Since season 2, the writers have eliminated the main theme of the season once it has fulfilled its purpose – the hatch, the Others, and the freighter. Accordingly, I believe the whole time-traveling/Dharma theme of season 5 will be done for. <SPOILER REMOVED> whatever it is, will occur, and shortly thereafter, one final time flash will bring all of the 1977 personnel to 2008. The Dharma people will all be dead and nothing will have been done to stop that; having all of the survivors in “present” day will allow the writers to leave the time-hopping business behind. This will lead to the reuniting of Sun and Jin in the finale and the bringing together of the 316 and 815 survivors. (As I’ve stated in a previous blog, I believe Bernard, Rose, Vincent, and any surviving redshirts will already be in 2008 by that time.)
What will cause that final time shift? I believe it will be a combination of the incident and whatever Sun’s current mission is. The finale itself will be very informative and spoilerific, putting to bed several of those remaining big mysteries so that season 6 won’t have to be such a jumbled mess of information and answers. Also, I realize that time travel may be a necessary endgame element that will be brought back to address four-toed statue/Adam and Eve/Black Rock/Jacob mysteries, but I do not think it will be as prominent as it was in season 5.
As far as a previous post regarding who the main cast will be, I’m thinking that if another main character will die, it will be Sayid. The Island believes in some form of justice, and he shot a kid. Plus, what storylines does he really have left? Mythologically, I think his remaining part in all of this is just about enough to explain one last (possibly centric) death episode. And although Frank is an awesome character, I don’t think he’s long for this world either. His purpose was to bring back the 316 crew, and he did that. Juliet will be reduced in status since Elizabeth Mitchell has signed on for another show. I agree with the common belief that Widmore, Richard, and Christian are all prime candidates for main-star status in the final season. And as much as I’d like to have Walt and Claire back for good, I think they will continue to be guest stars, but will be seen more frequently. Not sure about Caesar, Ilana, and Bram; if anything, I’d say only Ilana will get promoted. Seems like there’s a lot of story left to tell there.
One last note… “Some Like It Hoth” may have been the worst episode of the season so far. The Miles/Bram conversation was intriguing, but overall it only confirmed things we already knew or suspected, and offered little to no forward movement in the story. If there are more episodes like this, the finale will have to be stacked to make up for lack of substance.