It’s better to have loved and lost…

…than to have never watched Lost at all, right?

Mad Linkage:

What on Earth is Neal Stephenson’s “The Mongoliad?”

Hang in there, Frank Lapidus!

The alternate universe comic book covers from the recent season finale of Fringe.

The 5 laws of making a complicated story that isn’t an ungodly mess.

Commander Riker and Counselor Troi together again.

A hilarious outtake from an interview with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse with the Associated Press and the fire alarm goes off…

Literary mashups going to the next level.

The 5 “Proverbs For Paranoids” from Gravity’s Rainbow.

Preparing for life after Lost.

Famous book titles that are less majestic/poetic.

23 awesome food ideas for your Lost finale party.

The future of the Euro.

More Lost answers.

Quantum teleportation!

Same as it ever was!”

from here.

Click here for a pretty awesome graphic on all things Lost to get you good and caught up before tomorrow’s finale.

Speaking of getting caught up, ABC is airing the very first episode of Lost tonight in an enhanced version. It’ll be nice to see how it all started once more before we see how it all ended.

And, perhaps it’s not exactly being caught between a rock and a hard place, but imagine being caught between the intensity of Jack and FUCK YEAH SAYID.

Or what Kate does/did to the internet during the run of this show.

I’d love to link to every single post on Counterforce that ever had anything to do with Lost but that’s so much. And if there’s anything that I’ve personally tried to bring to this site it’s the sense that it all ties together, it all blends in and bleeds and mixes. There’s sympathetic vibrations to all of it and sometimes it’s beautiful and scary and sometimes it’s hilarious and stupid but you were there and so were we.

But I will link to more of our Lost posts tomorrow, Lost friends, but for now, some of the important stuff from before this past year…

Our Top 5 episodes of Lost, circa early 2009: Parts five, four, three, two, and one. And, of course, there’s the runner ups.

But that was last year.

One of the most nerdy but most exciting things that I can say we did here was Benjie and I compiling not just episodes we liked from the show, but moments, and from that…

Our 100 Greatest Moments of Lost, pre-Season 6: Parts one, two, three, four, and five.

from here.

And if for some reason you’re not actually a Lost fan but you read Counterforce then… well, this has all got to suck for you, doesn’t it? Ha ha. I imagine Tuesday will be the day you’re looking forward to most then, not just here but all over the internet as the mania and the fever only grows and intensifies and gets hotter. I’d say Monday will be the last real day that one can verbally obsess over Lost, and then this aeon will pass and we’ll move into the post-Lost world, whatever that looks like.

But hey, that’ll be then and this is still now. More (of the same) tomorrow.

The year in pictures, part one.

…but not for much longer.

Midnight In Dostoevsky” by Don DeLillo, who has a new novel in 2010!

Plotting the ruination of Radiohead?

Lady Gaga and the Queen.

This is easily the film I’m most looking forward to next year.

2009 was the year to set aside childish things. Namely, the last eight years.

Putin to retire soon? “Don’t hold your breath,” he says.

“Like taking candy from someone who seriously likes candy.”

There’s always time in time and space to stop and smell the flowers.

from here.

There’s water on the moon!

What this decade has been lacking thus far: Authenticity.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

The end of love, part one.

Person of the year?

Is this what the culture’s come to?

You know what, don’t answer that.

Going where others have gone before.

Iran pisses on itself just a little more.

“You better be in fear.”

If you are neighbors with Sarah Palin, I guess that puts you within visual range of Russia?

New terror in the skies?

First rap is dead, then love (part two)?

Serious contender for best picture of the year, right?

Both Winston Churchill and Pynchon love inherent vices.

LUV U, LILY.

MISS U, SWAYZE.

New Justice.

Hacker of the year?

Just think about all the sex you’ve had in the past year (or should have been having.)

MISS U, Batman (though not for much longer).

MISS/LUV U, Juliet.

Tiger Woods killed Brittany Murphy!

“Memes” and “Contraflow.”

I saw her again last night.”

Birds successfully begin phase one of their attack on humanity.

In the year full of recurring royalty and ending love affairs, of course the king of pop songs would die. Makes me want to scream.

Was 2009 the year of sci fi?

