With an episode that good, I think it's time for another discussion thread.
Not only the best episode of the season, but in my top few episodes ever. We got answers! Actual answers!
One question though: Jacob was willing to put quite the butt-whooping on Richard/Ricardo to save himself. Why didn't he do the same when Ben came after him? Or is it part of his plan? Did he know that among the candidates there's one who would finally be able to replace him [I'm guessing it's Hurley after last night], so, unlike when Ricardo went after him, he could "let go"?
Last night we learned that the island is more or less a prison. The job of Jacob (and whoever succeeds him) isn't to protect the island from Smokey, it's to make sure he can't leave -- allowing evil to consume the world and creating a hell on earth. Since the island is submerged in the flash-sideways, we can assume that Smokey is free. So... where is he? Are things about to get very, very bad for the residents of the sideways timeline?