'Lost' (S3): Can Nikki and Paulo's souls be saved?
In which we ask the producers of Lost to give us one cryptic sentence that hints at the contents of tonight's episode and totally activates our theory-making imaginations. Or at least, just mine.
Today's tease from executive producer Carlton Cuse, who gives voice to the sentiment that the Lost Fan Nation has been longing to hear:
''For those of you wondering who the hell are Nikki and Paulo, your prayers are about to be answered.''
Yes, kids a whole episode devoted to Paulo Poops-a-Lot and Little Miss Who-the-Hell-Are-You?! EXACTLY the kind of episode you were clamoring for in the wake of one of the greatest hours of Lost EVER. [Magic Boxes! Locke's Dad! Jack's an Other? Send me your theories at JeffJensenEW@aol.com]
If you sense derisive sarcasm in my voice directed at tonight's flashback stars, I mean merely to report the ''I hate Nikki and Paulo'' sentiment that I hear from fans. Given the decline in viewers over the past month last week's stellar episode was only watched by 12 million, an all-time low for Lost I worry that this episode, entitled ''Exposé,'' might be a miscalculation. What the show doesn't need right now is an hour that feels like filler, like that poignant yet seemingly extracurricular Bernard-and-Rose installment last season. It seems to me that Lost has gained a lot of creative traction the past several weeks, and that the Locke episode in particular unleashed some renewed buzz. I hate to see that squandered.
The encouraging news is that the producers wrote this episode fully aware of how many fans feel about Nikki and Paulo, and in fact, I'm curious to see if the story might contain some knowing, possibly passive-aggressive subtext. (I'm intrigued by the scene teased in ABC's promos where it appears that Hurley has found a script for an episode of a TV show that he says is ''one of the greatest hours of television ever" sounds like some coy wink-wink to me.) Even more promising is that the producers have promised to use the episode to deliver some big twists and important revelations. As executive producer Damon Lindelof told EW in January: ''We had a plan when we introduced them… when the plan is executed, Nikki and Paulo will be iconic characters on the show.''
Given the rumors swirling around the episode, one wonders if Lindelof is being punny with the word ''execute.'' But whether he means it literally or ironically or both here's hoping ''Exposé'' proves to be a truly killer outing.
ATONEMENT FOR PROMISES UNFULFILLED!
A Doc Jensen apology and some nuggets of penance.
Remember last week, when I told you that the Locke episode would include a subplot about Nikki and Paulo which would serve to set up tonight's episode? Clearly, I was wrong, and I apologize. Like Ben, I believe that maintaining integrity with ''my people'' is important (or at least the illusion of integrity), so I would like to atone for my failings by passing along some tidbits I recently gleaned from The Powers That Be.
Now, it states in the bylaws of the Doc Jensen Charter that this column should not be used for the purpose of reporting spoilers. We gather here every week in the spirit of fun, fellowship, freakiness, and of course, the free doughnuts you know, just like a church social. So the ''information'' I'm about to pass along from the producers is merely meant to excite or clarify your own theory-making activity, not tell you outright what's going to happen. With that said, here we go:
When Locke was walking away from the submarine last week, he appeared to be soaking wet, despite the fact that we never saw him get into the water. This has led to speculation among fans that Locke didn't actually blow up the sub, but instead, took it out to sea, submerged it, and blew up the dock all part of a plan to make it appear the submarine was destroyed. The question is this: Are we supposed to be wondering why John Locke was all wet? Intriguingly, Damon Lindelof says: ''No comment.''
Will we see another Locke flashback story again this season? Lindelof: ''Maybe.''
When can we expect further developments in the shocking revelation that Locke's father is on The Island and that The Others have him bound and gagged in a boiler room in Othersville? According to Cuse, the Locke/Daddy arc will pay off in episode 19, which airs on May 2.
DOC JENSEN PREDICTION: That's not Locke's Dad that's Smokey The Monster, taking yet another human form, à la Kate's horse, Sayid's cat, and Eko's brother Yemi.
