Federation” plot to move forward, the human Adira needs to figure out how to tap into the memories of her disconnected Trill symbiont.
Dr. Culber’s prescriptions—and theme for the episode—is all about connection: The crew needs to find a way to stop feeling so alone and vulnerable. He leaves Captain Saru in charge of working that out. As for Adira, he advises she see a specialist… on Trill. And noticing that Michael has been going through some changes for the better in her one extra year in the future, the good doctor wisely taps her as Adira’s guide to what is a strange new world for all of them.
“Welcome to Trill”
Star Trek’s return to an idyllic-looking Trill complete with cool alien flying fish starts off nicely. Due to “The Burn,” the locals are no longer part of The Federation, but they are far more welcoming to a visit from Starfleet than the people of Earth were last week. They are especially excited about a symbiont returning, but things take a turn when they find out the little guy is inside a human, ick.
While Trill appears tranquil, like with Earth, the Discovery’s arrival exposes the cracks in the façade. The Burn has decimated the population, leaving not enough compatible hosts. While Guardian Xi is excited about the prospect of non-Trill being able to be hosts, the hardline Commissioner Vos sees it as an “abomination” and suggests forceful removal, showing some have lost their Federation values, big time. Trill Leader Pav’s solution is to send Michael and Adira packing but that sneaky Vos ambushes them. Thankfully, Michael 3.0 summarily dispatches him and his Trill goons who inexplicably brought energy spears to a phaser fight.
This gives Guardian Xi his chance, taking Team Disco to the Sacred Caves of Mak’ala to get Adira in touch with her inner squid… it’s okay, that’s what she calls it. The hope is that the symbionts in their pools can help make that vital connection, even with a human, so Adira goes in for a dip sending her into a trance. Just as the bad guys show up to put a stop to all of this, Adira goes under and Michael—for some reason—is sent in after her. She finds a terrified Adira in some kind of Trill ethereal plane, fending off swarms of tendrils. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
“You guys think you have the market cornered on pain”
With a little consultation from a growingly familiar computer, Saru settles on giving the crew a night off and hosting a big meal for his team, along with their crazy Aunt Georgiou. Nostalgic for his family’s harvest meals on Kaminar, the captain sees this as an opportunity to create a new ritual for his Starfleet family. He even tries to turn the “aye” each gave to commit to the jump to the future last season into a communal prayer.
Unfortunately for Saru, there is no Ba’ul maintaining a Great Balance here on the Disco. Like many a Thanksgiving meal, things start off pleasantly enough only to descend into the chaos of accusations, recriminations, and swearing… and it all started with Georgiou lightening things up with a haiku. Diabolical. The former Terran Emperor continues to be the proverbial fly in the ship’s ointment, deliciously played by Michelle Yeoh.
The biggest clash at the table comes from Keyla Detmer, whose simmering issues finally come to a boil. She and Stamets go at it in an epic who-can-fly-the-ship-better fight, and Tilly opens the swear jar to call them both out, revealing she also has issues with how Paul has been kind of a jerk to her all episode. Everyone bails, leaving poor Saru all alone with way too many leftovers.
“This is our story”
Back in the Trill caves it doesn’t take Michael long to figure out the tendrils are Tal trying to connect with Adira, if only she could let go of some painful suppressed memories. The backstory of how Tal was joined with her turns out to be quite tragic, with Adira’s Trill ex-boyfriend Gray dying as their generational starship was destroyed, leaving her as the only safe place for his symbiont. The flashbacks beautifully weave together this week’s theme of connection, with Blu del Barrio carrying almost all of the emotional weight and newcomer Ian Alexander ’along for the ride as Gray.
And through all this shared trust, Tal accepts Adira into “the circle” as the new host, with each past host revealed, including Starfleet Admiral Senna Tal (played by Kenneth Welsh of Twin Peaks fame). Coming out of the pool, Adira Tal can now speak the names of her past selves, and is welcomed as a potential savior to the Trill. Even Commissioner McGrumpy is impressed. But Adira decides for now she will stick with the Disco, and spread the good news of the Trill to the galaxy. And Michel can add Trill as a notch on her utility belt of new friends for the rebuilding of the Federation.
Back on the ship people are sobering up and having some regrets over the dinner disaster. Suru reveals he has some Captain Pike envy over Christopher’s easy way with the crew, but Tilly—in a fun yet poignant moment—reminds the Kelpien captain he has his own ways of leadership. Paul and Sylvia remember they have the best chemistry on the show and bury the hatchet into some weird science about dark matter (that stuff from season two) being the key to finding a non-Stamets interface to the spore drive. And Detmer finally admits to both herself and Dr. Culber that she needs to stop being so muy macho and get some help.
