Burnham and Adira visit the Trill homeworld, while Saru's efforts on the Discovery to help the crew reconnect yield surprises.
Tropes in this episode:
- Brick Joke: After the Sphere data upgrades the computer, it suggests to Saru that watching the old comedy movies of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton would help boost morale. At the end, the crew is laughing their butts off at Keaton's Sherlock, Jr..
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Ensign Tilly invokes the very day of the week when comparing the disastrous senior staff dinner to her dysfunctional family's dinners.
- Contagious A.I.: The Sphere data seemingly upgrades Discovery's interface to act more naturally, as opposed to its Literal-Minded interpretations of Saru's requests. This seems to be the first steps to it becoming Zora in "Calypso". Saru theorizes that, absent the need to protect itself, the Sphere data is now trying to protect the crew.
- Continuity Nod: An emergency Trill joining aboard a spaceship... now, where have we heard that before?
- A Day in the Limelight: The opening log is from Culber, who isn't even in the opening credits.
- Dinner and a Show: Saru organizes a dinner for the bridge crew in an attempt to demonstrate a sense of belonging after they've given up everything else. Instead, it only serves to bring the issues they've been repressing to the surface, and everyone leaves very unhappy.
- Fantastic Racism: The Trill who greet Adira consider them an abomination for being a human joined with a symbiont. Fortunately, they accept them at the end.
- Flying Seafood Special: As Burnham and Adira walk to meet the Trill delegation, they pass by a pond where a fish leaps out of the water a couple times, then the third time stays above the water and flies off.
- Haiku: The bridge crew starts doing this at Saru's dinner, which unfortunately leads to Detmer's breakdown when Owosekun convinces her to participate and she keeps talking about Stamets' blood. Things snowball from there.
- Heroic BSoD: The one Detmer's been building to for the past two episodes finally boils over. We see her struggling with it throughout the dinner, such as when she refuses to drink (alcoholic) wine during the toast.
- Honor Before Reason: The Trill have become insular after the Burn devastated their population. When Adira shows up, they're so freaked out by a human host that their leader would rather send them back than accept that non-Trill could be viable hosts.
- Irony: In the 24th Century, Trill hosts capable of joining outnumbered Trill symbiotes by a tremendous margin, to the point where the government officially claimed the number of joining-capable hosts was far smaller in order to prevent internal strife and competition over symbiotes. During the Burn, the Trill population was decimated, particularly joining-capable hosts - now, there literally aren't enough hosts for all the symbiotes.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: When Adira's communion with Tal goes wrong, Burnham has to go in after them to bring them back.
- Kneel Before Frodo: When Adira is accepted as the newest host of Tal, all the Trill in the cave cross their arms in front of their chests and bow to them.
- Mood Whiplash: During the flashback to Adira's final moments with Gray, they're sharing a tender moment over a homemade quilt — right before an asteroid hits.
- Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Guardian Xi, Commissioner Vos, and Leader Pav, respectively. Xi sees the joining between Adira and Tal as a way to help both the symbiotes and Trill society, while Vos wants to forcibly excise Tal at the risk of Adira's life. Pav (who literally stands between them) refuses to forcibly separate Tal from Adira, but she does consider the joining an abomination.
- The Reveal: Adira got the symbiote from their boyfriend Gray, a Trill who got it in turn from Admiral Senna Tal. The shuttle accident that resulted in them getting it was the one they were on.
- Transgender: Though not identified explicitly as such in dialogue, Gray is transgender and is played by the transmasculine Ian Alexander.