Season: 1–2 & 4, Episodes: 48, Faction: Survivors/Freighter
Michael Dawson was a former construction worker and one of the middle section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Before the crash, Michael lost custody of his son Walt to his girlfriend Susan Lloyd and never got to know him. He had no access to his child until many years later when Susan died and he was awarded custody. After the crash, Michael had issues connecting with Walt, but the two eventually bonded during their time on the Island. He was in charge of the construction of the raft and attempted to leave the Island with Walt, Jin, and Sawyer to find rescue. However, while at sea they were attacked by the Others, Walt was kidnapped and the raft was destroyed. They washed up on shore, discovered the tail-section survivors of the plane, and headed back to camp. After communicating with Walt on the Swan station computer, Michael ventured a rescue alone, but was captured himself. When he returned, he shot Ana Lucia and Libby in order to release Benjamin Linus from captivity, and caused the capture of Jack, Sawyer and Kate, meeting his end of the deal he had made with the Others in return for Walt.
After leaving the Island on a motor boat with Walt, Michael returned to Manhattan, but racked with guilt, he became estranged from Walt and turned suicidal. In order to redeem himself he went undercover for Ben as a saboteur on the freighter Kahana, posing as a deckhand named Kevin Johnson. He was aboard the freighter when the C-4 bomb was found, and he froze its battery with liquid nitrogen to delay its detonation long enough for the Oceanic Six to escape, but the bomb eventually exploded, destroying the freighter and killing him.
Because of his actions, Michael did not “move on” and his spirit remained on the Island. Michael would use Hurley’s ability to see the deceased to try and aid his friends, and could be heard among the whispers.
5×04 – The Little Prince
While on the Searcher, Kate and Jack discussed what to do with Aaron. Kate told Jack she wanted to take care of him herself. She didn’t want to lose Aaron, especially after all the people they lost on the Island; and cited Michael and Jin as examples. (“The Little Prince”)
According to the official Oceanic Six story Michael never made it off the plane after it hit the water, though in fact he was one of the first people to get off the island alive and then returned via the freighter, though he never actually went on the island.
When Locke went to visit Walt in New York, Walt asked him if his dad was back on the island to which Locke answered that the last he heard, Michael was on freighter near the Island. (“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”)
In 2007, when Michael’s mother took her grandson to see Hurley in the LA institution, they shared some small talk until Walt asked why none of them came to see him and why they are lying. Hurley told Walt they were lying to protect everyone left on the island; Walt responded, “Like my dad.” Visibly troubled, Hurley agreed with him (“Like your dad, yeah”) despite believing that Michael died aboard the Kahana when it exploded. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”)
6×04 – The Substitute
On Jacob’s cliffside cave wall the name “Dawson” is numbered 124 and crossed out. (“The Substitute”)
6×05 – Lighthouse
On the lighthouse dial, the name “Dawson” is numbered 124 and crossed out. (“Lighthouse”)
6×12 – Everybody Loves Hugo
Michael appeared to Hurley at Libby’s grave. He told Hurley that destroying the Ajira plane would get everyone killed and it would be Hurley’s fault. He said this would happen because people are now listening to Hurley. Later, Michael instructed Hurley to destroy the rest of the dynamite by blowing up the Black Rock. Miles asked why, and Hurley replied, “Michael told me to.” After a discussion of leadership between Jack and Hurley, the group heard the whispers, and this prompted Hurley to go find Michael. He later determined that Michael was now part of the whispers, and couldn’t move on because of what he did. Michael asks Hurley that if he ever sees Libby again (and not Ana Lucia), to tell her he’s sorry. (“Everybody Loves Hugo”)
Epilogue – The New Man in Charge
Following Hurley’s appointment as Protector of the Island, he and Ben traveled to Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, where Walt was committed. Ben told Walt that as he was “special”, he could help his father in an unspecified way if he returned to the Island, which Walt agreed to do. (“The New Man in Charge”)