What They Blogged For.

Love. Hate.

Before we say our final goodbye, I just wanted to leave you with a random sampling of posts from some of my favorite people on this blog:

Benjie’s Skyrim addiction.

Occam Razor on “The Seven Robots You Meet In Heaven.”

Benjie and I watching New Moon and The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2.

A Movie Script Ending.”

The MPDG vs. the Amazing Girl, Heroes vs. BSG, and Kirsten Dunst vs. Kate Hudson.

Peanut St. Cosmo saying goodbye to her Blackberry.

(And really, just anything by Peanut, cause there’s too many to list.)

Fuck Yeah Sayid!

Anytime we talked about Lost.

High Fidelity vs. 500 Days Of Summer.

Hey, Shitface, Get Off My Lawn!”

Benjie and August Bravo on internet hype, and meeting expectations, and also Super 8.

Independence Day 2?

The end of the Counterforce podcast, and the birth of Time Travel Murder Mystery.

J Fran Fran.

Jonathan Franzen and his “Strong Motion.”

Benjie on his favorite sequel ever.

Occam Razor on a post peak oil world, and big booty bitches.

Benjie on how to properly spend New Year’s Eve.

While my torrent gently downloads” by Benjamin Light.

This is by no means a complete list, not at all. It is, in fact, an extremely rushed list. And may actually be a really terrible retrospective, at least in terms of showing what we did best, when we did our best, but oh well.

It’s just a few of my favorites. I would invite you to explore further, if you get the chance.

Closer.

Break out of loops.

from here.

Almost over, almost finished. There will be just this post, this one right here that you’re reading, and then one two more tomorrow (I believe) in 2013, and then I think Counterforce will be finished…

WordPress put together a nice little package of the year 2012 in review for the blog, which didn’t contain a lot because we didn’t do a lot with the blog in 2012. Hence, I’m afraid, it’s coming to a close.

I’m not going to make it public, though it gives you the option to do so, but I will give you two highlights from it which I think are funny…

Attractions.

I do like WordPress in general. I know there are a lot of other blogging platforms out there that people like better, and I don’t doubt that they’re better, but WordPress has always pleased me with its simplicity and being relatively easy to use.

Lost and found.

Anyway, I would like to do more and say more, but there’s no time. I would like to end the blog right now, today, have it close its doors for the last time in 2012, but again, no time. I have other plans, other things to accomplish, a life that exists only part of the time on the internet, and that’s a small part of why the blog is ending. Plus, it’s funny to me to see it last just a little bit longer, to dip over just a little into the next year. If the world had ended last week as we were promised, then it wouldn’t be an issue, but oh well. One down, two to go.

So, that said, have a nice New Year’s Eve, you perverts, and have fun. And we’ll make our final goodbyes tomorrow in

And here we go...

Scottish Manes.

On our Star Wars podcast a few weeks ago, I was threatening that I was going to write a monograph about Ewan McGregor’s hair in films, and I’m sure Benjamin Light thought I was just joking. He probably – rightfully? – hoped that I was.

Scottish manes.I wasn’t. Thought Catalog was nice enough to publish a piece by me the other day: A Selection Of Films Rated On The Quality Of Ewan McGregor’s Hair In Them.”

Here’s the sad thing: I could have gone on and on, and in quite a big of greater detail than I did. Their might be a strange little e-book on this topic in the future so, you know, beware.

* * *

At some point, I feel like I could write another piece (though a much shorter one) on the hair of prominent comic book writers, especially those in the Marvel bullpen. In short: They’re all bald! Sometimes they have the wall of hair on the side, a power move that I’m sure is called “The Captain Picard” in barber college. Sometimes they just go for the shave and shine, electing to try to convince us that they chose to shave their head, not that they were losing a war with genetics. (“Make it SO!”)

I can see you!

Oh well. These are the people who decide who of our favorite four color heroes will die (like Peter Parker recently) or get raped and stuffed in a refrigerator.

FYI: TV Tropes informs me that it is actually referred to as “Bald Of Awesome.”

* * *

Benjamin Light informed me tonight that Ewan McGregor was rated as #5 on GQ‘s list of Most Stylish Men. I could tell you who was rated higher than him, but it’s bullshit. At least it wasn’t Michael Fassbender or Channing Tatum.

Men in suits.

Fucking Channing Tatum.

* * *

The blog is just days away from ending!

And, as always, I’m going to ask and suggest that you check out our podcasts…

Podcasts!

Time Travel Murder Mystery is on a very short hiatus currently, but I imagine that you can expect new episodes again in early January. Meanwhile, Greedo Shot First, our Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans, is still going strong. I believe that the subject of our next episode will be a rewatching of The Empire Strikes Back. The haircuts in that movie were really just so so.

13 bak’tun.

Tomorrow is the first day of the end of your life.

from here.

Tomorrow is the end of the world as we know it.

Only, you know, it’s not.

I have somewhat of a New Age streak to me, but a lot of this 13 bak’tun, Nibiru, and “galactic synchronization beam” shit, the works of Terrence McKenna, and any of the panicked reports on the Long Calendar you hear about on the internet is just silly. Interesting, but silly. It’s fun, when it’s tongue in cheek, but still silly. It’s your average modern confusion. It’s fun to joke about, to make funny macros of, but it’s as important to our lives as cat memes.

