That's right, I liked the Lost finale.
I'll admit that I was in the "The writers have no clue where this is going camp" at the beginning, but I really do think that they came up with a plan over the last few seasons. Admittedly, I was helped a lot by finding a place where there were lots of good ideas, and theories, and analysis. So, yeah, this season was fun for me, and I had a good handle on what was going on before Sunday, and I was pretty happy with the way they wrapped it all up.
But I know a lot of people weren't, so let me try to take on the common objections I've been hearing.
It didn't answer anything! Well, that's not really true, is it? It answered a lot. Maybe not in the way you wanted to, but we know, in general strokes at least, about what the island is, what the Sideways World was, what the bomb at the end of last season did, what the smoke monster is, what would happen if he got his way, what the whispers are, and lots of other things. Now, lots of these explanations were maybe not to everyone's liking (for example, there seem to be _lots_ of logical inconsistencies with the whole "meeting in the church" at the end, but I'm writing it off to not expecting much in the way of coherent theology from a television show), but there are lots of mysteries that were "solved", one way or another.
And yes, there still are mysteries out there. Some of those have no convincing answers, some of them you can draw reasonable conclusions by reading between the lines. I kind of like that the show lets you do that. It's sort of like analyzing literature- lots of things can be taken in different ways, and there is lots of room for interpretation.
Now, did they go a little too far in hiding stuff for the sake of hiding? I'd say yes. For example, they seem to be really proud of themselves for going so far out of their way to not give the smoke monster guy a name. Which doesn't seem to accomplish much of anything. But compare this ending with the finale of, say, Battlestar Galactica, where they tried to explain lots of things for you, but none of it made sense, and I'd wager none of it was close to what anyone was expecting to see (or, really, wanted to see). I think it's cool that the show can be analyzed on many different levels. Part of me wants to watch the whole series again from the beginning, knowing what I know now, and seeing how it all fits. (Another part of me is very scared to do that, because I really don't think they knew how the last few seasons were going to go at the beginning).
The whole sideways world thing was just as bad as saying "it was all a dream"! I'll start by saying that I liked this resolution to the sideways world much better than most of the explanations that I had in my head (that I was afraid they'd do. Like making the sideways world the real reality, and the whole show a dream, or irrelevant for some other reason). Also, I think it was a cool way of giving everyone on the show a "happy ending" all together, even the ones that died a long time ago (especially Charlie, but you can throw the other people in there too). If you look at the sideways world as an epilogue, I think it works a lot better. They couldn't do it this way, for TV reasons, but I wonder if a better way to do the last season would be to do all the island stuff in a row, then do all the sideways stuff after the final scene on the island (of Jack closing his eyes). That way you kind of get the "farewell tour" of characters meeting up again and saying goodbye to each other and the audience. While I have lots of logistical problems with the final scenes (where's Miles? Why is Aaron a baby? Why is Sawyer with Juliet, when you know he hooked up with Kate when they got back home?) when it was over, I was happy to let them (and the show) "move on".
(Though, in all honesty, I wouldn't mind seeing a "Ben and Hurley: Island Protectors!" spinoff show. Or an episode showing Richard trying to get a job and have a life in the real world :)
"I expected the finale to explain everything, and it didn't. Boo!"
No offense, but what show have you been watching? Did you really think that after all this time, they were just going to dump 2.5 hours of exposition onto you? Really? After even the "explanation" episodes (the "Jacob's mom is CJ Craig" and "Holy crap! Richard was a Spanish peasant!" episodes) left a lot of "explanation" to be desired. As I said above, they like to leave a lot open for us to draw our own conclusions on, which I like.
As an aside, I do find it odd that many of the same people who complain about this were also complaining that it was lame that they only brought up the glowing light with 2 episodes to go, or that they explained the whispers in a random aside comment. So which is it? Do you want explanations, or not?
"Look at all the plot threads that got dropped or ignored! (Remember Walt?) They had no clue where they were going!"
Fair enough, but I have to say, it's hard to write a coherent plot for six seasons of television, released in serial fashion (so you can't take anything back), when for the first few seasons, you have no idea how long the show will be going on for (so it's hard to lay down long-term plotlines). Not only that, but it takes time for a show to "find itself" and figure out how the characters will work together, and what sorts of storylines will grab people's attention, and so on. I've been watching the reruns of "The Office" on TBS lately, and the first few episodes of the first season feel...wrong...to me. It's hard to put my finger on it, but they characters didn't act the way they're "supposed to" with each other. It took them a while for the flow of the show to feel right. And that's just a sitcom!m
"There's a few things I didn't like about this episode (or the explanations they gave). So, this whole show stinks!"
They don't really use those words, but this is a sentiment I see a lot. It sort of reminds me about how people treated The Phantom Menace when it came out. Sure, there were lots of isolated things no not like (Jar-Jar, "Yippee!", ...). Sure, it probably wasn't what you were expecting. And lots of people got caught up on that and tore down the movie (and by extension, the rest of the prequels, which is a shame, because they got better). By now, it's become fashionable to hate the prequels, so people go out of their way to find even more things to hate. Which is a shame, because there was a lot of good stuff there.
I think something similar is happening with the Lost finale. People were expecting the episode (and perhaps, the whole season) to be something it wasn't, and really, something it couldn't realistically be, and got mad when it didn't happen. And now people are just piling on.
Which is a shame, because I think that while, sure, it has its flaws, there is a lot of good stuff in there too. Say what you want, but I like having a show that makes you think and has original ideas and plots, even if it falls short sometimes. Better that than another CSI or Law & Order variant. Or worse, some new horrible reality show.