LOST: “Expose”

At last, the dreaded, feared, and much-anticipated Niki and Paolo episode.

Spoilers and more after the break.

Links and Miscellanea:

  • An very interesting interview with LOST director Jack Bender. (†Pop Candy) If you’re interested in the cinematic elements of LOST, which have always been at a very high level, I highly recommend this interview.
  • Watching television makes you smarter—especially complex shows like LOST. I’ve been saying this for years.
  • Michael Emerson ponders the significance of recent revelations about Ben Linus with TV Guide.com.
  • This week’s official podcast was particularly informative. Here are a few of the tidbits that we learned:
    • It was strongly implied that either Mikhail or Bea Klugh isn’t really dead, probably the former.
    • We’ll see the VW bus in an upcoming episode, as well as one additional Volkswagen on the island.
    • The “magic box” that Ben spoke of to Locke last week was meant as a metaphor for something else.
    • Our perception of the Others will change again by the end of the season back to the kind of people who would string Charlie from a tree.
    • The Librarian († Doc Jensen at EW.

  • The biggest controversy from last week’s episode involved the submarine ostensibly blowing up and Locke appearing to be drenched from head to toe. The theory circulated by fans is that Locke didn’t actually blow up the sub, just the end of the pier, and that he either submerged it or piloted it farther off shore and swam back to the dock, only to blow up the end of the dock and make it look like the sub was destroyed. I rewatched that part of the episode and found the visual evidence to be inconclusive. (The relevant screen captures can be found here.) Doc Jensen reports, “Intriguingly, Damon Lindelof says: ‘No comment.'” Intriguing indeed. At the very least, I think we’ll eventually find out why Locke was dripping wet.
  • And finally, if you’ve been wishing you had a very bizarre and LOST-themed ringtone for your phone, I’ve created this for you. Enjoy.

Observations and Speculations:

  • So now we know what TV show Locke was watching in his apartment last week: it was “Exposé.” (The dialog, if you recall, included reference to “Crystal” and “the Cobra.”) Although it was widely reported that Billy Dee would play a character named “LaShade,” in fact, he played himself, playing a character named LaShade (aka “The Cobra”). Paolo and Niki’s “script bag” says “Exposé Season 4,” so the show would have been in it’s first season when Locke was watching.
  • Niki and Paolo are the least likable characters we’ve met on the island. They make Shannon look good. Even still, it’s not fun to see anyone buried alive.
  • Someone tipped me off that there would be a Billy Dee Williams guest spot in this show. I think that was handled as well as could be expected. Still, having Lando Calrissian guest star seems more like Heroes than LOST.
  • The diamonds were hidden inside a matrioshka doll. Matroishka dolls are often referred to as metaphors, much in the same way that onions are, meaning that some things have many layers that must be peeled away. In fact, this episode works pretty much like a matroiskha doll, with the layers of flashbacks fitting into what we already know and remember about the show. Matroishka dolls also appeared in the credits of the John Le Carre TV miniseries “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” “with the fourth doll having no face…the unknown mole, a spy who’s buried in the deepest.”
  • Possible continuity error: the ping pong table has a much better net in this episode than it had a few weeks ago.
  • Dead characters who appear in this episode during flashbacks: Shannon, Boone, Arzt, Ethan. Interestingly, the Others weren’t responsible for any of these deaths.
  • I doubt that a “medusa spider” actually exists. Arzt calls it “lactrodectus regina.” Lactrodectus is the genus that the black widow is in. “Regina” would mean queen.
  • The medusa spider introduces an interesting element into the show. Namely, we now know that someone can appear to be dead—maybe even fake their own death—but not really die. I’m thinking of Mikhail here. Maybe he was telling the truth when he said that the sonic perimeter fence doesn’t work anymore.
  • When Artz says, “The pigs are walking” in response to Kate’s explanation about the guns in the case, this is a reference to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. At the end of the book, the pigs take over the animal society, start walking on two legs and move into the farmer’s house, the final step in their “some animals are more equal than others” transition to power.
  • Favorite Hurley line: “No offense, dude, but as far as superpowers go, yours is kind of lame.”
  • We don’t know for sure that Paolo and Niki are dead at the end of the episode. But we can hope.

