One of the most thrilling aspects of modern Star Trek series Discovery and Picard is seeing some of the franchise's iconic alien races at different eras in the timeline. Star Trek: Discovery has had the unique viewpoint of exploring the Star Trek Universe before events of the Original Series, before jumping into the furthest point in Star Trek's future that we've ever seen. As Star Trek: Discovery season 3 unfolds in the Wild West terrain of the 32nd Century, the fourth episode, "Forget Me Not" reveals that one of Star Trek's most beloved alien races is now on the verge of extinction.
Warning - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 SPOILERS Follow!
Star Trek: Discovery's latest episode explores the plight of new character Adira Tal (Blu del Barrio), who is the first human to successfully bond with a Trill symbiont, named Tal. The only problem is that Adira's bond with Tal is fractured, resulting in the symbiont's collective memories being blocked from the host - including a crucial lead to finding the future version of Starfleet. To solve that problem, Discovery jumps to Trill, to get help.
Unfortunately, the cataclysmic event called The Burn (which crippled warp technology and shaped this savage future) killed off too many of the Trill host bodies. The population of Trill that are left do not have suitable matches for the symbionts of their homeworld and are facing the eradication of their race, as well as countless eras of knowledge and experience. Adira Tal therefore represents a one-of-a-kind hope for the Trill: if the symbionts can bond with other lifeforms, their species and its wealth of knowledge and culture can survive and thrive. Of course, that level of change threatens the more traditionalist sector of the Trill people, and so Adira and Michael Burnham must battle their way to a Trill holy site, where a special pool will allow Adira to commune with Tal.
This being Star Trek, ultimately Adira is able to fully bond with the symbiont, after facing the painful memory of Tal's former host, Adira's boyfriend Gray Tal (Ian Alexander) died in tragic circumstances. With a human having now fully integrated with a Trill symbiont, one of Star Trek's most beloved fan-favorite races now has bold new possibilities for its role in the franchise. The Trill have long been considered Star Trek's unofficial metaphor for certain LGBTQ+ groups, and now that metaphor is deeper and richer than ever.
Star Trek: Discovery streams new episodes Thursdays on CBS All Access