Hi. I’m a scientist. Still confused by LOST's series finale? Think there are too many questions left unanswered or that it was purgatory the whole time? Well, I "respectfully" disagree. Send me your questions and I will answer them. I will write in complete sentences and support my answers.
Try not to ask too much about Walt.
Namaste or Whatever,
I’ve received a lot of questions about Jack’s Sideways son, David. Some samples:
"What’s up with Jack and Juliet’s son, David, in the Sideways? Why was he even there?"
"Jack’s son didn’t even exist in the real world. What was he? Was he an angel? An extension of Jack himself?"
"If the Sideways world was just there so they could all meet up at the church, why make things even more confusing by adding that character in?"
First of all, to be realistic, asking “why make things even more confusing by…” in reference to LOST is like asking “How come LOST?” Second of all, good question, I’m not confused by it at all. Before we dive in, though, I’d like to address the comment that “the Sideways world was just there so they could all meet up at the church” by saying “nuh-uh.” Understanding the Sideways world is integral to understanding David Shephard, so I suggest you check out some previous posts (church, more church, and some Ben/church) before we get into all this. Or, if you don’t want to read all those posts, just know that the purpose of the Sideways world was to “remember, let go, move on”.
David “existed,” like a lot of things on the show, for several reasons. Some of them are above the surface, some below, and some of them don’t even know what the word “surface” means. Let’s start with the obvious: David was a physical representation of Jack and Juliet’s bond. While they didn’t end up together and weren’t each others’ “The One”, they did have a very strong connection, and this was shown by their marriage, healthy divorce, and son. Both Jack and Juliet had really horrible relationships with their exes, and one of the things the Sideways did is give everyone a better, healthier off-Island life. Instead of having nasty, spiteful relationships with their respective exes, Jack and Juliet got each other, because they actually liked each other. Their son David, and their positive relationship with each other and their son, was an extension of their relationship that never came to fruition in “real life”. David was there (along with Jack and Juliet’s marriage/divorce) to help with step one of the Sideways world: To remember.
Now, you might say “Well, Sawyer and Kate didn’t have a kid in the Sideways, and they had a strong romantic connection. In fact, they actually boned. What gives?” You’re right, they didn’t have a kid in the Sideways, but Sawyer and Miles did and its name was “Kickass Takenames.” It’s not some rule that if you boned or wanted to bone in real life, you’d have some child representative, or that you’d be divorced in the Sideways. Everyone’s Sideways life was different in different ways. Roles were switched around all over the place. While there are technically rules for the Sideways, there aren’t rules that dictate exactly how things are different for you. And if anything, Jack got a son because, more than the other 815-ers, the Sideways was his place. Notice how he was the only person to get to talk to their dead father about the purpose of the world. Yes, it was for the 815-ers, but the most important 815-er was Jack, the hero. Which brings us to layer number two…
David also helped Jack get over those daddy issues that made him such a great cowboy. When Kate and Aaron lived with him, he was worried that he’d be a bad father, like his own, and he never got to get through that. David gave him that second chance, to be the father that Christian never was. To know for certain that he would have been a good father. This second chance allowed Jack to let go of his resentment of Christian. As I said above, we were told (by Christian himself) that the purpose of the Sideways was to “remember, let go, move on”. Jack’s son helped him with step two.
None of this, however, excuses the fact that David didn’t actually exist in real life. Who the hell is this kid? The Sideways just created him so Jack could watch him play piano? Is David an angel? Is he the Island? Short answer, no, of course not. For the longer answer, brace yourself, because I’m about to drop some straight-up knowledge on you. Hold onto your Jugheads: David is actually Jack and Kate’s son.
First, let’s look on the surface. Here's a picture of David. Look at that kid. Does he look like the product of Doc and Blondie? Knee-jerk reaction says “no.” Now look a little closer and realize that he has freckles. Do Jack or Juliet have freckles? Who does have freckles? In fact, who’s the one character who was referred to as “Freckles” since the first season? This isn’t an accident. Maybe the writers didn’t make the show you wanted, but they weren’t idiots. They cast a kid with freckles not because “Yeah, he’ll do”, but because they wanted to tell us something. This kid is Freckles, Jr. Let’s remember a few more things…
In the season 5 episode “316”, we were shown and told a lot of things. One, that Ajira 316 needed to recreate Oceanic 815 the best it could. Frank, the could-have-been pilot of 815; Sayid and Illana, The Kate (captive) and The Marshall (captor); Ben, The Sawyer who just killed a man and did not feel the relief he expected; Locke, the Christian’s-shoes-wearing corpse; Sun, The Sayid searching for a lost love; and Hurley, The Hurley. Where was the pregnant chick, though? Well, that was Kate. Earlier in the episode, Jack and Kate totally got their bone on, leading to Kate totally getting her pregnant on. They returned to the island, did a bunch of stuff, and then Kate left, saying goodbye to the father of her unborn child. She raised David off the Island, and so on and so on. Now some inb4’s…
"But if Kate was pregnant with David on the Island, how come Jacob said she was a candidate again? I thought mothers couldn’t be candidates."
Kate wasn’t a mother yet. She was pregnant, yes, but only by a few weeks. I won’t get into the “when does life start?” debate, but a lot of things could have happened with that cluster of cells in her uterus. The most logical thing would be that she wouldn’t have even had the baby. Women who spend the first few months of their pregnancy on the Island have a long history of not having that baby. If she did end up having it through the power of Island Protector Magic, she could have just given it away. She could have also had it and said “Fuck you, Jacob, you dead motherfucker, I’m keeping it.” The “but you’re a mother” rule for candidates isn’t an Island Rule- it’s a Jacob Rule. While Kate was pregnant at the time of the Jacob’s Candidates Campfire Meeting, she was not yet a mother, and Jacob was desperate. At that point, he probably would have given the job to Vincent.
"If David was Jack and Kate’s son, why didn’t he move on with them in the church?"
I’ve basically covered this in those posts I linked to at the beginning of this, but put simply, the church was not for him. He has other people in his life he’s made important connections with. Hell, maybe at some point in his life, Future Island Protector Walt visited and brought him (and Ji Yeon) to the Island, and they lived up their days reminiscing about the parents they barely knew. In the Sideways, David would have “woken up” with other people in his life, and moved on with them. Kate didn’t need to move on with her son, because she was doing just that: Moving on.
TL;DR: David Shephard was actually Jack and Kate’s son, and he represented the three purposes of the Sideways world: Remember. Let Go. Move On.