1x02 Locke Backgammon set

Locke referenced a competition between competing sides - "one is light, one is dark" - years before Jacob and the Man in Black's rivalry was revealed.

Foreshadowing is where a writer drops subtle hints about plot developments to come later in the story. Unlike a flash-forward, a foreshadowing only hints at a possible outcome of the story, without describing it explicitly. A hint designed to mislead the audience is referred to as a red herring.

Foreshadowing was used a lot in Lost. Many events of later seasons of the show were planned out in the beginning, and as such, many clues or hints were dropped, even at the beginning of the show, foreshadowing the revelations soon to come.

Season 1[]

  • The opening shot of the series of Jack opening his eye ("Pilot, Part 1") mirrors his death in the final shot of the series when he closes his eye ("The End").
  • During the very first meeting of Jack and Kate, Kate is seen rubbing her wrists as she walks out of the jungle. We later learn she was in handcuffs during the crash("Pilot, Part 1")  ("Pilot, Part 2").
  • While Kate sews up Jack's wounds, he tells her a story about his operation on a young girl, to which Kate replies, "I would have run for the door", a subtle dialogue hinting at Kate's never-fail solution to being on the run to solve any of her problems. ("Pilot, Part 1")  ("Whatever the Case May Be")
  • John Locke explains backgammon to Walt by saying "Two players, two sides, one is light, one is dark." This foreshadows the conflict of the series involving the good and evil within a person and how they must cope with their faults on the island, which was later personified by Jacob and The Man in Black. ("Pilot, Part 2")  ("The Incident, Part 1")
  • Upon waking up on the island, John Locke constantly looks at his feet, and throughout his flashbacks, makes references to people not telling him "what he can't do." We later learn that he was paralyzed before crashing on the island. ("Walkabout") (However it's been revealed in subsequent interviews that Locke's disability was not conceived of during the filming of the Pilot: the scene where he stares at his legs inspired the plot twist.)
  • John Locke tells Jack he looked into the "eye of the island, and what I saw...was beautiful." In the final episodes of the series, we see the Heart of the Island, a glowing cave with a beautiful white light, the source of the electromagnetism on the island. ("Across the Sea")
  • When Michael talks to Jin about the watch that Jin attacked him for, Michael says he found it in the wreckage, and didn't want to waste an expensive watch. However, he then says this was ridiculous, because "time doesn't matter on a damn Island!" This foreshadows the reveal that the Islands properties can manipulate time. ("House of the Rising Sun")  ("Because You Left")
  • Claire mentions in a flashback that her mother would disown her if she ever found out she was pregnant. Thomas replies that "she practically has already." In season 3 we learn that Mrs. Littleton was hospitalized and put into a coma. ("Raised by Another")  ("Par Avion")
  • Boone climbs up to the beechcraft and finds a radio. He immediately begins to request help saying he is a member of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. The voice on the other end says "We're the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815!" In season 2, we learn that this was Bernard, a member of the tail section survivors. ("Deus Ex Machina")  ("The Other 48 Days")
  • Jack states, "I don't believe in destiny." Locke replies, "Yes you do, you just don't know it yet." This foreshadows Jack's change from a "Man of Science" to a "Man of Faith". ("Exodus, Part 2") ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")

Season 2[]

  • As Jack enters the Swan station for the very first time, Desmond blares "Make Your Own Kind of Music." Jack continues to investigate, and he stumbles upon the computer. Very faintly in the background, you can hear Kate screaming, "Jack!" several times. When we get to see Kate's perspective of these same events, we learn she was in the air duct at the time after escaping from the pantry Desmond locked her in. We see her screaming for Jack again from her perspective. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")  ("Adrift")
  • In "Orientation," when Helen speaks with Locke after the group therapy meeting, this conversation follows: "Most of the time I want to stand up and scream, 'Get over it, you freaks!'" "Why don't you?" "Eh, have to keep a cork in. Once I get all hot and bothered, there's no stopping me." This idea of corking dangerous energy later turns out to explain the Swan, the subject of the episode's present-day action. Later still, a literal cork restrains a larger force at the Heart of the Island. ("Orientation")  ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")  ("The End")
  • In "Abandoned", Shannon, looking for Michael's and Walt's belongings, walks up to Rose and Hurley while they are hanging laundry to dry. After she leaves, Rose says to Hurley, "Poor thing. It can't be easy losing the one person you love on the island." Later in the season, Hurley meets Libby, who becomes his love interest. She is later shot and killed by Michael in "Two For the Road". ("Abandoned")  ("Two for the Road")
  • Ana Lucia finds a U.S. Army knife on the island. We later learn in season 5 that the island had a unique history with the U.S. Army. The Army used it as a testing ground for nuclear weapons, one of said nuclear weapons, Jughead, would play a big role in the endgame of season 5. ("The Other 48 Days")  ("Jughead")
  • Sawyer tells the bearded man that they aren't finished yet. Sawyer would later kill him. ("The 23rd Psalm")  ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
  • While picking up a radio signal, Hurley and Sayid discover a station broadcasting classical jazz. Sayid notes it could be coming from anywhere, to which Hurley says, "Or any time....Just kidding, dude." ("The Long Con")  ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2")
  • In "The Long Con," Sawyer referred to himself as the "New Sheriff in Town." Later Sawyer becomes the DHARMA Initiative's head of security. ("The Long Con")  ("LaFleur")
  • Bea Klugh threatens Walt that he will go "back to the room" if he says anymore to his father while he was being held hostage. In season 3, we saw Room 23, a room that the Others were currently using to brainwash Karl into submission. ("Three Minutes")  ("Not in Portland")

