Wednesday, November 18, 2009


When "Expose" (accent aigu on the last "e") first aired, Lost fans felt mixed. It was the episode that concentrated on the hated Nikki and Paulo, but it was also the one where they bought the farm. Watching it now, it's a lot easier to take, since it doesn't mean we have to wait a week to get back to the main plot.

It's not clear if Nikki and Paulo were meant to play a larger part in the show, and the producers offed them because they were so unpopular, or if this was always the plan.

The episode, removed from the series, is actually a lot of fun. It's the most self-referential by far. We get to explore the last two and a half seasons of Lost from the point of view of a couple minor characters (who threatened to be major).

Within the Lost universe, Expose is a mystery show (which Hurley loves and Locke watches) on which Nikki makes a guest appearance. "Expose" is an episode of Lost that offers its own self-contained mystery plot. In Expose, Nikki dies, which, she notes, is the fate of guest stars. In "Expose," Nikki and Paulo, two minor characters, end up the same way.

Back in Sydney, Nikki and Paulo killed the producer of Expose and swiped his diamonds. There are a lot of nasty characters among the castaways, but N and P are probably the worst. And once they get on the Island, they only get nastier, if that's possible. (I guess Jacob figured there was no reason to visit these two when they were younger.)

A lot of dead characters come back to life in the flashbacks. We spot a quarreling Boone and Shannon in the airport. Nikki says to Paulo let's make sure we never end up like them. But of course, they not only quarrel, they end up buried next to the two. We also see Arzt (who knows a lot about spiders) and Ethan.

One of the first big things Nikki and Paulo did was take a trip to the Pearl Station with some of first season regulars. While the others were watching a video, Paulo went to the bathroom. Among some fans, he was dubbed TASG--Take A Shit Guy. But Lost, even when it's a cul-de-sac, is a clever show, and this episode explains that Paulo actually had a reason to be in the toilet.

What bothered me most about the show when I first saw it was how these two discovered certain things first--the Pearl and the plane. In fact, Paulo says he wouldn't climb up to check out the plane or it'll fall, which is how Boone died. I thought this cheapened what Locke and Boone had done in the first season. Locke was a discoverer, now he's just getting seconds. Plus he's dumber than Paulo. But there is another way to look at it. N and P were offered a shot at redemption, like everyone else. Instead of taking it, they didn't appreciate what the Island offered. They see the Pearl and the plane, and while this opens up an amazing world to Locke, who gets the Island, they just shrug it off, and fight over the diamonds. Compare them even to Sawyer, who realizes by the end of the show (while he's burying the two alive) that the diamonds aren't worth anything.

This is maybe symbolized by Locke's meeting with Paulo. Paulo is trying to hide the diamonds from Nikki--still plotting--and Locke tells him whatever he's hiding, it won't stay buried on the Island. This literally means the tide will eventually wash away what Paulo's doing. But it also means that on the Island, your true self will eventually show through.


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