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The fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery's third season, "Forget Me Not," was a jam-packed episode that confronted Adira's difficult past and the deteriorating mental health situation on Discovery. Before I jump into the recap, though, I want to make a note of something.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 4 of Star Trek: Discovery.
This episode introduced the character of Gray, the first openly trans character on Star Trek played by a transgender man, Ian Alexander (though we don't get confirmation he is trans in the episode, it's been touted quite a bit in the promo materials). In "Forget Me Not," we learn that Gray is dead and Adira took his Trill symbiont as an act of love. It's a beautiful tale of a tragic relationship, but unfortunately, sad tales are all too common for LGBTQIA+ people, and people who identify as a part of this community should get to see themselves in happy endings on screen. As a straight, cis woman, it's not really my place to write in-depth about this topic, but I needed to mention it regardless. This is just the beginning of the story, and clearly, there's more to come — but this is not a good introduction to Gray's character. For more, you can read this reaction piece from my colleague, Riley Silverman.
We see the beginning of the episode through Dr. Culber's eyes (who, it should be mentioned, also went through a bad-decision death and came back to us), as he assesses the mental health of the Discovery crew. It becomes clear that he's well aware of the issues and is, frankly, worried about his colleagues. Over the course of the episode, he sees people breaking down under the weight of the stress, the loneliness, the anxiety. (His words to Burnham, that she's a "responsibility hoarder," are so timely right now for so many of us!)
It's funny to say this, but it feels like Saru faced his first real challenge of being the captain of Discovery in this episode. He's led them through the Mirror Universe, into the future, with dedication and compassion. I can't think of a better captain for this crew. And he always has a kind word or a message of support one-on-one, but connecting with the larger crew on a personal level has been a challenge for him. Nowhere is that more apparent than in "Forget Me Not," when he has to figure out how to support their fragile mental health.
Saru absolutely makes some missteps here — what he likely intended to be a casual dinner among friends turns out to be a formal, stilted, awkward dinner. And playing a game to break the tension only brings the trauma to the forefront. Detmer is feeling lost, alone, and unappreciated, and she and Stamets act as though giving one credit takes away from the other. Earlier in the episode, Stamets unceremoniously shot down Tilly's idea to modify the spore drive interface — a good sign that he's feeling that if he no longer is the sole captain of the spore drive, then he will lose his place and sense of identity aboard Discovery.
Nothing is fully resolved in this episode — the journey through trauma isn't quick — but people begin to realize they need to ask for help, and that they are not OK. We're also seeing the sphere data develop intelligence, it seems — she's protecting Discovery and her crew. This should make for an interesting plot point moving forward. And we can't forget Philippa "I'm just here for the drama" Georgiou's extreme satisfaction during that entire dinner scene.
Elsewhere, on the Trill homeworld, the warm welcome that Discovery receives is short-lived when the Trill realize that Adira isn't a Trill host — she's human. And they aren't happy about it. The Trill reveal that the host population was decimated during the Burn (technically, we learn in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that a much wider range of Trill are physically able to be hosts than the Commission, which picked hosts, allowed, but given all their talk of "ideals" it looks like they didn't relax those requirements much). They want to forcibly remove the symbiont from Adira, which would likely kill both the host and symbiont. Instead, someone sympathetic shows them the Trill symbiont caves, and Adira goes on a journey to connect with her symbiont.
I addressed a lot of what she discovers above — that her partner, Gray, was the previous host of the Tal symbiont, and that when he died, she took it on. Now, after Tal accepts Adira, she can see Gray as a person. I'm not really sure how to feel about this, given the representation implications I previously discussed. We'll see how the storyline is handled going forward.
It looks like Discovery now has the coordinates for Federation headquarters. There's no telling what they'll find when they arrive, but it's clear that the next episode is going to be a big one. The representation issues of this episode aside, this season is turning out to be an incredible, rewarding journey, and I can't describe how much of a comfort this show has been, given everything. I'm so looking forward to seeing where the writers take us.