Posted by DarkUFO at 8:55 AM
Warning: Contains mild spoilers.
Based on the hints we already have for season 5, it's becoming apparent that the series will not play out with flashforwards and flashbacks, and will instead focus on at least 3 differnt primary locations in both time and space, and perhaps more.
The easiest location to identify and define is the real world and time location where the O6 are located. Desmond, Widmore, Ben, Walt, and "Jeremy Bentham" are all there as well.
The second location will be the Island, and while it is hard to define exactly when or where it is, we do know that Locke and the remaining hostiles/others are with him. It is very likely that Sawyer, Juliet, and the researchers are also there, but they may in fact be located in a very different time, while still being on the island.
The 3rd setting will be in the past, during the time of the Dharma Initiative, Hallowax, the Purge, Alpert, and a Rousseau who has just crashed. It may be that Locke and his crew have come to this time as well, or that Sawyer and Juliet have, or even both or neither, but regardless this setting will be important in explaining the backstory of the island and several of its major longstanding characters.
This season we will learn the story of Rousseau and consequently about the roll of the supposed "sickness". We will learn about Marvin Candle/Hallowax and the true focus of the initiative projects, including the numbers. We will get to follow Richard Alpert and find out why he has been recruiting Locke, Ben, Juliet, and others. We'll see all of this during the focus on the island's past.
Meanwhile in the present, the 06 will be focused on action, and getting back to the island. The 6 will gradually move to together and learn about the need to get back and how to do it. Through Sun, we'll find out the intent of Widmore and his relationship to Ben, and in the end the 6 will determine that going back is the only way to overturn the "bad things" that Jeremy Bentham described and they will make it back in time to face whatever awaits them in season 6.
What awaits them, is the fallout from those "bad things" that Jeremy Bentham told them about, and the 3rd focus on Locke and his group of other's will show us what happened during the absense of the 06. This group perhaps has the most questions to answer, as we don't know where or when they are, what Locke's goals are, what happened to them, or even why it matters.
And still there are a number of wildcards. Where is sawyer or daniel? Is Jin alive? Surely Desmond isn't out of the picture, but what will he have to do with the 06? How about Frank? These players may be parts of the 3 primary focus areas, or they may operate independently.
Either way, at this end of this season, we will know the intent of the Dharma Initiative, the remaining character backstories will be filled in, and the O6 will be back on the island with a nearly complete knowledge of their true purpose.
Season 6 will be set up then for them to finally act on this purpose. Whether they are to correct a flaw in time, to prevent the end of humanity, or to protect some ancient culture or secret, the events of season 5 will be the last step in establishing the rolls of each character which have been trying to figure out since Pilot Part 1. We will finally see how each of them has been set up to accept whatever destiny they have, how each of them was brought together, and how they are ultimately connected.
Season 6 will then be the true story. Everything until now has set up the ultimate battle or confrontation over the Island's purpose. In season 6 we'll see the final showdown between Ben and Widmore, Locke and Jack, The Losties and the Hostiles.