In past seasons, the first few episodes laid the tracks for the rest of the season and was all set-up—usually awesome set-up— for the finale. Season 5 feels different and not in a bad way.
I think the writers want us to be uncomfortable. The Lost formula, for the first three seasons was flashbacks. Season 4 was flash-forwards. Now, it’s as if we’re heading full-impact to the finale of the show. There is no more information that we need to know-past or future-that pertains to what’s happening. We have all the backstories of the characters and understand how they got to where they are. The narrative structure of season 5 is that the O6+Desmond are 3 years into trying to live their lives off the island while juxtaposing what happened to the rest of the group three years prior as the time-travel and bleed out of their noses. Why the 3 year gap? Why not have shown what happened to Jack & Co. off-island along side the flashing islanders?
What if in the 70 hour window Mrs. Hawking/Ringlady/Daniel’s Mother is where Sawyer and everyone have flashed to and have only 70 hours until the next flash? If the people who left don’t make it back in that 70 hour window to stop the flashes, Sawayer and everyone might be lost forever, flashing around and possibly never flashing back to a time where the O6 can return? On the topic of those who left having to come back to stop the flashes, “That’s where we leave science behind.”
On another topic, if you think about it, now that flashbacks and flashforwards have seemingly gone the way of Jacob and disappeared, we have 2x more plot and events happening this season and next season. All bets are off in terms of what’s going to happen and I’m just holding on for dear life. It seems that the theme of Season 5 so far is that we’re all screwed.
P.S. While flashbacks and flashforwards are not part of the show anymore, I love how the writers are still utilizing the word “flash,” only this time the characters are saying it too, not just the fans.