- "Christian" redirects here. For other uses of "Christian", see Christian (disambiguation).
Dr. Christian Shephard was the son of Ray Shephard, the father of Jack Shephard and Claire Littleton, the husband of Margo Shephard, former lover of Carole Littleton, and the grandfather of Aaron Littleton.
Prior to having his license stripped for performing surgery under the influence of alcohol, he was the Chief of Surgery at St. Sebastian Hospital. After being fired, Christian left for Australia with Ana Lucia, where he died as a result of an alcohol-induced heart attack. After the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, his coffin was found but Christian's body was mysteriously missing. Despite his death, Christian has subsequently appeared and spoken with people both on and off the Island. The Man in Black, able to take on the form of the deceased, claimed he had been impersonating Christian after his death.
Before the crash
Building a family
Christian grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and at some point before or after the birth of his son Jack, moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a surgical job opportunity. Sometime in his young life, Christian began dating a woman named Margo. He eventually proposed to her, but Christian's father told him on his wedding day that he disapproved of their union. Nevertheless, he gave him a watch as a family heirloom on that same day. Christian accepted it, but never wore it. ("The Watch")
Christian's early relationship with his son, Jack, was distant and authoritarian. One such occasion demonstrated the tension between them when a young Jack attempted to defend his friend, Marc Silverman, against a pair of older boys. Christian took this fight as a chance to dispel his son's heroic nature. Christian explained that Jack should not try to be a hero, because he "didn't have what it takes". Christian stated many years later that he was like Jack during his childhood, and Jack himself noted after being rescued from the island that his father had been a good storyteller. He also taught Jack how to play chess at a young age. ("White Rabbit") ("Something Nice Back Home") ("King of the Castle")
As time passed, Christian developed a drinking problem, became disconnected with many of his friends, and began to distance himself from his family, even to the point of taking sporadic, private trips for periods of time. ("White Rabbit") During one of those periods of absence, Christian developed an extramarital relationship with an Australian woman named Carole Littleton. Carole became pregnant by him, and she gave birth to Claire, their daughter. Christian saw Claire regularly when she was very young, but stopped visiting because Carole disliked sharing Christian with the Shephard family back in America. Christian's decision to stop visiting was further solidified when Lindsey, Carole's sister, became hateful and aggressive. Claire's mother later told Claire that her father was dead. ("Par Avion")
Years later, however, Christian received a phone call from a doctor he knew in Sydney. Through this conversation, Christian learned that Carole was in a coma as a result of a car accident. He decided to return to Australia. He intended to pay for her medical expenses anonymously, but Lindsey and a teenage Claire returned to the hospital and found him in Carole's room. At first, Christian attempted to leave without causing any trouble, but hostility between him and Lindsey led Claire to ask questions. Christian revealed his identity as her father. After this event, Claire, too, became hostile toward him. ("Par Avion")
Nevertheless, Christian later convinced Claire to grab some coffee with him so they could discuss his affair and Carole's vegetative condition. Christian said that Carole wasn't really living and needed to be let go. Claire became angry at this suggestion and began to leave their meeting, but Christian urged Claire not to keep her mother alive with machines "for the wrong reasons." After pleading with Claire, he returned to America, presumably never seeing her again, and things returned more or less to normal for Christian and his main family. ("Par Avion")
Working with Jack
Christian supervised Jack's first solo procedure operating on a young girl. When Jack made a critical error and began to panic, his father was the one who calmed him down and advised him to count to five, then resume working and fix what he had done. Later, Jack was angry at his father for embarrassing him in front of the attending surgeons, remarking that his position at the hospital was rumored to be a product of nepotism. ("The Incident, Part 1")
In the meantime, Jack finished residency and began working alongside Christian at St. Sebastian Hospital in Los Angeles. In Jack's adult years, Christian took a more encouraging approach to Jack. When Jack was working on a patient named Sarah, Jack's no-nonsense diagnosis left little hope, but Christian reminded Jack that everybody needs a little hope. Jack disagreed, but eventually managed to "fix" Sarah despite impossible odds, and the two later became a couple. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