The end of love, part three.

To be continued!

May the Gods grant thee all that thy heart desires.

If I had a time machine, I’d travel to 2010 right this fucking second.

An abridged version of my reaction to the 4 minute pre-credits opening teaser to the episode: “Oh, hey, is that…?” “Well, look at that.” “Hmmm.” “I bet that’s… Oh, it totally is.” “Who’s this fucker? And who’s this other fucker?” “Are they… Is that… HOLY SHIT.”

There’s not even words to formulate an abridged version to my reaction to the ending. I’m literally typing this 8 minutes after the ending of the show and I feel like I got fucked hard. Or kicked in the balls hard, and it was glorious. I saw the light. Destiny found.

Looking around the room in the sweaty, luminescent afterglow, I see my underwear hanging from the ceiling fan. My pants are outside. I only have one sock on and the other is probably floating around there in time and space. I’m going to take a moment to collect all the various parts of myself, including my thoughts, and then come back with some quick thoughts on the season finale of Lost, entitled “The Incident.”

The Incident? You can sure as shit say that again, man.

The episode starts perfectly: Two guys enjoying a little chat on the beach as they scan the news on the horizon. They’re apparently (im)mortal enemies, working against or at least in conflict with each other, but there are rules to their engagements. One of these guys is Jacob and the other, the one who thinks that it always comes back to mortal sin, goes unnamed. And this tender little moment where one swears to the other that he’ll find a way to kill him? It all takes place in the shadow of the statue.

I just love that they can set up a huge overarching mythos for the show and this season in particular in the four minute teaser to the season finale and it already feels so natural and perfect.

Ben. Ben’s had one of the major storylines/character arcs this year and… Well. How fascinating that Ben has become the exact opposite of what we’ve known him as for the entire show so far: A victim. Haven’t you heard, Ben? Only fools are enslaved by time and space.

from here.

The statue:

Goddamn. Look at that fucking thing. Most likely, that’s still Anubis because of the ankhs, but there’s also the theories about Taweret (nahh) and Sobek, which actually make sense too. Sobek was a creator God and also carried around ankhs.

In fact, no, never mind, that is totally Sobek. You can tell by the crocodile mouth.

Jacob. More on him soon, because… it’s kind of hard even wrap your head around this character, you know?

But I find it very interesting that when he visited characters in the past, he always made sure to touch them. Physically. And the camera made sure to let you know that.

Is that his personal way of wrapping destiny around  you in such a way to deliver you to the Island?

Or is he giving them a second chance at life, not just in the moments he touches them, but in a reset post-Eden world? Are they still prisoners to time or are they free? Is the destiny that they’ll find in 2010 the ones that they themselves will create?

Little Kate. Wasn’t she adorable?

And she totally had the right stuff.

Big Kate. Not so bad, but you’re kind of all over the place here, Kate. But so were all of your friends too.

Jack. Jack does come off kind of crazy here, and a little possessed, but I guess it’s nice to see him there, to see him not so apathetic anymore. Also, Jack has a bomb! On one hand, there’s something very noble about his wanting to hit the reset button and see what was meant to be, but on the other hand, wouldn’t it be more noble to win back Kate the hard way? I’m going to have to agree with Sawyer on “what’s done is done” and suggest that if Jack wanted to be worthy of Kate, then he should get to work on being worthy of Kate. But then again, blowing shit up is also cool and they have to do that at the end of every season, right?

Desmond. I don’t mind mentioning that the last three episodes have suffered from an extreme lack of him, but maybe it’s for the best. For both Henry Ian Cusick and the show legally but also… Well, it’s nice that Desmond and Penny got a happy ending to this season.

Evil Twin John Locke. Oooh, Jacob’s Enemy is interesting, isn’t he? Knowing what we know now, I love that in “Follow The Leader” he made sure to have Richard go talk to his past self/past Locke to ensure that Locke does indeed leave the Island and meet his fate (death) like he’s supposed to.

The Real John Locke. You know what? This feels like the perfect ending to the real Locke’s storyline. Throughout all of his struggles to be his own man, to be something more than himself, he was always being used by somebody for something. Even after he died. Also, I loved that they used the same camera angel reveal for his body here that was used in the funeral home at the end of last season’s finale when they opened that mystery box.