Cat memes like Colonel Meow:

I want Colonel Meow to replace Xenu in the hierarchy of cosmic nogoodniks.

Today a girl I know came into my job. I like her because she’s a bit silly and we can talk about goofy science things sometimes, but I’ve been growing increasingly worried because she’s deadly serious about being terrified about 12/21. She’s been telling me for weeks how she’s been meditating continuously, trying to affect global consciousness shifts for the better. She’s memorizing maps of ley lines and trying to save up good karma to release into the atmosphere. She told me that she’s bought plenty of cat food and is taking tomorrow off of work and that she plans to spend the whole day meditating.

I hear meditation and I keep thinking masturbation.

Could I meditate for a whole day? Well, the manly bragging side of me says sure, that I could certainly give it a try, but honestly, I think I’d run out of material after a while. After a while it’d be just vapors…

Anyway.

Its all about me-ow.

I like the think of the world in terms of chess, or more appropriately, abstract chess metaphors. It’s all about analysis, experience, knowledge, imagination, and movement. Progressions. There is a board, a set pattern, but also, there’s a field that stretches out. The moves we make exist before we make them and they continue to exist after they have occurred. The game has ended before it’s even started, and by the time you’ve played it out and finished the game, another one has already started.

The wave harmonics of history, fuck yeah!

That sounds like a endorsement of reincarnation of some kind of psuedo-Buddhist notions. I have none such. To me, metaphysics and God are exactly the same: I am curious about them, but I do not believe in them. Except for the “mysterious ways” in which they work that can all be boiled down to simply physics and scientific understandings of the world.

I’m obsessed with time. Just the same as you, just the same as anyone. People still wear watches. The time readout is a huge part of most cell phone dashboards. We look at calendars, we read our morning horoscopes in the newspapers, and we make plans (and we make God laugh). We can both travel in time and change the past when we use our memories.

The end is the beginning, and vice versa.

To borrow from The Invisibles: Time is the soil in which we grow.

Get comfortable in your Fiction suits.

I believe that everything is possible. Or, everything is permitted (and nothing is possible), as Hassan-i Sabbah said, but all is determined under one strict criteria: Perspective.

Creation is the same as destruction, and one follows the other, and always has, at least if you look at it in the right light. Anything can happen (and similarly, can not happen), but it all depends on your scope. The sky is the limit, but only if you let it be.

The end of the world makes for good TV. It makes a bad joke a more often told joke. It probably translates into pageviews right before Christmastime. It turns small minds into bemused minds into fearful minds, and stupidity abounds.

Sing it, Randy.

Prophecies are a cool idea, the same as foreshadowing in stories, but they only come true when they’re made to come true. There is no difference between fate and free will. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whether we’re talking about the end of the world, the perception of the web of time around us, or even the end of this very blog: Mektoub.

It’s fascinating to look back at ancient cultures and see how they perceived time, how they built up Gods and Demons and explained the world to themselves in stories. I find all of that history of yesteryear interesting, but I’m not afraid of it. I’m more terrified of where the cultures of today go next. Times are hard, paychecks don’t last as long, and we really need to start worrying about where our next LOL will come from.

We should look forward to the moments in which we outgrow our fairy tales, but never forget how important they were to us, especially since they lead us to this…

Probably not.

Whatever this is.

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

I’m quite curious about the end of the world, and how things get dismantled over time. I think about that kind of thing especially as this blog draws to a close, as the song slowly fades to its inevitable conclusion, and we put the chairs up and flip off the lights before we go. Let’s leave it with the sage wisdom of the distant past: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…

“I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?”

“You seem a decent fellow… I hate to kill you.”

“You seem a decent fellow… I hate to die.”

“Begin.”

Thanks, Benjie. After this, 69 posts to go.

Robin Masters.

A few things:

1. Today at work I endured a conversation with a random stranger about the seminal television program MacGyver. I love MacGyver, but I wouldn’t go back and watch it now if I could. In my memories it’s still great, and I don’t want those memories to be ruined, shattered, broken, rendered meaningless.

This random stranger really enjoyed MacGyver too, but not as much as I do, or did. Her devotion is not as strong as mine, nor her love as pure. Also, she kept saying “Magnum” when she meant “MacGyver.”

2. After she left, my co-worker and I made fun of her in a very subtle way. We started talking about Magnum, P. I. but we kept saying “Matlock.”

3. RIP Andy Griffith.

4. Remember the episode of Magnum, P.I. where he had to tread water in the ocean for, like, forever? Or, at least for near 45 minutes.

Yeah, it was good. At least… that’s how I remember it.

5. Remember the one where he died and was in a coma, more accurately, and was all astral and ghost-like and was floating around and hanging out people and solving a mystery but no one could see him or hear him?

You think I’m joking but that was totally real.