Some time later, Jack proposed to Sarah. Prior to the wedding, Christian shared a profound discussion with Jack on a nearby beach. He gave Jack the family watch, expressing the approval he had never received from his own father. He hinted that his own decision to marry Margo had been the wrong choice, but that Jack was doing the right thing. Before leaving, Christian asked Jack to be a better father than he, Christian, had been. ("The Watch")
Christian continued to encourage Jack as time passed. While Jack was having trouble writing his vows, Christian asked Jack if he loved Sarah. Jack responded, saying "absolutely", but expressed a worry that he might not be a good husband or father. Christian tried to dispel these fears, telling Jack that commitment was what made him tick. ("Do No Harm")
One difficult case at the hospital was a man named Angelo Busoni, who was accompanied by his daughter and de facto translator, Gabriela. Christian and Jack explained that Angelo's condition was inoperable, and Christian refused to perform surgery. But Gabriela said that she had heard of Jack's miraculous surgery on Sarah and had come for him, not Christian. Jack sympathized and agreed to attempt the difficult surgery. ("The Hunting Party")
As the weeks of preparation for surgery went by, Christian began noticing his son's attachment to Gabriela. One night, he took him aside to discourage Jack from getting too personally involved, reminding him that ignoring the line of professionalism would be a mistake for his career and his marriage. Jack was offended and ignored his father's advice. After Angelo died in surgery, Christian tried to comfort his son, but Jack was enraged by the fact that Christian had already told Gabriela about the outcome of the surgery. ("The Hunting Party")
Christian later joined Alcoholics Anonymous, hoping to put an end to his drinking problem. Around this time, Jack's marriage had begun falling apart. Sarah was having an affair, and her divorce with Jack led him to become obsessed with stalking her, trying to determine the identity of the other man.
Jack eventually accused his father of being the other man, and during one of his AA meetings, he physically assaulted his father. After this hurtful incident, Christian returned to drinking. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
Christian's drinking problem eventually crossed over into his professional life, with profound ramifications. He operated on a woman named Beth while impaired, inadvertently causing her death. Christian's surgery team all signed off on the fact that there was nothing Christian could do to save the patient's life, except for Jack. Jack insisted that the whole truth should be told, but Christian pleaded that he not mention alcohol because it would cause him to lose his medical license. Jack wasn't persuaded until Christian tried to reconnect with his son. Christian apologized for being so hard during Jack's childhood and explained that medicine was his life. Jack agreed to sign, but later, when he learned that the patient was pregnant, he revised his statement, saying that his father was responsible for the death of the woman and her unborn child. After this, Christian lost his medical license and became estranged from Jack. ("All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues")
Christian began taking extended trips again. At a bar in LAX, where Ana Lucia worked as a security guard, the two shared a conversation. He told her about the rift between him and Jack and asked her to come to Australia with him as a bodyguard. He didn't tell her what he was going to do there, but explained it might be "a little dangerous," and he needed someone to protect him. He then explained that fate had brought them together in order to help one another out. Ana Lucia agreed. Christian suggested not using real names and that the two go by aliases. He decided to call Ana Lucia "Sarah," his daughter-in-law's name, and she decided to call him "Tom." ("Two for the Road")
While in Australia, Christian went on a severe drinking binge for four days. He then told Ana Lucia it was time to protect him. In the middle of the night, Christian drove to Lindsey's house, hoping to regain contact with Claire. Lindsey refused to let him in, and when he became violent, Ana Lucia grabbed Christian and forced him back to the car. When Ana Lucia asked Christian why he had been arguing, he nonchalantly explained that he was just having a conversation. ("Two for the Road")
The next day, Christian and Ana Lucia were parked near a wharf. Ana Lucia began questioning Christian about the woman from the night before, but he refused to give a straight answer. She told him her real name, but Christian didn't reciprocate. She remarked on how pathetic a life Christian was living and asked why he was even in Australia to begin with. Christian admitted to her that his son was trying to help him, but he felt so hurt that he had to run away. He suggested they enter the bar on the wharf and drink together, but she refused.