Saru comes up with Morale Boost Plan B, taking the Sphere-data-infused ship’s very specific advice for movie night with an ancient Buster Keaton film. The crew shows how messed up they are by laughing maniacally at it. Sure, these classics are amusing, but not that funny. Dr. Culber is impressed with Saru’s therapy on the crew, but these crazy kids are not out of the woods yet. Now the newly-minted memory-having Adira Tal—who secretly still has visions of her ex Gray—has their next destination worked out… Starfleet HQ, here we come!
Making a connection
“Forget Me Not” is just the kind of solid mid-season Discovery episode you want to have. It’s rich in mythology, holds a strong Star Trek theme, moves the season arc plot forward, and weaves in strong character development. You can feel the love throughout: a love of Star Trek shown by the writers, a love between the characters that we know for each other, and a whole new kind of love between Adira and her ghost boyfriend Gray. And even though there was some hugging, these quiet character beats were well played by director Hanelle Culpepper, without descending into the indulgent melodrama Discovery too often leans on.
The glue that holds this all together is Wilson Cruz. We are finally seeing his Doctor Culber do some doctoring, but this crew isn’t suffering from broken bones as much as they are suffering from broken hearts. The actor shows he is quite capable of conveying Hugh’s unique perspective as he tends to this entire crew. The performances of the always reliable Doug Jones and Mary Wiseman are also noteworthy for this outing.
It’s the power of myth, people!
Showrunner Michelle Paradise promised that this season would delve into Trill mythology and this episode certainly dove right in. Writers Alan McElroy, Chris Silvestri, and Anthony Maranville clearly did their homework as “Forget Me Not” honored and meshed with the Trill/Dax episodes from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, including creating a curious twist on the taboo of Reassociation with Adira keeping her continued visions of Grey on the down low. Although we did posit a theory on how we may see Dax, Tal is already an interesting character. There was also quite a bit of expanding what we know about the fascinating symbiotic race. Not only did they add bits of Trill tech and technobabble, but also a sense of their spirituality and even our first taste of their native language.
The location shooting and production design for Trill was beautiful, including a welcome return to the symbiont caves. The virtual world of Trill symbiosis was also fascinating and exquisitely realized, although things got a big hand-wavy as to how Adira was able to overcome millennia of no non-Trills as hosts.
We can also start seeing more of a pattern for the post-Burn galaxy. Perhaps core worlds like Earth and Trill were able to survive and even thrive to an extent, albeit with internal struggles and lack of connection, while frontier worlds may have suffered more lawlessness, like Hima and “The Colony.” It is again a nice twist to use the conceit of the new future allow for established planets to become the strange new worlds of the week for our heroes to spread the long-lost Federation gospel.
This episode also built Star Trek: Discovery’s own mythology and potential connection to Short Treks, with the Sphere-influenced version of the ship’s computer voiced by Annabelle Wallis, who also voiced Zora in “Calypso.” We will have to delve more into that later on.
Keep it up
“Forget Me Not” feels like another classic Star Trek outing, in terms of both mythology and themes. Even though we are four episodes in, it doesn’t seem like they are dragging out the mysteries of The Burn and finding the future Federation, unlike last year with the dragged-out search for Spock and the Red Angel.
The strong ensemble cast once again shows each can step up when needed. Jeff Russo’s music also continues to impress as he and his musicians lean more and more into classic Star Trek scoring, helping tell the story.
Season three of Star Trek: Discovery continues to take shape as its best yet.
Random extra bits
- Suru says without Stamets the Discovery would be as limited as other ships in the 32nd century. So, did they leave their dilithium behind back on Earth or with Book to avoid being a target?
- Speaking of Book, Michael showed no signs of missing him, but he is still missed.
- One of the skills Adira picked up through joining with Tal is how to make Bajoran hasperat.
- Michael has built a database of connected clues to The Burn, which we will probably see more of later on in the season.
- It’s unclear why Michael and Adira took a shuttle down to Trill, except to allow for the later ambush.
- Linus is a fan of droog-beetle pie
- Tilly once puked on a Tellarite ambassador on Thanksgiving.
- The 32nd-century medical drones on Adira’s generation ship were capable of complicated surgery and reminiscent of Star Wars midwife droids.
- Before Adira, Tal has had six hosts: Kasha, Jovar, Madela, Cara, Senna, and Gray.
- In addition to Admiral Senna Tal, two previous Tal hosts were Starfleet officers. One also wore the new 32nd-century Starfleet badge and one (a captain) wore a badge like those seen in the late 24th century. It’s possible Tal spent some time in the pools between hosts.
- Is there something going on between Georgiou and Linus?
- Quote of the week [Computer to Saru]: “The crew would benefit from exercise, medication, limited dairy… yoga, hyperbaric chamber, therapeutic coloring books, interstellar shopping.”
More to come
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