Dr. Ethan Rom, born Ethan Goodspeed, was the son of Amy and Horace Goodspeed, and the surgeon of the Others. He spent some time as a child with the DHARMA Initiative, as well as The Others, who he eventually ended up living with. As a boy, he participated in the kidnapping of Danielle Rousseau’s baby, Alex, with Ben Linus. Years later, when Flight 815 crashed on the Island, he was sent by Ben to infiltrate the middle-section survivors. On the verge of being discovered, he kidnapped Claire and took her to a medical station. After she escaped, Ethan attempted to take her back but was captured himself. Shortly afterward, Charlie killed the captive Ethan by firing several gunshots into him.
On the Island (Childhood)
5×08 – LaFleur
In 1977, Amy, a member of the DHARMA Initiative, went into labor two weeks sooner than was expected, and so she couldn’t go off-island to give birth as she and her doctor had planned. When her baby was found to be breech, the doctor was worried about performing the delivery, because it needed to be a cesarean section and he was just an internist.
Juliet was brought in by Sawyer to perform the procedure and deliver the baby. (“LaFleur”)
5×09 – Namaste
The next day, Juliet walked up to a sleeping Amy, attempting to retrieve the sub manifest without disturbing her, but accidentally woke Amy up. Juliet picked up the baby and asked Amy if she and Horace had decided on a name. Amy replied the baby’s name was Ethan. (“Namaste”)
5×10 – He’s Our You
A couple of days later, several members of the DHARMA Initiative took a vote to decide whether to execute Sayid. While holding Ethan, Amy gave an impassioned statement about being unable to sleep worrying about their children’s fate while Sayid was there, so they all voted in favor of execution. (“He’s Our You”)
5×15 – Follow the Leader
In July 1977, when Ethan was only a few days old, Pierre Chang organized the evacuation of all the DHARMA women and children from the Island, in preparation for the coming Incident. Presumably this evacuation included baby Ethan and his mother Amy, but this is not explicitly stated. (“Follow the Leader”)
With the Others
6×03 – What Kate Does
Later on in his life, under unknown circumstances, Ethan started living with the Hostiles. It is not known whether he abandoned his father and the DHARMA compound and lived with the hostiles all the time, or whether he lived part-time with each group as Ben did. His surname changed to ‘Rom’ after he joined the Others. (“What Kate Does-Enhanced”)
5×12 – Dead Is Dead
In 1989, eleven-and-a-half year old Ethan, now living with the Hostiles, went with Ben to Danielle Rousseau’s camp on the beach. Ben had orders to kill Rousseau, and he told Ethan to stay back and be quiet after Ethan offered to do the job himself. Ben did not kill Rousseau, and instead took her baby. Ethan and Ben returned to their camp where they were confronted by Charles Widmore, who was upset that they did not complete the job, which Ben took full blame for. (“Dead Is Dead”)
3×20 – The Man Behind the Curtain
Ethan’s father, Horace Goodspeed, and the majority of the DHARMA Initiative were murdered during the purge. Ethan’s role in the Purge is unknown.
At some point in his life, Ethan became a surgeon. After Ethan had died, he was described by Ben as an excellent surgeon.
Off the Island
3×07 – Not in Portland
Sometime before September 5, 2001 (the time Juliet first came to the Island), Ethan was seemingly living across the hallway from Juliet’s ailing sister, Rachel Carlson. Ethan worked for Mittelos Bioscience but this company may have simply been a front used by the Others to conduct business in the outside world. On one occasion, he passed Juliet in a corridor in her apartment building.