After the argument, Christian left Ana Lucia and stumbled into the bar, where he met a man named Sawyer. Christian had forgotten his wallet, so Sawyer bought the drinks. Christian told Sawyer about the falling-out with his son, Jack and in turn, Sawyer told him he was there on business of his own, but wasn't able to do what he came to do. Christian admitted that he was weak and didn't have what it took to call his son and tell him how he really felt. He nonetheless encouraged Sawyer to go through with whatever business would ease his pain. ("Outlaws")
During this time, Jack flew to Australia to find Christian, upon his mother's urging. He was told that Christian had been found dead in an alley in King's Cross in Sydney, with his blood alcohol concentration so high that it was probably responsible for the massive heart attack that led to his death. Jack was brought in to identify his father's corpse. Afterwards, Jack made the preparations to fly his body back to Los Angeles, though he ran into some trouble with regulations at the airport. ("White Rabbit")
On the Island
- He appeared to Vincent and told him to wake "his son", whom he claims has work to do. ("So It Begins")
- He appeared to Jack a few days after the plane crash and led him to the caves. ("White Rabbit")
- He appeared to Claire in the jungle and convinced her to abandon Aaron and follow him into the jungle. ("Something Nice Back Home")
- He appeared in Jacob's Cabin and instructed Locke to move the Island. ("Cabin Fever")
- He appeared to Michael on the the freighter just before the explosion. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2")
After the rescue of the Oceanic Six
Ten months after the crash, and some time after the rescue of the Oceanic Six, Jack could finally give Christian Shephard his funeral, although he claimed he was unable to properly bury his father, presumably because the body had disappeared on the Island. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
Christian appeared to Jack twice after the departure from the Island. First, Jack caught a glimpse of Christian as he walked by in the hospital (although this might just be someone who looked like his dad). The second time also occurred at the hospital, while Jack was working late hours. Christian said Jack's name from a nearby sofa, but one of Jack's co-workers appeared and Christian vanished. Believing this to be a hallucination, Jack requested a prescription for clonazepam. ("Something Nice Back Home")
Locke falls into a cavern below the a well after time traveling that appears to be the frozen wheel room and has suffered a compound fracture to his shin. Christian Shephard appears and chides Locke for allowing Ben to turn the wheel, when Christian told Locke to do it. He tells Locke that he must find everyone who left the Island and take them to Eloise Hawking. When Locke asks about Richard's statement that he would have to die, Christian responds, "That's why they call it a sacrifice." ? He instructs Locke to fix the frozen wheel saying it's off its axis. Locke struggles around a corner, where he witnesses the wheel rocking back and forth and emitting flashes of greenish-yellow light. Hieroglyphs are visible in the background. Locke pulls the wheel back into alignment as Christian says to say "hello" to his son. Locke asks who his son is as the room is engulfed by light. ("This Place Is Death")
Sometime later, Jack sat at the bedside of John Locke, who had been in a car accident. After failing to convince Jack to return to the Island, Locke revealed that Jack's father had told him to say "hello" to Jack. Jack was shocked to hear this, and when he told Locke that his father was dead, Locke replied, "Well, he didn't look dead to me." ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")
Over the next month, Jack had begun refering to his father as if he were still alive. Jack presented a pharmacist with a prescription for oxycodone, claiming it was written by Christian Shephard. When the pharmacist said she'd need to call his office, Jack stumbled away, telling her not to bother. Later, a drunk and distraught Jack told Dr. Hamill to "get my father down here... and if I'm drunker than he is, you can fire me." ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 2")
In the flash sideways world, Christian had shared a relationship with Jack similar to that of their lives, though the two had a photo from a Thanksgiving gathering alongside Jack's son, David. As in his life, he had been found in Sydney, dead in an alley. Jack traveled to Sydney to claim the body and take it back to Los Angeles for a funeral, though when Oceanic Flight 815 landed on Los Angeles, the coffin had been lost. As Jack waited for the coffin to be found, he and Margo Shephard, Christian's widow, found the latter's will, which mentioned Claire Littleton, though her relationship to Christian wasn't mentioned in the document. ("LA X, Part 2") ("Lighthouse")
Christian's coffin was eventually found by Oceanic, though Desmond Hume had it delivered to him at a church. Jack was taken there by Kate, and found the coffin at an office. Jack touched it and, with his memories awakened, opened the coffin only to find it empty. Christian then entered the office, and explained to his son that he had died and that this reality had been created by him and his former friends in order to find each other and "move on" together. Finally reconciled, the two shared a hug. ("The End")
After Jack reunited with his friends at the church's nave and sat with Kate at a pew, Christian emerged and briefly patted his son on the shoulder. He then opened the church's doors, allowing a bright light to engulf all those present as they crossed over to the next stage in their afterlives. ("The End")
Death and reappearance
Christian's death, though not shown on-screen, has been confirmed in a Official LOST podcast (April 20, 2007 Edition). Even further clarification was received in "Access: Granted", when Carlton Cuse stated "In terms of actually physically corporeally in existence... he's dead".
The Man in Black (the Monster) took the form of Christian Shephard at least once during the series, as confirmed by Carlton Cuse in the clip show "Lost: The Final Journey" broadcast in the United States on May 23, 2010, just before the broadcast of the finale. Cuse stated: "Once [the Man in Black is] the Smoke Monster, he only can assume the form of dead people on the Island. The Man in Black appeared as Christian Shephard. He most notably takes the form of John Locke."
Christian is, along with Locke, Yemi, Alex and Claudia, someone who is deceased, either had contact with the Island while alive or as a corpse, and continues to appear on the Island after death. A few of Yemi's appearances were confirmed to be influenced by the Monster in the Official LOST Podcast (March 21, 2008 Edition), however, Christian was confirmed as being one of three characters (Yemi and Kate's horse being the other two) to be classified as "undead". Alex similarly died on the Island and later appeared as a manifestation of the Monster. Ben's mother and Richard's wife both died elsewhere, but have also appeared on the Island.
Characters and encounters
The following is a list of main characters who encountered Christian Shephard when he was alive:
- Jack – Christian is his father.
- Claire – Christian is her father.
- Ana Lucia – met Christian at an airport bar and travelling with him to Sydney. ("Two for the Road")
- Sawyer – met Christian at a bar in Sydney, drowning his sorrows. ("Outlaws")
- Christian Shephard likely refers to the idea of the "Good Shepherd" in Christianity thought and imagery, and Jesus Christ specifically.
- A widespread title for Jesus, "The Good Shepherd" is an idea based upon passages from both the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament). Such passages use the image of a shepherd gently protecting and guiding his flock as a metaphor for God's relationship to believers. The most prominent use of this image in the New Testament is Jesus' parable of the "lost sheep" (Luke 15; Matthew 18): God is like a shepherd who tirelessly searches for one lost sheep out of 100, and rejoices once it is found (or "saved"). Language referring to God as a shepherd also is found in the Hebrew Bible, such as Ezekiel 34 or Psalm 23, with the famous beginning "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." This psalm often is read at funerals, as it also contains the lines, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me." (The last line is a reference to the shepherd's traditional staff or "crook.") Mr. Eko recites the 23rd Psalm when he cremates the remains of his brother Yemi in season 2: that episode is titled "The 23rd Psalm". In early Christian art, Jesus very often was depicted as a shepherd.
- The metaphor of a shepherd caring for his flock also is used more generally in Christian tradition for religious leaders and their congregants. In fact, the word "pastor" means "shepherd" in Latin, just as "congregation" means "a flock gathered together". For this reason, the name Christian Shephard need not refer narrowly and specifically to Jesus, but rather to a more general symbol for the character's mysterious function as a spiritual guide and informant from the beyond. However, there have been multiple occurrences in the series, and an episode from Season 1 specifically, that could be used as evidence to prove that Christian does in fact represent Jesus Christ specifically, rather than just a general spiritual guide.
- In the episode "White Rabbit", Christian's death, mysteriously empty coffin, and subsequent reappearance to Jack are all clear references to Chapter 16 of the Book of Mark, specifically verse 8. Mark is the oldest of the 4 Gospels, and Chapter 16 is the final chapter. In it, Mary Magdalene & Mary, Jesus' mother, go to Jesus' tomb to anoint His body. When they arrive, they find that the large stone placed to block the tomb's entrance has been moved. They enter the tomb and find a man, assumed to be an angel, dressed in a white robe. The man in white tells them that Jesus has been resurrected and that they should go and tell the disciples He has gone ahead of them and will meet them in Galilee, just as He had prophesied. However, the women go away frightened, initially saying nothing to anyone. Jack's reaction to seeing his father is similar to that of Mary & Mary Magdalene. Lacking the faith to believe what he has seen, Jack never tells anyone of his visions, or even of the fact that his father's coffin was empty. It may also be important to note that the oldest known versions of the Book of Mark, and other ancient witness accounts of the Gospel, do not have verses 9-20, making verse 8 the Book of Mark's original ending. While we can't be sure of anything until a canonical source confirms it, in light of this episode and evidence, it is hard to think that Christian Shephard's name refers to anything or anyone else other than Christ.
