Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 4 recap – “Forget Me Not” we are not okay

November 5, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
CBS All Access, TV Recaps
4

Summary

“Forget Me Not” weaves the theme of trauma and healing between two disparate plots in a very good and surprisingly moving episode.

View all
4

Summary

“Forget Me Not” weaves the theme of trauma and healing between two disparate plots in a very good and surprisingly moving episode.

This recap of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 4, “Forget Me Not”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


Mainstream big-budget action-adventure television – perhaps most especially sci-fi mainstream big-budget action-adventure television – is about motion, usually the unrelenting forward kind. It’s about the next plot development, the next fight, the next alien, planet, high-kicking doppelganger, or near-millennium time jump. It’s about breathless excitement. It’s only very rarely about taking time to catch one’s breath after it’s all said and done.

“Forget Me Not” is, at least partially, about that. The fact it opens with Dr. Hugh Culber lamenting the collective trauma that the crew has had to endure should be telling. Virtually all of the ship-set shenanigans are couched in his perspective, even by proxy through Saru, who is subsequently tasked with reducing the crew’s stress levels in various different, basically ad-hoc ways, and to mixed responses. Culber says to Saru that if the crew were rats they’d be eating their own tails, and he takes it to heart, receiving caregiving advice from the ship’s seemingly evolving on-board AI, Zora.

This is such a Star Trek plot that it almost plays like a pastiche, but it’s presented with such a straight face – and such a good mix of charm, humor, and seriousness – that it manages to do really good things in its small character beats and clever pairings. It tells us more about almost everyone present, even if it’s only a little. Georgiou is having the time of her life ridiculing the whole affair, but even that’s healing, of a kind. The whole thing even veers into a kind of quasi domestic horror via Detmer’s frantic, bloodthirsty haiku. This is, technically, the episode’s B-plot, but it feels much more integral to its identity than the main adventure of “Forget Me Not”, which pairs Michael up with new character Adira.

You’ll recall that Adira, a nonbinary amnesiac hosting a Trill symbiont containing Admiral Tal, is integral to the Discovery finding the hidden location of what remains of the Federation. And that includes a trip to the Trill homeworld, chaperoned by Michael, so that Adira can get to grips with their own identity and so Tal’s recollections can be accessed. Both Michael and Adira are reunited in a shared confusion about how they got here from where they were and what happened in the meantime. They have easy-going banter that’s reminiscent of a parent and a precocious teen. Adira is still trying to work out which memory and skill is theirs or something inherited from a previous host, a journey of literal self-discovery that makes most coming-of-age plots seem utterly uninteresting by comparison.

This is the advantage of a useful sci-fi gimmick like the symbiont. Accessing its deeper secrets requires a visit to the Caves of Mak’ala, but Adira is denied access by the Trill because they’re a human host, and then the Trill attempt to forcibly separate Adira and the symbiont. Michael intervenes and kills the attackers, which Adira mentions isn’t exactly the Starfleet way of things, continuing Michael’s internal dilemma as established last week. Nevertheless, a sympathetic Trill allows Adira to make it to the caves, where they communicate with the symbiont and unlock their past.

That past includes Gray, a Trill who was both the original host of Tal and Adira’s boyfriend. When tragedy struck and Gray was killed, Adira became Tal’s host and lost their memory as a result of being unable to properly connect with that persona. The symbiont contains multitudes, and in having to reckon with their trauma and loss, Adira is able to open up to the varied experiences it contains, thus achieving acceptance, both from those personalities and the Trill. It’s by no means a subtle metaphor, but it works in the intended way, which I find myself saying about Star Trek: Discovery more and more.

You’ll have noticed that even though they take place in totally different places, the A and B plots of “Forget Me Not” are inextricably intertwined on a thematic level. Both are about loss, trauma, growth, and understanding; they’re about learning and coming to terms with who you are, and finding where you fit. On the Trill homeworld and on the Discovery itself, people eventually begin to just apologize to each other. If only more of that happened in real life.


Thanks for reading our recap of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 4, “Forget Me Not”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?

View all

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.