Having been able to take a few days and re-watch the season finale of L O S T a few times I think I am ready to give you what my thoughts are. I've read the posts, I've chatted with some L O S T "apologists" and I've chatted with some haters.
Based off of all of that I think I'm ready to commit to a conclusion. First, I'll tell you what I saw and what I base the conclusion on.
1) Sideways world is purgatory. Left there after death in a seamless transition from one life to another. It was told by Jacks father (who stated things so unequivocally as to believe that it was all fact) that a) jack died, b) all these people died, c) these people all came here because they were all waiting for each other. They needed each other in death as they needed each other in life. He stated that this was the most important time in Jack's life - the time they spent together, and this is how it works. You move on with those who counted the most. d) some have died before you, and some long after you.
2) This leads me to believe that the crash of oceanic 815 was an actual event that happened. The Island happened. The Dharma initiative happened, and everything you basically watched from the first season until now as it relates to the island was real. It was a real story that they lived their lives through. Someone figured out time travel, Hurtlocker and Jacob were real entities, Hurley won the lottery, and ended up being the next Jacob, and Sayid was one big bad ass.
Man where to start...
How about some facts?
The series itself started out a story about a plane crash and all these things that happened to people who were left on the island. Things were found, people were found, stories started to gel, then it got biblical, then it got mythological, then both, and the story developed.
SO we have the story... and with this story comes back stories of every character, mysteries evolve, new characters, time line, EVERYTHING that does happen in the show always seems to come back to the Island. What is it? Why is it? What does it do?
Alright you get the point. It's all about how and why these particular folks have been brought to this island and that they have to save it. So this final season we get introduced to sideways world. It happens in the first episode when Oceanic 815 doesn't crash and everyone moves on to LA and starts to mingle together, paths start to cross, etc.
Also in the final season we come to understand a little of the history of the island. Jacob and Hurt Locker are brothers, momma cass is the one who killed their real mother, and how one becomes to be the protector and the other to be hurt. I mentioned to Hoy about three episodes ago that the story had been revealed. It was about Hurt and Jacob and who would win. Obviously given the whole 5 1/2 years that the Island was something and that it had to be protected and that it was the shizz dizzle that it came down to Jacobs "candidates" that he was searching for to help defeat his brother!!! But then why the whole story about darma... who cares about widmore... who cares about Faraday? Why would they even matter in this story about a war between Hurt and jacob?
In the finale, sideways world takes center stage, but first.. What happened on the island was weird. OK, let me see if I can sum this up as I think the writers actually wanted us to believe... Hurtlocker needs Desmond to unplug the light. Literally. He does so, but by doing so turns Hurtlocker back to being mortal. Jack and hurt go to the mat and Kate shoots him before he can kill Jack. Jack then goes back to the light to fix it, and tells Hurley that he must be the protector now (or jacob). He accepts, Jack plugs the leak, light comes back on, hurley and linus agree on being number 1 and 2 and the plane gets off the island with kate, claire, sawyer, and the others.... Jack goes back to where it all started and presumably dies as he watches the others fly over the island making their escape.
I believe all that happened. I believe Kate and Sawyer and those on that plane went on to live a full life and became one of those that died "long after" Jack did. Sideways world was explained as that stop over between life and death. It also tried to show that we must wait for those who we shared our most important things in life with. That's it. That was the story of the finale.
How ANY of that answered questions about what where or why regarding the Island is beyond me. I can understand those needing to know those answers. You spent time and treasure on this show. Read blogs, bought season dvd's, listened to commentary and probably had emotional discussion if not argument over it at one point. I get it. You feel you are owed.
See I don't think the story of the Island matters. It was about the characters and WHY the time they spent together was the most important. They survived a plane crash. They came together on that island to come to understand what it was about, and what they had to do to save... the island? Mankind? the universe? Who knows. But as the ending portrayed, it didn't matter. In the end, the larger story was told. The story of what it was all about. WHY it all mattered. Because I can, and will assume that saving that Island saved the possibility of everyone moving on. Not leaving, as in death, but moving on as humans, as spirits, but nonetheless, together.
So here we are... those that hate it and those that liked it or love it. My personal feelings are that I loved it. I thought it was great. I don't care that we didn't get closure on things. and maybe they turned away from the story and put this ending together kinda as a last minuted play.
I rather enjoyed how they chose to wrap it up. Again, it was about the larger story. That's the stance I'm taking, and although a still a little lost, at least I'm reassured.