6. Unrelated… This is a picture of a dog and a bunch of tacos:

7. I can’t testify to full and clear total recall of the episodes, but I am positive that I have seen 100% of MacGyver the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life. I would wager that I have watched 87% of Murder, She Wrote the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life (some of it, or rather, a lot of it in the past year alone). I have probably watched something like 69% of Magnum, P.I. in my life, including the one where that show and Murder, She Wrote crossed over with each other, which I remember happening but don’t fully remember the details of, much to my chagrin.We’re not even going to waste our time talking about the time that Magnum, P.I. crossed over with Simon & Simon. We’re just not.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably only seen like 34% of Matlock the TV show in my life.

8. Did you ever watch The Rockford Files? It was good. I like James Garner. He’s one of the older actors that I tend to just like in whatever he’s doing.

He played Phillip Marlowe once. You should watch it. It was a silly movie, but highly underrated. Also, it had a really goofy but not terrible Bruce Lee bit part (and a famous scene) in it.

9. I don’t think that Tom Selleck would’ve made that great of an Indiana Jones.

Or, at least, you can only imagine his Indiana Jones as something so incredibly different from the one we all know and love that it is almost incomprehensible.

10. When I was a kid, my father had a great big mustache and wore a lot of Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and short shorts.

He made faces like these a lot:

So, clearly, the fictional character of Thomas Magnum was my father’s style icon, right?

That seems weird now but maybe it wasn’t so weird back then. How the fuck should I know.

11. No joke: The Magnum, P.I. theme song has been my ringtone for over a year now. It’s the ringtone for calls from numbers that aren’t already in my address book. It was weird to me, considering that, when I spontaneously found myself in this conversation today at work.

12. Maybe it’s not all that weird.

13. Maybe it was fate?

14. Probably not.

15. T.C. was cool but Rick just seemed like an asshole to me.

16. A few nights ago Benjamin Light and I were talking about the future of our podcast and the caterpillar-like life of our blog and how it’ll soon turn into a beautiful and bewildering butterfly – watch for future announcements – and we were also mutually browsing around the internet, just talking and shitting the breeze and I remember reading somewhere that in other countries there confusions and mistranslations and people assumed that the title of the show was Magnum PI

Get it?

17. Anyway.

What a strange coincidence… The ringtone and the random factoid read about the internet and then the strange occurrence of the spontaneous conversation with a stranger about MacGyver but calling it Magnum and I’m trying to fix the broken web of time and it all leads to a journey down the clips show metaphor that is memory lane for me…

18. Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe it’s just a thing, a thing that happens, and it has no meaning other than that which I assign to it?

19. Perhaps it’s no more important than anything, and not even real. Maybe I’m not real. Maybe I’m me, the me that I think I am and only sometimes comfortable with me. Maybe I’m really Zhuangzi, and I’m dreaming that I’m a butterfly.

20. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind is still trudging through similar ditches as we slowly make our way towards the end of this blog. Perhaps I’m dancing around things, then taking a few steps backward before marching forward. The past can be a special place, and an odd place where things have different values and meanings assigned to him. Analyze what you can and appreciate the bizarreness of other things and leave them as they are, unmolested, uncontested. Making peace or at least coming to an understanding with your memories is a kind of time travel, and it’s how some of the best mysteries are solved, but don’t forget: The past can be a grotesque animal and you should always be mindful of how you’ll escape it.

21. Like I said… That’s a bit of a stretch, sure.

Also:

“Father figures” by Kevin Wada. I love it. Except for the KISS parts. Oh well.

22. After this… 82 posts to go.

Can you guess how it’ll end? I have an idea…

23. Maybe like this:

“For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.”

Like my previous post, this will be just a few things, some half way there thoughts…

One: The sky is still falling, and this blog is still coming to an end. We’re getting there, but slowly.

After this: 89 posts to go.

Have you listened to our podcast? You’ll notice that a majority of the posts now are just tools for you to download each new episode (but we’ll be on itunes soon). Not every post from now til the end – from this time to the end of time – will be solely about episodes of the podcast, but a good chunk of the rest of this blog will be eaten up by the creature that is consuming it and evolving out of it.

Evolution imagery is gruesome and interesting.

Two: It’s probably been a hundred years since I saw the Star Trek episode from this post borrow its title.

I vaguely remember it had a premise that sounded less interestingly like a very interesting (at least in its promise and potential) show that Harlan Ellison created way back, called The Starlost.

I won’t rehash the show’s plot, especially since you can just read about it on the Wikipedia link, but from what I gathered the show was terrible. But in reading what’s there, to me, I see the potential for something amazing, something that could be brilliant with a little bit of re-conceptualizing and competent execution.

Brilliant and intriguing puzzle/mystery box shoes still seem to be highly lusted after by network TV execs in these post-Lost wilderness years, but it seems like no one has the time to invest in competent conceptualization and execution. So it goes. Instead of our altars, we’re building our own coffins.

Three: Speaking of The Starlost, also read up on the idea of generation ships, and holodecks, and the Danger Room from X-men comics, the Dreamatorium from Community, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series.

And see also: the “Mystery In Space” and “Rendezvous” issues of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary comic series, which was one of the best pieces of storytelling that I’ve had the pleasure to read in the last ten or so years. On its surface, it’s about mystery archaeologists, but in reality its a love letter to certain kinds of storytelling from the previous fifty years of our culture.

Four: We eat our young. Only those lucky or tough enough to crawl away are potentially worthy of living to tell the tale.

