I was disappointed with how the FST wrapped up, but not going to let it ruin my feelings on the series as a whole. The series is essentially about the events of the other 5 ½ seasons. The FST was basically nothing more than the happy ending epilogue that the characters were rewarded with for handling their issues during the events of the actual show. It leaves a bad taste because it was the final revelation and most recent event, but I think once people have some time to step back and look at the big picture they will appreciate it.
The writers definitely deserve some heat because they made the FST appear to be more important than it ever should have been. Most negative reviews I have read tend to imply that the show was about heaven, purgatory, etc., which isn't the case, but the writers certainly made it seem that way. I think they felt pressured to work within the parameters of the previous season's flash-back / flash-forward format. If they had ditched that for the majority of the season and only showed the FST for the last few episodes it would have been received much better. Another possibility would have been to use the Richard and Jacob / MIB back-story episodes as flashbacks during the beginning of the season and the afterlife flash-sideways for the end. They could have expanded on some of the mysteries of the past without feeling the need to tie them in to the current characters that way.
I think my biggest gripe with the afterlife ending is that I just don’t get it yet. The entire timeline is some sort of shared purgatory created by the groups collective memory. In order to move on to the next phase or whatever, you need to first remember your death (life, more accurately) and then “let go” of it. Once you come to terms with everything you are able to move on with the people who are important to you. So far so good, I’m a little confused as to why certain characters didn’t seem to get invited to the party, while others made the cut. I understand that Ben was waiting for his daughter to “awaken” and decided not to join them. She died because he choose the island over her, now he is doing the opposite, completing his redemption. But what about Richard, Miles, Lapedis, Daniel, Widmore, Eloise, Russo, Ilana, Charlotte, Michael, Anna Lucia, various “Others” and “Dharma members”, etc. Even Jacob should have been there. They were all easily as important in reaching the conclusion as some of the people who were in the church. Also what was the purpose of Jack’s son? The only thing I can think of is that he needed to see the father/son relationship from the other side, so that when the time came he could let go of the negative aspects of his relationship with his Dad.
Overall I thought it was a great episode and wrapped up a good to great season. That S.O.B. Charlie had me misty eyed for the second time. The confrontation between Jack and the newly mortal Locke was amazing. Hurley and Ben getting the big boy roles at the end was a nice surprise. I’m not upset at the lack of answers to some of the dumb little questions, obviously I like them leaving certain things open ended for discussion. I just wish they had put different priorities on certain storylines this season.
P.S. How did Ben get out from under that tree? P.P.S. Kate, step away from the epic fight scene on top of the disintegrating cliff and let them handle this like gentlemen.