Star Trek: Discovery Proves Dr McCoy Was Right About Spock

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

spock star trek: discovery

One of the most frequent occurrences in Star Trek: The Original Series was Dr. McCoy criticizing Spock for his blind adherence to logic. This is something that carries over into The Wrath of Khan, when Spock tries to logically assess the threat of the Genesis device, and the good doctor says, “Logic…My God, the man’s talking about logic; we’re talking about universal armageddon.” This dichotomy was meant to be a constant conflict between the characters without much resolution, but a strange plot point of Star Trek: Discovery involving renegade Vulcans proves that McCoy was right in his harshest criticisms of Spock.

Logic Extremists

Relatively early into Star Trek: Discovery (particularly in the episode “Lethe”), we learn about a group of Vulcans known as “logic extremists.” By the standards of both other Vulcans and the rest of the Federation, these guys are fanatical terrorists. They claim to be representative of the “true Vulcan ideology,” and one of their biggest beliefs is that humans and other aliens should not mingle with Vulcan culture.

Vulcan And The Federation

Unsurprisingly, Star Trek: Discovery reveals that these logic extremists want Vulcan to remove itself from the “failed experiment” that is the Federation. Despite this, some of the most prominent of these extremists are part of Starfleet. Specifically, Section 31 member Admiral Patar was a logic extremist, and the placement of these separatists so high in the echelons of Starfleet is proof of how much influence they wield.

Targeting Spock’s Family

This group established itself as one of the most dangerous fringe elements in all of Star Trek: Discovery. Their attempt to kill Spock by bombing the Vulcan learning center nearly killed a young Michael Burnham, and a later attack on Spock’s father, Sarek, turned his body into a giant explosion waiting to happen (don’t worry…he got better). In case you’re wondering, the logic extremists have major beef with this famous family because they see Sarek’s marriage to a human and his adoption of a human as the ultimate form of cultural contamination.

McCoy Vs. Spock


That brings us back to Dr. McCoy’s frequent clashes with Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series. That show mostly portrayed McCoy and Spock as two very different extremes, with the good doctor as an exemplar of emotional humanity and Spock as the chief representative of cool, Vulcan logic. As for Kirk, he served as a kind of mediating influence on these two extremes while utilizing their input to make the best command decisions.

McCoy Was Right

However, Star Trek: Discovery more or less confirmed that McCoy was completely correct when he chided Spock about the dangers of relying only on logic without the mediating influence of logic. The very existence of the logic extremists is proof that a smart enough being (and, love them or hate them, the average Vulcan is very smart) can convince themselves that even the most horrific acts of violence are justified. Ironically enough, that means the logic extremists are acting more like the violent Vulcans who lived before Surak introduced logic as the overriding cultural force of the planet.

Spock The Hypocrite

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Even more ironically, the logic extremists in Star Trek: Discovery are complete hypocrites because while they claim to oppose cultural contamination, the truth is they are a fringe minority group that the vast majority of Vulcans see as the real contamination. Speaking of hypocrisy, Spock is the ultimate hypocrite: despite his adopted sister getting killed by (she was later revived) logic extremists, Spock would later spend all of The Original Series acting like there is nothing wrong with being driven by pure logic. With all due respect to our favorite science officer, the doctor’s diagnosis about the dangers of logic was one hundred percent correct.