I thought this episode was just okay. It was a fun diversion, and (in a way) a nice nostalgic stroll through select moments from prior episodes, but it didn’t really amount to much, and didn’t contain nearly as much revelation as I expected and hoped for. In the end, I’m not sure it was worth introducing these two new characters. We know nothing more about why the others know so much about the survivors than we did before (other than that Ben was monitoring them via the Pearl Station, but we could have guess that much).


15 thoughts on “LOST: “Expose”

  1. For pretty much no serial plot development, I really liked it – basically a stand alone episode. Kind of reminded me of what you might have found in an old Twilight Zone episode.

  2. Ooh, I loved the episode. I thought it was a lot of fun going back and seeing their interactions with the rest of the group. I love it every time Sawyer says, “and who the hell are you?” And I love that they burried them alive.

    Have the writers reached the point that they can’t really go back to making Sawyer a jerk? I mean, I really like him now and I don’t want him to be a jerk again, ya know?

    My big question of the night is how did they get that footage of Nikki at the plane crash? There’s absolutely no way they recreated that on location set, nor could it possibly still be around. Could they have possibly filmed her all the way back when they filmed the pilot and had the saved footage? Or did they create a similar set and splice some of this footage into the footage that we’re familiar with? Or do they have serious CGI skills? However they did it I thought it was very well executed.

  3. “My big question of the night is how did they get that footage of Nikki at the plane crash?”

    My guess is that it was new material extremely well-edited into footage that was filmed at the time of the pilot. I thought it was pretty impressive.

  4. I went back and watched the original plane crash footage and there was no Niki or Paulo. I’m very impressed with the editing job they did to add them.

    “Have the writers reached the point that they can’t really go back to making Sawyer a jerk?”
    Yeah, I had the same thought last night. Even though the show tried to lead us to believe that Sawyer might have been involved, I just didn’t think that he was capable. I think that Sawyer has changed during his time on the island. I can’t imagine him sprinkling $8 M of diamonds on the graves of two strangers three months ago.

  5. A fun little episode – yeah, it didn’t advance the main plot (much), but it was interesting and well done. So far, I think it’s one of the three best episodes this season.

  6. While it didn’t advance the plot per se, I feel there were elements that could come into play later on, like the spiders.

    I liked the episode. A little Hitchcockian and a fun way to do a little recap.

  7. It was ok. Not as good as the last few weeks. It kind of felt shoehorned in. They introduced these new characters that nobody seemed to like, then made an episode to get rid of them that almost feel like filler. The overall story didn’t really move forward.

  8. not true. That walkie-talkie will become important and is the real reason for the whole episode. A point in my favor: it has more personality than Nikki and Paolo combined.

  9. It wasn’t as bad as introducing the “tailies” and having an entire series of shows dedicated to them…and then killing them off.

  10. Oh, and I loved when Nikki was walking off the tv set telling the guy “everyone knows that supporting actors are always killed off in the end” (or however it was worded). Well played.

  11. I thought this was one of the better episodes of the season. Go figure. I liked the change from the usual format. The big question is was their death ultimately from themselves or was it the Island doing something?

    There were lots of little things in the show I liked. Such as them looking at Shannon and her brother and saying, “I hope we never end up like them” and then ending up like them. (Dead on the Island, probably due to the Island)

    I think the Sawyer element was pretty important. The Island seems to demand change (atonement) or death. Thus the death of Ecko (although that episode really, really bugged me on a ton of levels) Sawyer is changing. So is Jack. In a way everyone on the Island is an unsavory figure. Some are, like Locke, developing. Some aren’t.

    The big question. Why was the school teacher killed?

    What was jarring is how unlike their characters from two years ago Shannon and Boone looked. Boone lost a lot of weight and Shannon looked plain weird.

  12. BTW – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is one of those shows I keep wanting to rewatch. It’s been years since I saw it. I have fond memories of it being one of the better cold war spy films. That along with Hopscotch with Walter Matthau.

  13. Great episode. There’s always the possibility that Vincent will dig them out — he knew they weren’t dead when they were laying on the sheet; that’s why he kept uncovering them.

    We know this N&P stuff has been planned at least since the beginning of this season because of the scene in which Niki discovers the video of Mikhail at the Pearl station and Paolo comes out of the bathroom and says the toilet still works.

    The Russian doll element was very good. We might still see a few more layers of this that are yet to be unravelled.

    Anyone glimpse what Sawyer was reading when Niki asked him for a gun? My wife and I couldn’t make it out. But, of course, the Artz’s Animal Farm quote was a great touch.

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