Later, joined Richard Alpert in convincing Juliet to join their organization. He introduced himself as a man knowing of Juliet’s work, saying that it was “an honor” to meet her. Together, Richard and Ethan managed to successfully bring Juliet with them. (“Not in Portland”)
3×16 – One of Us
With Richard, he brought Juliet to Herarat Aviation. In the air terminal, Richard and Ethan administered to Juliet a tranquilizer mixed in a glass of orange juice that she knowingly drank after Ethan told her that the journey to the island could be “intense”. Later she woke up on the submarine, strapped to a bunk, and Ethan explained that it was a requirement to tie her down, as the last moments of the journey were “a little bumpy.” (“One of Us”)
Back on the Island
Before the crash of Oceanic flight 815
5×01 – Because You Left
Many years before the crash of Oceanic 815, Ethan was present after the crash of the Drug smugglers’ plane on the Island. When a time-traveling John Locke climbed up the cliff to investigate, he was shot down by Ethan. Ethan did not recognize Locke, and was about to execute him when Locke traveled to yet another period, saving his life. (“Because You Left”)
3×16 – One of Us
Ethan resided along with the rest of the Others at the Barracks, acting as the surgeon, as well as being actively involved in the community (such as helping to fix Juliet’s plumbing.) Along with Juliet and Goodwin, Ethan performed failed surgery on a pregnant woman named Sabine in The Staff’s operating theater. (“One of Us”).
3×01 – A Tale of Two Cities
After feeling shockwaves, Ethan, along with the rest of the Others, witnessed Oceanic Flight 815 breaking apart in mid-air. He was then ordered by Benjamin Linus to go to the crash site of the fuselage, pose as a mid-section survivor, come up with an adequate story if asked, stay quiet if not asked, listen, learn, don’t get involved, and make a list within three days. (“A Tale of Two Cities”)
Mobisode x10 – Jack, Meet Ethan. Ethan? Jack
On Day 4, Ethan introduced himself to Jack, when he gave him a case full of medicine that he said he found in the jungle. He told Jack that Claire may give birth on the island, and that he could provide assistance. Following this he mentioned that his wife died in childbirth along with the baby, and that he hoped rescue was on the way. (“Jack, Meet Ethan. Ethan? Jack”)
3×14 – Exposé
Not long after, he met Paulo and Nikki as they searched for their missing bag. He suggested that they try looking inland due to the plane splitting apart over the island. (“Exposé”)
1×09 – Solitary
While posing as a survivor, he accompanied Locke on some of his hunts. Ethan also said he found a bag with golf clubs in them out in the jungle and gave it to Hurley. He then played golf with the castaways. (“Solitary”)
1×10 – Raised by Another
On the 15th day, Ethan tried to inject something into Claire while she was sleeping, but she woke up screaming. He fled from the scene before everyone woke up and then returned as if he had just been woken up, and subsequently fetched Claire water upon Jack’s request.
After his attempt failed, Hurley decided to make a list of the survivors from the crash, so everyone would feel safe and secure around people who were once complete strangers. When Hurley interviewed Ethan, he claimed to be from Ontario. Hurley mentioned “You’d think we’d know everybody on the Island by now,” to which he replied, “Yeah. You would.”
Later, on Boone’s advice, Hurley found and consulted the flight manifest with the list he had made up himself. Ethan realized that eventually, with the new passenger quota and the flight’s manifest, the survivors would learn that he was not one of them. Ethan then prepared to make a hurried departure from the survivors’ camp. Thinking on his feet, he captured Claire and Charlie. He took them and disappeared into the jungle. (“Raised by Another”)
The survivors, realizing that they had been duped, organized several search parties to stop him. Jack, Kate, Locke, and Boone set out to track him and divided up along the way. Locke and Boone found nothing, but Jack was attacked by Ethan, who easily overpowered him. He pinned Jack down with a warning to stop following him or else he would kill one of the captives. Despite Ethan’s warning, Jack continued his pursuit, and Ethan hung Charlie from a tree. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)
2×15 – Maternity Leave
Ethan took Claire to DHARMA Initiative station “The Staff” where he and the Others, including Tom, were going to perform a Cesarean section in order to take Aaron for themselves. He drugged Claire to make her compliant and injected her, or her baby, with a substance. While showing Claire the Nursery, he was scolded by Tom for not making a list before bringing Claire.During the time Claire spent in the Staff, Ethan’s treatment of Claire was both concerned and sympathetic. He referred to the Others as “a family.” (“Maternity Leave”)
1×15 – Homecoming
After Claire escaped back to the survivors’ camp (with the help of Alex and Rousseau), Ethan set off after her. Acting on his own, Ethan attacked Charlie and Jin in the jungle and said that he wanted her back. After knocking Jin out with a slingshot, he told Charlie that he would kill a crash survivor every day if she did not return and that he would kill Charlie last. Jack reacted by organizing a defensive perimeter around the camp and at the beach. Shortly after Ethan’s threat, the survivors found Scott dead, battered and bloody, near the ocean. It was assumed that Ethan must have approached the camp from the ocean (although Scott’s killer has yet to be definitively identified). (“Homecoming”)
Ethan finally fell to a trap set by Jack, Locke, Sayid, Sawyer, and Kate with Claire used as bait. Jack physically overpowered him, and the group wanted to keep him alive in the hope of learning more about who he was and what his motives were.
