Episode Title: “Expose” (note: with a tilde over the e, but I can't figure out how to do that)
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Once again, Lost is forcing me to learn the French language. I suppose this will come in handy in a few weeks when I’m in Paris and can drop phrases like “Par Avion” and “Expose” like a local… I mean, I’m sure those words come up all the time in day to day conversation, right?
Probably not. If you remember, “Par Avion” translated to “Airmail” and referred to Claire’s bird-brained (pun!) scheme to attach a letter to one of the migrating birds on the Island. This week, we’ve got “Expose”, with directly translates to the word “Exposed”. With this in mind, I immediately thought of the “Good Morning America” preview clip that aired a few weeks back, featuring (I kid you not), Nikki on a stripper pole. Check it out:
Looks pretty “exposed” to me.
However, much like “hors d'oeuvre”, “je ne sais quoi”, and “french fries”, “Expose” is an example of a word that doesn’t need translation, as it has taken on an English meaning all on its own. So, rather than hitting up freetranslation.com, I hit up dictionary.com and found the following definition of “Expose”:
“a public exposure or revelation, as of something discreditable; a formal recital or exposition of facts; exposure, or revelation, of something which some one wished to keep concealed.”
Now we’re talking. AT this point, it’s almost impossible to start breaking down the deeper meaning without knowing what this episode is about, so we need to jump into the episode description here before we come back to the Deeper Meaning.
Episode Description: Hurley begins to suspect that Sawyer may be involved in an island mystery surrounding two fellow survivors, and Sun learns the truth about her past kidnapping attempt by The Others. Guest starring are Kiele Sanchez as Nikki, Rodrigo Santoro as Paulo, William Mapother as Ethan Rom, Ian Somerhalder as Boone, Maggie Grace as Shannon, Daniel Roebuck as Dr. Artz, Billy Dee Williams as Mr. LaShade and Jacob Witkin as Howard L. Zukerman.
Episode Breakdown: This is the long dreaded by some, long awaited by others, Nikki and Paulo-centric episode of “Lost”. Those who dread it do so because of their season-long hatred of annoying Paulo and hot-but-worthless Nikki, who are viewed as taking up screen time from our original beloved Survivors and not serving much of a purpose. They also were victim of the worst character introductions of any show in the history of television. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t even think any character on the show has uttered either of their names yet, have they? They just appeared out of nowhere and the characters on the show acted as though they’d been there all along… it was sloppy.
On the other hand, some (like me) are almost giddy with excitement for this episode after hearing quotes from Cuse and Lindelof about how this episode will “answer a big mythological question” and perhaps contain the “game changing event” that we’ve been hearing about since the spring season started. One (again, like me) could argue that the appearance of Cooper last week was pretty “game changing” – but depending on what the explanation behind his appearance is, it may or may not be as huge as we’re making it out to be. If that’s the case, this episode might contain an even more jaw-dropping moment. In fact, I actually tempered my excitement for last week’s episode because I had this creeping suspicion that this week would be even bigger… even though it’s centered around the Beach, not the Barracks, and the JV Survivors instead of the Varsity Team.
Why? Well, when I hear the term “mythological question” being thrown around, I start thinking about episodes like “Walkabout”, “Orientation”, and “Flashes Before Your Eyes” – you know, the kind of episodes that contain those “big questions” about the origin and power of the Island, the effect its having on our Survivors, and what it means for the past and future storylines we’ve seen on the show. In other words, the stuff that fuels the fire for our Lost obsessiveness and brings out the inner nerd in all of us.
But… how could this possibly tie to Nikki and Paulo? I’ll get there…
First, let’s breakdown the description…
Hurley begins to suspect that Sawyer may be involved in an Island mystery involving two fellow survivors. Since this is a Nikki and Paulo episode that would have to mean they are the “two fellow survivors”, right? If so, Hurley’s suspicions are clearly WRONG unless Sawyer was totally lying four weeks ago when he said “who they hell are you?” to them. It sure sounded legit to me, but hey – he’s the con man. Still, if Nikki and Paulo are as important as the show’s producers have hinted they are, I would bet that they are actually involved in some sort of Island mystery, and Sawyer’s just getting lumped in with them due to his sketchy past on the Island.