The ending to every classic science fiction time travel story ever. I like how Miles has seen at least one and can suggest that maybe this is a predestination paradox. Which all leads wonderfully to…

“Aw, fuck it.” Isn’t that the gist of the rest of the 815ers in ’77′s decision? It kind of echoes Sayid’s sentiments from the previous episode. Either Jack/Faraday was right and this will work or at least they’ll all be put out of their misery and go down swinging.

Charlie. I like how the show is starting to slowly fold back in on itself, ouroboros-style, echoing itself.

Foreshadowing. It was all over this episode and hinting at nothing but bad things for Juliet. And then bad things happened to Juliet. And then that glorious ending…

Sawyer. I’ll say this for Sawyer: “What’s done is done.” That and he’s the kind of guy who kicks a man in the balls…

Bro Fight! This starts off a serious tussle, with some solid punches being thrown, some manly grimaces and growls, and even a kick in the balls They Live-style. Nice. But then it quickly devolves into…

A coupla guys having a sad little cat fight in the jungle. That may be a little harsh but still. Beat some sense into each other, fellas, if you can.

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor. You have interesting taste in literature, Jacob.

Rose and Bernard. I respect their new take on life up to a point. To them, it’s not “whatever happened, happened,” but “whatever happens, happens.” They’re very much in the present day, living each moment as it comes and enjoying it as if it’s the last, as long as they’re together. That’s nice and sweet and all, but it’s also a kind of giving up. But for them, it makes sense since every moment they’ve had on the Island so far has felt like borrowed time to them. But more to the point: Are they the Adam and Eve skeletons?

The Rules. There are so many. One set applies to Jacob and his Enemy. But there’s also rules to time travel, iron clad rules it would seem, and I’m happy that so far the show has never deviated from those rules. In fact, every fascinating thing they do only seems to reinforce the stated rules when all is said and done. But even those rules just need a loophole, right?

Time Travel. What do you think? Are our heroes going to make it home? Or, just like Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap, are they going to be left hoping that the next flash is the one that takes them home?

Sayid. Damn.

Sun and Jin. I was hoping these two would get back together this season, but having another thing to look forward to next year is not such a bad thing.

Quick theory on Jacob’s Enemy: He’s the smoke monster. A Loki/trickster type, one has no problem reading people and then impersonating them, especially the dead, and if you remember Ben’s judgment from a few episodes back then you’ll remember that Alex and Locke were never in the same room together. That and I’m going to assume that Jacob was never in that cabin, not that we’ve seen when Ben or Locke or Hurley visited it, and that it was Jacob’s Enemy.

Jacob’s Cabin. “Someone else has been using it.” I’d even theorize that Jacob’s Enemy was probably imprisoned there in the circle of ash and that when Locke came to visit and his foot disturbed the circle, he freed him. And not just freed him, he introduced himself to Jacob’s Enemy and gave him exactly what he’s been looking for all this time: A loophole.

Also, Jacob’s Enemy: would presumably be named Esau, right? That or Edom?

Locke, again. This whole season the writers of this show have been working a magnificent magic trick on us with this character, playing on what we’ve always wanted to see and what little knowledge we’ve had about where all this is going. The knowledge they’ve given us. The knowledge we’ve followed faithfully, even when it conflicted with other knowledge they’ve given us, like the fact that “Dead is dead.” But I guess that’s just part of the beautiful dance that writers and con men have in common with their victims and audience: they desire to be so perfectly and wonderfully fooled.

People with guns. They just don’t understand shit at all. That’s why they have the guns, right?

The argument above is rendered invalid when it comes to hot girls with guns. They can do whatever they want pretty much always.

That guy Phil. He can eat a dick. Or a metal pole! Ha ha!

And let’s not forget this:

Or:

“Come on, you son of a bitch.” Great last line, great last moment. “The Fork In The Outlet?” Please, they may as well have just called this “One last WTF.” Way to go, Juliet. I think she shows, not just in that last moment, but in the entire episode that one person changing their mind can make all the difference.

One last thought for you, just a little something to hold you over for the next 8 months or so: THEY’RE COMING!

I Shot J.R.

Good question. You want to know who shot JR? I’ll tell you:

That’s right. It was me. And that’s not all. I also shot the Sheriff. But I did not shoot the deputy!

It’s season finale week here at Counterforce!

I don’t want much TV, very little at all, actually, but this season of television is starting to wind down and the few shows that I do watch are all coming to the end. The Dollhouse finale this past Friday was incredibly interesting but predictably didn’t give me that much of an erection, and while I’m enthusiastically looking forward to this Wednesday’s Lost finale, I’m alost much, much less enthusiastically looking forward to Tuesday’s Fringe finale , a show I gave up on the show three episodes in but recently caught up on everything via Hulu (Thanks, Hulu!)(I think).

In fact, speaking of the Dollhouse finale, this write up at the Onion’s AV Club basically sums up everything I want to say about it perfectly, especially when it talks about the last moment in the episode in which something happens that “struck me as effective in the abstract, but not the actual.” Well said. I agree completely.

Though I think that perhaps I’m actually considering picking up the season set on DVD when it comes out, just to see the last episode, entitled “Epitaph One,” which will remain unaired on FOX for reasons too complicated to go into. What I know about it is thus: It’s set 30 years after the series’ events so far, it’s post-apocalyptic, it guest stars Felicia Day, and it could easily inspire it’s own TV show. All of that is just intriguing enough for me, you know?

Ah, but as I said, it’s season finale week here, so things you can look forward to…

Benjamin Light will discover a long lost secret from his past SUDDENLY COME TO LIGHT!

August Bravo and Peanut St. Cosmo will discover that THEY’RE POSSIBLY RELATED?!

Lollipop Gomez will embark on A SEXY ADVENTURE! But not everything will be as it seems…

Conrad Noir will fall into a coma and WAKE UP IN THE FUTURE! (Which actually would be kind of cool, right?)

Occam Razor will come up with a plan, A DANGEROUS PLAN, and a crazy one, so crazy that it just might work. BUT DANGEROUS, UNEXPECTED THINGS HAPPEN (but don’t worry about Occam cause he’ll wake up in the shower next season and discover that it was all a dream)(Or will he?).

Just remember, NOT EVERYTHING IS AS IT SEEMS! Oh, wait, I already said that, didn’t I? But also NOT EVERYONE WILL SURVIVE! I mean, I sure hope I do. But everyone else? UP FOR GRABS. Also, there will be big reveals and lots of BIG SEXY EXPLOSIONS, so you should probably STAY TUNED!

You will be assimilated. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

Kate, WE HAVE TO GO BACK!

Oooh, so exciting, right?

The Forever Man.

It was rumored that last night’s Lost, entitled “Follow The Leader” was going to be a Richard Alpert-centric episode and I don’t know about you, but that gave me a bit of an erection. Aside from Faraday, who would have more answers on this Island than the man who, as far as we know, has been on it forever?

Well, it wasn’t quite an Alpert-centric episode, but he did feature prominently and it was a great episode. And more an importantly, the wheel of fire leading into the finale next week is all lit up and spinning…

So let’s do some quick thoughts on last night’s Lost, okay?

Locke. Man, this guy has impeccable timing, doesn’t he? And purpose too, which looks good on him. Maybe Ben killed off the pathetic feeble old man shell of Locke, the one hiding the true leader hidden within?

And I kind of love the ending of this episode. Like I’ve said before, to me, Ben has become one of the most compelling characters on television, so anything to genuinely illicit this reaction…

… is excellent. Locke has a calling know, he’s calling people out, he’s shaking things up, making his own destiny (past, present, and future) and inviting the underlings along. He seems to think there is a difference between “the Island” and “Jacob” and to prove that, he’s off to see the Wizard… and kill him.

Jack. Fuck the sandwiches, Jack has a destiny of his own. Or, at least he thinks he does and he’s grabbing that shit by the balls. More on that later, but like Sayid said, it’ll either work or put everyone out of their misery. Speaking of which…

Motherfucking Sayid is back. Also a character with impeccable timing. Not to get all fanboytastic on you nice folks, but next week’s finale has Sayid, Richard Alpert, Locke doing something crazy, Jack doing something crazy, a submarine, a hydrogen bomb, and leak of electromagnetic energy. How can you not have a little boner or wide on of awesomeness at the prospect of all of that?

Kate. Sometimes you’re a bit crazy with that Springsteen-esque born to run vibe, Freckles, but other times, like in this episode, you’re sensible as hell. But you can tell things are bad when Jack wants to get away from you. He wants to get away from you so bad that he’s willing to change history to basically have never met you, obliterating all the good times and wiping out people like Ji-Yeon and leading to the eventual death of Rose and putting Locke back in the chair. And causing poor Desmond to never reunite with Penny. I mean, the way Jack told her his plan there, so passionate about it, it almost makes sense and at the same time, it’s kind of heartbreaking too. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed. Or, a lot of stuff that needs to go so much more wrong that it can only go right.

Sawyer. Microsoft stock? I guess that works. And…

Juliet. I still love ya, baby. Handcuffed to Kate again? I like that too. It’s hot. But…

Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate. I can’t wait to watch this spinoff. For reals.

Dr. Pierre Chang. As much as I sometimes find Hurley to be a little too cheesy and a little too on the nose as a proxy for the fans (and there were serious verges of that in “Some Like It Hoth”)(I wonder if the Fourth Wall will be nothing to Hugo Reyes next year), this scene was awesome, in particular because of Pierre Chang. “You’re 46?” Ha ha.

Faraday. Still dead. And dead is dead and whatever happened, happened. Unless it doesn’t happen. Cause then something else will happen. Something crazy. Speaking of which…

Young(er) Eloise Hawking. You know what? I totally have a crush on this woman. Granted, she’ll not only allow her son (she’s clearly pregnant in this episode already)(pregnant with the son she just shot in the back, mind you) to grow up to die but push him towards that fate just to keep the timeline exactly the same (which I think tells us a lot about what we should already know about next week’s episode), but she’s no bullshit and all move on it. “All right, let’s get started,” she says, just like she did (or will do) at the Lampost and they’re off and running. I like that.

Also, the Others circa 1977? Is it me or are these guys as shittily put together and run as the DHARMA Initiative? I’ve half surprised that this lot of Others didn’t accidentally wipe themselves out along with the DHARMA folk during the Purge.

Jughead! I think we all knew that this giant version of Chekhov’s Gun was due for a reappearance and this should get very interesting.

Richard Alpert. How great it would’ve been to actually get a flashback with him to… well, his origins, I guess is what we’re interesting, but it wouldn’t appear to be time for that yet. And on top of it, maybe that’s a bit of an editorial statement on what sort of character he is? We’ll see how that develops. But especially interesting is that while Richard seemed to be rooting for Ben, who we have to assume showed so many signs of being the One without possibly actually being the One, Richard then helped nudge things into the direction of Locke, and now… Well, now he’s worried that Locke’s very transparent style of leadership might be a problem. And he’s confiding that to Ben, which is even more interesting considering how icily their last talk went three years earlier right before Ben turned that frozen donkey wheel.

The frozen donkey wheel that, regardless of who was told to do it and who actually ended up doing it, was the instruction of the great and powerful Oz, er, Jacob via Christian Shephard (what a name, that). In fact, that episode last year was a lovely cliffhanger (“He wants us to move the Island)” leading you into the finale and now we have a nice counterpart: “I’m gonna kill the son of a bitch.”

Should be very, very interesting.

Next week: The Incident! From the preview it would appear that Jack and Sawyer have a showdown in the classic Jack vs. Locke style, more complications or stresses in the love quadrangle, and Richard Alpert has an axe:

Locke continues his mission to find Jacob and kill him, “There can only be one leader on the Island,” what’s inside Bram’s box (ha ha), and brand spanking new Jackface:

Exciting, right? See you right after.

The impossible gets real!

Everyone knows this is nowhere, Faraday.

Young Daniel: “But I can make time.”

Eloise: “If only you could.”

Being as eloquent and erudite as I can here, but last night’s episode of Lost was fucking awesome, am I fucking right??