Season 3[]

  • When Kate wakes up in the showers, Tom is standing there watching her. He tells her to get changed. When she refuses to change in front of him, he laughs and says "You're not my type." In season 4, we learn Tom is gay. ("A Tale of Two Cities")  ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
  • At the beginning of The Glass Ballerina a flashback is shown of Sun accidently causing a glass ballerina to fall and smash into the ground. This foreshadows Jae Lee committing suicide by jumping off of a building when he thinks he can never be with Sun again. ("The Glass Ballerina")
  • The Others' strange burial techniques are revealed when they sent Colleen's body off into the ocean on a burning raft. As later learned, The Man in Black, enemy of the Others and the reason they are there to protect the island, namely The Heart of the Island, can shapeshift to look like deceased people, explaining their unusual forms of burial. ("Not in Portland")
  • After seeing them arguing at the airport, Nikki makes Paulo promise that they will not end up like Boone and Shannon. Boone and Shannon, as we know at the time, are dead, and by the end of the episode, so are Nikki and Paulo. ("Exposé")  ("Do No Harm")  ("Abandoned")
  • Locke tells Paulo that things on the island fail to stay buried. Paulo himself is buried at the end of the episode., Years later, Miles digs up his and Nikki's grave to get their diamonds. ("Exposé")  ("Dr. Linus")
  • Locke further questions Eko about what he saw when he encountered the Monster. Locke says he saw a "beautiful, bright light." Mr. Eko simply replies, "That is not what I saw," implying that they may each be talking about separate things and foreshadowing the beautiful bright light of The Heart of the Island. ("The Cost of Living")  ("Across the Sea")
  • The title of the episode ("Enter 77") foreshadows the characters' eventual jump into the year 1977. ("Enter 77")  ("LaFleur")
  • Sayid tells Jack "I'm wiling to give my life if it means securing rescue" ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1"). Sayid later gives his life, ("The Candidate") leading to Kate, Claire, Sawyer, Miles, Frank and Richard's rescue. ("The End")

Season 4[]

  • Miles Straume calls the freighter and asks Regina where Minkowski is, to which she says he can't come to the phone. We later learn he is suffering from temporal displacement, something Desmond would also experience. ("Confirmed Dead")  ("The Constant")
  • After Locke fatally wounds Naomi Dorrit, she phones George Minkowski to say: “Tell my sister I love her” ("The Beginning of the End") which Miles later reveals is code for having a gun pointed at your head ("The Beginning of the End"). While pointing a gun at Jack, Miles tells Daniel Faraday: “Like right now, Jack here would say ‘tell my sister I love her'”. Jack does not yet realise that Claire is his sister ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1"). Also, when Sawyer is overly protective of Claire, Miles asks him "What are you? Her big brother?" while Claire is unaware that she has an older brother ("Something Nice Back Home").
  • When Jack takes antibiotics for what he believes is a stomach bug, Kate jokingly asks for his prescription to which he replies "Yeah. Wrote it myself." ("The Shape of Things to Come"). Later, off the island, Jack becomes addicted to oxycodone and tells a pharmacist that his dead father wrote him the prescription when in fact he wrote it for himself ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 2").
  • Whilst playing Risk, Hugo bemoans Sawyer after he forfeits Australia to Locke. "Australia’s the key to the whole game” he complains ("The Shape of Things to Come"). Later, Hugo, Sawyer, Jack and Kate learn that they were Jacob’s candidates for taking over his role as the island’s protector and defeating The Man in Black (the game) and that they were all brought to the island on Oceanic Flight 815 from Australia (the key) ("What They Died For"). Later, off the island, Desmond warns Jack that Eloise Hawking and others are manipulating the Flight 815 survivors: "They're playing some kind of game, and we are just the pieces" ("316").
  • Sawyer tries to reassure a distressed Claire that everything will be fine once they get back to the beach ("Something Nice Back Home"), however before this can happen, Claire is led away by The Man in Black which leads to everyone leaving her alone on the island, including Aaron ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3")  ("What Kate Does").
  • Richard Alpert visits a young John Locke and asks him to identify which objects already belonged to him. It later turns out that Locke gave Richard one of the items after traveling through time. ("Cabin Fever")  ("Because You Left")  ("Jughead")

