'Lost': A tale of two Christians

Matthewfox_lost_s5_240 If you missed the live Q&A, fret not! Check out the transcript by clicking "Replay" inside the chat window. Today, we're going to look at a person that is on the mind of a lot of Lost fans: Christian Shephard. Let's let reader "Other Sean" summarize the issues at hand.

I'm more confused about Cabin Christian than ever. Parts of his conversation with Locke tonight made me disbelieve what I've thought (about him being evil) since Season 4, and yet there are still elements about him that make me think he's still up to dirty tricks.
Other Sean


Dude, I'm right there with you. But I'm banking on this season's increasing reliance on overly elaborate verbal misdirection to help maintain my stance that Cabin Christian is one bad... (shut yo' mouth!) Hey, I'm just talking about Cabin Christian!

Let's go over all the appearances of Cabin Christian. I'm defining him as the man we know as Jack's father, wearing brown clothing as opposed to a blue suit.
  1. "Something Nice Back Home": He appears to Claire in the middle of the night, holding Aaron. Miles sees them both walk away, and Claire refer to him as her father.
  2. "Cabin Fever": Appears inside the cabin, purporting to speak on Jacob's behalf, alongside Cabin Claire. Claire's demeanor is wildly different than we've seen before. Locke returns, and says that Jacob, "...wants us to move the Island."
  3. "There's No Place Like Home": Appears to Michael on the Kahana, accompanied by the sound of whispers. He tells Michael, "You can go now," just before the boat explodes.
  4. "This Place is Death ": Like Ben before, he lights the lantern inside the donkey wheel cave, a seemingly necessary step to making this process work. He scolds John, telling him Ben wasn't supposed to turn the wheel. He confirms Richard's assertion that Locke has to die. "Well, I suppose that's why they call it sacrifice." As the white light grows, CC tells John to say hi to his son.
So, Cabin Christian separates Claire from her child, and apparently has a hand in helping Michael keep the C4 cool long enough to allow Aaron and the others to refuel and get off in time. He also speaks on behalf of a Jacob we know to be in trouble to a man who has little experience in how cabin-related encounters go. CC's apparently vague instructions allow Ben to assume control of donkey wheel duties, leaving behind a series of flashes that endangers the life if the apparent Island Savior that force said leader to himself leave the Island via the same danger, unpredictable manner.

Put all that together, and Other Sean's instincts are right. A lot of it turns on two things: 1) why there are in fact two differently dressed, differently acting Christians roaming about, and 2) the seemingly parallel paths a pre-2004 Christian Shephard and Jeremy Bentham travel. The word "sacrifice" means, literally, to do or make something sacred. It can also pertain to giving something over to a deity. Did the man we know as Christian Shephard die in order to grant his only son passage to the Island?

Did his long, slow decline into alcoholism in fact create the schism we see now? Remember: active will is an important part of the Lost universe. Christian's lifestyle often suggests the complete opposite, a man willing to drown his sorrows and let Jim Beam take responsibility for Christian Shephard. Let's look at the Bible passage that partially inspires the next episode, entitled "316."

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That's a pretty standard translation. What I find interesting is how often the word "lost" enters the phrase, depending on which Bible one reads. Usually it's swapped in for the word "perish," as in, "...that whoever believes in him shall not be lost..." Now, it's very true that this word stands out due to it being the title of the show I am paid to write about on a weekly basis, but it does also point to a type of spiritual purgatory that Christian once lived in. Purgatory is the place between two worlds, and the two Christians represent the pull of both the higher and lower planes of existence once we've shuffled off the ol' mortal coil.

"Eternal life" does NOT refer to the "spirits," for lack of a better word, that inhabit the island. The Biblical phrase above does not speak of immortality on this plane but the next. The Christians we've seen, both Blue Suit and Cabin, are representations of a man that could not make the sacrifice John Locke now needs to make. But he's not the only one who needs to make the sacrifice. For while Locke might indeed have to make a sacrifice for the Island, I think Jack himself will ultimately make a sacrifice for his father.

And that's why, ultimately, I'm still feeling CC as a bad guy. Not due to any crazy, triple-agent spy thing involving donkey wheels and pendula and millennia of Island history, but because Blue Suit Christian can still not find the words to ask his son for forgiveness. Don't forget what he told Sawyer in Australia:

Christian:  I have a son who's about your age. He's not like me, he does what's in his heart. He's a good man, maybe a great one. Right now, he thinks that I hate him. He thinks I feel betrayed by him. But what I really feel is gratitude, and pride because of what he did to me. What he did for me. It took more courage than I have. There's a pay phone over there. I could pick it up and I could call my son. I could tell him about all this. I could tell him that I love him. One simple phone call and I could fix everything.

Sawyer: Why don't you?

Christian: Because I am weak.

Until Christian makes the call, in whatever form that call can now take place, there will be no peace for anyone. There is no eternal life. The island is only death.

Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude, then peruses Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It's Guide to Lost Twitter feed.
SHARE IT ON: