Until it was over and we really started thinking about it.
If you consider all of Lost to be one long story arc (and really, you should), and if you break that arc down to Acts 1, 2, and 3, then upon some reflection, we can't help but declare that last night's episodes demonstrated some poor writing, no matter how enjoyable it was. Act 1 would have been seasons 1 and 2, starting off with the crash of 815 and all the work done in the first 2 seasons to set up the backstories of all the characters, provide some interpersonal conflict and set up adversarial relationships between the protagonists and the other people who have interest in the island, both the Others and the DHARMA initiative. Act 2 further heightens the drama as the central conflict becomes more pronounced and we learn that there are multiple forces (including Widmore and Eloise) struggling to achieve some sort of goal involving the island and ending with the Oceanic 6 back on the mainland, coming to the slow realization that leaving the island was a mistake. Season 5 started the 3rd and final act, with the 06 returning to the island to complete whatever it is they were supposed to do in the first place and the central conflict becoming even more pronounced as we learn, bit by bit, who all the other players are (or were) and what their connections are to each other (DHARMA, Widmore, Hawking and to a lesser extent, Rousseau). Fine, that's all good.
But when you consider that last night's finale represented the halfway point of the final act and it was only then that we were introduced to a brand new character who has never even been hinted at (Jacob's opposite number, who others are already referring to as Esau) and who appears to have been at the center of everything that's happened so far, we can't help but consider it poor form on the part of the writers. It's a cheat; a classic deus ex machina and to be frank, it pissed us off a little bit.
We have no choice but to put that aside, though. There's way too much to talk about and ponder and we're just going to have to accept that the writers pulled a fast one on us (and not in a good way). The appearance of Jacob didn't jibe with anything we'd been thinking about him, but when you really think about it, we haven't really EVER been told anything about the guy. All we really had to go on was Locke's spooky encounter in the cabin and we're guessing that wasn't Jacob at all; it was Esau. The entire story has been about the conflict between these two characters even if we didn't know it. It seems that Esau had been manipulating Locke practically from the moment he arrived on the island, all to make him believe that he had a greater destiny.
Well, sad to say, but Locke's only destiny was to die so that Esau could somehow take his place and be in position to murder Jacob. If we had to guess, we'd say that the smoke monster and the various apparitions around the island (most notably, Christian Shephard, but also Claire and Yemi, Eko's brother) were all manifestations of Esau. Credit where it's due, the reveal that Locke's body was in that cargo box was a huge shock and it did help to explain why Locke has been acting so strangely the last few times we've seen him. It also explained the scene last episode where "Locke" sent Richard to tell Locke that he had to leave the island and die. It wasn't about Locke fulfilling his destiny; it was about Esau making sure Locke died.
Alright, enough of that Jacob/Esau stuff. Let's talk about something else. Like ROSE AND BERNARD, Y'all! And even Vincent! It was wonderful to see them again and they were really sweet, even if it takes suspension of disbelief to the breaking point to believe that they managed to stay in the jungle for three years without being detected by either the hostiles or DHARMA. We suspect this will be the last time we see them and we STRONGLY suspect that means that they are the "Adam and Eve" skeletons found in the cave way back in season 1.
We enjoyed the various flashbacks to the main characters' lives. We have to give a shoutout to the casting people because that little girl who played young Kate looked EXACTLY like a ten-year-old Evangeline Lilly. So much so, that we wonder if they're related. How telling that Jack's oft-repeated "count to 5" story didn't happen exactly the way he told it. The little shit neglected to mention that it was his father who suggested he do so. And speaking of the little shit...
Jack, you're willing to blow up an entire island, risking the deaths of hundreds of people all because Kate dumped you? What kind of asshole are you? And Juliet! You decided to go along with it because Sawyer snuck a glance at Kate? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Let us help you out here: KATE IS NOT WORTH IT. What is it about that girl that causes normally sane people to kill themselves over her?
Speaking of which, wow, that goodbye scene with Juliet and Sawyer was excruciating. We kind of figured going into the finale that Juliet wasn't going to make it out alive, but how sad for her that she never got to see her sister again. Granted, she might somehow survive all this (because she inexplicably survived what looked like the equivalent of a ten story fall) but somehow we doubt it. At least she went out well. She had a death scene that rivaled Charlie's for most heart-wrenching and heroic of the series.
Now, what the hell does that final flash of light mean? It couldn't have been any more ambiguous. The central question around the whole finale was whether Jack's plan was going to work. Would the detonating bomb correct the timeline or not? Well, before we can even answer that one, we have to find out if the bomb even detonated. That flash could have been an explosion or it could have been a time flash triggered by all the electromagnetism. So, either the bomb detonated and the timeline corrected itself; the bomb detonated and the timeline didn't correct itself (although that would mean the deaths of all the major characters and that doesn't seem likely) or the bomb didn't detonate and a time flash jumped all the survivors out of 1977 and most likely back to the present day. We're worn out. Discuss amongst yourselves. Yes, we know we missed a lot (like Ilana and her backup dancers) but our fingers are tired. You guys do it.