Season 5, Episodes 1-2: Q & A
Q: Why does Richard give the compass to Locke?
A: If you'll recall from Season 4, there is an episode (Locke's flashback) where Richard visits young Locke and gives him a few different things to identify - one of these things being a compass. Richard tells Locke to show him something that belongs to him. Locke picks the knife and Richard says "I'm sorry, you're not ready." This is an example of Richard "testing the timelines." In other words, when Richard came to young-Locke, he was checking to see if he was in the new Timeline where he had spoken to Locke. Now that Richard has delivered the message, he should be able to go to young-Locke and Locke would now give Richard the compass, signaling that Richard now exists in a timeline where Locke has been "trained." Why does Richard want to train Locke? Probably becuase Locke is some type of prodigy, where the rules of fate don't apply to him
Q: Why doesn't Charlotte remember her mother's maiden name?
A: With the island moving to different times, someone in a new timeline created a past where Charlotte's mom died when Charlotte was very young. The fact that a new past had been re-written for Charlotte is causing a "merging" of memories, which is why she has a bloody nose. Also, because Charlotte's mother died earlier in the new timeline, Charlotte never got a chance to learn her maiden name. Personally, I didn't learn my mom's maiden name until I was like 15-years-old. So in "timeline 1" for charlotte, her mom may have died when she was 25. But in this new "timeline 2" that was created, her mom died when she was 5, so she still has the memory of her mom, but not the "full" memory.
Q: Why was Faraday on the island prior to Dharma discovering the donkey wheel?
A: I think Faraday was one of the original members of Dharam. The sequence in S5E1 happened around the year 1990, and Faraday was a mole trying to learn about time travel on the island. At some point before the purge, he took his learnings off the island and began his experiments to the real world - hence the testing of the mouse. He discovered how to create a rudimentary application of time travel, but was never able to re-create the full application that the island exhibited. This was because there is "something" unique about the island that allows it to travel in time at will. In the beginning of Season 4, we saw Faraday crying while watching the wreakage of Oceanic 815 - this was because he knew that him abandoning the island and Dharma had something to do with the plane crashing.
Q: What year is the island in now?
A: Dunno...I'd guess that it's some time prior to 1996, given that we still see Dharama and probably the hostiles at war.
Season 5, Episodes 1-2: Predictions
By the end of season 5, you will hear the lines:
Jack - Why should I trust you, Ben?
Ben - Because I'm from the FUTURE!
Season 5, Episodes 1-2: Commentary
I'm a little upset at where this show is going. When I created my theory, I was under the impression that the level of sci-fi and "unbelievableness" was minimal. I was expecting a "simple" application of time travel - one that was "believable" even in the real word, in our modern times. Now that we know the island can just "move at will" through time and space, I feel that the explanation for everything in the show is going to be "dumbed down" and "very sci-fi-ish." In other words, I don't think there will be a big set of "rules" that explain why things are happening. The island will do what it does simply becuase it can, or because there is some artifact that allows it to do so.