Illogical, you might think, but you’d be wrong…
On paper, the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Spock would seem to be pretty similar. Both are emotionally-detached male humanoids who value logic, reason, and loyalty above all else. Both are highly intelligent, if peculiar for their intelligence, and both require a confidant, Watson for Holmes and Kirk for Spock, as a sounding board/link to reality. But what if the connection goes beyond surface traits, and what if Holmes and Spock are … brace yourselves … related?
It sounds crazy but it’s not as crazy as it seems, and it all hinges on a single quote:
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
But before we get into all that, let’s look at another important connection between the two.
In “The Reichenbach Fall,” the season two finale of Sherlock, the BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Holmes seemingly commits suicide to save his friends. This episode is based on Doyle’s story “The Final Problem.” He, of course, isn’t actually dead, but the act stands. Then in “His Last Vow,” the season three finale, based on the story “His Last Bow,” Holmes once more puts himself in mortal danger to save Watson and his wife Mary. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock too sacrifices himself for the sake of the Enterprise and her crew, only to turn up alive again in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. At the “funerals” for both, both men’s confidants, Kirk and Watson, refer to their friends in pretty much the same way: Kirk calls Spock “the most human” soul he’d ever met, and Watson refers to Holmes as “the most human human being” he’s ever known. Worth noting that Sherlock is following Star Trek’s lead here, as the ending of “The Final Problem” has Watson referring to Holmes as only “the best and wisest man” he’d ever known.
But now back to the real meat of the theory, that quote, which originates with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Holmes, who wrote it back in 1890 for the story “The Sign of Four.” Flash forward a century to 1991 and the sixth film in the Star Trek franchise, The Undiscovered Country, and you get Spock saying this:
No question that’s the Doyle quote – especially since The Undiscovered Country was co-written and directed by Nicholas Meyer, who also wrote Holmes’ story The Seven Percent Solution first as a novel then as a screenplay. But the kicker here is that opening, “an ancestor of mine.” This would seem to be a direct connection if not to Holmes, then at least to Doyle. But how?
There are really only two ways this plays out, fans have decided: either Holmes himself is a Vulcan left on Earth centuries before the events of the Star Trek universe (maybe that funny hat is hiding his ears?), or Spock’s human mother was a descendent of Doyle. This second theory has more truth behind it, as several sources close to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry have said that was his intension when designing the character, but this has never been officially confirmed.
Whatever the root of the connection, it’s taken hold in the Star Trek canon, as evidenced by the quote resurfacing – minus the “ancestor” bit or any other attribution – in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot.
Furthermore, Sherlock stoked the connection further in season two episode two, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” in which Holmes uses the quote himself, only to get called “Spock” by Watson, as in this modern timeline the Vulcan quote would have come first. This also a mirror of Bones’ nonplussed response to Spock using the quote in Star Trek.
And then for extra fun, consider that the second rebooted Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness, which is basically a retelling of The Wrath of Khan, cast as Khan none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. Unrelated to this theory? Probably, but I like to think otherwise.
So, verdict: this one’s totally true, the only thing that’s up in the air is if it’s Holmes Spock is related to – both being fictitious characters – or Doyle.
What do you think? Sound off on Twitter. And if you want to check out other installments of Fan Theory Friday, click here. See you next time!