In the final moment of ''The Man From Tallahassee,'' when Locke's eyes went wide and he said ''Dad?'' was Lost paying ironic homage to the classic ''Mom?'' moment in J.J. Abrams' other cult-pop classic, Alias? Despite the fact that the episode was written by former Alias scribes Drew Goddard and Jeff Pinkner, Lindelof and Cuse say no homage intended. But the moment was supposed to evoke the memory of another Lost moment specifically, the episode from season 1 when Jack began seeing visions of his father on The Island and went hunting for his coffin, only to discover that the body was missing. Hmmmm...
Are we supposed to be wondering what happened to the corpse of Jack's dad, or is that fact totally irrelevant? Lindelof: ''Yes, you should be wondering about that.''
A couple of weeks ago, Doc Jensen speculated that the ''Purple Sky Event'' that occurred after The Hatch imploded was an homage to the ''Red Sky Events'' of Crisis On Infinite Earths, a classic comic book series from the 1980s. Any relevancy here? Despite being a legitimate comic-book fanboy, Lindelof says he never read Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Okay. But are we wrong to assume that something significant happened on The Island sky turned purple? Lindelof says, ''Maybe.''
Okay: When will we learn what the hell the ''Purple Sky Event'' actually meant? ''Toward the end of the season, I suspect,'' says Lindelof.
There. I hope we're good now.
A new series offering suggestions for do-it-yourself extracurricular study that could help illuminate the many mysteries of Lost. Today's featured found object:
The Purple Island by Phinneas Fletcher, an allegorical examination of human nature set on ''the isle of man'' and rife with apocalyptic subtext. Send your theories to JeffJensenEW@aol.com.
Even more provocative/perplexing Lost scholarship just a mouseclick away!
Last week, I gave you a link to The Librarian's site... and it didn't work. So we're trying it again this week, accompanied by this ominous one-line theory from The Librarian: ''Locke is ''Him'' and he is unwittingly playing the game.'' Clearly, as the recent Locke-centric episode showed, the perpetual cosmic dupe is being played but what is ''the game''?
A reader named ''sosolost'' wrote me on behalf of another Lost theorist who goes by the handle ''Psychedelic Relic,'' a name that immediately demands a picture to explain it. (I'm imagining Jerry Garcia.) Mr. Relic can I call him ''Psyche'' for short? proposes that Dharma came to The Island to create a mechanism that could divert an asteroid intent on smashing the Earth. Then... something happened. Check out Psyche's well-reasoned postulation here.
J.M. Berger is a very interesting individual who runs a very interesting website, egoplex.com. I can only vouch for his razor-sharp Lost content, which is clearly advertised on his homepage, just in case you're not interested in his investigations into global terrorism. Berger's ''Lost Body Count'' feature is impishly ingenious, though I wish he'd update his ''Dead Theory'' rankings more often.
A very observant Lost watcher who ID's himself to me as ''senorjlrocco'' writes: ''Have you noticed the instances of the number "three" this season? 'Road To Shambala' by Three Dog Night, three fingers held up by Penny when Desmond fell, three minutes requested by Ben to talk to Juliet, three things Sawyer had to do in his cage before he got reward, or even ''the three things that a woman needs to hear'' speech that Sawyer gave Jin...''
DOC JENSEN RESPONDS: Uh... no, ''senorjlrocco,'' I haven't noticed any of that... but I like the way your beautiful mind works!
If you head over to Wikipedia Official Hyperactive Global Brain of Lost Fanatics Everywhere! and type in ''the rule of three,'' you can come up with a variety of things that can intriguingly interface with the Lost mythology matrix, including ''the rule of three in writing'' and ''the rule of three in social sciences.'' My favorite? The Three Types of Legitimate Rule, a book by Max Weber about the three different types of social domination. Given that I have a suspicion that a rebellious sect of the Others is trying to infiltrate the ranks of the castaways through spies, proxies, and of course, super-psychic body snatching mind parasites, I'm certain Weber's book has something to do with... something.
