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"We All Know What Happens to the Guest Star:" Nikki and Paolo Exposed on "Lost"

Oh. My. God.

I've been begging for Nikki and Paolo to meet their maker but even I didn't see THAT coming.

Last night's episode of Lost ("Exposé") presented yet another contrary view of their first 84 or so days on the island, this time from the perspective of cannon fodder Nikki and Paolo, who have--as promised by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse--become iconic figures on the island, even in, er, repose.

I was thrilled to see yet another fantastic episode in a row (three and counting), especially once that hearkened back to the tone of Season One while also presenting us with something unique and challenging: the island's first murder mystery, presented in a style that reminded me of The Twilight Zone or (dare I say it?) Edgar Allen Poe.

We also got some swift answers on what the hell has been going on with Nikki and Paolo (finally!) which finally made sense of their role on the island. Here's the precis: Yes, they were on Oceanic Flight 815. No, they weren't working for the Others (though Paolo did snag one of their walkies). Yes, Paolo had been to The Pearl before, which is why he knew where the bathroom was. Yes, that's why Paolo didn't want them to join the A-Team on their expedition to The Pearl, where he had concealed a set of matryoshka... which happened to contain $8 million in diamonds stolen from an Australian producer's safe right after Nikki and Paolo poisoned him. (And if there was ever a perfect metaphor for Lost, it's the matryoshka.)

Bad girl Nikki wasn't a stripper (as the opening seconds of the episode would have you believe), but a guest starring actress on a cheesy third-rate syndicated show called Exposé (the same show that Locke happened to be watching in a flashback last week); she cozied up to the producer while Paolo, his Brazilian chef, poisoned him. Naughty, naughty.

This week also featured appearances from some of the island's dearly departed: Leslie Arzt, Ethan Rom, and poor Shannon and Boone. Of the latter, Nikki and Paolo run into them at the airport and Nikki says how much she hopes they don't end up like them. I'm still not sure whether she meant a constantly bickering feuding couple or dead. Either way, they ended up exactly like Boone and Shannon: at each other's throats and then buried up at Boone Hill. And in the episode's best Poe-worthy twist: they weren't even dead when Sawyer and Hurley buried them. Mwahahaha.

Was it just me or were the effects and the integration of Nikki and Paolo into the pilot's plane crash on the beach and subsequent moments just effing stunning? It blew my mind to see the two of them in one of the most memorable scenes in TV history and as they crossed paths with some of the series' most iconic locations: the Pearl Station, the yellow plane, the lake where the gun case was discovered.

In Nikki and Paolo, the show's producers created two people that we all hated and then revealed that it was perfectly all right to hate them after all: they were truly despicable human beings who were totally self-absorbed and loathsome. Paolo discovered an underground hatch, found the script bag containing the diamonds under the waterfall and didn't tell his partner-in-crime, instead concealing the diamonds first on himself and then in the toilet's septic tank in the Pearl. He overheard Ben and Juliet spying on Jack and the Losties as they detailed their plans to kidnap Jack and forcing him to perform surgery on Ben (through coercion and the taking of Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley to boot). At no time did Paolo (or Nikki) tell anyone about what they saw. No, Paolo grabbed a walkie left behind by Juliet and Ben and hid it, grabbed the matrioshka when they returned to the Pearl, and remained a liar to the bitter end.

When Nikki discovers Paolo's treachery, she poisons him with a Medusa spider, causing an 8-hour-long paralysis. But she didn't exactly listen to Artz: releasing the Medusa causes a flood of powerful pheromones which calls out to the male spiders. Leading Nikki to become bitten herself as she buries the diamonds (stored in Paolo's undies) and rushes to the beach, where she collapses in front of Hurley and Sawyer, uttering, "paralyzed." (They mistake it as "Paolo lies.") The others investigate the two "murders" and end up burying them with the diamonds... just as Nikki creepy, gruesomely opens her eyes. Brilliant.

Glad that they finally wrapped up that dangling plotline from Season Two that had Hoodie Charlie attempt to "kidnap" Sun at Sawyer's command; Charlie confesses to Sun as to what happened and our girl decks Sawyer at the first opportunity. You go, girl. She even tells our fave con man that she won't tell Jin or they will be digging another grave...

