This is the third entry in a series titled “I Want Some Freakin’ Answers.” From time to time, I’ll talk about some of the things we’ve seen over the past five seasons of Lost that I’d like answered. I’m not going to deal with topics we know will get answered (like the smoke monster), but rather those things that no one but die-hard Lost fans would care about. It’s very likely that not everything will be answered, and even possible that some may be passed off as continuity errors, but Lost wouldn’t have obsessive fans if people didn’t care about the little things, right?
Some of the inhabitants of Lost Island see dead people.
These dead people are more than just mere visions of the departed–they have actual interactions with the main characters. Some are apparitions of the Smoke Monster, passing judgment. Others we’re not sure about yet. But one has appeared to a variety of people in different times and ways–Christian Shepard, father of Jack.
As first seen as a hallucination to a water-deprived Jack Shepard. Christian has appeared to other island inhabitants, and in the case of John Locke, has given instructions, claiming to speak for the mysterious Jacob. But Christian’s advice led Locke to play right into the game plan devised by Jacob’s adversary, leading to the question “who is Christian (Jacob’s self-proclaimed number two) really working for?
Christian and Jack Shepard, father and son, are in many ways responsible for the state of each other’s life. It’s hinted that Christian wasn’t the best father throughout Jack’s childhood. During Jack’s adulthood, it’s much of the same, as Jack has to break free of his father’s shadow after choosing to follow in his father’s footsteps as a spinal surgeon. Eventually, Jack’s career overshadows Christian’s, and he breaks free of his father’s influence.
Christian, on the other hand, is a recovering alcoholic, who tries to advise his son, but doesn’t always do so in a fatherly way. Eventually, Christian is driven back to drinking by Jack, after Jack suspects his father of having an affair with his wife. Christian hits the bottle again, leading to a failed operation on a pregnant woman. When the patient dies, Jack (rightly) rats out Christian, who loses his medical license and decides to take a drinking tour of Australia (while trying to visit his secret daughter). In Australia, accompanied by Ana-Lucia, Christian bumps into Sawyer and eventually dies of alcohol poisoning.
Jack travels to Australia to claim the body back home, but books a flight on Oceanic 815 and they both end up on the island. Still, Jack retains bitterness and a need to fix everything-behaviors detrimental to his well-being.
Just as Christian shaped Jack during his formative years, Jack’s actions (accusing his father of having an affair with his wife, turning him into the hospital board) are the reason Christian goes to Australia.
In the early days of their time on the island, Jack saw Christian a few times while the 815 survivors were still getting acquainted with the island. As previously mentioned, Christian helped lead Jack to finding water in the caves. But Jack found more than water–he also found his father’s coffin, which was empty.
At first, Christian only appeared to Jack, until Season 4, when Hurley and Michael both saw him, Hurley seeing him in Jacob’s cabin and Michael having a weird encounter seconds before the freighter blows up. Also meeting Christian (or the ghost of) in season 4 was Locke, who met him in Jacob’s cabin.
While trying to find a way to save the island from Keamy and the rest of Widmore’s goons, Locke, Ben and Hurley search for Jacob’s cabin, looking for answers. Because of his cancer and Alex’s death, Ben felt he fell out of favor with Jacob and let Locke be the one to speak with Jacob. However, Jacob wasn’t in the cabin, and Christian (who was there with Claire) claimed he was authorized to speak on Jacob’s behalf. Christian told Locke to move the island, an act that Ben was familiar with.
Because exile from the island was the result of moving the island (done by turning the wheel at the bottom of the Orchid), Ben claimed he had to do the deed, as that exile was his punishment from Jacob. Ben turned the wheel, but because he either turned it incorrectly, or wasn’t supposed to have turned it in the first place, bad things happened. Locke ended up back at the Orchid, this time with a broken leg, where Christian appeared again, berating him for letting Ben turn the wheel, confirming the fact that Locke has to die to save his friends and being of little help as Locke has to push (although I still say pull) the wheel, gimpy leg and all.
Christian also appears to Sun and Frank during their 2007 return to the island, telling them they have a long journey to find their friends (who ended up in 1977) and to just wait for the path to appear.
At first glance, it looks like Christian is doing the work of Jacob. But there are several other factors which make me think that he’s actually working for Jacob’s adversary (or is the adversary in disguise).
First off, Ben confirmed in “The Incident” that he never met Jacob. Still, Ben took Locke to a cabin, that, according to Illana during her visit, had been empty for some time. The people/spirits Locke communicated with while in the cabin may not have been Jacob, but rather, Jacob’s enemy.
Additionally, Jacob’s adversary has a game plan of using Locke (and his body) to manipulate Ben into killing Jacob. Locke has to die for the adversary to use his body, an idea that the adversary (as Locke) implants in Locke through Richard Alpert during one of the island’s time shifts. However, when Locke tells Christian (still claiming to speak for Jacob) that he was told he’d have to die to save his friends, rather than telling Locke that’s not true, Christian coldly replies “Well, I suppose that’s why they call it sacrifice.”
Locke is crucial in the adversary’s plan. But it’s possible he’s also important in Jacob’s. There are many reasons Locke can be seen as special, from regaining his ability to walk to being touched by Jacob after his accident, an argument can be made that Jacob and/or the Island needs Locke. If that were the case, and Christian worked for Jacob, why would he send Locke to his death without batting an eye?
Even though I think Christian is “working for” the adversary, there is some evidence leading me to doubt this. Christian can be seen as a positive force working on behalf of the island. First, in his appearances to Jack, he leads his son to water, necessary for the survival of the marooned 815 passengers. Secondly, when he appears to Michael (even though Michael doesn’t know who Christian is), Christian confirms Michael is doing the Island’s work. Lastly, in the final Missing Piece aired prior to season four, Christian appears to Vincent minutes after the 815 crash, concerned about his son’s well-being and urges Vincent to wake Jack up, saying Jack has work to do.
Plus, judging from the artwork in the cabin (as long as it’s Jacob’s cabin), we can see that Jacob is fond of dogs.
Either way, even though Christian Shepard is dead, he’s important to both the Island and several of its inhabitants. I’m not the only one confused by his appearances. Izikavazo over at Not Confused Just Lost also ponders the question, but believes Christian is on the side of evil. Me? I’m not sure.
As we know, people who die on (or off) the Island don’t really disappear. Hopefully, in the show’s upcoming final season, we’ll see more of Christian and get some freakin’ answers as to whom he’s working for.