The bigger question is what is this new mystery that Hurley is trying to uncover? If he assumes that Sawyer is involved, one would have to think it involved stealing things or keeping secrets in exchange for monetary gain. I went back and re-watched the episode preview to look for any hints, but unfortunately, there weren’t any – other than the glimpses of diamonds which may or may not have been from during a flashback. However, what I did see was a big hint towards the episode title.
Although this screen shot doesn’t quite show it, trust me when I say the title of the booklet Hurley is reading ends in an e with a tilde above it… like in the word “Expose”. What does it mean? Other than the fact that there were more random books, magazines, and scripts on Flight 815 than in most libraries, I’m not sure – it probably won’t be any more of a plot point than the “Bad Twin” transcript that Hurley read last season (are the producers of Lost planning another spin-off book this summer?) but it’s clearly one of the many references that the episode title “Expose” has in this episode. The far deeper meaning lies in the rest of the episode description.
The second deals with Sun finally finding out the truth behind her failed kidnapping attempt last season. I’m almost tempted to launch into my “the writers take too long to answer questions” speech I’ve given a few times over recent weeks, but I’ll refrain here. Yes, this is a storyline that most viewers have probably long forgotten about, but I think there’s a reason the answer couldn’t have come sooner (much like Sayid and the cable on the beach). For those who forget, here’s a refresher.
Midway through Season Two (during the Sawyer-centric episode “The Long Con”), Charlie pretended to kidnap Sun as part of a “long con” by Sawyer to reclaim possession of the guns stored inside the Hatch since his departure at the end of Season One on the Raft. Our Survivors immediately suspected the Others of committing the crime, but then began to suspect Ana-Lucia who was trying to recruit people for her “army” (PS – remember that storyline that was almost instantly dropped?) of doing it in an attempt to get people afraid, angry, and ready to fight. At the end of the episode, we learn that Charlie took part in the con not to gain access to the Virgin Mary Statues of Heroin (as we had suspected), but rather to make Locke look foolish for indirectly allowing Sawyer to get the guns back – as payback for Locke ratting him out to Claire (and punching his face in) during “Fire + Water”.
So here’s my question – this happened a long time ago, and no one has made any mention of it. I don’t really see Sawyer or Charlie admitting to this and risking an ass-kicking from Jin or exile from their fellow Survivors, so how in the world is Sun going to find out the truth?
Enter Nikki and Paulo. All the sudden, I think I understand the purpose of introducing these characters – it’s to answer questions from the past on the Island that otherwise wouldn’t get answered. While it seems like we’ll get a brief bit of “pre-Island” flashbacks for them (unless Nikki stumbles upon the “Stripper Pole Station” on the Island), I’d bet that the majority of the flashbacks are on-Island, similar to “The Other 48 Days” or “Maternity Leave”. Think about it like this – using new, ancillary characters is a great way to see different perspectives of past actions… such as Sun’s kidnapping. Look at the guest stars for this episode – Ethan, Shannon, Boone, and Artz (among others, who must be flashbackers).
If we’re talking about Ethan being around, we’re talking about flashbacks going back as far as early Season One. It’s almost like in Back to the Future (I know, I need to stop comparing Lost to Back to the Future) where Marty would see an alternate perspective on something he already did through time travel. Nikki and Paulo serve the same function. Imagine seeing Ethan’s actions or Shannon and Boone’s deaths from a different point of view? Maybe Nikki and Paulo were friends with Artz and we’ll get to see someone actually mourn his death? It’s actually a clever way to “flesh out” past storylines and reveal more to the audience than we got from the original scene and perspective.
For that matter, suppose Nikki and Paulo were in the area when Sun’s kidnapping went down, or when Sawyer and Charlie were discussing it. They would be the ones who could “expose” the truth to Sun (Deeper Meaning alert! Go back and read the definition of “expose” and tell me that doesn’t perfectly apply here!).