Five: This is the new decade. There’s bigger and better thinkers who are more capable of this, better suited to the task, but I wonder what this new decade will look like. What innovations and disasters and pop confectioneries will define this new unit of measuring time.

And from that, I say… Does this decade, still in its relative infancy, still feel remarkably similar to the latter days of the previous decade? Isn’t that how it goes? Did the initial years of the 80s feel similar to waning years of the70s? Did the first few years of the 90s look anything like the middle years of the 90s?

Six: I’ve never seen Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World On A Wire, but I’ve always wanted to. I guess that, amongst other things, what’s been holding me up is that it’s a piece of old 3 1/2 German sci fi. That and it wasn’t readily available until the it was released not too long ago as part of the Criterion Collection.

The Criterion Collection. Of course.

The movie is based on an old novel, Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye, and I have seen the American movie adaptation of that book…

Seven: When something is said, or when art is created, mixed with business and pleasure, how often does it come from a real, authentic place, answering questions or curiosities that are out there amongst the community? Or, especially when you lean more towards business rather than pleasure, or the pleasure of business, does it come from the perception of an interest within the larger community, the popular imagination, or a desire to create and inspire that perception and then make money off of it?

Eight: In the 90s, especially towards the beginning of the 90s, but a little at the end of it, it seemed like we didn’t know what we had on our hands. Not yet anyway.

It’s like Murphy Brown’s baby, that was born amidst a certain level of generated/unnecessary controversy. It was raised by the guy who was painting the house for years and years and wouldn’t be named until it could be deciphered, or understood. I know that kid eventually got a name, but wasn’t he, like, twenty at that point?

In Sci Fi trends in the 90s it seemed like they were mixing the 70s paranoia rehash that was being re-conceptualized in The X-Files with this desire to pursue the new, the fringes of oncoming technology and the things that we assumed would be important.

Spoiler alert: I’m going to start talking about virtual reality in a moment.

On top of that, you had boy bands and you “alternative rock” and I remember going to high school and hearing bullshit arguments about who was or what constituted being a “poser.” I heard some kids of being accused of being “wiggers.” On one hand we were growing up to want to start living lives out of the movies that had raised us when our parents were busy, and on the other hand we were accused of appropriating lives and roles that it was felt we had no right to. In music and society and goofy cultural matters there was this question of authenticity.

Perhaps you’re not real. Perhaps you only existence in the simulacra of someone else. And perhaps because you think, therefore you are…

Unless you’re just programmed to have thoughts, or to think you’re having thoughts. Who is telling this story? And to whom?

Anyway.

The American movie that came out of Simulacron-3 in the 90s was The Thirteenth Floor, starring Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Dennis Haysbert. It’s a murder mystery set within a company that’s created a new simulated reality, and there’s a twist. The twist is not hard to guess.

from here.

The tagline for the movie was “Question Reality.” I find that interesting since the tagline for American Beauty, which came out int he same year, was “Look Closer.”

Is it possible that we’re missing something?

The Thirteenth Floor was/is not a bad movie, just a movie that wasn’t thought out far enough to its natural conclusion. It reminds me in some regards of a movie that would come today in that it seems like it’s two drafts of a script away from being much, much better. It’s a very American movie that’s concerned with the nature of our reality, with existential paranoia, mashed up with echoes of a film noir feeling.

But then again, a lot of its problems can be summed up with two words: Craig Bierko. Another bizarre, failed experiment in creating a leading man out of literally nothing.

Nine: Granted, The Thirteenth Floor was not a movie from the early 90s, and in fact came out in 1999, around the same time as The Matrix, a movie with an arguably incredibly similar premise, especially concerning how many elements it ripped off from Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles.

Also, there was David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ and Alex Proyas’ Dark City (which I never saw cause it looks stupid), and The Truman Show, which had similar heavy overtones. But earlier in the decade you had the short lived Fox TV show VR.5 which, if I were to watch it now, I’m sure I’d more than cringe at, but at the time, I thought was incredibly intriguing. That show starred Lori Singer, Anthony Stewart Head, Will Patton, and David McCallum.

Ten: At the start of this I talked haphazardly about the idea of a newborn decade dreaming of the past, but really it’s a matter of the new decade dreaming of the future, of what is to come? I should be talking about Christopher Nolan’s  Inception here probably. Something something something THIS DREAM IS COLLAPSING.

Eleven: From Borges to Pynchon to Phillip K. Dick, so much of our fiction comes back to questioning the layers of reality and how we perceive it. What is real? What is really happening? And what is the reality of what is happening, real or otherwise?

Reality may be real, or it might not be, at least not real in the sense that we think of, but we share it, and we create it together, don’t we?

from here.

Twelve: Personally I would state that the experience of an event is the reality of it, at least in the moment. Reflection is easy, but it only casts a shadow over reaction in retrospect.

Thirteen: For now, this blog is moving forward, but it’s marching onward to its eventual demise, of sorts. Even on the internet, matter can only change forms, not be fully destroyed (I hope). Soon, what is currently thought of as Your Friendly Neighborhood Counterforce will become a time capsule, once it’s fallen completely out of this virtual sky that we’re all looking at together.

“This is the place that you all made together.”

All good things must come to an end.

