Captain Philippa Georgiou's death at the Battle of the Binary Stars shocked in-universe characters and real-world fans alike. Fortunately, Michelle Yeoh returned to the Star Trek: Discovery fold and portrayed the Mirror Universe's Emperor Georgiou in the first season's final quarter, and returned to further aid the Discovery crew in season two.
While the U.S.S. Shenzhou's commanding officer perished much sooner than anyone expected, the prime reality's Georgiou still had time to demonstrate her distinctive leadership style and courage during her brief tenure on the series. In what ways might you be like Captain Philippa Georgiou?
1. Do you have an artistic flair?
During a mission to reopen a well and prevent the Crepusculans from enduring extinction, Georgiou and her first officer Michael Burnham encountered a storm that prevented the Shenzhou from either establishing communication or transporting the away team back to the ship. A confident Georgiou continued to blaze a trail, insisting that Burnham follow along and discuss the potential for her own captaincy. Burnham appeared skeptical, but her captain's calm demeanor helped put her at ease.
Suddenly, the Shenzhou descended from the clouds and rescued the two officers. The starship's departure revealed a large Starfleet delta marking the landing party's position which Saru used to locate his superiors. Georgiou's apparently random path turned out to be a pre-planned route that allowed their steps to form the recognizable Starfleet insignia. Any massive shape or symbol would have drawn the Shenzhou's attention, but the captain employed her intellect and artistic flair to forge a very memorable beacon.
2. Are you a fan of sarcasm?
After arriving at the binary star system to inspect a damaged interstellar relay, the Shenzhou's senior staff debated the situation and hypothesized about foul play. These early moments occurred prior to Burnham's discovery that the Klingons' lurked nearby, and offered offering viewers a brief glimpse into an average day aboard the starship before the war commenced. Burnham reported that Saru, the vessel's chief science officer, believed the crew needed to act with caution. The information prompted Georgiou to jokingly tell Burnham, "Saru is Kelpien. He thinks everything's malicious."
The light-hearted atmosphere continued as the captain and first officer proceeded to the bridge, where Georgiou surprised Saru by explaining that Burnham agreed with his assessment. Enjoying the moment, the captain playfully asked Ensign Connor to note the rare event in the ship's log. Such an informal tone reflected the years that Georgiou, Saru, and Burnham had served together, as well as the captain's fondness for jovial quips and sarcasm. When asked by Burnham if the mischievous banter was necessary, Georgiou replied, "Necessary? No, but I do like it."
3. Do you consider yourself to be an explorer?
An explorer in Starfleet? Not exactly the most unique situation, I know. However, how many captains just happen to keep an "ancient" Earth telescope in their ready room? Once the crew determined that the Shenzhou's sensors lacked the ability to analyze the unidentified object near the binary stars, Georgiou brought Burnham and Saru to her personal sanctuary to examine the phenomenon with their naked eyes. A fondness for the relatively primitive technology fit perfectly with the captain's natural curiosity about the unknown.
The telescope proved so important to Georgiou that she chose to pass the family heirloom down to Burnham. The captain explained her affection for both exploration and her protégé in her holographic will, "You are curious, an explorer. So I am leaving you my most beloved possession, handed down through my family for centuries. My hope is that you will use it to continue to investigate the mysteries of the universe, both inside and out." Georgiou clearly loved Burnham and the telescope, seeing them as kindred spirits pursuing knowledge and understanding.
4. Are you a creative thinker?
Her ship was disabled. She believed her trusted first officer betrayed her. The ship's science officer presented an idea to strike the Klingon flagship with photon torpedo warheads, a scheme that required a crew member to go on a suicide mission. She just experienced an emotionally draining conversation with the very pupil who disobeyed her orders. These circumstances would not help anyone think clearly, but yet...
Suddenly the Klingon tractor beams' green hues illuminated the room, and within moments Georgiou developed an alternative solution to disable T'Kuvma's vessel without sacrificing herself. The captain's plan to beam a warhead to a Klingon corpse being recovered by the Ship of the Dead and detonate it remotely succeeded, although Georgiou died on the subsequent mission to apprehend T'Kuvma. Nevertheless, the captain's quick thinking hampered the Klingon ship's capabilities enough for the Shenzhou's remaining personnel to escape with their lives.
5. Do you command respect from your colleagues?
Captain Georgiou's crew behaved admirably under her guidance at the Battle of the Binary Stars, trusting her to guide them through the tragic event. While Burnham disagreed with the captain's initial approach and ended up in the brig, her underlying respect for Georgiou never dissipated. Georgiou's staff clearly believed in her prowess as a captain and revered her position as their leader.
When Saru asked the U.S.S. Discovery's computer to display Starfleet's most decorated officers, Philippa Georgiou materialized on the shortlist alongside four other legendary captains, including Jonathan Archer and Christopher Pike. Georgiou's placement among such greats, as well as the awards accompanying her actions, indicated that Starfleet's upper echelons also held her in high esteem. From ensigns to admirals, the Prime Universe's Philippa Georgiou commanded respect from both subordinates and superiors.
Jay Stobie is a freelance science fiction writer who contributes articles to the official Star Trek website and Star Trek Magazine. He can be found on Twitter at @CaptStobie and Instagram @JayStobie.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on Paramount+ in the United States, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and on Netflix in 190 countries.