While the episode is a mind-exploder and television entertainment at its finest for those who like to think about the shows they watch, it was not perfect and I had some little gripes with it.
A dumb thing for me was Ben telling Locke that he made up that conversation he had with Jacob when he brought Locke to the cabin back in season 3. That seems like a bit of a retcon and they’ve yet to address how/why the cabin disappears or moves. I felt that it was a weak cop-out of sorts and Ben saying he did it because he was embarrassed didn't make sense with his character and what else happened in that cabin scene. It seems that Ben turned into a more of a childlike character motivated by jealousy. That being said, we have seen him like that before with regards to Juliet...
Speaking of which, Juliet and Kate make no sense to me. They seem to have no earnest motivation for their actions and often seem to change their mind or support different characters simply out of spite of others. I don’t get their characters and we saw plenty of that this episode. To make it worse, there was one flashback for Juliet about her parents divorce thrown into the show for no purpose whatsoever other than to add lame dialogue for her to say to Sawyer.
Alright, let’s get biblical! The episode was ripe with religious connotations with the most focus obviously on Jacob and his enemy Esau who has taken the form of Locke in an attempt to take advantage of a loophole to kill him since he cannot himself. What did I just say? That's not confusing.
This dynamic we witnessed was cool but it was from the perspective of Esau (the other dude from the intro scene with Jacob) and I hope next season we get more of him and Jacob. Specifically, I want to see more history on Jacob and episodes focusing in on his perspective over the previous seasons and leading up to the events in the show.
Since I don’t have months to do all the research needed to grasp the history and knowledge required to completely understand the show, I’ll cheat and cite some things from the Lost wiki:
Jacob envisioned a "Ladder to Heaven" (described in the Book of Genesis 28:11-19) during his flight from his brother Esau.
In all three - Hebrew, Muslim, and Christian interpretations, Jacob’s ladder can be considered as a bridge between two worlds… a connection between God and Man. In the Bible, Tanakah and the Qur'an, Jacob was the younger twin of Esau. Benjamin was Jacob's youngest son. Jacob died in Egypt in slavery... but Jacob's descendants went on.
Egypt… like an Egyptian Statute perhaps? Could Jacob’s descendants be the losties he has chosen in the flashbacks… Likely relating to that list we kept hearing about starting in season 3. Remember when Pickett says that Jack's "not even on Jacob's list"?
Esau, who I assume is Jacob’s brother from the intro, seems to be the bad guy in all of this, taking the form of Locke to attempt to have Jacob killed.
In the Bible and Tanakah, Aaron is a direct descendant from Jacob.
Aaron? How interesting. Good thing Kate left him off-island or else, baby go boom!
According to the Book of Malachi, God "loved Jacob but hated his brother Esau" (Malachi 1:1-3).
Remember that "God Loves you as He Loved Jacob" video that Karl was forced to watch back in season 3? That same room that Walt was likely put in when held captive and forced to “take tests” back in season 2? Things are starting to come full circle!
There’s also mention in the religious texts of a guardian/guardian angel for Esau and him being evil. Could this be Smokey the monster? That would certainly explain it taking the form of young Rousseau and telling Ben to follow Esau (in Locke form) which led to Ben’s willingness to kill Jacob for him (Hence, Esau find and using a loophole). Also, this explains why Locke tells Richard to tell the real Locke during that time loop paradox that he needs to die in order to bring back the Oceanic Six to the island – It was actually Esau telling Richard that!
We can extend this further to say that Smokey/Esau’s Guardian/Esau took the form of Jack's dad, Christian Shephard and pretended to speak on Jacob’s behalf in older episodes. The phrase and episode title “dead is dead” sure means a lot more now in relation to these characters.
The Smoke monster, also known as Cerberus from the map we saw hidden in the hatch made by Radzinksy and Kelvin, seems to be the protector of the temple and so it has some connection to the ancient folk who built the structures and the statue. That map from the hatch also had several spots labeled “CV” which was confirmed to mean Cerberus Vents, likely the holes we’ve seen where the smoke monster comes from. As for the name “Cerberus,” in Greek and Roman mythology Cerberus is a multi-headed dog which guards the gates of Hades. Hades has multiple meanings, some of which refer to the ancient Greek underworld and its God, or the domain of the dead and the lord of the dead. Could that be Esau?