Plenty of people more knowledgeable about and invested in Lost than I am have already written about the series finale in great detail but I figured that I might as well chime in and finish up the story of my relationship with the show (see parts one, two, and three).
Bottom line? I found the finale to be generally pretty disappointing, but my expectations had not been that high. I caught up with all of season 6 in just a matter of weeks, squeezing in the last 5 episodes into the weekend right before the finale, so in a way I felt like I'd had less of a chance to mull it all over and form any theories. So while I didn't find the ending to be terribly satisfying, I'm not outraged or anything. The writers kind of dug their own grave with the number of questions left unanswered over the years so the likelihood of resolving everything was pretty slim, especially since they seemed to be under the impression that the viewers really just cared about the characters.
The biggest problem I had with the finale was that I felt like it really only addressed things that happened in this last season. The action climax was all about defeating the Man in Black/Locke/smoke monster, who wasn't even introduced until the season 5 finale. The whole deal with Jacob and protecting the glowy cave and MIB not being able to leave the island still doesn't really make any sense to me, but I was fine with the resolution of Jack killing Locke and dying to save the island and with Hurley (and Ben) taking over for Jacob. (Although...did anyone else find it kind of lame that pulling the plug out of the hole in the cave didn't cause more destruction faster? It seemed way too easy for Jack to get back to the cave and replug the light.)
What I'm not fine with is how all this relates to the first 5 seasons of the show. I mean, wasn't Jacob the leader of the Others? Didn't he bring the candidates to the island? So what was up with the Others' hostile behavior during the early seasons? I get that Jacob was a hands-off leader but the Others always acted like they knew everything. How did what the Dharma Initiative was doing with electromagnetism or whatever relate to the glowy cave? What in the world was the deal with Charles Widmore? With Walt? All of these things were just pretty much ignored.
And the emotional climax of the finale, in the"flash-sideways," turned out to actually have nothing to do with the island at all: it was some kind of purgatory where all the characters went after they died (whenever or however) to "find each other." I can understand why the writers did this--it was fun for both them and the audience to have these fun what-if scenarios and allow the characters to get their "happy endings." I loved the idea of Ben as a crotchety high school teacher, of Miles and Sawyer as an LAPD detective team, of Hurley as a happy millionaire philanthropist, and of course Kate as still pretty much exactly the same person. And the Sawyer/Juliet and Charlie/Claire reunions were pretty wonderful. (Less so Sayid/Shannon--was I the only one who totally forgot that they had a thing? Wasn't Nadia supposed to be Sayid's true love??)
But I found a lot of things about this ending to be somewhat troublesome. Why was Desmond the first one to know where they were anyway? Why did Eloise not want Desmond to gather everyone? What did it mean that Ben didn't want to go into the church? Why were Desmond and Penny there but not Miles, Daniel, Charlotte, etc? And most concerning--this means that the blowing up of the Swan station at the end of season 5 decidedly did NOT work. I think one of the main problems I had with Lost in general was that the characters seemed to always think they knew what was going on or what they had to do, but it turns out that they were really just blindly doing big things and getting nowhere. Are we supposed to take this as some kind of comment on human nature or something? The producers and writers can claim it was all about the characters as much as they want, but Lost was a mystery show. And when it turns out that most of the events of a mystery show, while they happened seemingly organically and were definitely interesting, didn't even really matter? Kind of not cool.
I don't know, maybe some of the questions I have were actually answered at some point or can be explained otherwise, but I don't really care enough to look into it. This isn't really a show that you can endeavor to fully understand as a casual viewer, which is what I consider myself, and anyone who, like, doesn't read message boards to be. So whatever, it was a fun ride. I've invested just as much time on shows that were not nearly as high quality and ambitious as Lost was. I am pretty glad that it wasn't on my mind week after week for 6 years though. I think the payoff would have been even less if that had been the case!