The Spock

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"Captain, the Goggles Do Nothing. Your frame is still as wide as it was before."

"Captain, the logical course of action in this situation is to let the inhabitants of Pupolon fend for themselves. We need the device keeping the planet's orbit stable, or risk endangering the very existence of The Federation. I am aware of the consequences for the local population, Doctor, but simply rushing in to 'save the high priestess' will leave us open to a Klingon ambush with a 78.52% probability of outright destruction.

A character who will always think before acting, The Spock is an archetype that can be loosely summed up as the tendency to apply rules, reason and the greater good to all of their decisions. This character can exist by themselves, but more often, they will have a more emotional and humanistic counterpart to contrast their line of thinking. The main difference between the two archetypes is that while The McCoy will leap before looking, The Spock's solution to problems will have a balanced and well-thought out approach.

The Spock's relationship with his crewmates/comrades is often tense, because this character type is willing and able to ruthlessly consider ethically troubling situations without batting an eye—especially situations where people might be ordered to die. While his counterpart The McCoy is interested in doing the right thing regardless of cost to one's self, The Spock is only interested in the end result. For Him, everyone is expendable and he has no problem treating people as such.

The Spock maintains audience sympathy by being willing to Take a Third Option and also by being as ruthless about his own life as the lives of his crewmates, if not more so. Even better, he is utterly unflappable in the face of serious problems or danger; his friends know that no matter how terrifying or hopeless things get, he will never lose his cool and will not stop working on a solution to save everyone.

When put in a Power Trio with The Kirk and The McCoy, he becomes the superego in Id, Superego and Ego. The Spock will at times become a Tin Man, though this varies with the writing, and will often have No Sense of Humor. When he has emotion, he may sometimes express it with a Fascinating Eyebrow and nothing more. Since Smart People Play Chess, if The Spock plays a game, it will invariably be a variant of chess.

Closely related to The Stoic, Agent Scully, Emotionless Girl, and Little Miss Snarker. Often becomes a Straw Vulcan, but occasionally ends up on the winning side of Emotions vs. Stoicism. Probably sides with the Enlightenment in Romanticism Versus Enlightenment. Well Intentioned Extremists often come across similarly when they believe they're working for the greater good. See also Spock Speak.

Named (obviously) for Spock from Star Trek. Compare with their eternal opposite, The McCoy.