That’s the one thing you really need to take away from last night’s finale of Lost, super appropriately entitled “The End.” Your favorite TV show is going to end some day (and it was probably yesterday), but not just that, your friendships may end some day. Your relationships. Your circumstances will change. You will have amazing journeys in your life, but even that, some day, will come to an end.

And then…

To me, what the finale did was, in a lot of ways, a truly amazing feat. It gave everyone resolution, not just all the characters, but the audience as well. Everyone got what they wanted, whether they realized they wanted it or not. And they definitely got what they needed. And creators/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were certainly honest about something heading into this last episode about what you should be expecting from it, and that was an answer to just one question: “What is the Sideways world?”

More on that in a second.

Cause this seems to be an episode that, if initial internet reaction is to be believed, has been just about 90% hated. I’m okay with that, but also… not. It only confirms for me further that Lost is our Seinfeld this decade, so of course the ending was despised (and, in that regard, were the 90s about “nothing” and the 00s about “everything?”). But I think it’s a shame that people didn’t like and/or didn’t get the ending. One person on twitter said something to the effect last night of “the finale made me feel like the previous six years were nothing but rape now.” I think that’s a bit strong, but there’s also a meta-answer to that in there somewhere. More on that in a second too.

First things first: This was a wacky, crazy, amazing, beautiful, tragic, mystifying sci fi show about polar bears on a magical island, time travel, synchronicity, esoteric theorizing, faith and hope and both the depths and heights of the human condition. But it was first a show about the characters. I’m sure the producers would have loved to have tackled time travel and paradox theories in the first season, but they couldn’t. No one would’ve watched it, so they got smart and they put the characters first. The show didn’t always succeed, there were some pacing issues here and there, and of course some answers we’d still love to possess (like who was shooting at our heroes on those outriggers in season 5?), but has any show ever came and succeeded as hard as this one?

From episode to episode, you weren’t just watching the show to see answers to questions, you were watching the show to see where the characters went next, and what would happen to them. You cared about that. Sure, the crazy shit going on the island was wonderful, and really, it was a mystery show. But a mystery show with characters at it’s heart. And the mystery aspects only strengthened the human element to all of this.

But for the people who say, “but this is just a TV show!” perhaps don’t understand why we tell ourselves stories. Or why we do TV, or how rare it is for it to actually work out this well. And a mystery is nothing but a story, and that’s what Lost was: a TV show about stories. And it’s a show that asks you to do a little bit of thinking.

On Island last night: Jack is the new Jacob. He’s got to find Desmond, who’s the key to everything, either sinking the Island or it’s salvation. The Locke-ness Monster is also after Desmond, firmly believing that he’ll be the key to putting this Island on the bottom of the ocean. Desmond’s been rescued by Rose and Bernard, and he’s all too happy to go with Locke (to save Rose and Bernard).

On their way to the Source, Locke, Ben, and Desmond encounter Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate. Jack and Locke have a truly sassy showdown and, classically, have a difference of opinion. They both want to go to the Source, and both want to lower Desmond into it to do what he has to. They just think the other’s wrong.

I think there’s an interesting message here potentially: Regardless of right and wrong, good and evil are the same. They’re just words.

I’m not going to go recap every single moment here, but eventually Locke and Jack work together to lower Desmond down into the cavernous room below the waterfall which is the Source of the Light. The Man In Black seems so eager, in some ways, to be Locke, to fit into a dichotomy with Jack like Locke, and Jack puts him in his place. And at the bottom of the waterfall, Desmond finds what is essentially a cork and when he pulls it out, the Light goes away. The “goodness” seeps away and is replaced by something darker, more red…

And the Island begins to self destruct.

And I’ve said this before, but one of the things I’ve always loved about Lost is that there are answers for everything. You may never get them, but it’s there somewhere. When you look at the room where the Source was, it’s so clearly designed by someone. And all of those skeletons! Memento mori, yes, but… There’s a story there. Probably quite a few, in fact. You’ll never know what it is. That’s up to you. You decide what it is. And if you don’t want to think up some heavy, almost scientific and fantastical reasoning, then the show never really stops you from saying…

From there we get some truly great moments: The Man In Black is corporeal again, a real human. Jack was wrong, and the Man In Black makes a move for the cliffs by where Jacob’s cave was and where the Man In Black has a boat waiting. And that’ll be the scene of Jack and Locke’s final battle there, in the rain, with Jack orchestrating a truly impressive flying punch, and getting his ass handed to him. It wouldn’t be any kind of finale to this show if Jack wasn’t having the stuffing beat out of both his body and his spirit. The Man In Black’s knife finds Jack’s gut and later nicks his neck and we see those same scars and cuts that have been plaguing Jack in the Sideways universe…

Meanwhile, Richard Alpert and Miles are making their way to Hyrda Island, still thinking they need to blow up the Ajira plane and along the way, they find something we’ve all wanted to see again: FRANK LAPIDUS.

And eventually the Man In Black finds what all humans eventually find: death. At the hands of Kate, no less. And now Sawyer and Kate have to get moving, to get to the Hydra island to meet Lapidus and Miles and Richard Alpert (who may start aging and live out the rest of his life?) and take off while there’s still ground to take off from. But first… Kate has to say goodbye to Jack.