The answer is a simple, undeniable yes. Some thoughts on “The Variable,” on the quick:

Daniel Faraday. Man, the ending kind of sucks there. But is also perfect. Which kind of sucks. But in a perfect sort of way. Oh shit. Ouroboros!

Uh huh.

Charles Widmore. More and more, especially after last night’s episode, I just don’t see this guy as the larger villain of the piece. Like so many characters, he’s just another cog in the machine. And another victim of time, fate, destiny, etc.

Eloise Hawking. Cold blooded!

I think Faraday being the love child of Hawking and Widmore makes a kind of sense, but how cool would it be if they just had him because of their knowledge of the future? And also, one has to presume that they take his journal to have further knowledge of the future, right?

The sad thing is… Faraday was really the continuing agent of fate/destiny and was causing events to unfold exactly as they happened, aided and manipulated into doing so by his parents, and yet, it would see that if anyone in these chain of events could be the trigger for change, wouldn’t it have been them?

Bad parenting! (Also, there just hasn’t been enough slaps across the face this year.)

Kate. I got nothing this week. Good job, Kate. Actually, speaking of Kate…

Sawyer. You’ve upped your game by doing a good job reacting to anything that’s come your way this year so far, but now… Calling the girl you’ve had intense feelings for by her intimate nickname in front of your current squeeze who’s already feeling a bit put out? Dick move, man. Dick move.

Juliet. You know I love your fire, baby. So far this year, Juliet’s walked a fine line between doing what she wants to do, staging little rebellions towards that end, but still remaining loyal to those she cares for and her giving Kate the code was another example. So far I’ve dug that the writers have essentially maintained that Kate and Juliet don’t really have a beef with each other, it’s just a bad situation for both.

Phil. That guy can stay in the closet for all I care.

Radzinsky. I’m ready for this guy to get himself locked in a closet. Granted, that’s not going to happen, but that moment when he blows his head off down in the Swan? I can’t wait.

Little Charlotte. Man, what a heartbreaking scene, especially since you knew Faraday wanted to avoid it, yet just had to end up here. Predestination is a bitch (just like Charlotte will grow up to be). And as much as Faraday wants to break free from this chain of events, he justifies to himself that he has to have this conversation with her. If she doesn’t leave the Island before the Incident, she’ll never grow up to live the life she had, so he’s faced with the impossible choice: Have her die on the Island as a little girl in just over four hours or have her die in his arms kinda sorta 30 years later.

Jack! He doesn’t actually do any drinking in this episode and he starts to shake off that post-pills daze he’s had all this year so far (part of me wonders if his confrontation with the drunken mess that is Roger Linus puts Jack permanently back on the wagon)(or is it off the wagon?)(whatever), and quite possibly (at least, according to the previews for next week’s episode) starts to hunt down that destiny he was promised.

“The Super Power Issue.” Nice cameo by Wired as Widmore moves it aside to plant his ass down and offer Faraday a job, especially considering that J.J. Abrams guest edited the latest issue. Did I mention that already?

Pierre Chang! I totally did not forget him! I love how he just isn’t going to take Faraday’s sass about time travel. I still say that Faraday’s voice in the 1950s video, and I hope that’s something that comes to fruition. Oh, and another thing…

The guy who plays Pierre Chang was Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret Of The Ooze. That’s the one with Vanilla Ice and “Ninja Rap.” How wild is that?

Richard Alpert. Seriously. How cool is this guy?

He’s not scared. He’s not even concerned. He’s all like, “Please. You’re not going to shoot me, bitch. I’m not even going to put my coffee cup down.”

The Fork In The Outlet is the code name for this season’s big finale moment and my current theory for the end of the season is: The Lostaways get back to their “present,” or at least what should be their correct year, somewhere in the vicinity of 2007 or 2008, only to find… Everything’s different! Shades of the ending of the novel version of Planet Of The Apes by Pierre Boulle. That’s my current guess. What do you think?

Daniel Faraday (again). This is a character I’m going to miss. Of course, he could always come back in some form, but I did just read something with the producers about how Jeremy Davies has ended his full time association with the show, so… well, that’s kind of sad. but as we’ve learned from Shannon, Mr. Eko, and Charlie before him… when your song is over on Lost, well, your song is really over.

See you out there, space (and time) cowboys (and girls).