All in all, another awesome episode and one that finally gave us some answers while eliminating two of the most abhorred characters in Lost history. Ah, Nikki and Paolo: you died as you lived, suffocating one another in a series of lies and betrayals. Say hi to Ethan on the other side for us.

Next week on Lost ("Left Behind"): it's an estrogen fueled episode as Kate and Juliet are forced to fend for their lives when tossed into the jungle and left to die but naturally they end up fighting rather than working together when Juliet tells Kate why Jack told her not to come back for him; meanwhile, Hurley convinces Sawyer to apologize for his actions or be banished from the group.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Fiji (CBS); The Office/The Office (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); The Office/Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Family Guy/American Dad (FOX)

10 pm: Shark (CBS); The Office/The Office (NBC); October Road (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Ugly Betty.

On tonight's repeat episode ("Lose the Boss?"), Betty's family tries to help Daniel sober up and get over Sofia, while Betty is forced to throw together a photo shoot for a famous celeb couple and their baby for the Mode cover, leading Marc and Wilhelmina to get stranded in a less fashionable area of the city.

8-9 pm: The Office.

Had some Office withdrawal last week? No worries, tonight NBC brings you not one, but five episodes of everyone's favorite television comedy. Up first, it's Season One's "Diversity Day," in which Michael's Chris Rock routine forces Dunder-Mifflin to bring in a consultant to teach the staff about diversity. Next up, another Season One gem in the form of "Health Care," in which Dwight is put in charge of choosing an appropriate health care plan while Michael hides in his office.

9 pm: The Office.

More Office goodness! It's Season Two's "Sexual Harassment," in which Michael's appauling behavior with Todd Packer leads Toby to give a lecture on sexual harassment policies.

9:30 pm: Andy Barker, P.I.

On the series' third episode ("Three Days of the Chicken"), Andy and Simon strike when Wally serves tainted chicken at his restaurant.

10-11 pm: The Office.

Still more Office! Up first is "The Injury," in which Michael injures his foot on a George Foreman grill and disrupts the entire office, while Dwight has a personality change from a car accident. Easily still my favorite episode of the series. And closing out the Dunder-Mifflin inspired evening is Season Three's "Gay Witch Hunt," in which Michael outs grouchy and gay Dunder-Mifflin employee Oscar, while Jim and Pam try to move on after that kiss.

10:30 pm: This American Life on Showtime.

Based on the popular NPR radio series, this brilliant new Showtime drama seeks to capture first person accounts of single themes. On tonight's episode ("My Way"), host Ira Glass explores the notion of the cost of stubbornness with two thematically-linked personal stories.

Comments

The CineManiac said…
Brilliant!
You weren't the only one impressed with the way they placed Paulo, Nikki (Who?), and Arzt back into so many of those scenes, it worked wonderfully.
Also I loved seeing the island and all the events through there eyes.
But the most maddening Brilliant work of the whole show was the fact that they were just paralyzed this whole time. It was a magnificent twist, that I don't think anyone saw coming, and I was actually sad and horrified when they didn't move enough to save themselves.
rockauteur said…
Definitely a classic great episode that harked back to season 1. I loved reliving the classic season 1 moments, from the original plane crash to Jack's "live together, die alone" speech. I definitely am interested in how they were able to achieve the Nikki/Paulo integration into those crucial and fan-favorite scenes.
Truly amazing.

I was happy to see the return of Boone, Shannon, and Arzt, though it brought back another question to my mind: how come the survivors have never returned to the Black Rock? There is still the dangling question about the power source at the Black Rock and the infection that Rosseau warned everyone about... Did her team really get infected? The last we heard about quarantine was the word evident on the blasted hatch doors and Desmond debunking the idea that the island was infected... Or is it?

Maybe Team Locke should have brought Nikki and Paulo into the mix in the beginning - they were able to find the Pearl Hatch before Locke even found the plane. Was Locke too consumed by finding the original hatch and the possibility of a radio on the plane that he failed to notice the Pearl Hatch in the ground? How did Nikki notice it that quickly when an expert tracker like Locke didn't even see it? My question though is when did Paulo return to the Pearl? Was it before Ben was caught or after his rescue my Michael? Was it after Ecko/Locke's original trip the hatch after they pushed the plane out of the way? Or was it before that, which would mean that the hatch was never covered by the plane and Ben/Juliet/Others pushed to cover it (which WAS alluded to by Ben). Jace answer my question there.