And then, back at what used to be the Source, Jack has to transfer his powers and duties and responsibilities. And as much as Hurley believed in Jack, so does Jack believe in Hurley. And as much as Jack being the protector of the Island made sense, it makes even more sense for Hurleybro to have this job. And for Jack to do something else for the Island: to become it’s fixer, because after what Desmond has done, what the Island needs now is a Doctor.

Just look at that one more time:

from here.

And Jack goes down into that cave and he pulls up Desmond – I kept wanting him to say “You’ve got to lift it up,” but he didn’t, and it was okay – and tells him to go home and be with his wife and kid and live his life. And Jack put the cork back into the Island (was that Hell leaking out, as Jacob originally said?). And it took everything out of him. And watching it took everything out of me.

It was amazing seeing Jack be wrong again, then finally being right in a way that really mattered. And now the Island has  new God/messianic figure, one with a proclivity for saying “Dude,” and who makes copious references to Star Wars.

But let’s go back to the Sideways world… It was brilliant in a lot of ways, which I find myself so surprised saying because it was one of the things I looked forward to the least this past season. It kept seeming like the “Wouldn’t it be nice?” world and it was. Everyone went to the concert and then everyone found their true love or their true purpose and in doing so, they remembered who they were.

All except Jack, who resisted because… well, there’s a lot of interpretations there. For a man who spent most of this past season trying to kill himself in some way, shape, or form, perhaps he’s the man who most clung to life?

All of those beautiful moments: Locke’s rebirth after his legs worked again. Sawyer and Juliet at the vending machine and their lovely call back to “LA X” with “Want to get coffee some time?” Hell, just the fact that Juliet was back at all was amazing to me, as she literally lit up my TV screen, easily glowing as bright as the light at the heart of the Island. And Kate finding Jack, remembering who she was because of him. “That’s not how you know me.” I like that Jack was probably Kate’s true love, but she wasn’t his (something we’ve been saying here for a while now). No, Jack probably couldn’t have allowed himself to really feel that, not when he was so tightly wound, so strong lost in his own past…

And then there’s the very end and Jack finds his father. He’s not in the coffin. He’s there, standing before, with love in his eye, and he explains. And Jack understands. He’s dead. Everyone in the Sideways world is dead. It’s a kind of purgatory, or rather, a sort of limbo, a holding place, if you will, that they’ve all created together in their collective unconscious, united by the amazing things they did on the Island, and a place for them to maybe work on their karma and to find a balance missing in their lives before they move into the afterlife.

I mentioned before how similar Lost was to The Invisibles, and this is exactly how The Invisibles ends: At the end of the world, no one dies, but instead enters the Supercontext, a place created by their collective unconscious in which they can find a balance and be happy. It also puts forth the notion that the ultimate ending, the one that is more possibly than we usually realize, is one in which everyone gets exactly what they want. We love Buddhist ideas here in the West. We also love An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge and The Third Policeman and Jacob’s Ladder, yes.

It’s kind of funny to watch the internet reaction in that regard. “It’s a rip off of Jacob’s Ladder!” some cry out. Or, “They totally stole that from An Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge!” I love seeing the way people skew there. Those who know of Jacob’s Ladder don’t know of The Third Policeman or haven’t ever heard the name Ambrose Bierce. Or Alan Moore’s Superman tale, “For The Man Who Has Everything.” But… It all fits. It all works. It’s all beautiful, and just another piece in the puzzle.

And I said that the ending to this episode was perfect for everyone, right? Cause it is. On one hand, for those of you who wouldn’t want to see your characters get an amazing resolution in the Sideways universe, you have real Island endings: Jack dies. Hurley and Ben will now run the Island. They won’t do things the same, they won’t continue the patterns they’ve inherited. Kate and Sawyer and Claire and Miles and Richard Alpert and Frank Lapidus will fly away to safety. Jack will go to his resting place, to the spot between the bamboo trees where he first awoke on the Island and he’ll watch his friends’ plane fly away overhead and Vincent will come and keep him company in his last resting place…

And the Sideways world negates none of that. Not a single thing, nor does it betray the interest you’ve developed in this show over the years, and it shouldn’t harm the connection you’ve made with it. It just shouldn’t.

from here.

As Christian (loved Kate’s line: “Christian Shephard? Really?”) said, “Everyone dies.” Some of the people in that church died before Jack and some died after. And it makes clear that everything was real. Whatever happened, happened. But they came back together at the end, and remember how we were talking about how time didn’t seem to make sense in the Sideways world? Well, that’s because, there is no time there. There is no now. And when they’re ready and they’ve accepted who they are and who they were, they’ll move on. And those who aren’t ready yet, like Ben or Faraday or Ana Lucia, they won’t go yet. They’ll stay behind and work out what they need to and then, as Lord Of The Rings put it, then they can “sail west.” They can go to the Gray Havens.

In fact, they really should’ve filmed that Jimmy Kimmel special in a church just to echo those last moments with everyone together. I don’t really like Jimmy Kimmel, but the special was interesting, especially watching it pretty near after the beautiful, almost immaculate ending of the episode, when you’re still in shock, still coping.

