Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lost - Season 3, Episode 14 - Exposé

The Lost writers definitely gave us all a treat last night. The episode was chock full of meta-humor and Island flashbacks and old favorite characters. The actual storyline of the episode felt a little stretched, but it provided a solid hour of entertainment with enough interesting topics to keep us fans talking till next Wednesday.

The episode opens on the Island (yay!). Nikki is running breathlessly through the jungle. She falls in a clearing, digs at the ground, and buries something.

The next scene is in a stripclub (obviously, not on the Island). Nikki is on stage dancing. She notices a mysterious man with slicked hair come into the club and go straight to the back. She quickly follows him and enters a manager's office. There, the man with the slicked hair is showing a large case of money to the back of the manager. Nikki says, "That's Cobra's money!" The manager swings around and it's Billy Dee Williams and he reveals that HE is Cobra (or some such nonsense). He pulls out a gun and dramatically shoots Nikki.

From somewhere offscreen, a director yells "Cut!" and Nikki stands up. She shakes the hand of Billy Dee Williams, says, "It was nice to work with you," and proceeds through a backlot, talking to the producer of the series, Howard Zuckerman. They step outside, behind them a big sign reads "Expose - Season Four," in front of the famous Sydney skyline. Victor is wondering if Nikki will leave Sydney now that her role on the show is over. Nikki assures him she's not there just for the series and gives him a big kiss.

On the Island, Hurley and Sawyer are playing ping pong. Hurley wins a game. Sawyer, upset, demands another game. But before they can continue, Nikki jumps out of the jungle, whispers something, and collapses. They go over to check on her. Sawyer checks the jungle for anybody watching. Hurley looks up, worry painted on his face and says, "Dude, Nikki's dead." Sawyer, kicking a dead horse joke, says, "Who's Nikki?"

The next scene brings all the major players still on the beach side of the Island, Charlie, Sun, Jin, Hurley, and Sawyer crowded around Nikki's inert body. They can't find any wound and are perplexed by the whole thing. Sun thinks maybe they were poisoned and goes to check the food supply. Hurley and Sawyer are trying to figure out what Nikki said before she - apparently - died. Hurley thinks she said, "Powerlines!" but that makes no sense and then Sawyer suggests maybe she said, "Paulo lies!" They decide to go find Paulo.

A flashback opens on Howard's white-lined expansive mansion overlooking water. Him and Nikki are having breakfast. Nikki is complimenting Howard on the food. He says his new chef, Paulo, is great. He begged him for the job and Howard finally gave it to him. He calls Paulo out and him and Nikki exchange a careful greeting. Suddenly, Howard starts to feel pains in his arms. Within a moment, he seems to be choking. Nikki calls out for Paulo, who rushes to the table, but it's too late. Howard is dead.

Nikki shouts, "You could have worked it so we didn't have to eat the same food!" Without a moment of remorse, she pushes Howard's head back and grabs at a key tied to his neck. Together, Paulo and Nikki walk into a closet and find a locked chest. They open it to reveal a few items, notably a Martyoshka doll, which they open, but we don't see what's inside.... yet.

Another flashback finds Nikki and Paulo in the airport waiting for their flight. They're looking through a newspaper that lists the cause of death of Howard Zuckerman as "heart failure." They smile at each other, knowing their crime has gone unnoticed. Nearby, we can see the doll poking its head out of their bag. A familiar shouting emerges from nearby. It's Shannon and Boone, arguing about finding a seat in the crowded waiting area. Shannon is in a particularly bad mood and berates Boone for not finding them a seat and then when he tries to grab a chair from Paulo, she scolds him for "flirting" with Paulo. Finally, they walk away and Nikki makes Paulo promise they'll never "be like that."

Back on the Island, Hurley, Jin, and Sawyer find Paulo's body in the jungle. His eyes are glazed open just like Nikki's. One of his shoes is off in a tree. Hurley comments on why his pants are undone. Jin examines his body and notices the way he is flat on the ground looking straight up. He looks at Sawyer and says, "Monster."

