The events in 2007 hint at some possibilities for the direction of the sixth season. Clearly, Locke's attempt to find Jacob and kill him is a big deal. This seems like it comes out of left field, but that's not necessarily the case. In "The Man Behind the Curtain", in the third season, Jacob specifically asks John to "help him". One possible implication is that Jacob serves the will of the island, but no longer willingly. He may do what is necessary for the good of the island, but he may have been doing so for so long that dying and passing that mantle to Locke may be his personal design.
The fact that Ben never actually spoke to Jacob is therefore an important clue. Ben was never supposed to be the leader of the Others; he took on that mantle because Locke wasn't ready. The island chose Locke, by whatever means it might do so. It's a fair bet that Charles Widmore never spoke to Jacob either, leaving only Richard as someone who has supposedly talked to Jacob or knows Jacob.
The devotion to Jacob, then, is akin to devotion to a legend. It touches on the various "Wizard of Oz" references associated with the Others. What if there is no Jacob? Or, rather, Jacob is not what he appears to be? The ship in a bottle at the beginning of the episode seems like an intentional reference to the Black Rock. Could Jacob and Richard have arrived on the island on the Black Rock, with Jacob chosen by the island at that time to "interface" with whatever was already there, dating back to ancient times?
After all, the Others all seem to come from a roughly modern time, which implies that they were absorbed into an existing population. That's not a new observation, but it's been an open question of when the "original" population arrived. It could have been the Black Rock (which would, in turn, provide a connection to Hanso and the Dharma Initiative), and then a series of subsequent arrivals of smaller populations. After all, there's no indication that people didn't come across the island between the late 1800s and 1954.
Touching back on some early theories (from the reviews for the first season episodes), the island may be inhabited by a non-corporeal entity, and that entity may be acting through Jacob. It may only be able to act through the bodies of the dead. If Jacob died when the Black Rock came to ground on the island, and then was resurrected by some ancient consciousness that is "the island", that could explain why he is so revered. Since Cerberus is already something of a non-corporeal entity, it's not completely off the beaten path. That would explain the "modern" look of the Others, while still preserving the implied ties to the ancient past.
It may even explain why Richard is worried about Locke's intentions. Richard may not be the leader, but he certainly holds power as one who does appear to know Jacob very well. Richard may not have understood that he was helping to choose Jacob's replacement, and he may be devoted to maintaining the status quo.
The wild card at the moment is Ilana. Ilana is very likely looking to retrieve Jughead. One possibility, already noted, is that she is working with Eloise Hawking. However, it may not be a matter of controlling the island; instead, based on recent revelations, it may be connected to Hawking's understanding of space/time and her desire to ensure that events unfold in past, present, and future as they must. Ilana's activities might factor into the return of the Oceanic Tribe to 2007.
Alternatively, Ilana's team might be connected to Richard. As it stands right now, beyond Jack and Sayid, he would be the only other person to know Jughead's location at the time of "the incident". Considering that Ben and Locke were gone, and Richard never expected to see either of them again, he could have wanted to take custody of Jughead to bolster his own control over the fate of the island from threats like Widmore.