Too much time was spent on the mother and on their childhood. Limited interaction between Mark Pellegrino (Jacob) and Titus Welliver (MIB), who have fantastic chemistry and are fantastic actors, weakened the episode.
I couldn't care less about the answers about the metaphysics of the island--I'm happy with what was revealed. But I wanted more answers about what makes these men tick-- a real in-depth look at how they became who they are and why they are motivated to do what they are doing now--a personal, deep story. Instead we got a very on-the-surface kind of explanation. The writers are the ones who introduced these two as central to this last season and the island in general, so it's up to them to give equally deep insights into who they are, even if they only had an hour.
And they stopped at the most interesting part. What about after MIB became Smokey? What was that first interaction like between the man who had just killed his brother and the monster he had become? Was Jacob riddled with guilt? When did they decide to start playing the game spoken of in the fifth season finale?
Where was the subtlety and nuancethat we've previously seen in the interactions between these two characters? Having a young Jacob say, "You don't love me as much as him, Mother," is lazy writing. SHOW US. "This island is my home," is not enough to just say. SHOW US. This ep is riddled with similar dialogue meant to hit us over the head with what Damon and Carlton wanted us to know, rather than showing us how the characters interact with each other and with the island and letting us draw conclusions for ourselves. This episode was not crafted as a piece of storytelling but as an info dump.
What kills me about this ep is that it could have been so much more. It was a complete waste of potential.