Good vs. Evil – Christian Shepard


I’m sure that Christian is one of the most important recurring characters on Lost.  He’s been around since the beginning and he’s been involved in some of the craziest storylines.  I want to look at his life, his post-life life, his role and his motives.

Christian’s Life

105-christian-01This refers to his life before he died and was resurrected on the island.  Obviously most of this time was spent being a bad father to Jack, but we’ve seen more than that in flashbacks.  Christian is one of those characters that met with other 815 survivors before they crashed on the island.  He fathered Claire, he drank with Sawyer and he hired Ana Lucia.  These encounters don’t tell us much that we didn’t know from Jack’s flashbacks.  Ultimately Jack’s flashbacks establish that Christian was a bad father in a few ways, he demand way too much of him, he never gave him any commendation and he was irresponsibly drunk a lot of the time (obviously he could have been responsibly drunk, but he wasn’t).  In Sawyer, Claire, and Ana Lucia’s flashbacks we see that he felt remorse for being a bad father and that he was pretty much suicidal during his trip to Australia.  It’s well established that Christian felt bad for being such a bad father to Jack and Claire.  It’s also quite clear that he was too proud to do anything to make up for it.

Then he died.

Christian’s Afterlife

104-christian-01Then he crashed on the island.  In the fourth episode of the show Christian arose!  (While I’m talking about this, shame on all you Lost viewers who were shocked when Locke came back to life when 316 crash landed.  How could you have  not seem that coming?)  It’s unclear whether he actually came back to life, whether he was reanimated by some force on the island or if he is some kind of zombie.  I believe he came back to life in the traditional sense.  He has all the same memories and experiences that he had when he lived plus a little extra.  We’ll probably get more info about this kind of resurrection during the next Locke episode.

He definitely has powers.  He can teleport (possibly even off the island) and he seems to be omniscient, or at least precogniscent (is that not a word?), he can tell the future.

But we aren’t really here to discuss what kid of spirit being Christian is, let’s look at some of his scenes on the island.

Season 1

christian-02In the first episode Jack runs by Christian’s shoe in a tree.  Very interesting.  Well not really, that was Christian’s shoe and it was supposed to be a hint, but it didn’t really mean much.  But in the last Missing Pieces webisode we see Christian sending Vincent to go wake up Jack, he says, “He has work to do.”  This is actually quite encouraging.  It seems as though Christian is rooting for Jack, perhaps he wants Jack to be a good leader of the 815 survivors.  A few episodes later Jack continues to see Christian and he starts freaking out, he thinks he’s going crazy or something.  In the end Jack finds Christian’s coffin and it’s empty.  Coincidentally, or maybe not, when Jack finds the coffin he also finds the caves which gives the survivors a safe place to live and clean water (funny how that isn’t a concern anymore).  This might have been Christian guiding Jack.  Maybe he wanted him to succeed so he pushed him in the right direction.  More points for Christian.

Seasons 2 & 3

jacob-04Christian is missing for quite some time between the beginning of season 1 and the beginning of season 4.  But we do meet someone important in season 3, Jacob.  Jacob is the guiding force behind almost everything that The Others do.  He creates lists of people that he approves of and he directs his minions to build airplane landing strips.  It’s true that we don’t know much about Jacob, but he’s a big factor regarding Christian’s morality.  We meet Jacob once in season 3.  He appears to be a ghostly man with telekinetic powers and an intense dislike for technology.  We don’t really know much else.  I have theories about him, (check them out here) but what I want to establish here is that I believe that Jacob is good.  Maybe once we know more about him I will have a longer Good vs. Evil discussion about him, until then I’ll leave it at that.  During this meeting he seems to be in trouble, he asks Locke to help him.  What could possibly pose a danger to Jacob?

Season 4

(I want to do a shout out to one of my favorite commenters, Anon, for shedding new light on Christian over the hiatus.  This analysis might have been years away if he hadn’t tipped me off to Christian’s intentions.)

401-christian-01Right at the beginning of season 4 we see Christian.  He’s sitting in Jacob’s Cabin, in Jacob’s chair.  In that same scene another man’s face pops up at the window and scares Hurley away.  Perhaps Christian was a house guest at Jacob’s humble abode.  More likely he was an intruder trying to wrest control of the island from him (oh boy, my strange vocabulary is really shining through today).  And apparently he is successful because Jacob hasn’t been seen since then.  Since that point Christian has been “speaking for Jacob”.  During this time he took Claire back to his cabin leaving Aaron alone in the jungle.  He rudely dismissed Michael immediately before his explosive death.  And he told Locke to move the island, this alone has caused a huge amount of problems.

411-locke-christian-01And about that, the scene when Locke goes to talk to Jacob in his cabin is very important.  He goes there with Ben to see Jacob.  Right before Locke goes in Ben decides not to.  What would have happened if Ben did go in?  What do you think Ben would have said when he saw Christian and Claire there instead of Jacob?  I don’t think he would have listened to them.  And I don’t think that Locke should.  He does listen to Christian, but he does it because he believes that Christian is voicing Jacob’s will.

Season 5

Recently Christian appeared to tell Locke that he did things wrong and he callously said that he had to die.  I don’t know if Christian knew that Locke would come back to life, but he never said anything to Locke about it.  At that point it seems like Christian is home-free he got rid of both Ben and Locke, the two people with the biggest connection to Jacob.  The only other people left are Richard and The Others.

