I felt a little disappointed by this episode and when I reviewed my disappointment later, both in isolation and at the weekly SciFiCafe I realized that it was due to the "revealing" of Jacob.
My personal opinion had been that Jacob was some sort of fabrication, a figure presented on the computer or in films, and that the fabrication was done by Ben or another Other or even by Dr. Marvin Candle (my favorite choice). What we got was that Jacob was maybe a figment of Ben's imagination, which I could have handled, or maybe something real that faded in and out of existence. It's the second option I don't like so much. Just when they're presenting that Ben is a little bonkers, you get a hammy deep voice saying "help me", some cheap HauntedMansion-esque special effects, and a spectral figure. I wasn't sure that Locke should have been so frightened by what happened.
This relates to my concern about LOST that they are going to be explaining a lot of what happens with the island using, essentially, "magic". Into the category of "magic" I put things like otherworldly spectres, time travel and multiple universes. The problem I see with using this approach is that you can essentially explain away anything using this, no matter how clumsily you do it, and in my opinion it's a lazy method of explanation. I get the sense the writers are trying to have it both ways: there's no Jacob, there is a Jacob. Time to choose, guys!
During SciFiCafe, I was rightly challenged for this statement in that I would accept people rapidly healing and the magnetic anomaly and all the animals and the video screens and the hatches, but not Jacob and not Desmond's odd time travel and not multiple universes. It's a good point and my only defense is that if you're going to have science (and magic can be science, according to Clarke's principle), then you have to have a consistent level of science. Most everything has been explainable using current or near science. Tossing in ghosts and bad time travel, in my opinion, breaks the world of LOST. If I wanted ghosts, I'd watch "Ghost Whisperer" or "Medium" and I'd be content that the world supports the events of the show.
That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
Beyond that, I thought the rest of the episode was enjoyable. Ben's back story (which was also part of the Dharma back story) was interesting to see, though Ben's "daddy issues" were a bit stock (my dad drinks a lot and he never loved me cause I "killed" my mom). Ben shooting Locke was a surprise, I hadn't seen any spoilers on that, but I could have guessed it and it's a bit disingenuous because we know Locke is coming back. The division of the LOSTies about Juliet was predictable, the question is: when the poo hits the fan, who is going to betray who? (Juliet, Jack, LOSTies, Ben, Karl, Alex, Tom, who?)
Next week the LOSTies continue on a plan to get off this freaking island. I bet it involves a boat, a satellite phone, a parachutist and and an underwater beacon. How do you reconnect an underwater beacon? Maybe you use a submarine. But Locke blew up the submarine, you say? Yes, he did. Didn't he?
In two weeks, we have the season finale which supposedly has many twists and turns and a gigantic game-changing revelation ("the snake in the mailbox", Damon and Carlton call it). My guess is that it involves the boat coming (but not stopping), the Others and LOSTies battling it out, a volcano threatening to erupt, and Jack being involved a lot more than anyone suspects. We'll just have to wait and see.