I kind of hope Jacob winds up being the big villain of Lost. He's just so smug and manipulative, as evidenced by last night's totally awesome episode. Spoilers ahead.
Maybe it's the fact that Jacob is portrayed by Lucifer from Supernatural, but I don't trust the guy at all. He's like a caricature of a god: telling half-truths to suit his own purposes, dragging people around on quests without giving them the real 411, and generally yanking people's chains. (And then, of course, there's the fact that he's willing to let his most devout followers be massacred without a peep, but he's unhealthily fascinated with what happens to Jack and Hurley, because they're "candidates." Although Sayid's a candidate too, and Jacob doesn't seem to be too worried about him.)
The main reason to hope that Jacob is the good guy is because Hurley is shaping up to be his right-hand dude — his Moses, sort of — and it would be a total bummer for Hurley to turn out to be on the wrong side. Hurley was by far the greatest part of last night's episode, and Miles was right about him becoming the new leader, stepping into the vacuum that Jack left behind. (Somehow "Jack" and "vacuum" seem to go in the same sentence quite well. Why is that?) Maybe Hurley is the winning candidate, and he'll wind up becoming the new Jacob, or whatever. (I doubt it, but it would be kind of awesome.) I wonder if Jacob could only show himself to Hurley after his death, because of the "rules."
Jacob probably is the "God" to Smokey's "Devil," in any case, because last week Smokey said the island is just an island, which we're pretty sure isn't true. Plus no matter how badly Jacob jerks around his followers, Smokey treats his friends a lot worse, as we saw last night.
You could tell "The Lighthouse" was a pretty important episode, given that it was written by producers Cuse and Lindelof and directed by Jack Bender. The main point of it seemed to be the "broken" Jack getting further sucked into his daddy issues on the island, while simultaneously getting over them a little bit in the L.A. universe.
So clearly Christian Shephard was just as much of a bastard in the "new" version of events as in the old version — he said the same crap to Jack about how he didn't have what it takes. And in both universes, the guy's gone missing after his death. The episode takes care to remind us that this is the case on the island, too, by having Jack happen across the empty coffin he smashed up. And Christian's dead hand is still yanking Jack's strings — he dances pretty well when Hurley says "You have what it takes," and he's forging the same kind of distant, uncommunicative relationship with his own son.
Both Jacks rebel against Daddy: Island Jack once again smashes something up and gets pouty. He already believed he had an important purpose on the island when he set off the hydrogen bomb, and that didn't work out so great, so now he's done with having a purpose. Meanwhile, L.A. Jack rebels in a much better way — by trying to be a cooler, less demanding father than his own was. The scene where Jack tells his (otherwise somewhat annoying) kid that he loves him and the kid can never fail in his eyes was incredibly moving and felt ultra-real.
The upshot is that island Jack is left ripe for Smokey's recruiting drive, since he's seen for himself what Sawyer had to be shown last week — his name written on a long list, with most of the names crossed out. You get the sense that Jacob wanted it that way.
The other great thing about Hurley's scenes last night was seeing Hurley and Jack palling around, like equals. Hurley asks Jack about his love life, and why he came back to the island anyway, and Jack can't just brush Hurley off. Like with Sayid telling Jack he trusts him a couple of weeks back, it's nice to see that some of these people have forged real friendships and aren't just in non-stop bickering, slap-fighting mode. Mostly, though, it was just another way Hurley rules — he sees Jack as just another one of his buds. (Although I'd rather watch Hurley and Miles go on a mission together, it must be said. And Miles' daddy issues are more interesting that Jack's, too.)
The "B" plot, meanwhile, was all about Claire going spla, in the manner of Rousseau, who also lost a kid on the island. This time around, it's pretty clear that Smokey is responsible for a lot of Claire's nuttiness. Smokey told Claire that the Others had stolen her baby, over and over again — first as her dad, then as Locke. And he's systematically warped her and encouraged her dead-squirrel-baby tendencies, for some purpose. How exactly will this happen to Sayid? Hard to say, but maybe it involves Nadia somehow.
So yeah, it's a choice between two powerful forces. Jacob allows his followers to be massacred, rations truth like pills and is content with giving his chosen few a "nudge" in the right direction instead of just coming out and saying what he wants. And the Man In Black gets right up next to people, lies in their face, and lures them into killing their friends. Is it really too much to hope that Hurley winds up being the island's supreme being, and both Jacob and Smokey get banished?