Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery.

Philippa Georgiou

Fast Facts: 

Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and her First Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) wearing desert-friendly clothing on a barren alien world.

Prime Georgiou and Burnham in “The Vulcan Hello.”

In the first episode of Discovery, “The Vulcan Hello,” the prime Trek universe’s Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) was the captain of the USS Shenzhou, on which Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) was serving as First Officer. The prime Georgiou fell in battle against the antagonistic Klingons, and her remains could not be recovered. Burnham mourns the loss of her mentor. In the episode “Choose Your Pain,” we see that she is widely remembered as one of Starfleet’s most decorated captains.

However, that isn’t the end of the story for Georgiou, thanks to the fact that another version of her lived on as the Terran emperor in the Mirror Universe. Her reign abruptly ended when a coup attempt by Mirror Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) led to consequences that included Mirror Georgiou being brought to the prime universe against her will. 

In the Mirror Universe, the Terran Empire had already conquered the Klingons. Mirror Georgiou’s knowledge of intelligence related to the Klingons and their homeworld of Qo’noS proved invaluable to the Federation. Ultimately, posing as her late prime counterpart, Mirror Georgiou took command of the Discovery. She then helped Starfleet emerge victorious from the war against the Klingons.

Section 31st and the 32nd Century:

Now stranded in a universe she never made, Mirror Georgiou soon enlisted in the secret Starfleet organization of Section 31. This shadowy organization deals in clandestine information, deep-cover PsyOps and other espionage-type affairs. It makes it a perfect fit for the former Terran emperor. She soon became locked in a power struggle with Leland (Alan van Sprang). Her position within the organization helped Discovery prevail over Leland as circumstances caused him to become increasingly villainous.

Mirror Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) wears her Section 31 uniform and strikes an imposing pose.

Mirror Georgiou as an agent of Section 31.

In the wake of this conflict, Mirror Georgiou joined the Discovery as it traveled to the 32nd Century. She served as an ally to Burnham and the crew. However, it was revealed that due to the combined stress of both time and inter-dimensional travel, she was experiencing terminal molecular disintegration. Fortunately, Burnham and Mirror Georgiou are able to locate the Guardian of Forever. They return her to a time in the past when the Mirror and prime universes were still aligned. This ensures she will survive and have an opportunity to apply the lessons she learned aboard Discovery.

Furthermore, Georgiou’s return has been confirmed now that the long-awaited Star Trek: Section 31 has been greenlit and will make its way to the screen. However, it is not currently clear where on the timeline this Paramount+ special event movie will be set. Nevertheless, it is unsurprising that a character who casts as long a shadow as Georgiou is returning for more adventures.

The Real Deal: 

Philippa Georgiou is the real deal. She is fierce and uncompromising and will do anything in her considerable power to help those closest to her. No matter what boundaries are placed upon her, even if they are literally dimensional, she manages to break free time and time again. And Georgiou never hesitates to wield the truth as she sees it. Even if that truth is something others aren’t ready to hear.

She demonstrates that there’s always the opportunity to reinvent and become a more evolved version of the person you used to be. Not only did Mirror Georgiou exemplify this when she crossed from the Mirror universe in the prime timeline, but she affirmed that it was the right decision by choosing to start anew once again after leaving the prime universe through the Guardian of Forever.

While she may have had a mutually complicated relationship with Burnham, and one that was not without its downsides, the pair of women nevertheless positively affected one another, helping each other grow and become better people. Furthermore, her final words to Burnham help pave the road for the former First Officer of Georgiou prime to finally step up and take her place in the Captain’s chair of the Discovery.

Why She Matters:

Why does Georgiou matter? For one thing, she demonstrates that we can learn not only from the strengths of our mentors but also from their flaws.

She shows us that we do not have to be bound by the stories that other people tell about us. Even the stories we tell about ourselves. While we may think we know what lies next on our path, the journey can prove entirely unexpected. It just might lead us to the people we need to meet.

So, be like Philippa Georgiou. Be prepared to go where you need to go, even if it’s not where you expected to be. Be open to connecting with people you never thought you’d encounter. And never forget that even when compared with explosives planted in volcanoes or a corpse reanimated by nanites, the most effective weapon in anyone’s arsenal is to speak the uncompromising truth.

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Avery Kaplan