However, Charlie pulled out a gun and shot Ethan six times at close range. (“Homecoming”)
1×15 – Homecoming
Upon being asked by Jack why he had killed an unarmed and captive Ethan, Charlie told him that Ethan deserved to die saying he “wasn’t going to let that animal anywhere near Claire again.” (“Homecoming”)
1×16 – Outlaws
His body was buried by Hurley and Charlie the next day, and it appeared that Charlie was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Nonetheless, with Ethan gone Claire finally felt safe at the beach camp and resumed her friendship with Charlie despite still having no recollection of her time with the Others. (“Outlaws”)
2×15 – Maternity Leave
When Aaron developed a sickness, Claire feared it was caused by something the Others did to him during her time in captivity. Desperate for answers and fearing for her son’s life, she asked Libby to help her remember what happened during her time of captivity. As she, Kate, and Danielle Rousseau trekked to the Staff for the vaccine, she remembered her time with Ethan. (“Maternity Leave”)
6×03 – What Kate Does
When Claire and Kate entered the hospital together, Kate went in search of a doctor and found Ethan, who introduced himself as Doctor Goodspeed. When Ethan entered Claire’s room, he asked her how she was feeling, and told her that she can have her baby that night if she wanted to. Ethan also offered to give her drugs to delay the birth, although he doesn’t want to “stick [her] with needles” unless it becomes necessary. After Claire chose to wait, the baby’s heartbeat monitor flatlined. Claire panicked, yelling “Is Aaron okay?”, but Ethan calmly performed an ultrasound and showed a relieved Claire that her child had merely shifted positions in the womb, and was perfectly healthy. (“What Kate Does”)
Associated DHARMA Stations & Location
Decoded Family Members
Decoded Season 1 Characters
Decoded Season 2 Characters
Decoded Season 3 Characters
Decoded Season 5 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
Asclepius is the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia (“Hygiene”), Iaso (“Medicine”), Aceso (“Healing”), Aglæa/Ægle (“Healthy Glow”), and Panacea (“Universal Remedy”). The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today, although sometimes the caduceus, or staff with two snakes, is mistakenly used instead. He was associated with the Roman/Etruscan god Vediovis. He was one of Apollo‘s sons, sharing with Apollo the epithet Paean (“the Healer”). Some historians consider that Asclepius probably was a real person, a very skilled doctor who treated people in Greece in about 1200BC.
He was the son of Apollo and Coronis. His mother was killed for being unfaithful to Apollo and was laid out on a funeral pyre to be consumed, but the unborn child was rescued from her womb. Or, alternatively, his mother died in labour and was laid out on the pyre to be consumed, but his father rescued the child, cutting him from her womb. From this he received the name Asklepios “to cut open”. Apollo carried the baby to the centaur Chiron who raised Asclepius and instructed him in the art of medicine.
Wives and offspring
Asclepios was married to Epione, with whom he had six daughters: Hygieia, Meditrina (the serpent-bearer), Panacea, Aceso, Iaso, and Aglaea, and three sons: Machaon, Podaleirios and Telesphoros. He also sired a son, Aratus, with Aristodama. The names of his daughters each rather transparently reflect a certain subset of the overall theme of “good health”.
Zeus killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt because he raised Hippolytus from the dead and accepted gold for it. Other stories say that Asclepius was killed because after bringing people back from the dead, Hades thought that no more dead spirits would come to the underworld, so he asked his brother Zeus to remove him. This angered Apollo who in turn murdered the cyclops who had made the thunderbolt for Zeus. For this act, Zeus banned Apollo from the night sky and commanded Apollo to serve Admetus, King of Thessaly. After Asclepius’ death, Zeus placed Asclepius among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus (“the Serpent Holder”).
