Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery's Newest Crew Member Has a Deep Space Nine-Era Link

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 3, "People of Earth," now streaming on CBS All Access.

With Star Trek: Discovery leaping forward nearly a millennium in time, it leaves the status of various species from across the franchise in questions. So far, fans have seen the likes of the Andorians, Orions and even the Lurians. But the newest episode of the CBS All Access series reintroduces a key species that hasn't been highlighted since the days of Deep Space Nine.

"People of Earth" sees the titular vessel get accosted and inspected by the United Earth Defense Force, a security squad that is now policing Earth in absence of Starfleet. Among the crew rattling through the ship's storage is Adira (Blu Del Barrio), a probing and inquisitive 16-year-old. Adira sneakily sabotages transporter beacons, making sure the UEDF can't get off the ship, because they secretly hoped to stay aboard and join the crew, having been seeking a Federation vessel for some time.

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At the end of the episode, Adira comes clean about their surprisingly deep backstory. The reason why they've been so focused on finding a Federation ship is that they have inside them the previous life of Senna Tal, a Starfleet admiral who Discovery was searching for as the last known remnants of the Federation. This was only possible because Adira has been joined with a Trill symbiont, which was previously inside Tal.

The Trill were first introduced in The Next Generation episode "The Host." Within the Trill population, a small percentage co-existed with a sentient symbiotic organism known as a "symbiont" inside their bodies. When joined, these Trills would have access to the memories and personalities of the symbiont's previous hosts. While The Next Generationintroduced the spotty species, the Trill were in the spotlight during Deep Space Nine. Main characters Jadzia and Ezri Dax were both Trills, and many storylines focused on the previous lives and relationships their symbiont had.

After DS9, the Trill did not get featured much, save a couple of background appearances. Discovery is the first series since to have a highlighted Trill cast member, and it comes with some very exciting prospects. Adira is the first character who has a Trill symbiont but is human. This means that, unlike a Trill proper, they do not have as immediate access to the memories of previous host Tal, leaving some mystery still open in the series. Perhaps this is also a representation of how far the symbionts have come in over 900 years, being able to expand its population by finding hosts across many different species.

Due to the large time jump, Discovery has a whole lot of timeline to fill in. And unfortunately, the series is limited by the history and lifespans of the characters it has access to tell the story, as even seminal events such as "The Burn" happened too long ago for anyone to truly speak on it. However, with the re-introduction of Trill, Adira and the show can help shed some light on the monumental events that have occurred in the time between seasons, revealing more about the universe the crew finds itself in.

Streaming on CBS All Access,Star Trek: Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Commander Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, David Ajala as Cleveland "Book" Booker, Blu del Barrio as Adira, Ian Alexander as Grey, Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. New episodes of Season 3 air on Thursdays.