Current thoughts, as much to get them out and see them for myself as anything though I would love feedback:
I formed a dislike for Jack early on. When he and Sayid torture Sawyer I thought I might stop watching the show. The last thing I need is another show where the protagonists casually torture people cause, you know, that's just what ya do. But almost right away Sayid felt terrible and exiled himself. Jack was unrepentant and as I remember unappologetic, but that was merely reason to hate the character. The writers obviously knew the severity of the incident. Then Jack fell from grace, which was great, further proved that the sterling-by-hollywood-formula main doctor character was no sterling, and had flaws. But then he just became pathetic... the writers and I both agreed he was lost, but he did not redeem himself as he changed. He was still cluless. Not until the lighthouse, after throwing a tantrum, he started to change again. Now he is a fusion of reason. He has found faith, but the way I see it, via reasonable means, he realized a theory based on what was really going on around him, not on how thing ought to be, or always have seemed to be. I'm ready now for Jack to be the hero-in-the end. However, I still think it'd be better if Jack spent his heroism stopping MIB such that Hurley is the final candidate.
Kind of bugs me, I thought it was a no-go from the start, but everyone else fell for it, and it was just so simple. Also, why would Widmore try that... why would that kill the MIB, especially since it turns out the MIB wants the candidates dead too, and doesn't need these vehicles, evidently, to leave the island.
He redeemed himself even as an undead zombie. I hoped for something greater, but this is two good things... one, Sayid overcame his sickness enough to be praised for his ultimate judgement, and two, he won't be zombying around on screen anymore... which was depressing.
THE END GAME
I wonder, of course, how the time lines converge... will the physical bodies travel to the island? Will the consciousnesses merge? What about people dead in one line and alive in the other? Hopefully we will know if the final conflict is a red herring or real. I.e. if the MIB doesn't need a vehicle off the island but is getting people to seek one, that we know the truth even if he still manipulates the characters, so we know what to hope for :).