Examples of The Spock include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • "D" from Parallel Trouble Adventure Dual.
  • Hoshino Ruri from Martian Successor Nadesico is both The Spock and a Little Miss Snarker.
  • Nagato Yuki from Suzumiya Haruhi.
  • Keith Anyan from Toward the Terra.
  • Lumiere from Kiddy Grade.
  • All Contractors in Darker than Black are said to be like this; part of their condition is that they always act rationally and with their own best interests in mind, dismissing emotional attachments. Throughout the series several counter-examples are shown, to the degree that whether the statement is actually true is up for discussion.
  • Inspector Lunge from Monster.
    • He acts like The Spock, but it should be noted that, mainly due to his own Pride, he disregards mounting evidence of Johan's existence until it becomes overwhelming. A true Spock would have impartially re-evaluated evidence and circumstances as they changed and based his judgements purely on logic. Also, his big fight with Roberto shows that he does have an emotional Berserk Button, and while his handcuffing himself to Tenma after being badly wounded is admirably Badass, it could hardly be called a rational decision.
  • Exedore/Exsedol from the Macross and Robotech universes, though he has his emotional moments, too.
  • Fate from Mahou Sensei Negima is a villainous version of this.
  • Paul von Oberstein from Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a good example of this trope.
  • L from Death Note is a surprisingly good one, too. There's a minor deviation in that he sometimes informs people of his emotions, even though he doesn't display them unless the situation's truly dire. Near also qualifies. Mello? Not at all...
  • Ulquiorra from Bleach appears to be a villainous example of this trope- while his comrades generally act like children, he openly describes himself as an emotionless tool for Aizen to use as he pleases. The closest he ever comes to showing emotion are several cases where his eyes slightly widen and a single instance where he raises his voice.
  • Wilhelmina in Shakugan no Shana. There was even an episode called "Heartless Wilhelmina".
  • Sai from Naruto. He was raised in ROOT, which means he has no emotions whatsoever. Although he gets better at understanding them later when he joins team 7.
  • Kyoya from Ouran High School Host Club. He deliberately crafts a hardened, purely logical exterior, and gets pretty annoyed/confused when people (Tamaki, Haruhi) see through it. He's the one really running the club and making all the real decisions - slightly subverted, though, in that nobody fights him on his decisions since he never has to make life or death choices.
  • Hiei of Yu Yu Hakusho.
  • C. C. from Code Geass is a particularly snarky variant, at least while the cold side of her Sugar and Ice Personality is the one being shown. Far from being emotionless, she has very strong feelings, she is just able to keep them under control most of the time.
  • Natarle in the Gundam Seed Power Trio.
  • Rossiu of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, whose otherwise reasonable actions in an unreasonable setting makes him Wrong Genre Savvy and thus totally obsolete.
  • Tieria Erde of Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • Dr. Kurama from Elfen Lied. His few moments of emotion only emphasize why he's so stoic.
  • Rei Ayanami and Ritsuko Akagi of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Piccolo of Dragon Ball Z…sometimes. He first appears as a raving, cackling lunatic hell-bent on killing Goku (justified, as he has all his father's memories, and is only a few years old.) Then he mellows, is shown meditating in a lotus position, becomes an Anti-Hero, and voila. Also, he's arguably the most intelligent character on the show. Sometimes, though, he gets angry. Like if Gohan gets hurt. Then he goes from being Spock to a Papa Wolf.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Brainiac 5 of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Metron of the New Gods who was explicitly based on Spock.
  • The Vision of Marvel's The Avengers. No wonder, he's a robot after all. Partially averted on times, Depending on the Writer: he may show human emotions to a high or low extension, or lack them completely.
  • Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen. Who is referred to as "goddamn Mr Spock there" by a minor character at a cocktail party.
  • Taken to epic levels in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond with the Composite Character Captain Allen Adam, A.K.A. the Quantum Superman of Earth 4, who is a meshing of the Good Doctor with the original Captain Atom. Even when on heavy drugs to keep his quantum senses in check he's capable of feats of extreme mental prowess, and after his drugs fade off he attains a state of nigh-omniscience and arranges the activation of the Cosmic Armor that saves all of reality from an Eldritch Abomination that eats stories. Only The Spock can stay calm and babble about the organic nature of The Multiverse while the Ultimate Evil emerges.
  • Prowl in the original Transformers series, more so in the comic (which is why it's here). Shockwave, too, though he's a villain.
  • Skalman in Bamse is almost an example, but he is usually even less likely to suggest a course of action that seems unethical - in fact, it is sometimes shown that being logical and thinking things through allows him to do the opposite.
  • James-Michael of Omega the Unknown, due to his being raised by robot protectors.
  • Linus often performs this function for Charlie Brown in Peanuts. Likewise Schroeder to Lucy (and occasionally Charlie).

Film[edit | hide]

  • Reservoir Dogs - Mr Pink is the most logical of all the crew, especially when he acts as the Foil to Mr White. The first scene shows him refusing to throw in money to tip the waitress, giving his (logical) reason as to why. He is later distrustful of everyone, and disgusted that Mr White gave Mr Orange his real name and hometown, considering anybody, even the dying Mr Orange, could be the rat. Not only is he right about everything, but he is the only character to survive the film. Subverted in that Mr. Pink is anything but cool—he's both logical and wildly neurotic.
  • Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters. In the sequel, he says that his parents did not believe in toys and he seems to be nigh-immune to the mood slime which makes the two most "positive" Ghostbusters try to kill each other. In the commentary for the original film, Harold Ramis notes that he deliberately played Egon as a Spock-like character. He also notes that there is only one scene where he actually shows emotion, when Walter Peck tries to have the Ghostbusters arrested for an explosion that he caused himself.
  • Juror #4 (the stockbroker with wire rim glasses) from 12 Angry Men.
  • Sunshine. When the crew out to save the sun (and the world) are down to five members and their oxygen supply is cut, they realize they only have enough oxygen for four people to make a return trip. Michelle Yeoh doesn't bat an eyelid in suggesting they murder one of their own (whom happened to be already wracked with guilt for a mistake that led them into this predicament in the first place) instead of all five of them dying from lack of oxygen, and it didn't take much convincing for two other crew members to accept the idea.
  • Michael Clayton.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Ivan of The Brothers Karamazov.
  • Elinor Dashwood, the protagonist of Sense and Sensibility, in contrast to her sister Marianne. Possibly the Trope Maker, considering this is one of the first known intentional uses of it (Austen intended the sisters' Emotions Versus Stoicism to be a metaphor for Romanticism Versus Enlightenment). Also one of the few examples where The Spock is right, and The McCoy has to learn to be more reserved rather than the other way around.
  • Death in the Discworld series. Is attempting to understand the human race, but is finding it...difficult. At times he seems to know a bit more about human nature than he lets on though, so maybe it's just an act.
  • Voort "Piggy" saBinring from Wraith Squadron. He's a Pig Man from a species more known for violent aggression and stupidity, but brain tampering made him into a Genius Bruiser, Good with Numbers and tending to be logical and calm. We see a bestial side exactly once, and it takes getting gut-shot to bring it out. Sort of similar to Vulcans, who practice emotional suppression precisely because their emotions are so violent and difficult to control compared with other species.
  • The Mentats in the Dune series.
  • Michael Valentine Smith from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in A Strange Land. He is capable of feeling overwhelming emotion, but when he does, he simply slips into a coma until he's found a way to logically respond to the situation. As a human raised on Mars, it takes him quite a while to understand laughter, grief, fear and loss - his only emotions at the start of the book are curiosity and love.
  • C.S Forester is fond of this. The captains in The Good Shepherd and The Captain from Connecticut were very extreme Spocks. Horatio Hornblower was a slightly more mild version but still something of a Spock.
  • Asher in Someone Elses War.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Spock: Fascinating. You have an efficient intellect, superior physical skills, no emotional impediments... there are Vulcans who aspire all their lives to achieve what you've been given, by design.

    • Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, though she tries to overcome this in later parts of the show.
  • Cristina Yang from Grey's Anatomy.
  • Temperance "Bones" Brennan from Bones. This becomes funny given that "Bones" from Star Trek is the original McCoy. Also, Zack Addy.
  • Teal'c of Stargate SG-1 is sometimes The Spock, in that he has the same unflappability and (usually) rational thinking, though he's more The Stoic than a person who actually doesn't experience emotion.
  • Ficus in Quark is a parody of The Spock taken to extremes. He's a sentient plant and has absolutely no emotions, taking everything logically and speaking only in Spock Speak.
  • Aeryn Sun of Farscape is a minor tactical genius and never loses her cool...perhaps to her detriment, as the path of her relationship with Crichton is rocky and convoluted. She becomes more The Kirk as she goes along.
    • Sikozu and, after his Heel Face Turn, Scorpius are perhaps the purest Spock members of the crew,having a tendency to be coldly pragmatic about problems.
    • Rygel is a slight subversion, as he has a tendency to on occasion claim his actions are for the best of the crew as a whole, but more often than not he's just being a greedy self-interested Jerkass. He has his moments, however.
  • Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory. Lampshaded, as Sheldon considers his circle of friends one doctor short of a landing party, and has proclaimed himself the Spock. Sheldon might not be a full-fledged example of this trope, though. He's too self-centered to be detached from the situation, so to speak - but Leonard's mother, Beverly, fits this trope very well.
  • Freddie on iCarly, opposite to Carly (The Kirk) and Sam (The McCoy).
  • Doctor Larry Fleinhart from Numb3rs. Surprisingly, Doctor Charlie Epps doesn't qualify, as he emotes just fine. More surprising as Larry is the Romantic one and Charlie is the Enlightened one.
  • Castiel the doubting angel from Supernatural.
  • Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Subverted, as he is often flustered or baffled, but forces himself to adhere to the cold-headed British persona he was raised to believe was most proper for any occasion.
  • House in House.
  • Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
  • Jor-El in Smallville. He often cooks up options for Clark to beat the bad guy that involve sacrificing his friends. He is however, prone to getting royally pissed at Clark for refusing to listen to him.
  • Dr. Moira Isles from Rizzoli and Isles.

Rizzoli: You'd tell me if you were a cyborg, right?

Theater[edit | hide]

  • A rare main character example: Brutus from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, with either Cassius or Antony as The McCoy. A quiet, (literally) stoic, cool-headed intellectual who is a friend of Caesar's but is willing to do him in since, to quote the Trope Namer, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. ("Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more!")
  • In Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: Ulysses on the Greek side, with Agamemnon as The Kirk and Ajax as a fairly thickheaded variation on The McCoy. On the Trojan side, Hector fills this role, to Priam as Kirk and Troilus as The McCoy
  • In Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio is this to Romeo, with Mercutio as The McCoy.