(It's lonely in my head. So very, very lonely.)
More seriously, I do have a theory, one that may or may not have anything to do with this ''rule of three'' business but for now, let's pretend it does. Say hello to DOC JENSEN'S HOSTILE TAKEOVER THEORY OF LOST.
We begin with The Bible, and the story of the time Jesus went wiggy in the temple. Seems that the son of God was a little upset that his father's house was being used as a shopping mall, so he started overturning tables, trashing stalls, and toppling cell phone kiosks and stuff. Then Jesus made an audacious promise: He told the temple leaders that one day, he was going to flat out destroy the joint, and three days after that, he was going to raise it back up. According to Christian theology, Jesus was actually speaking of himself (Jesus = Temple) that three days after his death, he would rise again.
Now, what does this have to do with Lost? Well, it all goes back to everyone's favorite characters Nikki and Paulo!
Remember, Lost's producers have told us that names mean something on their show. In that spirit, I think it's rather curious if not extremely suspicious that ''Nikki'' and ''Paulo'' just happen to be very, very similar to the two Biblical names most associated with the Christian notion of being ''born again.''
NIKKI = Nicodemus, a religious leader of Jesus' time a ''Pharisee,'' to use a word conspicuously referenced by Locke last week. Nicodemus was intrigued by Jesus' teaching, but also quite confused by it. In fact, after Jesus made his puzzling boast in the temple, he secretly sought him out one night in order to ask him the following question: ''Huh?'' Jesus replied: ''Truly I say to you, one cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless one is born again.'' Nicodemus walked away more baffled than ever, just like you will right after you finish reading this.
PAULO = Paul, Secondly, the apostle whose perspective on Christ's life and resurrection broadened the reach of Jesus' message. Paul was once Saul, a persecutor of Christians until the life-changing day that he was confronted by the blinding spirit of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus said, ''Hey, you big meanie! Stop bullying my friends!'' Then he sealed Saul's eyes with scales. Three days later, Saul regained his sight and changed his ways, as well as his name. And with that, Saul was ''born again'' as Paul.
Where am I going with all of this? Why, to the Myth of Er, of course!
The Myth of Er is a Greek myth about resurrection and reincarnation. Basically, it goes like this: After you die, you go before a panel of judges who determine whether you are a ''good person'' or a ''bad person.'' (Hey: don't The Others make those kind of moral distinctions?) If you're good, you get to go to heaven and hang out, and if you're bad, you get sent to some kind of subterranean prison and do some penance. Then, after your reward or your punishment, you get sent to a meadow where get this you're given A NUMBER. (Don't ask me why; it's not my kooky myth!) Soon after, you get to choose how you'd like to be reincarnated. You can pick any kind of body you want, human or animal. Then, you walk into a shaft of light and get tossed back down to Earth. From this perspective, there isn't really any new life being created in the world just old souls taking on new flesh, or being... born again. The ancient Greeks most notably math and numbers guru Pythagoras called this ''the transmigration of souls.''
Good and bad people. Numbers. Shafts of light that toss people down to Earth. Sounds like Lost to me. And isn't Claire banking on a migration of birds to bring all these lost souls home?
CONCLUSION! The Island is the Myth of Er made manifest. Its unique energies can be exploited to capture souls and redirect them into new bodies. And we are going to see this take place TONIGHT, when Paulo and Nikki are going to die, and their bodies are going to be claimed by the recently deceased Romeo and Juliet of the Others MIKHAIL BAKUNIN (Patchy!) and MRS. KLUGH!
You see: super-psychic body-snatching mind parasites explain EVERYTHING!
Join me tomorrow at EW.com for a recap of tonight's episode. And time permitting, come back Friday or Monday for more reader mail. (I'll let you know for sure tomorrow.)