‘Star Trek: Discovery’s Blu del Barrio on Adira’s Evolution & Helping the Crew
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 4 of Star Trek: Discovery, “Forget Me Not.”]
Star Trek‘s first non-binary character, Adira (Blu del Barrio), joined with a Trill symbiont, went searching for answers with Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in the latest Star Trek: Discovery episode. And they got them — and so much more.
“Forget Me Not” did a deep dive into Adira’s head, including the memories of all those who served as hosts before them. It was in these flashes that we got glimpses of Adira’s sweet relationship with Ian Alexander’s Gray (the franchise’s first transgender character), though it ended (sort of?) in tragedy: Gray was supposed to be the Trill host, but couldn’t after suffering fatal injuries. Adira volunteered to step in.
But in the end, Adira, now able to help them find Federation HQ thanks to one of the hosts, Senna Tal, chose to remain on Discovery. They weren’t alone: Gray was somehow with them, though they kept that secret (for now).
Here, del Barrio takes us inside Adira’s thinking, previews what’s next for them, and talks about getting back to work on Season 4.
Adira’s gone through quite a bit personally in just two episodes with the Discovery crew. How are they feeling after recovering those memories in this episode? More settled?
Blu del Barrio: I think it’s a little bit confusing. There is probably a lot of comfort and a weight taken off their shoulders knowing all of this information and having it all flood back to them, but the memories are pretty traumatic. And the new memories are the shared experiences of other people, of other Trill, so it’s just suddenly like a bunch of people in your brain. That’s a lot so, yeah, I think pretty overwhelmed.
Gray is still around, though they don’t know how. We saw bits of their relationship through those memories, and it was so sweet. Can you talk about that relationship and building it with Ian Alexander?
I think my favorite moments of filming the last season were those little flashbacks of Gray and Adira because Ian and I were still getting to know each other, so it was just kind of accurate. It was two people who were a little bit nervous to be around each other and just sharing information about themselves. It was really beautiful to film all of those. I loved it.
Ian is absolutely fantastic as an actor and as a human being. They’re incredible, and I’m really lucky to have them here with me, especially now during COVID because we can support each other and spend time with each other. We’re our own little two-person bubble right now, so yeah, it’s been really nice.
I know you can’t say much about what’s coming up, but can you say if we’ll learn more about their relationship primarily through more flashbacks and memories, or through interactions like their last scene in this episode?
Adira and Gray are each other’s person for everything, the person that they will go to with their problems, with their successes, just with everything. I know Adira is really, really introverted and Gray might be a bit more confident than them, but even so, I think they both find a massive amount of comfort and solace in each other’s company. Everyone can expect to see more of that in the future.
I liked the last scene with the cello and Gray saying they can do better.
Yeah. [Laughs] Gray is definitely more comfortable making jokes about Adira. I think they’re probably the only person Adira would be comfortable doing that with.
Adira is really beginning to bond with Michael. What do they see in her?
Someone who has struggled. I think they can see Michael has gone through something traumatic, like they just have, and is just trying to get by, is just trying to find themselves again. Because Burnham is just trying to find herself again, and Adira’s really doing the same exact thing, that’s kind of shared knowledge between the two of them. I think Adira just feels more comfortable and wants to spend more time with them.
Adira’s also getting to know Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). It seems they get the tech-y stuff from Paul while Hugh has a better idea of what they need at the moment, for example having Michael go with them in this episode, right?
Yeah, absolutely. Adira, personality-wise, how they present themselves is a lot more like Stamets, but they do still have a lot of emotional turmoil on the inside and are trying to process that probably in ways that are more similar to Hugh. So it’s really interesting to watch them interact with both of those characters together and separately.
Can you tease anything about what’s coming up there?
I think everybody can be excited for what’s coming up. I don’t want to give away anything, but the dynamic between the three of them is a really interesting and beautiful thing. Adira is a young queer kid in the future who is completely alone, and here you have a queer couple. They’re really comfortable with each other and are also really comfortable and used to helping people.
And they’re also used to adapting to different situations because Hugh came back from the mycelial network.
Absolutely. Adira is overwhelmed and a bit flustered and needs help, as much as they don’t want to admit that, and I think Stamets and Hugh are the perfect people to help Adira.
Is everything Adira went through in this episode and finding a new home on Discovery going to be part of their journey and opening up more to the others? Everyone is using she/her pronouns and that hasn’t been addressed yet.
Yes, absolutely. I think that they’ve been completely isolated since everything happened with Gray and I think that we can see little moments of them just opening up a tiny bit in this episode, and that’s what it felt like filming it. Just little tiny bits of light here and there, and like you said, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger. They’re just going to get more and more comfortable. Not with everyone on the ship right away, but with certain people, enough so that they feel like they can share more about who they are.
At the end of this episode, Adira tells Michael about the algorithm needed to find Federation HQ. What can you tease about what’s next for that search? And what does it mean for Adira?
It’s so hard not to give things away. Adira has an incredible amount of information in their 16-year-old brain right now, and they now have just found people who could feel like friends to them, so they want to help and where else are they going to put all of this knowledge? They want to move forward with it, and now knowing what Burnham and the whole crew is working towards, they feel like they can help and they can be of assistance, so with Gray by their side, maybe they can.
And what else is coming up for Adira as they adjust to life on Discovery and all the craziness that being on that ship entails?
They’re just learning how to socialize. They’re not an extrovert and for that reason, it’s going to be really interesting to see them interact with certain characters because they have kind of been alone for quite a while and this ship, as we all know, is full of people who are family to each other and know everything about each other and are incredibly close. They have that inclination immediately to get Adira to open up, so it’s a bunch of well-intentioned, loving people just trying to crack this nut that is Adira.
Can you say anything about the other characters they’ll interact with? I feel like Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) would be so funny…
[Laughs] That is a perfect example. They interact with mostly everyone, [and]. it’s definitely interesting with Stamets at first because Stamets doesn’t have much of a filter and sometimes neither does Adira.
This is your first professional acting gig, and Adira is the first non-binary character in the franchise, so no pressure, right? And I know filming has started on Season 4, so how does it feel to step back into their shoes in comparison to first doing so?
It feels really surreal. I thought that at some point in the past year it would start to feel less crazy and overwhelming, but it hasn’t. It still feels like just insane that this is my job, that I get to do this, and that I get to play this character and work with these people. Now getting to hear all of the LGBTQ+ fans of this show being excited about Gray and Adira just takes it to another level entirely. I know Ian and myself are even more excited now to keep working and keep their story going.
Star Trek: Discovery, Thursdays, CBS All Access