All senses are heightened. Visuals are intense. Touch is exquisite. And then there is Supersense, making it safe to jump off the cliff and not know what’s down there first. This is living. This is adventure.
Star Trek: A Complex Character
Philippa Georgiou is one of the most complex characters in Star Trek: Discovery. The page “Georgiou” at Startrek.com provides a biography of Georgiou, reporting that she was born in Malaysia, graduated from Starfleet Academy, and “rose to the rank of Captain….During routine inspection of a damaged interstellar positional relay, her crew on the U.S.S. Shenzhou made contact with the Klingon Empire, leading to the Battle of the Binary Stars and igniting the Klingon-Federation War”. She “was killed by the Klingon leader . . . T’Kuvma . . . while attempting to capture him on the bridge of the Klingon Sarcophagus ship”.
In the battle scene, she fights courageously and with determination. In the end, she is overpowered by the larger and stronger T’Kuvma and finds herself in an exposed position, all of which create the circumstance for the killing.
Georgiou’s doppelgänger, though, lives. This doppelgänger is Philippa Georgiou, Emperor of the Terran Empire. Emperor Georgiou is not altruistic or even trustworthy. She does, though, operate according to her own value system that ultimately comes into alignment with the greater good of the Star Trek fleet. On board Discovery during the season three finale, she fights and kills Control/Leland as part of the war to save all universes and all life. Georgiou supplements her size with intelligent planning and becoming unpredictable to Control/Leland, thus managing to defeat him. This time, Georgiou is not only courageous and determined, she is sharp, revengeful, and coldly strategic. These added characteristics along with her enjoyment of the fight and of the kill render her acutely effective as well as successful.
Philippa Georgiou is complex not only because she exists in the dual. Both versions of Georgiou are dynamic, self-possessed, and self-authoritative. Both versions transcend traditional gender roles by serving respectively as a mentor, an adoptive mother, a leader, and a ruler who plays, for the most part, by her own rules.