Nikki was a bit player perpetual guest star (oh the irony) who went to Australia for a short-lived stint on the cult fave jiggle fest, "Exposé." The show, about two crime-fighting strippers, was what Locke was watching with his TV dinner in "The Man From Tallahassee" and, we learned this week, Hurley's pick for "the most awesome hour of TV ever." After her character was gunned down by the Exposé girls' boss, Mr. LaShade (who was also secretly their nemesis, "The Cobra"), we learned she landed the gig on the casting couch with the show's producer, Howard Zuckerman. It turns out her stint on the show was secretly a plot with Zuckerman's chef, (Paulo!) to poison the old coot and steal his diamonds. Yep, Nikki was a cold-blooded vamp of a gold-digger, and Paulo, her stupid, love-struck puppy of a sidekick. Incidentally, Mr. LaShade was played by none other than Billy Dee Williams. I don't mean that Billy Dee played the actor playing Mr. LaShade - it was freakin' Lando Calrissian himself appearing in the Lost universe! My favorite new theory? Jacob is Lando...
Back to the story...so Nikki and Paulo fled to the U.S. with the diamonds in a matryoshka doll in a carryon bag, only to have their flight (Oceanic 815) crash onto a deserted island. We got glimpses of deceased favorites Boone, Shannon, Arzt and Ethan, as Lost's way of saying, "see? these two have been around the whole time," as well as recreations of some iconic moments from the show's short history (like the guy getting sucked into the jet turbine, and Jack's famous "live together or die alone" speech on the beach).
Nikki and Paulo's search for their bag o' stones led them to the drug-smuggling plane and the Pearl hatch long before the island "led" John Locke, Boone and Eko to those locales. Having learned from Kate that she, Sawyer and Jack found a case of guns in a lagoon, Paulo and Nikki took a look. Nikki, caring more about the $8 million in diamonds than her lame-o chef of a boyfriend, ordered Paulo to dive down and search. Fearing he would lose her as soon as he found the stones, he didn't tell her they were there, and he went to hide them in the Pearl station...in the toilet tank. This explains why Paulo was reluctant when Nikki would later suggest they join Locke's party heading in that direction, and why he took such a long potty break when they did (yay! Big mysteries solved!!!! Yeah, right). While in the Pearl station, Paulo hid as Ben and Juliet came in to monitor Jack in the Swan station and discuss the plan to compel him to excise Ben's tumor (more on this later). They left behind a walkie-talkie, which Paulo found and took...and immediately did nothing with.
Eventually, Nikki discovered Paulo lied about not finding the bag when she spotted his dropped nicorette gum (the bag's other precious contents). She angrily tried in vain to get Sawyer to give her a gun (his repeated "who the hell are you?" lines were the episode's saving grace) and, ultimately, stopped Paulo dead in his tracks with one of the late Doc Arzt's Medusa spiders, so named because their venom induces a death-like paralytic trance. Nikki found the diamonds in Paulo's jockeys and left him paralyzed with his pants open when...another spider bit her, as well. Realizing she would appear dead if found (and that she would be unable to protect her regained diamonds,) Nikki buried the stash, then ran for help. She stumbled upon Sawyer and Hurley playing ping-pong, and tried to explain her imminent condition. Unfortunately for Nikki, her attempt to say "paralyzed" came out sounding more like "Paulo lies," (prompting Sawyer to respond with, "who the hell is Paulo?") and the two scheming lovers were promptly buried (alive!) on Boone hill, hopefully never to be seen or heard from again until what the Powers that Be have jokingly referred to as, "Season 7 - the zombie season."
Botching the "Real" Story
If "Exposé" had only attempted to be a tongue-in-cheek throwaway episode masquerading as a clip show, it could have been modestly successful, right down to Kiele Sanchez's awful acting as Nikki resembling Nikki's awful acting on "Exposé" ("Razzle-dazzle!" she yelled while karate-chopping a two-bit enforcer). But sadly, the Powers that Be chose this episode to resolve one open plotline and answer a lingering question...
Sun's Kidnappers Revealed...by Confession?!
One of the slowly-simmering pots that has been ready to boil over has been what would happen when Sun learned that it was Charlie and Sawyer, not the Others, who kidnapped her last season (so Sawyer could steal the guns in the armory and Charlie could emasculate Locke, remember?). This week, we yawned to the stunning conclusion...as Charlie just told Sun the truth! The setup was this: the beach crew was investigating Nikki and Paulo's apparent deaths, and Sun was convinced it was the Others, since, if they could show up and drag her off, they could show up and poison the jewel theives. She would not listen when Hurley and Sawyer tried to explain that the Others' camp was too far away for that to happen, so Charlie, still sporting his new lease on life, just copped to the crime. Sun's reaction? She just walked away. She then confronted Sawyer, shoved the diamonds Nikki was carrying in his face (because on the island, they're worthless), slapped him hard, and said she didn't tell Jin because Jin would kill him. And thus ends another promising plot point, buried with Nikki and Paulo...
Ben's Master Plan...That's It?
On the message boards there has been a lot of speculation as to whether the surgery to remove Ben's tumor really was the master plan for which the Others engineered the kidnapping of Jack, Kate, Sawyer and, briefly, Hurley. I have vociferously defended the idea that there must have been more to it than that, since manipulating Jack's feelings for Kate into making him want to do the surgery on an apparent enemy seemed too "eeeevil" and convoluted. But in "Exposé," when Paulo listened in on Ben and Juliet discussing their plan (from a time before the other castaways had encountered either of them), we learned that was it. The whole thing. Nothing more to it. Ben would get Jack to do the surgery by manipulating him where he was emotionally weak - the attraction between Kate and Sawyer. The plan had nothing to do with Jacob, his list, or any compelling reason that, in the words of Pickett, "Ben would rather die than let [Kate and Sawyer] escape." Color me disappointed.
Obituary: Nikki and Paulo
So, good-bye, wastes of space. Your contributions to the story? I guess with Shannon and Ana-Lucia dead, we needed castaways to despise for a while. And now you're dead. Your real sins? Finding the Pearl hatch and the drug plane, encountering the Others, stealing a walkie-talkie, and not telling the other 50 or so plane crash survivors about these possibly life-saving facts!!! Failing to realize that $8 million in diamonds is as useless when you can't return to the outside world as Hurley's millions are doomed you to die, stupidly, under a pile of dirt. And, since "Exposé," more than any other hour of Lost, wasted all of our time, I saw, "good riddance!"
In "Left Behind," Kate and Juliet get some quality time together...