Season 5[]

  • Sawyer's group finds two outriggers. One of them contains an Ajira water bottle. It is unknown where the water bottle came from. We later learn it came from Ajira Flight 316, which crashed on the island and was the the plane by which 5 members of the Oceanic 6 returned to the island. ("The Little Prince") ("316")
  • Desmond tells his son Charlie that in Scotland there are monsters in deep lochs, which foreshadows the monster taking Locke's form. ("Jughead") ("The Incident, Part 2") ("LA X, Part 1")
  • Ben is waiting for the Monster to appear from the jungle to judge him. He hears something, which he assumes to be the Monster, but it is revealed to be just Locke. "Locke" turns out to actually be the Monster. ("Dead Is Dead") ("LA X, Part 1")
  • When Charles Widmore is banished from the island, he tells Ben that "one day, you'll be standing where I'm standing now" and that if the island wanted his daughter, Alex dead, that it would happen. ("Dead Is Dead") Later, Ben is forced to leave the island to purportedly save it from Charles ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3") and Alex is killed by one of Charles' mercenaries. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Season 6[]

  • Flight 815 experiences turbulance but then stops, Rose tells Jack that he can now "let go." now, foreshadowing the reveal of the purpose of the flash-sideways - to let go. ("LA X, Part 1")  ("The End")
  • A number of characters comment on death or dying in the flash sideways, foreshadowing the later revelation of the flashes' nature. Bernard's first lines include the phrase "I almost died". James asks Miles, "Did somebody die?" Kate asks Desmond, "Who died?" And the TV show James watches talks of people's memories sustaining them till they meet after death. ("LA X, Part 1")  ("What They Died For")  ("The End") ("Recon") When Sayid is bleeding out after being shot, he asks Hurley what he thinks will happen to him after he dies. ("LA X, Part 1")
  • Jack sees a neck wound several times, beginning on his journey on Oceanic 815, and later a scar on his abdomen, in the sideways world. These wounds were the very wounds he experience before he died on the island. We later learned that the sideways world was the afterlife, explaining the appearance of these scars. ("LA X, Part 1")  ("The End")
  • Not long after crashing on the island, Locke tries to get in to the Hatch which he believes is his destiny ("Deus Ex Machina"). This leads to Boone's death and Jack violently attacks Locke in front of everyone, blaming him for killing Boone ("The Greater Good"). After travelling back to 1977, Jack believes it is his destiny to blow up the site of the hatch before it ever gets built so that Flight 815 never crashes on the island. ("The Incident, Part 1") This leads to Juliet's death and Sawyer violently attacks Jack in front of everyone, blaming him for killing her. ("LA X, Part 1")
  • As Juliet dies, she tells Sawyer they should go out for coffee sometime and that they can "go Dutch." These were the exact same words she said when she met Sawyer in the Flash Sideways World, foreshadowing in death, Juliet was able to see her meeting Sawyer again in the afterlife, which was not revealed until the last moments of the series. ("LA X, Part 1")  ("The End")
  • Jacob explains to Richard, in a form of metaphor, that the island was like a cork keeping evil at bay so it doesn't escape out into the world. As seen later in the season, this metaphor was much more accurate than we originally suspected, as the Heart of the Island literally contained a cork that prevented the electromagnetism from escaping and destroying the island and, possibly, the entire world. ("Ab Aeterno")  ("The End")
  • Elouise tells Desmond who is outraged at the the prospect of returning to the island that “the Island isn't done with you yet”. ("316") After returning to the island, Jack tells Sawyer that “the island isn’t done with us yet” which enrages Sawyer. ("The Last Recruit")
  • After Jack takes Jacob's place, Hurley says "I'm glad it's not me." We see in the next episode that he takes over for Jack as the new guardian. ("What They Died For")  ("The End")