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Flash forwards Looking at the structure of the show we see that Lost has a specific timeline and is constantly playing your perspective of what time is. The show is from the beginning build up from flashbacks and on-island realtime events. The flashbacks learn us a little about the backgrounds of each character, but only from some parts of their pre-island lives. But that is not all! If you watch more closely you might notice a resemblance of the experiences of a character in the flasback and the on-island realtime events. There are a lot of the same issues a character goes through in the flashback as well as the realtime events. A sort of analogy if you will. This would mean the flashbacks are a sort of prediction of how realtime events take place.
This structure goes on for three seasons. From that point on we see a shift in structure! Suddenly there almost aren't any flashbacks anymore. Instead we see flashforwards. The producers made a very interesting change with this. The timeline is broken in the realtime on-island events and the flashforwards. The flashforwards actually take place beginning from the end of season 4 realtime on-island events. From that point on there's a period of three years in which the flashforwards took place and the season five on-island events take place. Those two timelines join almost halfway season 5. Knowing that we only saw a small portion of the three year period of the events the Oceanic six go through, they are now actually the same as the original flashbacks from season 1 to 3. You see only small parts of their lives. If the flasbacks show the same struggles the characters go through as the struggles on-island, then this could postulate that the flashforwards (now flashbacks) also predict events in on-island time in season 5.