- In Season 5 episode "This Place Is Death" when Locke goes down into the well, he is greeted by Christian Shephard. Christian leads the way holding the light as a "shepherd" with the Sacrificial Locke Lamb following him stating "That's the sacrifice you have to make John." This is part of the sacrificial theme – the "island" expects it. There were the religious recapitulations especially at the end of "This Place Is Death" – the close up on the statue with the arms lifted up open in prayer and the lighting of the candles in the church.
- In Season 5 episode "Namaste" Christian Shephard uses the phrase "follow me." This phrase is found all through both the Old and New Testament of the Bible. Recall the LOST episode called The 23rd Psalm has that phrase: Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Jesus is quoted as saying "follow me" many, many times. Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 8:22 But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." Matthew 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Mark 1:17 Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
- The 23rd Psalm is known as God is the Good Shepherd. This scripture can be interpreted that God knows life can be unfair, but that people of faith do not walk through life alone. The 23rd Psalm in both Christian and Hebrew faiths tend to be viewed as saying that although people walk through the dark times, people should not be afraid. Comfort will come to the faithful because that's the essence of faith.
- In Season 2 episode "The 23rd Psalm" Mr. Eko recites the 23 Psalm and writes scripture on his staff nicknamed the "Jesus stick" by Charlie. Locke called it a "prayer stick." On it is the inscription: "Lift up your eyes and look north John 3:05". Locke interprets "305" as a northward compass bearing. Eko made it from a branch he found on the beach. Mr. Eko carved many Bible scriptures on it. Claire asked him about it and Mr. Eko said it contained things he needed to remember. Mr. Eko is reciting The 23rd Psalm when the smoke monster kills him. Psalm 23 - A psalm of David which many people believe discusses "heaven." Psalm 23 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
- Christian is one of 13 main characters to not have their name appear in a soundtrack title.
- Christian's episode count is 19, though one or more of his appearances on the Island was Man in Black impersonating him. This was confirmed by Carlton Cuse in the clip show "Lost: The Final Journey" broadcast in the United States on May 23, 2010, just before the broadcast of the finale. Cuse stated: "Once [the Man in Black is] the Smoke Monster, he only can assume the form of dead people on the Island. The Man in Black appeared as Christian Shephard. He most notably takes the form of John Locke."
- Actor John Terry's first appearance as Christian is "White Rabbit". In "Walkabout" the audio commentary reveals he is played by a stand-in who looks convincingly enough like Terry in wide shots.
- Christian is one of six characters to appear in all six seasons and in the Missing Pieces series along with Jack, Sun, Jin, Claire and Hurley.
- Originally a recurring character, Christian was elevated to the main cast in "The End". Following this, he and Pierre become the only two main characters to die before the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 (the start of the main storyline).
- Christian is one of only eight members of the main cast who never had their own centric episode, the others being Charlotte, Frank, Libby, Ilana, Penny, Pierre and Eloise.
- He is one of two main cast members to have never had a flash in any episode, the other being Penny.
- Christian and Penny are the only two main characters to have never visited the Island while alive.
- Christian has appeared in flashbacks, in flash-forwards, in flash-sideways, as a dead body, as a manifestation of the Man in Black, and undead on the island, but never once as a living person in the story's present.
- Out of the main characters, he has met Jack, Claire, Ana Lucia, and Sawyer.
- Christian along with Sun, The Man in Black, Eko, Libby, and Ilana are only main characters who don't have any spoken line in their first episode.
- Christian is one of four characters to "move on" in the flash-sideways without being part of a couple. The other three are Locke, Boone and Aaron.
- Christian is one of the few main characters whose name wasn't seen on either Jacob's cave wall or the Lighthouse wheel, the others being Ana Lucia, Paulo, Richard, Frank, Libby, Eloise, Penny, Bernard and Ilana.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Christian Shephard/Theories
- What happened to his body?
- Why is Christian dressed differently in his different appearances?