While at first the time periods visited seemed random. This is because we were learning about them primarily through the eyes of several different survivors. However, when focusing on John Locke's experiences only, and using current insight regarding the events of the Season 5 finale, a pattern begins to develop: John Locke's experiences during his time-traveling better serve to enhance his faith and his connection to the Island, and these experiences were a direct result of the manipulation of time traveling by an outside force; conceivably and specifically, Jacob's enemy. Let's look at John Locke's final moments on the Island:

  • "Because You Left"
    • The Beechcraft. First time jump; 1990's-ish. A crucial moment in John Locke's history with the island was the discovery of this airplane and the events that transpired. Look it up. Huge impact on John to experience this crash firsthand. This would likely influence his faith that the Island is guiding him somehow. Then he is shot in the leg and left for dead. Until...
      • Meeting with Richard. And guess who else? Jacob's enemy in John's body, and Ben listening in the distance. Jacob's enemy manipulated Richard to go over there. The words that Richard used to persuade John were the words of Jacob's enemy. He was minipulating all of them. John's mission is to leave the island, retrieve the Oceanic 6 and Ben and bring them to the island for some unknown purpose. This is also where we learn that John might have to die to accomplish this. So the flaw in logic is that the man impersonating John Locke after the return to the Island on Ajira 316 would have to know that John would die, and that the success of this plan would somehow lead to the events of "The Incident" for all parities involved. He would have to know the future. However, conceivably an enemy that had the ability to time travel might know a thing or two about the future or the past.
  • "The Lie" and "Jughead"
    • The Flaming Arrows. During "The Lie" the survivors, not including John Locke, are attacked on their camp by a mysterious group or archers. After they escape, They reunite with John, after he saves them from a group of people in U.S. Army fatigues. We learn in "Jughead" that these individuals were a group of people living on the island including Charles Widmore, Eloise Hawking, and...
      • Meeting with Richard, part 2. Part 1, technically. John makes his way into camp and meets with a version of Richard who is meeting John Locke for the first time. We know that John has a history with Richard. We know that Richard visited him in the hospital the day he is born, and that it was this future/past John that suggested he do that. Richard visited him as a boy, and was always telling John how special he was on the Island. Richard has a ton of faith in John. I think that this is the direct result of this experience. My belief is that the individual who is causing the time travel is using this particular experience to manipulate Richard Alpert. He will listen to whatever John Locke says to him. John always speaks the truth, and Richard recognizes this through all of his experiences with John over the years. So when Jacob's enemy comes to town in John's body, no matter how outrageous his demands, Richard will always obey.
  • "The Little Prince"
    • The Hatch, dude. The Hatch! After another time switch, John Locke and his people are taken to a night that happened a few months prior during Season 1 of the show. The events of that night at the hatch, where John sees the light from the underground facility is one of the most important moments from John Locke's life. The moment his faith is solidified. John is calling out to God, and God answers. Of course, it's not God. It's Desmond. But that doesn't matter. For the character of John Locke, this seals the deal. He has total faith in the Island. Whatever happens, John is going to go full force. Now he knows what he has to do. He is going to follow the path set out for him by Jacob's enemy without question. He thinks he is doing what is best for the Island, for his friends, and for himself and his devotion, but he's not. We know now that it was a manipulation, and I believe that John had to come to this decision by no other means. The enemy knew that John would have to experience a string of miracles, as he always does, before he would be convinced to do his bidding.
      • Back to the Future. The survivors travel through time again. Probably to now. It is a time after Ajira 316 has crashed on the island. They are persued by unknown assailants. They travel again, out of harms way. It's 1988 and Danielle and her team of Scientists are living on the island. There are a series of jumps through time before John finally makes it to the Orchid station to complete his task of leaving the Island. These time jumps do appear to be more random in nature, but the rapid pace with which they occur begin to take their toll on the individuals involved. Charlotte, Miles, and Juliet could be dying. People everywhere are lost and alone. John is the only one who can stop the turmoil. While the current events of the time periods visitied may not have any direct impact on the storyline of John Locke, the well-being of everyone on the Island is his priority as leader. They arrive at a modern version of the Orchid Station, before quickly being transported to an earlier time where they find a well that John Locke enters. While John is going down the well, the group is taken to a time before a well even existed. The result of this is John ending up at the bottom of the well with a broken leg. Very similar to what happened during "Because You Left", John is injured (in the leg), and meets with an eerie individual who instructs him further on his path. This time it is Christian Shepard. We don't fully understand yet who Christian is working for, or the how or why. He has stated in the past to John that he represents Jacob and his desires. We don't know what's going on with that. But he has the information that John needs to return to the island after he has fulfilled his mission. He also tells him how to leave. John leaves with the assistance of a big wheel.
  • "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"
    • John travels to the modern day in our dimension to reunite the Oceanic 6 and return them to the Island. John is a failure in his mission and is filled with self doubt. He discovers that maybe Richard was right. We know what happens after that. John dies. This new guy takes over John's identity. For what greater purpose, we cannot know, yet. Part of that plan involves manipulating Benjamin Linus to kill Jacob, with some assistance from Richard Alpert. Things that have been set in motion for some time, but at least begining with the time traveling.

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