Actress Jayne Brook, who plays Admiral Katrina Cornwell, spoke about her character and Cornwell’s fate after last week’s episode. Note that there are possible spoilers below.
Cornwell is “an interesting character to me because she’s obviously a very good admiral,” said Brook. “She’s obviously jumped through the ranks and, as we saw her the other night, she’s tough as well. Nobody puts up with the Klingon torture and interrogation, but she fought real. I think the thing that drives her is her faith in the Federation and what it stands for. She really is a strong center for what they stand for and would die for it if she had to. She’s much smarter than someone who just simply won’t bend the rules.”
Her relationship with Gabriel Lorca, a known rule-breaker, is “fraught,” said Brook. “They went to college together, and they’re really, really fond of each other. I see them as two young people in the academy who were standouts, really liked each other, obviously have a past that’s romantic, but not the typical boyfriend-girlfriend thing. They joked with that on After Trek, like is this friends with benefits? I said I don’t think it’s that. I think they really have been fond of each other in the past and have followed each other’s career, and I think she really means it when she’s says, ‘I’ve come to check in on a friend. What the hell’s going on?’ So, clearly, they have an understanding friendship.”
But what kind of friend sends his buddy into a dangerous situation with the Klingons? “I think there was hope it’d work,” said Brook. “It is a deathtrap because it’s Klingons and he’s just been with the Klingons, Lorca, but on the other hand, there is some hope within the Federation that since it’s on neutral ground, something might come of it. But, certainly, Lorca was happy to ship me off and, at least for a short time, delay my ability to take his ship until he can get some help. You asked if he knew he was sending me into a deathtrap. I think, in suggesting that I go, he was buying himself time. I think that moment with Saru (Doug Jones), when Lorca decides not to go after me (after her capture), is more dastardly.”
In last week’s episode, Cornwell appeared to be dead. Is she or isn’t she? “I think (the speculation on her fate) is fun,” said Brook. “I’m delighted that people like the character enough that they’re like, ‘She’s not really dead! We don’t want her dead!” So, that’s great. It’s fun to play with ideas of what might happen.”