As I said in my review of last week's episode, all of this "LA-verse" stuff would be really interesting if there were multiple seasons left of the show, or some type of commitment from the creators to keep the series going in some form post-TV. But with things scheduled to end in three months, I just can't bring myself to get invested in THIS version of the characters.
It's the investment dilemma that "Lost" is struggling with. I'm invested in on-island Hurley and Jack and Jin and Claire and all of them. Those are the characters I've been watching for five seasons, and those are the characters I want to see more of. So while it's interesting on some level to see that LA-verse Jack has a teenage son and still has daddy issues -- and sit there and play the similarity/difference game with every LA-verse flash-sideways we see -- it doesn't seem to serve the main plot.
Maybe the creators of the show have some master plan in place where all of these differences/LA-verse mysteries (like how Locke ended up in the wheelchair this time, who Kate killed, who's the mother of Jack's son) become important in the end on the island, but right now I just feel like those parts of the episode are wasting our time.
What's not wasting our time is the on-island stuff, which actually continues to be pretty good. Hurley is probably the best character on the show at this point. I like that he's willing to ask Jacob direct questions, and even call him on his bullshit at times. Hurley also seems to serve as the voice of the fans in some small way (much like he did with all the time travel confusion in Season 5). Jack's quest isn't quite as interesting, but that was more than made up for by Claire's utter insanity. And I loved the moment at the end where Smoke-Monster-Locke showed up at her tent and Jin asked "Locke?", to which Claire responded "that's not Locke, that's my 'friend'" (though by that point, it was pretty obvious that she was referring to smokey when she was talking about her "friend", especially as she continued to avoid naming him).
I like that on the island, characters are moving around, being positioned by Jacob and Smoke-Locke like chess pieces. In that sense, it all comes back to the black/white, good/evil themes that we've seen in "Lost" in the past (remember the games of backgammon that Locke and Walt played back in Season 1?). Oh, and since the episode was called "Lighthouse", I should mention the actual lighthouse, which actually fits into that whole black/white theme. Just like the Cave from the last episode, the Lighthouse has a list of names, with some crossed out. Interestingly, the cave (a dark place) had the names written in white, while the lighthouse (a bright place) had them written in black. Still, I think the cave is the realm of the Man in Black (aka Smoke-Locke) and the lighthouse is Jacob's realm. Hopefully the next few episodes will focus more on these mysteries, and less on the mysteries of what happened before and after Oceanic 815 landed safely in LA.