Note: In our ongoing effort to understand exactly what's taking place on ABC's "Lost," we're going to examine some of the themes we've discovered from four exhausting seasons. No, it may not carry us through the next seven "Lost"-free months, but we'll do what we can. Away, then.
'Nother note: Spoilers. Stop. Ach.
One of the earliest episodes in the first season of the show was entitled "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues," an episode centered around Jack and the difficulty in his life that has his pa (Christian Shepherd) at its root. The episode ended with Jack finding his dad's casket -- Jack was in Australia in the first place to locate Christian's body and bring it back to be buried -- and burying it.
Or maybe not. Christian won't stop popping up in all sorts of unexpected places, conversing with Locke (telling him to move the Island), haunting Jack in his post-Island days, even showing up on the freighter to tell Michael, "You can go now." It's uncanny.
Christian's just the tip of the iceberg, however. Throughout the course of the show, we've learned that nearly every character on the show has some sort of "daddy issue," and a sordid family history. Here's a brief overview:
Jack: Mentioned above. Basically, Christian ruined Jack's life by belittling him and giving him that tired, "You don't have what it takes" routine.
Locke: Wow. Where do you start? His dad was an accomplished con artist who actually located him as an adult, spent a few months building a relationship with him, then stole his kidney (one of the lousiest things ever). And then he came back long enough to ruin his potential marriage -- after he'd faked his own death -- before ultimately throwing his son out the window, paralyzing him. Thanks a lot, Dad.
Sawyer: Also had his life ruined by Locke's dad, who conned his mother out of some money, inspiring Sawyer's own father to shoot and kill himself and his wife. Though Sawyer eventually found salvation.
Sun & Jin: Well, Jin pretended his dad was dead, to spare him the ignominy of having to meet Sun's extraordinarily wealthy family. And we all know about Sun's issues with her dad, who was prescient to send people after them before they boarded Oceanic 815 -- Mr. Paik is also friends with Chuckie Widmore, we know now, and is a scary, scary cat.
Claire: Never knew her father, her baby's father abandoned her. Although, as we know now, she was apparently the illegitimate child of (drumroll please) ... Christian Shepherd. Of course she is. Between Christian and Anthony Cooper, half the Island is related.
Kate: Yikes. Kate also never knew her biological father, and her adoptive father ... well, Kate blew him up. That's ... um, well ... that's not what most of us call well-adjusted.
Charlie: Raised an altar boy. Dad didn't like his career choice. Seems like small potatoes, comparatively speaking.
Boone & Shannon: Hey, these guys! Yeah, I'd forgotten about them, too. I don't know they necessarily had "daddy issues," although it was likely pretty difficult on them to become siblings at age 10. That counts, no?
Ben: One of the biggest daddy complexes of the entire cast -- Ben was raised by his abusive DHARMA Initiative dad, who reminded his son often that he'd killed his mother (who died in childbirth). Eventually, Ben killed him with poison gas. Which is healthy, I think.
This actually led to Ben becoming a lousy father in his own right, shielding his daughter from her mother for most of her life, then refusing to sacrifice himself for her life.
I'm sure I'm leaving out something. The real question is what it all means -- to quote Dr. Charlie Hannah, the "so what" factor.
And the answer to that is ... actually, I have no idea what the answer is. A number of characters also have "mom issues," as detailed here on Lostpedia. It seems like the father stuff is slightly more pervasive, however.
As always, we're open to commentary here. And, since I have nothing else to add, here's George Michael singing a song that has nothing to do with this discussion whatsoever.