Right after the end of the episode I went back to watch the beginning of “LA X” and… it works nicely, in my opinion. Jack looks out the window of Oceanic 815 and then looks around the interior of the plane almost as if he’s startled to be back there, struggling to recognize something. The plane hits turbulence and he clings to the arm rest for dear life and it’s broken by Rose’s gentle voice, telling him it’s okay, and that “you can let go now.” It’s so pointed and beautiful when you watch it with new eyes.

And of course the Island is sunk in the Sideways world because in that existence, it’s out of everyone’s mind. They’ve sunk together.

And we can argue about when the happy Sideways reality begins, of course. It’s Jack’s story, of course, so it probably ends the moment Jack closes his eye and that Ajira 316 plane flying overhead could also be metaphorically his Oceanic 815 of his dreams, and Jack’s closing his eyes, going to his final sleep, perchance to dream, a dream of flying. But it all depends on your read: Maybe the Sideways world really did start when Juliet beat the hell out of Jughead at the bottom of that shaft. Or maybe that explosion just used the electromagnetic time travel energy of the Island to send them back to the present. Maybe in your view, Oceanic 815 crashed and everyone died and… Maybe the Sideways world only existed in Jack’s head alone, his final dream of a better life… Whatever way you look at it, you choose your own level of meaning and understanding.

“We should get coffee sometime.” Michael Giacchino. Jack Bender. The actors, every single one of them, not just in the finale but always. “I may not believe in a lot of things, but I believe in duct tape.” The fact that we got as little Boone as possible. How Kate looked in that dress. The idea of Hurley and Ben running the Island together. The fact that the Source is fed from two different streams. That flying punch! The weird shots of the castaways’ beach on the Island, featuring the wreckage of Oceanic 815, (an insert by the good folks at the American Broadcast Network) but devoid of people, reminiscent of the ending of Antonioni’s L’Eclisse. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a pilot.” All those amazing awakenings and FLASHBACKgasms. The fact that you even have to relook at the episode titles of this past season with new meaning (“LA X” no longer refers to just another universe, but a crossroads of sorts). All of the episodes really, referenced tonight (“The Long Con”) or not (Just think about “Enter 77″ now). The idea of Aaron with two moms (that’s a spin off that is literally dying to happen). Hurley saying to Sayid, “You can’t let other people tell you who you are,” because, well, we all play parts and roles. “I’ll see you in another life, brotha!” There’s so many things that we could be talking about, so many great things…

Watching the finale last night, I kept my eye half on twitter during the commercials and it was interesting seeing people saying a lot about how the finale was a love letter to itself and spent a lot of time self referencing. And I agree. And I think it worked beautifully. For a sci fi show about characters and people, I think the end is about us. We’ve all got to come together on this one, and accept it and appreciate it, and then it’s time to move on…

And in that vein, because I don’t want to philosophize on Lost alone (nor would I want to push that button alone), so I asked some of my fellow Counterforcers to weigh in and I want to share with you what they had to say, and then, despite everything happened in “The End,” the very last thing I want to say about this show is exactly the same, not changed at all, and I’ll share that with you, but first…

Benjamin Light: In a nutshell, I can sum up my thoughts on LOST with a text I sent to Marco as the episode ended. I wrote: “This episode feels like falling in love, over and over and over again.”

I could have watched a dozen more “awakening” moments in the sideways world, they were just perfect TV.

It dawned on me at about the 2 hour mark that, rather than wait for a big explosive end to explain everything, the writers instead were just going to willfully ignore some of the big mysteries. And I wasn’t annoyed at all. One of my favorite things about the show is speculating on the mysteries. Having those long, quasi-scientific conversations with friends about even random strangers about what something might mean on the show was half the fun. Lindelof and Cuse decided not to take that away from the fans. Sure, they could have just told us the island is a spaceship from the future and the smoke monster is evil nanotechnology, but why bother? If that’s your theory, it still holds water. This was a show that was famous for its fans’ speculation and debate; the way they left certain mysteries open to interpretation feels very much in keeping with its history.

Conrad Noir: I still don’t know what to think. I’m content with what happened but I don’t know what to feel at all. Maybe nothing, maybe so many things. What I do know was that was the most dragged out event in TV history. Did it really have to go to 11:30?

Oh yes. I believe I read somewhere that the finale was exactly 103 minutes. I would’ve killed for just an extra five more, if you know what I mean, but apparently there’s going to be an extended cut on the DVDs with 20 more minutes.

Benjamin: After the episode ended, I got up to take a leak. After that, I walked down the hall and suddenly started crying. I wasn’t happy or sad. It was like someone had reached inside me and turned all my emotional knobs up to 11. I was like Daniel Faraday, crying at the news of Flight 815 being found and not knowing why.

That’s how good the finale was.

Take a bow, Lost cast and crew, you did it.

Lola: Sometime ago I wrote a post asking whether or not I really wanted answers from LOST. I guess that Lindelof or Cuse are regular readers of Lovely Entropy because the finale contained next to no “answers.”

I watched the finale with my dad and when it ended, I turned to him and said: “What just happened?”

“What is the Dharma Initiative?” he asked me.

“I don’t know!” I yelled. “Where was Walt? WAAAALT!!!”

