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‘Lost’ Season Three: Ep. 14 “Expose”

At the beginning of the season three, we were introduced to two new characters, Nikki and Paolo. There was a bit of an uproar on the Lost blogs since no one seemed at all interested in investing  time or energy on new characters. The Lost creators may have listened, but of course, once you’re introduced, you can’t just be completely ignored. This episode is Nikki and Paolo’s island story, brief as it is:

It opens with Nikki, running through the jungle–running from someone, it looks like. She stops and hurriedly buries something in the ground and then keeps running.

She bursts through the jungle on the beach where Hurley and Sawyer are playing ping pong and collapses. The two guys rush to her, and she tries to say something but then dies. “Nikki’s dead, dude,” Hurley announces. Sawyer asks, “Who’s Nikki?” Hurley quickly updates Sawyer on the Nikki/Paolo situation; that they were a couple of some sort, and figures out she may have said, “Paolo lies.” Hurley and Sawyer reign in Charlie, Sun and Jin to go look for Paolo. They find him lying in the jungle, seemingly also dead, poisoned by the look of it. The Losties are going to try to solve the mystery.

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Flashback to Paolo and Nikki’s backstory: She’s an actress on a cheesy hit show called Expose, which is currently shooting in Australia. She’s also in love with her director, Howie Zuckerman. Or so she says. Later, Nikki is having lunch with Howie and they are both complementing the chef. The chef turns out to be Paolo, a Brazilian whiz kid with the spices. And as Nikki and Howie are enjoying the rest of their meal, Howie suddenly has a heart attack. But in actuality, he was poisoned by Nikki and Paolo. She’s been wanting to break into Howie’s vault and take something. Something very valuable.

Paolo and Nikki are now in the airport waiting to board the fateful 815 flight. They see Boone and Shannon, who are arguing. Cut to right after the plane crash, Nikki is running around looking for Paolo. She finally finds him sitting on the beach, looking dazed. She gets his attention and asks, “Where’s the bag?”

Now it’s Nikki’s mission to find the loot, $8 million worth of something–we still don’t know what it is yet. Paolo helps her but isn’t sure if she’s with him because she loves him or because she just wants the bag. We also get to see how the events over the last 84 days unfold this time through Nikki and Paolo’s eyes, i.e. Jack telling everyone to work together, the fear of the monster in the jungle, etc. Even Ethan approaches Nikki, telling her the bag could have landed somewhere in the jungle. Nikki also befriends Arnzt, remember him? The guy who blew himself up in the first season? She gets him to help her make a trajectory map.

When Nikki and Paolo go on the hunt, they discover the plane with the drugs. Nikki tells Paolo he should go up there to see if there’s a radio, but Paolo won’t do it because, “that thing will fall if I go up there.” Damn straight it will. They also find the Pearl hatch, which they open. Nikki rejects the idea to climb down into the hatch because there’s no time. See? They might have been regulars if they let someone know about their findings. Instead, they keep looking for the loot. Finally, at the lagoon, Paolo dives in the water to look for the bag. He sees a few dead bodies—and yep, there’s the bag. But he comes up and tells Nikki he didn’t find anything, but he goes back down and gets the bag later, hiding it from Nikki.

Paolo at first tries to bury the bag in the sand, but Locke tells him that’s a bad idea since the beach will erode and wash it away. So, Paolo goes back to the Pearl hatch, alone with a flashlight, to hide it. While he’s there, Ben and Juliet show up. They talk about convincing Jack to do the surgery. Ben says he’ll find out what’s important to Jack and exploit it to his advantage. Paolo knew the Others plan before anyone else. Love the irony.

Back to our happy band of investigators, Sawyer finds a walkie talkie in Paolo’s stuff (left by Ben in the Pearl hatch when Paolo was there). Now, Sawyer, Hurley et. al. think Paolo and Nikki may have been working with the Others. Sawyer pulls out a gun he kept from his Others’ experience and goes off. Later, Hurley asks Desmond if he, you know, KNOWS anything. He says he doesn’t, but he did see Sawyer and Nikki arguing earlier in the morning before she died. Hmmm. Hurley is suspicious.

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Sun keeps mentioning the time the Others tried to take her, as if she knows what they are capable of. Finally, Charlie confesses to her that he did it in cahoots with Sawyer. Later, they confront Sawyer about why he argued with Nikki. It’s because she wanted a gun, and Sawyer could tell she had been digging. He found what she was trying to hide. Diamonds. A little bag filled with them.

So how did they die exactly? The morning of their death, Nikki discovers Paolo has been lying to her about the bag. She demands a gun from Sawyer, who tells her he ain’t got any, not since the “A-Team” took them. As she storms off, he yells, “WHO ARE YOU?” No matter. Tricking Paolo to follow her into the jungle, Nikki demands to know where the diamonds are, but before Paolo can respond, she throws a spider on him. It’s one of Arnzt’s spiders he collected called a Medusa spider, which will paralyze and slow down the heart rate of its victims for about eight hours but will not kill them. As Paolo falls to the ground, Nikki starts looking for the diamonds she figures he has on him. They’re in his pants. Before he can no longer speak, he tells her he did it because he was afraid he’d lose her. She realizes she’s made a mistake but suddenly, several Medusa spiders appear and one of them bites Nikki. When she collapses on the beach in front of Sawyer and Hurley, she doesn’t say, “Paolo lies,” she says, “Para-lyzed.”

Now, lying side by side in a grave they rest have dug for them, no one knows Nikki and Paolo are only paralyzed. As the dirt comes tumbling in, Nikki opens her eyes, but its too late. Buried alive.

This episode would be referred to on STAR TREK as the “red-shirt syndrome.”

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