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Lost’s Nikki and Paulo Episode Feels Like A Time Capsule For A Bygone Era

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Warning: Spoilers ahead.

“Exposé” focuses on the characters Nikki and Paulo, who were introduced at the start of season 3 to serve one purpose — show what the rest of the 30-something survivors who aren’t the main characters do when not dealing with the main plot. Essentially, Nikki and Paulo replace Scott and Steve from season 1, two characters so insignificant that the main characters constantly mixed them up despite one of them dying early on. Practically speaking, focusing on background characters like this isn’t a bad idea, given how the audience is constantly told that there are dozens of survivors, but only really see about ten of them. “Exposé” became a rare episode dedicated to non-main character castaways, complete with flashbacks. The result is a thrilling, self-contained episode with good meta commentary on the show’s convoluted mythology and even a noir-inspired mystery. 

Essentially the “Lost” equivalent to “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” we see Nikki and Paulo accidentally stumble upon many of the bigger locales and mysteries of the show up to that point, and fail to mention them to anyone. They come across the Pearl Station long before the rest of the characters do, but are completely uninterested in it, so they ignore its purpose. Paulo even comes across Ethan as he plots the kidnapping of Claire and Charlie, and decides to keep it to himself. Of course, none of this matters because they die in arguably the cruelest way in the show: A spider bite temporarily paralyzes them, leading the other survivors to mistake them for dead and bury the two of them alive.

Watching it today, it feels like looking back at a time when network TV could do wild experiments with episodes. A time when a blockbuster show could dare to give two random background characters the spotlight, only to kill them immediately.



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