The next flashback is a doozy. We're back on Day 1 on the Island. Shannon is screaming her lungs out for Boone. Pieces of Oceanic 815 are scattered all across the Island. Jack is off helping Claire. Locke tells someone to "Get away from there!" A huge explosion rocks the beach. We focus on Nikki. She's running through all the craziness to try and find Paulo. Boone stops her, asking for a pen. Finally, she finds him, bleeding and looking shell-shocked. She asks him, "Where's the bag?"

On the Island, Hurley, Jin, and Sawyer carry Paulo's body beside Nikki's. As always, they're nonchalant about another character's random death. Sawyer is making fun of their names, calling them "Nina and Pablo" and Hurley reprimands him, saying, "Dude. Show some respect." Jin is still talking about Mr. Eko and the Monster and how Locke said, "They're next" and Nikki and Paulo were with them at the time.

In Island-flashback world (this is when it starts to get fun), Nikki says, "There's no such thing as Monsters," after the incident with the falling trees. She's convinced "the coast guard" will be there to rescue them in any minute. Meanwhile, a scuffle is happening up the beach. Jack intervenes and delivers his famous "Live Together, Die Alone" speech. Nikki and Paulo both look moved.

Later, Nikki goes to see Dr. Arzt asking about "trajectories and stuff." Arzt shows her his collection of spiders and new species. He says he's going to be the next Darwin (little does he know he barely survives the season.) He tells her of one particular spider, a Medusa spider that can paralyze people and her scent is so strong, it calls others of the species.

Obviously, Arzt helps her (although it happens offscreen) because the next scene finds Nikki and Paulo finding Yemi's plane and The Pearl station. They don't actually go inside. They're on a mission for their bag so they leave the obvious mystery behind and continue onwards.

In real-time, Hurley, Charlie, and Sawyer are going through Nikki and Paulo's tent. They find jars of bugs inherited from Arzt and a script for Expose. Hurley is thrilled. He loved the show. "It was like Baywatch!" He flips to the end and is surprised by the climax. Sawyer, rifling through Paulo's luggage, comes upon a walkie-talkie like the one the Others used. They wonder if Nikki and Paulo were working with the Others.

In flashback, Arzt and Shannon are confronting Kate about the guns that she and Jack found. Nikki is especially interested. Later, they go to the isolated lagoon where a large section of the plane fell in the water. Paulo finds the bag but he doesn't share this with Nikki. He just says there's nothing but bodies down there and she storms off. He heads back down to retrieve his bag.

We next see Paulo rifling through his bag looking for his nictoine gum. He picks up the doll and begins to dig a hole to bury it. Locke comes upon him and advises him that "things don't stay buried on this Island," especially on the Beach, where high tide will wash anything buried away. He advises him to go inland.

Paulo, alone, heads to The Pearl. He finds a toilet and hides the doll in the back of it. While he's doing that, two familiar visitors enter the station. It's Ben and Juliet. They mess with some buttons and a screen lights up showing Jack in the Swan. Juliet says he would never willingly perform the surgery. But Ben says he'll do what he always does and find something that Jack cares about and exploit that. Juliet counters, "So do we just grab them?" "No," Ben says, "They'll come to us." Using Michael, of course. (Note: I miss Michael.)

After they leave, Paulo heads into the station and finds a walkie-talkie.

Back in real-time, Sun, Charlie, and Hurley have begun to dig a joint grave for Nikki and Paulo. Sun is insistent that their death is the work of the Others. Look what they did to her. They could infiltrate their camp at any time. Hurley gets an idea to ask Desmond and leaves and Charlie, with sad music playing, admits to Sun that he was the one who kidnapped her to divert attention while he and Sawyer stole the camp's guns.

