The explanation the flashbacks felt like stalling was that they have been, in reality, stalling. When “Misplaced” turned a breakout hit inside its first few episodes, ABC famously wished to pull the present out for so long as they may, and showrunner Damon Lindelof and the opposite writers needed to combat tooth and nail to let themselves have an finish date to work in the direction of. Whereas the community simply noticed the chance for infinite revenue, Lindelof understood that the present could not and should not final endlessly.
“Every time ABC could be like, ‘Why do you wish to finish the present?’ we have been like, ‘These flashbacks are finite,’ you already know? You are able to do, like, three flashbacks of Jack getting drunk and being self-destructive, or Charlie relapsing, or Kate operating away from the marshal that’s chasing her,” Lindelof defined in a 2020 interview with Collider. “However in the end with that stuff, the primary one appears like an origin story since you’re studying about that individual for the very first time, however all the opposite ones really feel such as you’re simply sort of treading water … we’re seeing about eight chess strikes forward and it ain’t gonna finish fairly.”
The breaking level was season 3, episode 9, “Stranger in a Unusual Land,” an episode whose flashbacks are devoted to fixing the grand thriller of what Jack’s tattoos imply. It isn’t a horrible episode; it is simply an episode the place you may really feel in your bones that the present is stalling for time. It is a filler episode so blatant, so irritating, that it made even the ABC executives understand they wanted to throw the writers a bone. An finish date for the present was lastly put in place, and shortly the present would have the ability to swap up the flashback construction.