What I didn't expect was for the episode to really revolve around the Sideways scenes, with epiphanies and tear-jerking character moments every 10 minutes or so. The Sideways reunions--Jin and Sun, Sawyer and Juliet, Sayid and Shannon, Charlie and Claire, Daniel and Charlotte--I don't know that I've ever cried this much watching any show. Some people are complaining that the show didn't pedantically answer every mystery, like the origin of the numbers, but seriously, I didn't care. Sometimes numbers are just numbers, and besides, any explanation they gave would fall short of our expectations, reduce that delicious sense of mystery to a simple, "That's it?"
In the end, though Lost was a show on an island with lots of mystery, it wasn't about the mystery. It was about the characters, about the pains and triumphs of life, and the possibility of redemption. You could perhaps say it was about Mystery in the spiritual sense, that sense of pursuing answers to questions that can never be truly answered: fate vs. choice, destiny vs. coincidence, knowledge vs. faith, that which can be seen vs. that which can't.
The finale touched on all these things, but did't dwell on them tiresomely the way some previous episodes had. The time for debating was over. The final two-and-a-half hours were about the characters, having made their decisions, taking action and embracing their fates. It felt just right.
And even though no other show has ever been so ruthless in killing off characters, by the end, even death couldn't stop the show from celebrating life in all its variety. I truly loved the series, start to finish, and though I'll miss it, I'm glad it ended when it did and the way it did.