Forget Me Not takes a necessary detour on Discovery‘s journey to find Starfleet. In many ways it’s a consideration of identity played out on two levels; it’s also a rather beautiful, if inward looking, episode.
First let’s talk about beauty. Many times while watching Star Trek (both Discovery and Picard) we’ve stopped to admire the fabulous cinematography and the gorgeous alien landscapes. With Forget Me Knot the effects team have created many incredible looking settings Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and new crew member Adira (Blu del Barrio) explore the home world of the Trill. Yes, it’s a stepping stone on the way to finding the Federation as Adira seeks to recover her lost memories.
This all brings us neatly to the discussion of identity. Adira is new to us, and what better way to learn about them than a backstory exploration via lost memories of their Trill symbiont? (Not something we write everyday!) As Adira and Michael land on the Trill homeworld, and play out a somewhat obvious sequence of events with spectacular effects, the Discovery crew has its own problems. It’s up to Captain Saru to help the crew, but how? Cue the ship’s computer, which has suddenly developed an intelligence of its own. One more mystery to explore. This is where Discovery is working well as a show. The crew as a whole has a version of PTSD, as they are ripped out of their home time never to return. Everyone they know has passed, everywhere they’ve been has changed. They are lost. Where previous shows such as Voyager had the hope of return, this is not on the table (as far as we know) for Captain Saru and crew. They must go through their own journey of anger, grief, denial and acceptance.
We’re put in mind of the early days of Star Trek: The Next Generation when the inclusion of Counsellor Deanna Troi seemed a strange nod to US therapy culture; now more than thirty years later, mental health is front and centre as a core plot element. How we’ve all changed!
Of course the story ends well (as they tend to) and everyone is one more step forward. We see Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is still keeping relatively quiet (that’s two weeks in a row with episode 3) and we expect her to move centre stage again soon.
Forget Me Not may not be to everyone’s taste (no battles, no space conflict), but we found it an intelligent piece of writing, well delivered and a good way to explore a new character on a ship already full of interesting people.
Star Trek Discovery season three is streaming on Netflix, with new episodes every Friday.