Last Tuesday, in the absence of new "Lost," I watched the pop-up version of "Ab Aeterno" and came away with a couple things.
1) They told us straight-up that the remaining six candidates were exactly what they told us they were: Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, Jin/Sun and Locke (with Locke obviously eliminated from contention now). No Kate, which might have been a production snafu on the lighthouse wheel, which also means Smokey was telling the truth about "not needing her," no Frank and no Ji-Yeon as well.
So I was totally wrong about Kate and it seems the writers have been playing it straight with us from the beginning on this point. In fact, it really does seem to me that this season pretty much all the answers have been fairly straightforward. We're heading toward an ending where one of the six candidates will become the new Jacob - and it seems it's going to be one of the expected ones all along (the only twist they can throw in there is if it's not Jack).
Part of me does wonder though, that if Smokey does finally figure out which of Jin/Sun is the actual candidate, if he'll immediately kill the other (or, at least, threaten to kill the other unless the candidate leaves with him).
2) Richard was the first of the Others - apparently everyone else Jacob brought to the Island before him had died (or been killed). Missed that the first time around. This also seemed to be the first time Smokey tried to kill Jacob too.
3) The Statue of Taweret was referred to as "protecting the Island." And since the Others really didn't start until 1867 with Richard, I wonder if the childbirth problems all stem from the statue being broken? Maybe the Others didn't even try to reproduce until Ben took the leadership mantel from Richard - after all, didn't Charles have Penny with an off-Island woman? And Eloise gave birth off-Island as well.
Maybe having kids on the Island was all Ben's idea in the first place - the Others simply hadn't even tried to have kids until then, being completely populated by Jacob from outside sources. Ben always did seem to want a "normal" life though, and may have encouraged them to try, especially after the Purge when they took over the Barracks. However, since the statue was broken and Taweret's protection was lost, Smokey was able to prevent any children (i.e. possible future candidates) from being born. Maybe the key to fixing the Island's childbirth issues is restoring the statue?
Just a few things muddling around in my head. Have a great Sunday - predictions will be up tomorrow. :)