I think we all felt like that little necked kid in the Tootsie Roll Pop ad:

“What was up with the Hurley Bird? The world may never know.”

I was annoyed at first so I did what I always do when I’m annoyed by LOST: called my brother to complain while searching the internet for answers. As I was searching and complaining something dawned on me: everyone was confused and everybody wanted to talk about it. People were posting theories, they were cracking jokes or they were just outright complaining to people in the room with them, friends over the phone or outright strangers on the internet. Sure, there are people who are going to be annoyed no matter what happens, but the more I think about it the more I kind of liked the finale. It’s open-endedness gives it’s nerdy fanbase enough food for thought to last us until Terry O’Quinn & Michael Emerson’s pilot gets picked up. And not only that, but it saves us all from having to sit through anymore of the writer’s awful, half-assed answers (the whispers were dead people? Seriously LOST?). The finale, in my opinion, was genius in its laziness. The writers are happy because they don’t have to try to find answers that would appeal to everyone. The nerds are happy because they can keep talking about the show they love and ABC is happy because they made a boatload of money last night.

So, anyone have any idea what that church was about?

It’s about everything. And everyone. It’s a story about stories and all stories end.

They can be reread time and again though, revisited, and relived. Just like your favorite song. Just like a game, if you want. It’s adaptive. You can make up your own versions for where the story ends, if you want, your own back stories, your own ideas for what happens to your favorite and least favorite characters after it fades to black.

But you know what else you can do when the story and the song and the game ends? You can start it over, you can return and begin again. You’ll see all the connections you missed, and the little moments will resonate even stronger with you…

So, with that in mind, mektoub, let me just say…

KATE!

WE HAVE TO GO BACK!

Progress.

And so here we are.

Take a deep breath. There’s this heavy fin de siècle vibe hanging over the air. A circle closing, all it so deep and meaningful and exciting and… Lost ends tonight. With a two hour clip show, then a two and a half hour finale, and then after the news, some kind of retrospective/after party with the cast and crew on Jimmy Kimmel.

Last night I was having a deep text message conversation with my friend, Lia, who thinks she never gets mentioned here, and we were talking about how meaningful it is for this show to end because, unlike real life, the ending of your favorite show gives you an experience, a journey, and then closure and resolution at the end of it.

Fictional characters are so much kinder to us in that regard. They give us what we need because, if nothing else, they simply reflect back whatever level of meaning we bring to the experience.

Earlier in the evening yesterday, another friend called me, apparently having just seen their calendar, and then deciding to wake me up (what was I sleeping at this point, who can say). “OMG!” she squealed so loud that my ears are still vibrating, “I just realized what the date is! Tonight’s the last episode, right?” Yes, it is, I told her and I walked outside as we started talking. Looking up, I noticed that it was dark, probably because of the weather here yesterday, but I couldn’t see the stars. I mentioned that and we started talking about how the stars you see out there in the sky are all dead, and their long burnt out light is still transmitting towards us. As we pondered whether or not that was a romantic notion, I started thinking about tonight’s finale, which the writers have surely been thinking about for many, many years now, and the episode was written probably months ago, probably finished filming a month and some change ago, and has been edited and done for a few weeks. And it’s only now transmitting to us. Just like the stars sending us their light, and we’re philosophizing about what it all means long after it was sent.

Mektoub. It is written. That’s basically what I said to her then.

I have just about an hour before the clip show starts. I need to go and get ready and do whatever I need to do before that. It could be an emotional rollercoaster, this night. But that’s okay. It’s okay to get hung up over a TV show sometimes. Especially when you know that you’ll probably never get something like this again. And if it’s an experience you’ll never have again, find your own level of enjoyment in it. Get ready for your own drinking game that goes with it, if you want. The important thing is to have fun and to enjoy yourself. This kind of thing only ends once, and all of this progress has lead us to the here and now.

from here.

Anyway, here at Counterforce, we only really got into writing about individual episodes somewhere last season. It was something I really grew to enjoy and something that always surprised me with how much it informed on other things that I’d like to be talking about or, at least, writing about. I’ll let you discover last season’s write ups on your own, if you want, plus all those links yesterday, but today I’ll leave you with links to this past season, the sixth and final one of Lost

01. “LA X.”

02. “What Kate Does.”

03. “The Substitute.”

04. “The Lighthouse.”

05. “Sundown.”

06. “Dr. Linus.”

07. “Recon.”

08. “Ab Aeterno.”

09. “The Package.”

10. “Happily Ever After.”

11. “Everybody Loves Hugo.”

12. “The Last Recruit

13. “The Candidate.”

14. “Across The Sea.”

15. “What They Died For.”

And tomorrow we’ll be writing about the very last episode, “The End.” Who knows what we’ll have to say, but I feel like it’ll be the very last time we really write about Lost here on Counterforce. At least, the real last time for me, I think. Maybe I’ll blag (blag = my typo combination of “blog” and “blab”) on about the 23 enigma or the law of fives, but it’s like the show itself, you choose your own level of involvement, and you get back what you give to it (and more).

It’s kind of funny to think that, regardless of where we go tonight and wherever we end up on the other side of this show, I already know what the last sentence of my last write up about the show will be. Mektoub. “It is written.” See you then.