Lost has always been a flirt with Star Wars. Batting its eyes with its Chewbacca/Jin comparisons. Giggling sweetly at the "I have a bad feeling about this" remarks. But Something Nice Back Home cut the flirting and made a serious move. Jack stood on the toy Millenium Falcon, Aaron’s mobile was of stars and planets and then came the realisation that Aaron, like Luke Skywalker, has an uncle who is impeding his destiny. "You're not supposed to raise him, Jack."
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Luke and Leia were brother and sister. For most of the time, they were unaware of this. For most of the time, neither were the audience. Ditto Jack and Claire. The estranged siblings on an Island immeasurably far away in a time unspecified. Possibly Jack has found out the truth. "You're not even related to him!" he accusingly fired at Kate, as though stating more right over Aaron. Perhaps that sense of duty was what made him change his mind since Eggtown and give Kate and Aaron a try. Maybe. But I'm inclined to think not. I think that was just one of those neat irony things Lost also likes to flirt with.
Of course, the upshot to all of this is that the parallels with Jack and Claire/Luke and Leia mean that, ah, Christian Shephard is this guy:
Has Christian lead Claire off to the dark side? Well, there's only so far you can stretch the Star Wars angle, but it brings me to my first point of analysis: What happened to Claire?
If it didn't seem so altogether completely stupid I'd suggest that she was dead. Seriously. As in she died when her house exploded during The Shape Of Things To Come. It was a credulity-straining survival, when you think of it. And consider Miles' curious behaviour. Sawyer interpreted Miles' staring as lustful - but Miles the 'Ghost Whisperer' was perhaps more taken with Claire being a fully-fledged, moving spirit. That would explain why he allowed her to go; if she really was dead then why would he follow her? And I think of how Claire didn't want to remain at the burial site of Rousseau and Karl (yep, Rousseau's definitely dead!) and I get more enticed by this possibility.
Hell, even Claire walking around carrying Aaron doesn't stop her being a dead person on the Island. Look at how Christian Shephard was creepily holding Aaron in his arms by the campfire?
So is that it? Claire's one of them now? The evidence points towards it. But the eternal cynical optimist in me won't believe it. I believe Christian either did something, or told her something, or showed her something pretty astonishing or compelling or inarguable that made her ditch Aaron and disappear. Point is, through choice or against her will, the alive Claire left Aaron and we just don't know the reason why yet.
I mentioned up above about how Lost likes to flirt with irony. How about this for a seduction technique? In the episode A Tale Of Two Cities Jack bursts into his father's alcoholism meeting and accuses him of sleeping with Sarah. This startling event plunges Christian Shephard back onto the booze where he remains an alcoholic until his death. Then, in Something Nice Back Home (an ironic title if ever there was one!), a dead Christian Shephard appears in Jack's life and the event is so startling Jack immediately snaps up some clonazepam pills and washes them down with a beer. All he needs to do is stop shaving with that nice razor Kate thoughtfully bought for him and the transformation to Suicidal Bearded Jack in Through The Looking Glass will be complete.
Whilst Jack's paranoid control-freak was shining through, Kate wasn't exactly doing herself any favours with her sly phone calls and cloak and dagger behaviour. Jack caught her talking on the phone, making plans to stay "for at least an hour", and then the next day she came home late saying she had been fulfilling a promise to Sawyer. Now what on Earth could that be about?
Given that the only ties off-Island connected to Sawyer were Anthony Cooper (the "real Sawyer", now dead) and Cassidy (with their daughter, Clementine) it would seem that Cassidy and Clementine are this promise. Sawyer did send a sizeable amount of money for Clementine in Every Man For Himself when he was released from prison, and given the protective quality he has shown towards Claire this force in his nature is particularly strong.
Sawyer - "Why are you telling me this?"
Cassidy - "I just thought you could write her a letter. Her name's Clementine."
Perhaps Sawyer gave Kate a letter to give to Clementine. (He's fond of letters. He wrote one as a kid to the real Sawyer and carried it around his whole life.) Perhaps Kate met Cassidy and the two realised they had met before (during Left Behind) and a clandestine friendship picked up. Mind, Kate's heavy-handed insistence that Jack should trust her did hint that Kate is up to something that she can't mention yet. My train of thought de-rails here.
We have been given information that Sawyer will get back to the beach camp before the Oceanic 6 leave. (When else could Sawyer have requested this promise for Kate to fulfil?) Furthermore, with Jack saying that Sawyer chose to stay on the Island, it seems the Oceanic 6's freedom was based on a voluntary decision. Sawyer had stated he planned to remain on the Island simply because there was nothing else for him in the real world. Perhaps all the non-Oceanic 6 people made that same decision.
I can't believe all the decisions were made willingly though. Juliet desperately wants to go home to her sister and yet, as far as we can tell, remains on the Island. And then there's Claire leaving Aaron (although if she is dead then I guess leaving might be tricky!). And speaking of potentially dead people, Jin prophetically stated to Sun: "I will get you and our baby off this Island" - further foreshadowing that he's not going to make it. So, yes, maybe the non-Oceanic 6 people did make a choice to remain but I can't visualise it being a particularly willing choice. More like someone saying yes when they've got their arm twisted behind their back.
There is the suggestion being seeded, however, that the Oceanic people are not supposed to leave the Island. We've already witnessed Michael apparently unable to kill himself due to some 'Island force' in Meet Kevin Johnson. Inversely, Rose made the point that Jack - the person most likely to lead people to freedom - became almost fatally sick. The will of the Island? Or just badly-timed appendicitis? There's that whole faith vs science dilemma again!
Science is hard-pushed to explain the appearances of Christian Shephard and Charlie in Flashforward Land. Hurley has reached the conclusion that he must be dead, but really he seems stricken by the feeling he is in a place he doesn't belong. "They need you," Charlie told Hurley. The initial inference was that 'they' needed Hurley and the other Oceanic 6 because ‘they’ were in danger. But maybe that's not it. Maybe the Oceanic 6 are like missing pieces of a mosaic that need to be set in place to complete the picture.
So the Island sends the likes of Charlie and Christian Shephard and Libby to spread the message, nightmarishly pressing Island-leavers to return. (If Widmore's been to the Island he's experiencing the same thing, that's why he needs a bottle of whiskey to help him sleep at nights.) Jack's "We have to go back!" cries at the end of Season 3 are gathering momentum. In short, Something Nice Back Home is heavily hinting that "back home" is now the Island.