In fact, this is where I bet our answers to “mythological questions” come into play. I’m betting there is something that the audience, in addition to the main Survivors “missed” the first time around that could dramatically shift our understanding of one of these past events. Nikki and Paulo’s flashbacks serve to give us this “other perspective”.
The writers know that we don’t care about them as characters, and that there isn’t really room for them on the show, but introduced them for this specific purpose. We all foolishly thought they were just adding these “new” characters to get fresh storylines – but actually the opposite is true… they were introducing them to better explain past storylines!
But I digress. Back to the preview…
Sun finding out about her kidnapping also explains the other scene in the preview, featuring Sun slapping Sawyer (since he was responsible for the kidnapping in the end), as well as her comment about “if you tell Jin, you’ll have to dig another grave”, insinuating that Jin would literally murder Sawyer if he found out the truth.
What’s that? ANOTHER grave, you say Sun?
So who is Sawyer digging that first grave for? Has Charlie’s luck finally run out? Did Colleen’s decaying body wash ashore? Since historically characters die during their flashback episodes, Nikki and Paulo are our most likely candidates. Again, if you look closely at the episode preview it becomes pretty clear which contestant is behind Grave #1…
If you ask me, it’s pretty suspicious that the episode preview would give away such a huge plot point – even for the ABC promo department that has a terrible track record for these things. That gives me a bit of hope for that the hotter of the two survives, and Nikki lives to strip another day. Maybe this is some sort of Nikki dream sequence (it is shown in weird black and white in the preview), or Desmond “flash” to the potential future that he changes? It’s out there, but I have hope. Something doesn’t sit right with me having Nikki’s death broadcast in the preview… unless both Nikki and Paulo are going to die, and his death is supposed to be the “surprise” of the episode, a la “Two for the Road”? I’m not sure. But it definitely looks like we’re about to have our second Survivor death of the season!
Not to sound cruel, but if my earlier suspicions are correct, and the only reason that Nikki and Paulo “exist” on the show is to give these tangential views of the past and “expose” past mysteries, then their deaths make perfect sense.
It’s a beautiful day, so I’m going to wrap this up with one of the craziest theories ever that I cannot take credit for – but thought I would share it with you. I’ll preface it by saying I don’t think it’s true, but if it was, it would be absolutely insane and definitely be the “mythological answer” we would be looking for. Courtesy of the former-DMB message boards at ufck…
“What if the reason that Nikki and Paulo are suddenly getting screen time, and Rose and Bernard are not is that Desmond went back in time and altered some event – and now, in this “new future” Nikki and Paulo survived the crash of Flight 815 INSTEAD of Rose and Bernard?”
When I read that, it blew my mind away. Once I calmed down and collected my scattered brain pieces, logic got the best of me and dismissed the theory. There are a number of reasons why it wouldn’t work (plus I still don’t believe in the “time travel” storyline) – but you have to admit, this would be unbelievably awesome and would not only leave the audience blown away, but explain the crappy writing to introduce Nikki and Paulo, and the missing Rose and Bernard thus far this season.
Even so, I’m still feeling really good things about this episode. It’s kinda weird. In the first two seasons of Lost, this would be the part of the season where the episodes would start to drag and spin their wheels, and we would justify it by saying “they’re just waiting for the season finale for the big action and reveals”. But this season, we got the crappy wheel-spinning episodes out of the way early, and are now on a roll with non-stop awesome ones (note: this usually would totally jinx us, and guarantees five weeks of awful episodes to come – but looking at our current plotlines on the show, I really don’t see it happening!). The storylines are firing on all cylinders, moving forward, and are insanely entertaining.
I have to hand it to the ABC Promo folks on this one. Remember all winter when they claimed “Lost delivers like no other show on TV”? Well, at least right now it’s looking like they were absolutely right.
Get pumped. I know I am.
(PS - just a few more days to Email me if you want to run the Blog for a post or two while I'm in Europe in April. Remember, the deadline is April 1st. Email me at email@example.com if you want to be in the running. It's like winning the lottery... only without any financial gain!)