Desmond is no help. He does, however, recommend they talk to Sawyer. Desmond saw him arguing with Nikki just that morning.

In flashback-time, Locke gathers a group to go out to the Pearl to search for a way to find Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. While Nikki is watching the orientation video and Locke and Sayid are working on the computer, Paulo enters the bathroom, takes out the doll and crushes it, revealing a small black poach. He stuffs the poach in his pants and steps back out of the bathroom.

In the present, Hurley confronts Sawyer about the gun. He accuses Sawyer of murdering Nikki, but he can't think of a reason. Sawyer says he was out looking near where they found Paulo and found a mound of dirt. In it, he found the black poach. It's loaded with diamonds.

In flashback, Nikki and Paulo are having a romantic heart-to-heart one morning. Paulo leaves to go get them some breakfast and Nikki notices a strip of nicotine gum in his wake. That's when she goes to Sawyer to ask for a gun. Sawyer refuses and she huffs and puffs away.

The next scene finds Sawyer looking longingly at Nikki's body. Sun walks up to him and reveals that Charlie told her everything. Sawyer asks her if she's going to tell Jin. She says no, otherwise "they'd have to dig another grave." She does, however, slap him.

In the climatic scene of the episode, Nikki is leading Paulo to an isolated spot in the jungle. She demands to see the diamonds. She says she knows he has them. When Paulo refuses, she pulls out a jar with the Medusa spider and throws it at Paulo. It bites him on the neck and he is immediately paralyzed. She searches him and finds the black poach in his pants. She smiles for a moment at her apparent victory, until she hears a sickly crawling sound. It's other Medusa spiders. One of them bites her in the leg.

The next scene is the funeral. Hurley says a few words then Sawyer adds some heartful comments before dropping the diamonds all over the two of them. They begin to throw dirt on them. Just before a mound of dirt hits her face, Nikki's eyes open. But it's too late. Hurley and Sawyer bury them alive.

* * *

Apparently fan reaction to Nikki and Paulo, who have been in probably ten scenes all season, was overtly negative. They didn't bother me, actually, and I was waiting for them to introduce characters that were on the plane but have not been main characters. But, I guess I was in the minority. Fans hated these two so much, the producers decided to kill them real quick. At least we got a fun episode of it!

Going through all the old scenes and locations was a real treat. Seeing Shannon, Boone, and poor Doc Arzt were like icing on the cake. Even seeing Jack and Kate amongst the "regular" cast was a welcome addition. It seems like the main cast has been so spread out this year, this episode had everyone together, even with a wonky timeline that stretched all the way from Day 1 to Day 84 (the Present.)

The diamonds storyline was overall a little weak. After three months on the Island with no sign of contact with the outside world, even thinking about things like diamonds is absurd, but at least we know that if anybody is still clinging to the outside world, they're going to get a big slap in the face and a quick burial.

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Anonymous The Brewer Patriot said...

I did not like this episode at all (except for whenever Nikki was just running around in a bikini). The reviewer on took the words right out of my mouth....

''Man, I can't believe they wasted a whole hour on those two, especially after last week, which was one of the best episodes of Lost ever! I wanted to see how Jack and Juliet dealt with the destruction of the submarine! I wanted to see if Ben let Kate and Sayid leave Otherville! And I wanted to see what happened with Locke and his dad! What I didn't want to see was @#$%! Paulo and @#$%! Nikki! The best thing about this episode is that they got killed — because at least I know my time will never be wasted on those two ever again.''

March 30, 2007 7:45 AM  
Blogger Elad said...

like i said in my post, i don't think these two had enough screentime to make more than a minimal impression on me, so I was sad a little so see them go.

I'm surprised the EW reviewer hasn't realized the split format of this season. Last week's episode dealt with the Others' side of the Island, this week would obviously deal with the Beach side.

Overall, i think the episode was good. As an aside from the "Others" focus of this season, it was a fun diversion.

March 31, 2007 9:30 AM  

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