Mythological Family Members & Associated Deities
Rod of Asclepius
The rod of Asclepius (⚕; sometimes also spelled Asklepios or Aesculapius), also known as the asklepian, is an ancient symbol associated with astrology, the Greek god Asclepius, and with medicine and healing. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. The name of the symbol derives from its early and widespread association with Asclepius, the son of Apollo, who was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. His attributes, the snake and the staff, sometimes depicted separately in antiquity, are combined in this symbol. Hippocrates himself was a worshipper of Asclepius.
The serpent and the staff appear to have been separate symbols that were combined at some point in the development of the Asclepian cult. The significance of the serpent has been interpreted in many ways; sometimes the shedding of skin and renewal is emphasized as symbolizing rejuvenation, while other assessments center on the serpent as a symbol that unites and expresses the dual nature of the work of the physician, who deals with life and death, sickness and health. The ambiguity of the serpent as a symbol, and the contradictions it is thought to represent, reflect the ambiguity of the use of drugs, which can help or harm, as reflected in the meaning of the term pharmakon, which meant “drug”, “medicine” and “poison” in ancient Greek; we know that today antidotes and vaccines are often compounded from precisely the thing that caused the poisoning or illness. Products deriving from the bodies of snakes were known to have medicinal properties in ancient times, and in ancient Greece, at least some were aware that snake venom that might be fatal if it entered the bloodstream could often be imbibed. Snake venom appears to have been ‘prescribed’ in some cases as a form of therapy.
The staff has also been variously interpreted. One view is that it, like the serpent, “conveyed notions of resurrection and healing”, while another (not necessarily incompatible) is that the staff was a walking stick associated with itinerant physicians. Cornutus, a philosopher probably active in the first century CE, in the Theologiae Graecae Compendium (Ch. 33) offers a view of the significance of both snake and staff:
“Asclepius derived his name from healing soothingly and from deferring the withering that comes with death. For this reason, therefore, they give him a serpent as an attribute, indicating that those who avail themselves of medical science undergo a process similar to the serpent in that they, as it were, grow young again after illnesses and slough off old age; also because the serpent is a sign of attention, much of which is required in medical treatments. The staff also seems to be a symbol of some similar thing. For by means of this it is set before our minds that unless we are supported by such inventions as these, in so far as falling continually into sickness is concerned, stumbling along we would fall even sooner than necessary.”
— Asclepius: A Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies, Baltimore, 1945
In any case the two symbols certainly merged in antiquity as representations of the snake coiled about the staff are common. It has been claimed that the snake wrapped around the staff was a species of rat snake, Elaphe longissima.
Confusion with the Caduceus
It is relatively common, especially in the United States, to find the caduceus, with its two snakes and wings, used as a symbol of medicine instead of the correct rod of Asclepius, with only a single snake. This usage is erroneous, popularised largely as a result of the adoption of the caduceus as its insignia by the US Army medical corps in 1902 at the insistence of a single officer (though there are conflicting claims as to whether this was Capt. Frederick P. Reynolds or Col. John R. van Hoff).
The rod of Asclepius is the dominant symbol for healthcare professionals and associations in the United States. One survey found that 62% of healthcare professionals used the rod of Asclepius, while 76% of commercial healthcare organizations used the caduceus.
The initial errors leading to its adoption and the continuing confusion it generates are well known to medical historians. The long-standing and abundantly attested historical associations of the caduceus with commerce, theft, deception, and death are considered by many to be inappropriate in a symbol used by those engaged in the healing arts. This has occasioned significant criticism of the use of the caduceus in a medical context.
“As god of the high-road and the market-place Hermes was perhaps above all else the patron of commerce and the fat purse: as a corollary, he was the special protector of the traveling salesman. As spokesman for the gods, he not only brought peace on earth (occasionally even the peace of death), but his silver-tongued eloquence could always make the worse appear the better cause. From this latter point of view, would not his symbol be suitable for certain Congressmen, all medical quacks, book agents and purveyors of vacuum cleaners, rather than for the straight-thinking, straight-speaking therapeutist? As conductor of the dead to their subterranean abode, his emblem would seem more appropriate on a hearse than on a physician’s car.”
— Stuart L. Tyson, “The Caduceus”, in The Scientific Monthly