And so it ends. I know I'm a little late with this post but I didn't see the last episode until this weekend since I was out of the country when it first aired, but I'll assume that everyone reading this has seen it by now and if you haven't, well stop reading, because I'm pretty much going to reveal everything that happened. Or everything that I think happened. Because, as fully expected by any long-time viewer of the series, there were hundreds of loose threads left unexplained, but there was no way they were going to have the time -- or the ability -- to fill in all the disparate details of a series this sprawling and with this many mysteries and with too many characters and too much time travel and too much confusion to ever explain it all again. But you know what? I didn't care. I liked the final episode, I liked the conclusion of the series, and the fact that I still don't know what the hell that stupid light that Jacob was protecting does or doesn't do is only a minor disappointment in an episode that came full circle and explained the endings for Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, and the remaining survivors of the plane crash, as well as offering reunions for all the characters and their true loves. I know a lot of people were disappointed that they didn't get all the answers they craved (or any real answers, other than what the "sideways" universe that we've seen all season was) but to be honest I've long since given up on ever finding out what the hell was going on at the island and was just happy to see a satisfying story arc for most of the characters I've come to love (and hate). And shockingly, for someone who hated Jack this series as much as anyone, he was definitely redeemed in the end. And that was brilliant storytelling, even if the whole supernatural storyline surrounding the island made no sense at all.
The big thing we found out in the final episode was the fates of those on the island who remained alive. Among the original Oceanic flight survivors, Sawyer, Kate, and Claire were the only three to make it off the island (joining Walt and baby Aaron as the only ones from the whole series to get off -- and stay off, I believe). Also getting off in the final scene, we are to believe, were Miles, Richard Alpert, and Lapidus, who conveniently survived a submarine explosion so that someone could fly the downed Ajira plane off the island and get them to safety. In the grand scheme of things, only Kate succeeded in her reasons for coming back to the island -- she did get Claire to come back with her -- but of course, the Oceanic 6 were lied to all along by Widmore's group (I don't know why, none of this makes any sense) but long story short, of all the people who needed dying on this series, Kate was at the top of the list but she survived, and saved crazy (or not so crazy anymore) Claire so that baby Aaron could have his mother. And baby Aaron I guess had no real significance other than he was able to be born on the island, unlike anyone else, but the whole fertility inability thing was just another in the long line of threads that never got solved. I am happy that Sawyer got off, and Miles, and Richard Alpert, who spent several lifetimes in service to asshole Jacob on that godforsaken island, so there was some joy in his finally escaping.
Staying on the island, but still alive, among the original Oceanic flight survivors were Hurley and Rose and Bernard, and (presumably) flight attendant Cindy and the two kids and maybe some other survivors from the flight who became Others, but were never accounted for. Hurley of course is the only one of that group that the show really cared about and he became the next Jacob, which would be exciting and fulfilling if I had any clue about what Jacob's purpose was in the world of the show, but Hurley seemed happy, so I was pretty happy. Among the others we cared about, Ben and Desmond also survived, and Ben chose to stay on the island as Hurley's #2 -- a job he had for some time with Jacob, I guess, even though Jacob clearly didn't like him. So Ben was happy. Desmond was still on the island, which he never wanted to go back to, but Ben hinted that the "rules" that Jacob made about coming and going from the island were rather arbitrary and Hurley could find a way to get Desmond off (does that frozen donkey wheel that they never actually explained still work in getting people off the island?). But Desmond survived so I was happy. He was probably my favorite character in the series, other than maybe Ben, when Ben was more evil.
Missing among the survivors I just listed of course is Jack, who had his whole hero arc fulfilled in this episode, as he sacrificed his life to save everyone else on the island (and perhaps the world?) as he'd been wanting to do this entire series. The whole side universe was also heavily Jack-centric, as he was apparently in some sort of purgatory in this side world until he "let go" and accepted his death, but although it made perfect sense for the drama of the episode that Jack would die in the end and that his father would be the one to "show" him that he was dead, I still don't fully understand the side world -- why were some people in the church at the end, and not others, other than due to failed negotiations with the actors playing their parts? What about Jack's "son"? Was he real? But I digress. When Christian revealed the secret to Jack I did get a lump in my throat as I realized that he died, because I wasn't really expecting that, so they surprised me there, and made me care about Jack's death, which was even more surprising. And it turned out to be a perfect ending. I am a huge sucker for stories that circle around and end where they begin and according to Matthew Fox, he knew of the final scene of the series from the very start (presumably told by the creators), so I'm glad that it worked out that well. All in all, a good last episode that filled in the character details while not (at all) explaining the mysteries of the island, and that's okay for me, because as I said, I can't even remember what I wanted explained anymore.
For those that were not as satisfied about the lack of answers in the end, here's an excellent (and funny) video that exposes so many of the unanswered questions that never got answered. For me, I think I gave up on getting the answers some time ago, and I really just wanted the series to end. So it was satisfying to me, and it was an ending. And it was a truly wonderful series while it lasted. I really can't ask for more than that.