509-christian-sun-frank-01In the last episode Christian appeared as an all-knowing guide to Sun.  I don’t really know what this proves other than that Christian seems to be aware of everything.  He didn’t really tell Sun anything other than that she has a long journey ahead of her.  This doesn’t really mean anything at this point.  But what I notices about this scene is that Christian is holding a flashlight.  Does anyone remember what happened when Jacob saw a flashlight?  Jacob does not like technology, he literally went ballistic when Locke turned a flashlight on in his presence.  So why would Jacob’s servant, Christian, be using a flashlight?  I think this is a clear way to contrast the two characters.

Christian’s Role

So let’s think about it.  Has Christian done anything on or off the island that gives him the authority that he now has?  Do you really believe that the man that raised Jack is equipped to decide the fate of the island?  The problem that I have with Christian’s current role is that there is no one above him.  If Jacob is telling him what to do that’s fine, but I doubt that he is.  I think that Christian was resurrected on the island with incredible power and he’s abusing that power to take control away from Jacob.

Christian’s Motive

One thing that I noticed was that Christian is very good at getting people off of the island.  He managed to get Ben, Locke, and the Oceanic 6 & co. off the island in one move.  I think that it’s very significant that he got Locke, Hurley, Jack and Aaron off.  Those people have the biggest connections to him.  Aside from Claire and Miles they are the only people to see him on the island.  (He also appeared to Michael, and he pretty much killed him.)  Claire even appeared to Kate telling her not to bring Aaron back.  Could it be that Christian is afraid that these people could be dangers to his power?  He also got rid of three people with connections to Jacob: Ben, Locke and Hurley.  It seems like he doesn’t want to be surrounded by “Special” people.  I think he’s afraid that someone might take power from him.

I believe that Christian is evil.  He never gave us any reason to trust us.  His shenanigans over the last two seasons have been disastrous.  And I would rather have Jacob in charge (this is a pretty arbitrary choice though).

What do you think?

And check out my other Good vs. Evil posts on Mr. Widmore and Ben.  Does anyone have any suggestions for other characters to analyze.  I would do Jacob, but we don’t know much about him.

– izi

8 Responses to “Good vs. Evil – Christian Shepard”

  1. March 24, 2009 at 4:47 am

    i enjoy your blog very much!

  2. 2 dyeyk2000
    March 25, 2009 at 8:57 am

    it just occurred to me while reading your post. could it be possible that christian is “unstuck” just like sawyer and the rest before they settled in the 70’s? could christian have been all over the time line, and that’s why he seems to be omniscient and knows so much? is that why he keeps on popping up in the oddest of places? due to random jumps in time? (or can he control them? :O) whoa.

  3. March 26, 2009 at 8:54 am

    “I think that Christian was resurrected on the island with incredible power and he’s abusing that power to take control away from Jacob.”

    I like this thought line. Christian was dead in a coffin when the plane crashed. Shortly after, Jack sees him. Since then, he has appeared numerous times. Now Locke was dead in the casket and his plane crashes as well. And he is alive.

    For the people that died while on the island, Boone, Shannon, the pilot, Libby, Ana Lucia, Tom, and the rest, perhaps they operate under a different set of rules, or values. Otherwise, they would be popping up all over.

    Ben’s not dead BTW.

  4. 4 spacecowgirl
    March 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Undead Christian is not Christian, but smokemonster just as Yemi wasn’t Yemi (“you speak to me as if i were your brother,” he said before Eko is killed by smokemonster).

    Or Christian is a Widmore “living” as leader of clan to regain power.

  5. 5 riddlej
    March 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    My problem with Christian is that he is mostly portrayed as a tragic hero throughout… a pitiful father who was a drunk but always wished he could have loved his son better. Not sure that this image has changed any since he showed up resurrected on the island.

    1) His name–Christian Shephard–would have to be a lie, but the other names on the show are supposed to be pointers to their actual characters.
    2) Christian is a ghost like Harper or Libby, not a real person like reincarnated Locke. i.e. Christian shows up like a ghost at certain times but is not walking and interacting continually like Locke. Maybe this will change in Season 6 though.
    3) His getting Aaron off the island was a good thing assuming that it was dangerous for him to stay… perhaps Aaron would have otherwise been seized by the others or killed somehow.
    4) He didn’t really get Jack and Hurley off. Locke is clear that they were not supposed to leave the island, and I’m not sure Christian had any say in that one way or the other… Jack was totally determined on his own to get off at all costs.
    5) Christian actually helped Jack get back to the island by showing up in the hospital lobby. Just as Hurley’s friends Charlie and Eko came to see him, someone close to Jack showed up to motivate him to return. This was a good move, not a jockeying for power thing.
    6) Christian DID help Locke get off the island, but that was a good thing because it stopped the flashes (saving Juliet, Sawyer, et al) and led to the returning of the Oceanic Six.
    7) The extra video clip of Christian inaugurating Season One with Vincent going to Jack sets the tone of the series on an optimistic, encouraging role for Christian. He is essentially getting Jack into play, which was good and redeeming.

    Still, I agree that there is more to Christian than any other ghost so far, and that he obviously has a connection with Jacob (along with Claire and Aaron) that has yet to be explained.

  6. August 23, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Great analysis.

    It’s definitely one of those mysteries they better answer as they’ve relied on Christian in this role (whatever exactly that is) since the early days of the show. I’m not sure and I can see evidence for either side, but it would probably make more sense if that answer was evil.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

March 2009

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 23 other followers

%d bloggers like this: