I guess I have a slightly different take on the ending of Brotherhood; I know a lot of folks liked it and that is great. But I left feeling rather sad and frustrated and I've watched the series many times but I no longer watch the last episode. I know that different people got different things out of the ending but this is what I got out of it.
Firstly, let me say that I did enjoy the series overall; I absolutely loved Scar. His character was, in my opinion, the most interesting in terms of development. There were some things here and there that I didn't care for or I thought could have been better done but this is just me being overly nit-picky. Secondly, as most people know, Brotherhood followed the manga fairly closely so my complaint is mainly about the ending in the manga.
In a nutshell, I didn't like the fact that Ed left. There are two reasons for this but the first is a bit complicated so I will stick to the second.
My second reason is more emotional. The ending, as I saw it, was incredibly cold. The proposal scene was actually touching, if you delete everything immediately before and after it. It was touching because, contrary to what many people suggest, he doesn't just confess his love to her; this was far more than a confession of love. He asks her to marry him! But then what does he do? He basically says “thanks for saying yes, I don't know when the hell I'll see you again, bye.”
What makes this worse is the fact that I strongly view Winry as a symbol of purity. She admits that she has loved him since she was a child (i.e. her love for him is pure as it began in a state of innocence – this is implied in the series and made clearer in the manga). I don't see this as a last ditch effort to “claim” her hand. I'm convinced that she would have waited for him as long as it took but that is what is so sad.
Ed leaves home at the beginning and actually does neglect those who have selflessly treated him like family but then he changes as the series progresses. And when it is all said and done, he leaves again. All he ever does is make her wait and this is really sad. He claims to care about people but then, it is almost as if he neglects one of the most important people in his life in search for something that he cannot qualitatively define. He wants to "help people" but what does that mean in this context? He leaves her for an abstraction, it seems to me, so he can see whatever, do whatever, and learn whatever about whatever.
My wife would have rightly slapped me if I asked her to marry me and then I told her see ya later, I'm not sure when I'm coming home.I wanted to hit him like Capt. Buccaneer did when they were at Briggs. All in all, the ending caused me to question whether or not Ed actually learned anything.
Okay, sorry for the rant.