Toys[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Sasha Nein of Psychonauts.
  • Gale, in Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga.
  • Soren in Fire Emblem 9 and 10.
  • Kratos Aurion in Tales of Symphonia.
  • KOS-MOS in the first Xenosaga, but she starts to defrost.
  • ADA in Zone of the Enders.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • Mordin Solus, though Hidden Depths reveal that he's way more compassionate than he lets on and feels incredible regret for his Well-Intentioned Extremist moment (though he feels it's still the right choice).
    • The Ruthless background Shepard also qualifies, doing whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter how horrific, and usually in the middle of the action himself—the military's go-to guy for the most vital and most morally compromising missions. The Renegade morality path also comes off as this in all the major decisions and in many of the conversations (with the rest of the time consisting of being a hardass, and in some instances in the first game, a bit of a xenophobe as well)
  • Squall of Final Fantasy VIII is a rare main character version. Raised as a mercenary, holds a cynical world over how the world works and doesn't allow his emotions to dictate his actions, strictly going by his duties. He doesn't even bat an eyelash after learning that one of his comrades, who he knew since he was child, was executed by the government. To say the least, most of the game he's at odds with the rest of his teammates because he's basically a lone Spock in a team full of McCoys.
  • Stern, the Material of Wisdom in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games. Funnily enough, this made her the kindest one amongst the Materials and the first one to make a Heel Face Turn away from their Omnicidal Maniac side since she came to the logical conclusion that mindlessly destroying everything is stupid.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Chou Yaru in Unicorn Jelly.
  • Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick tries to be this in order to become more effective and overcome a great obstacle, but seeing as how the elf is anything but emotionless and is in fact haunted by the memory of a great failure, the result is disastrous.
  • Theo from Gold Coin Comics is like this...usually.
  • Zombie/Narrator/.../whatever you want to call him plays this pretty straight in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name
  • Quinn-Tain in Harkovast bases his decision only on what he thinks is necessary to win the war. Emotional concerns are always secondary.
  • Mr. Raven in El Goonish Shive.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The AI Delta from Red vs. Blue is logic personified. Literally. Ironically, Delta is probably the most humane of the various Freelancer AIs, despite his noticeably incomplete understanding of human nature.
  • In the Global Guardians, Achilles is the The Spock, and is also the team leader. Guardsman is The Kirk, while Arachne and Ultra-Man are The McCoy.
  • Lady Ink from The Book of Stories OCT. Of course, she is a personification of order and structure, so it makes sense.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Wind Whistler of My Little Pony
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle takes this role in the first two episodes, not caring about "pointless" things like friends or fun. She ends up coming around at the end of the second episode, and the rest of the season documents her learning about just how kick ass friends are. She occasionally lapses into this when academic subjects are mentioned, especially magic. She has a very logical, scientific view of the world and though her excellent education means that she's often right, it does leave her rather inflexible. Her tendency to dismiss information that she finds illogical in particular has been called on more than once.
  • Big Brain from an episode of Adventures in Care-a-Lot
  • Marsala from Exosquad, even though others of his species are generally much more emotional than he. I guess he's just weird.
  • Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender, so much so that he comes into conflict with the rest of the group.
  • Braniac 5 from the Legion of Super Heroes usually fits this trope. As does the Martian Manhunter.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Dr. Herman Khan. His works in the 1950s on nuclear war examine the aftermath in extremely dry terms. He was considered a sort of monster by some to actually argue that, while extremely horrible, a nuclear holocaust would not be the end of humanity.
  • Within the Power Trio of the Allied leadership of World War II, Josef Stalin played The Spock to FDR's Kirk and Winston Churchill's McCoy. When you're a dictator who sees himself as just doing what it takes to ensure your country's survival (occasionally even half-admitting being Necessarily Evil), it sort of comes with the territory.
  • Admiral Raymond Spruance
    • Spruance had an icy personality of the sort that was not unlikable by accounts but was an acquired taste. He was well known for his careful considerations of plans and unlike his partner and friendly rival Halsey who was more intuitive, Spruance was precise and economical in all things. This sometimes put him under criticism as when he prioritized the Saipan landing over the Battle of the Phillipine Sea. With all that he was a definite Four-Star Badass and unlike generals could and often did go where there was a good chance of being under fire personally. At one time off Okinawa after a Kamikaze hit he was seen manhandling a firehose. But then at the time Damage Control needed a lot of redshirts to hold firehoses and definitely did not need an Admiral getting in it's way so Spruance was of course being logical. As always.
  • INTPs are stereotypically like this. INTJs, too. "Does it work?"
  • Has a pretty firm footing in alexithymia.
  • By his own admission, Israel's current Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He and everyone around him quite frankly states that Barak's mind is like a steel trap: remorselessly methodical and logical, remembering everything, and expecting everyone to be just as logical as he. Barak, however, does have the humanity to admit that this is something of a double-edged sword: his logical method blinded him to the emotions of others, particularly the Palestinian and Syrian diplomats he tried to negotiate with at Camp David in 2000. This insensitivity—again by his own admission—probably cost him the deal of the century.