While it was a great episode, there was still no point exactly to Nikki and Paulo, other to serve as a red herring for the audience. Having been there since the beginning of the crash, how did so many people fail to know who they were anyway? But i loved seeing the island through their eyes and the critical scenes from other angles. Paulo really didn't have stomach problems - he was just always off hiding the diamonds.

My one thing is that I believe that the spiders that bit Nikki were a manifestation of the monster. Right after she poisoned Paulo, there was an obvious audible sound of the monster (that sort of screeching z) in the woods, right before the spiders came out. Could it be the monster taking on an appearance a la Remi and giving Paulo his just desserts against Nikki? Even though Paulo was an a-hole for failing to report the inside information to Jack and the crew about their imminent kidnapping.

Brilliant episode, especially the ending. I wonder if this is the last we see of them or if they will turn up in other flashbacks... I do miss Boone and Shannon. Maybe Rose will turn up soon too?
Jace Lacob said…
Justin,

I noticed the clicking "monster" noise too just before the Medusa spiders swarmed Nikki and Paolo. In fact, I thought the monster was about to appear so was slightly confused when the spiders showed up... is there a connection that we're missing?

As for the whole plane/Pearl hatch situation, I think that the plane did not land over the hatch, concealing it. Instead, the Others (ordered by Ben) shifted the plane to conceal the Pearl before Charlie/Eko visited the crash site.

Are Nikki and Paolo truly dead and gone? Or have we not seen the last of them yet? After all, Vincent knew they weren't dead (hence the blanket pulling)... could he be a really fast digger?
Anonymous said…
All I could say after last night's ep? That was fucked up! :)

I'd say it was the 4th good ep in a row, as I loved the Sayid ep as well.

"(And if there was ever a perfect metaphor for Lost, it's the matryoshka.)" So true, my friend.

Not only did I love the seamless way they put them (And Arzt & Ethan) into the pilot, but I loved seeing the expedition-volunteering scene again w/new eyes.

My quibble. One could say coincidence, but I say contrived. I was annoyed that the poison paralyzes for 8 hours, and 8 hours is exactly when they finally buried them. They were lying on the beach all day and they decide to bury exactly when it's time for the poison to wear off, just so we, the audience, can have that twist moment. It felt contrived to have them remain un-buried so long, and it was already bugging me even before the twist at the end. A big bump for me. I'd much rather the poison have had a 4 hour window, since 4, like 8, is one of the numbers. I'd more likely accept that it took 4 hours to bury them, esp if they were still trying to figure out what killed them.

But, to contradict myself, slightly, I was listening to an old podcast this morning where Carlton and Damon discuss their love for Charles Dickens, and how influential this "master of coincidence" has been to the show.

Also, I was also bumped by wondering how Locke could have missed the Pearl.
This comment has been removed by the author.
RE: Justin's comment ("...there was still no point exactly to Nikki and Paulo...") I have to disagree.

When Nikki and Paulo first appeared I was bored by the annoying couple and did not understand the point of their characters. But all that changed after last night's brilliant episode. Nikki and Paulo did not significantly contribute to, or alter the course of life on the island. They were not heroes or villains, spiritualists or cursed lotto winners. They just...were. And, for me, that is the point. Had they intervened...or, hell, even interacted with the other characters, things may have turned out differently on the island. But they didn't. And, because of that, they died alone.
Anonymous said…
This episode most reminded me of the great EC Comics stories of the '50s. Poisonous spiders, accidental burial and cruelly moralistic twist endings were pretty common elements of books like Tales From the Crypt. Sorry Wagner, I can't feel too badly about a couple of cold-blooded murderers getting their just desserts. Nikki will always have her diamonds, and Paolo will always have Nikki by his side. Another great episode, and I'm loving the way this season has rebounded from a shaky start.
Anonymous said…
Reminded me of an "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", or "Tales of the Unexpected" that we used to have in the UK. Best episode in a long time.

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