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In Sherlock: The hound of Baskervilles, Sherlock describes his feelings about not being able to distance himself from his latest felt feeling, fear and he says

The grit on the lens, fly in the ointment

To which, Dr Watson replies

Yeah, all right, Spock, just.. take it easy

The only Spock I have ever known is this man:
enter image description here
Why is he being referenced here? Is Watson talking about this Spock?

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There's also the famous pediatrician Dr. Spock. –  Flimzy Jan 10 '12 at 7:14
@Flimzy - good point, but as a Brit I can assure you that very few people will have heard of the pediatrician. Sherlock and Watson almost certainly will be sort of people who would know him (Watson is a doctor after all), but the script writers will be thinking Mr Spock. –  iandotkelly Jan 10 '12 at 15:19
Mr downvoter, any explanations?.. –  Lelouch Lamperouge Jan 11 '12 at 4:54
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4 Answers

up vote 26 down vote accepted

Yes, he's certainly referencing Mr. Spock - everyone's favorite Vulcan science officer.

In the Star Trek TV show (and on film) Spock constantly struggled with his emotions due to his mixed blood, and sometimes had a hard time suppressing them. Watson is likening Sherlock's own 'emotional struggle' (albeit brief) to this classic character.

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Even when not struggling emotionally, the character of Sherlock is very Spock-esque - logical and analytical, with an understanding of the things emotions make other people do while being exempt from them most of the time. I think Sherlock's professed desire to distance himself from the emotion he's feeling is what makes him sound like Spock. –  Abby T. Miller Jan 19 '12 at 17:37
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In the second Star Trek movie, Spock quotes Sherlock Holmes' famous line "Once you've ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbably, must be true." Of course, since the modern-day Sherlock couldn't be quoting himself, Watson identifies the quote as Spock's, and not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's. I really liked this reference, particularly the way it messes with time...but in the new Sherlock, they're assuming that the original quote came from Star Trek.

Of course, the bits about struggling with emotions are rather Spock-ish, since Spock rarely shows his own emotions in the show.

Hope that helps!

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very interesting observation. –  Lelouch Lamperouge Jun 17 '12 at 23:54
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An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the solution.

Spock in the Star Trek VI The Voyage Home written among others by no other than Nicholas Meyer, who wrote The Seven Per-Cent Solution, which is regarded by many to be the best Sherlock Holmes novel not written by Doyle himself. So it is a clever nod to the popular culture by the contemporary TV show, which becomes a mindbinding Mobius strip, when you realize that the Spock character himself is in part based on original Sherlock Holmes, in a way House is: logical to the fault and incapable of experiencing basic human emotions.

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interesting point indeed –  Lelouch Lamperouge Jan 26 '12 at 17:31
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Yes, he is. Recall that the TV Series is supposed to be modernized.

From Wikipedia: "Sherlock is a British television series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories."

Since it is contemporary, it is in a day in age in which Spock is very well known, so the comment makes perfect sense.

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You confirmed my suspicion but didn't answer why. I haven't seen the Star Trek series (TNG, I suppose). Hence, I am bound to accept Nobby's answer. –  Lelouch Lamperouge Jan 10 '12 at 6:48
Oh, gotcha. I thought you were asking why he was referencing Spock. Now that I think about it, if you were asking, it is pretty obvious. Spock is original Star Trek, not TNG. Good stuff. –  Andrew Latham Jan 10 '12 at 6:56
Oh, TNG is not original Star Trek? I was always told by my friends to watch it. Should do that sometime soon. –  Lelouch Lamperouge Jan 10 '12 at 7:14
TNG is "The Next Generation". You'll often hear about "Kirk" and "Picard", the captains in the original and TNG, respectively. –  Andrew Latham Jan 10 '12 at 7:53
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