Lost’s Comic-Con panel was filled with rehearsed theatrics and little substance.  It’s all forgivable, of course, considering that Lost needs its secrets and that filming has not yet begun on season 5.  Fans shouldn’t have expected more than what the panel gave them, especially considering the surprise appearance by Matthew Fox and the minor tidbits that were put forth by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.  There was one off-handed remark by Darlton that I would like to discuss, because it could be very telling as to how season 5 will play out.  Or, it could be a sleight of hand, the kind of which Lost is generally known for.  The deceit was this: the writers are no longer thinking in terms of flashbacks and flash forwards.  Those story devices are, for all intents and purposes, firmly in Lost’s past.  What, if anything, does this mean?

For clarity’s sake, this is what my colleague Don Williams wrote while covering the Lost panel:

However, the most exciting thing about the new season is that the writers are once again shaking up their storytelling techniques.  They plan to tell stories on the island, off the island, in the past and in the future.  When the season premiere begins viewers will have no clue when or where they are, which is just how the Lost masterminds like it.

With that in mind, here’s my theory for how Lost will be structured, at least for the first part of season 5.

When we last left our castaways, they were separated by both time and geography.  The Oceanic 6, Ben and the corpse of John Locke/Jeremy Bentham are off the island, about three years after they all left the island.  Meanwhile, everyone else who stayed on the island, including the still alive John Locke, have been transported either to a different location, a different time, or both.  Either the island people are still three years behind the Oceanic 6, or roughly two years and two months behind (depending on if they jumped in time exactly as far as Ben did). 

Regardless of the details, we know this: the cast is on two different time planes.  They will intersect at some point during the season, most likely when the Oceanic 6 makes it back to the island to right their wrongs.  How they go about making this intersect happen is the real question.  Because of the no-flashback policy stated by Darlton, it would make perfect sense that the beginning of season 5 would simply intercut between the two time periods every episode. 

This means the on-island action will be told in a far more accelerated/mysterious fashion than the return of the Oceanic 6. Half of each episode will be on the island, half of it off.  Just like before, the only exception being that they won’t technically be flashbacks or flash forwards – they will simply be the logical progressions of each of the story wavelengths. 

What are your thoughts?  Theories?  Comment below.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV