One minute, Nikki is running through through the jungle in a panic, stopping suddenly to frantically dig a hole with her hands and bury something we cannot see. The next, we are watching a flashback of her where she is a pole dancer, removing her trenchcoat to reveal a star-studded bikini. Backstage, she is shot by a shadowy man wearing a fedora. Wait…it’s all a campy television show called Expose, and Nikki is the guest star who has been killed. She has more than a professional relationship with the senior citizen who is directing the show, as we find out when we see him and her enjoying a delicious meal at his expansive home, cooked up by his young, slim, Meditteranean chef Paolo. When Zukerman slumps suddenly into his food and dies, Nikki seems panicked, but she only concerned that his planned poisoning by she and Paolo remains the perfect crime. Together, they take a Matryoshka doll from his safe.
Through a series of clever mini-flashbacks, we learn about Nikki and Paolo’s exploits on the island. (In some cases, Nikki is, I believe, placed in footage where she did not exist earlier, such as during the initial crash). We see another perspective on Jack’s "live together, die alone" speech. We find out that Nikki tried to get Arnzt to help her find their missing bag – the bag with the treasure. We are surprised to see that Paolo knew about the ‘Pearl’ station long before anyone else, but told no one, because he hid his treasure there. Paolo says he hid that treasure because he feared that Nikki wouldn’t need him once she had it. But he tells her that too late; she has just unleashed a poisonous spider on him that bites and paralyzes him. What she didn’t count on was that this female spider immediately attracted tens of excited male spiders, one of which bites and paralyzes her. That’s why she buried the bag. She makes it to the beach and falls onto the sand, sparing Sawyer from another table tennis loss to Hurley. She mumbles something. Sawyer thinks she said, "Powerlines." Hurley says it was, "Paolo lies." That makes more sense, since Paolo is her boyfriend. Hurley pronounces her dead, while Sawyer notices the dirt under her fingernails and guesses that she had buried something.
Sawyer’s ‘perimeter sweep’ is actually a hunt for the buried treasure, and he finds it: a bag of diamonds.
We also overhear a conversation between Ben and Juliet in the Pearl Station, where they discuss Ben’s plan to capture Jack and coerce him into performing the required surgery.
Their search for clues leads them to the main suspect, Paolo, who is also dead. Sun believes that the Others killed the pair, and when Sawyer states that the Others are all the way on the other side of the island, Sun reminds him that she was abducted by the Others, leading to many telling looks between Sawyer and Charlie. Later, while Charlie and Sun are digging holes, Charlie decides to tell Sun that he was the one who abducted her, and that he was following Sawyer directive. Sun later confronts Sawyer on this, but says she will not tell Jin, otherwise they will have to dig another grave.
Sawyer, who tried to give the diamonds to Sun (she refused, saying they were worthless) now scatters them in the grave.
As Hurley and Sawyer are piling, Hurley realizes Nikki’s last word was actually, "Paralyzed." But it’s a little too late.
Using the backdrop of the campy television series Expose, this episode is also campy and silly. It is a straight camp horror entry that, except for small flashbacks to earlier events, has little to do with the Lost universe that we are currently concerned with. There are some clever self-referential jokes about death and the fate of guest stars.
The monster sound that occurs when the male spiders attach Nikki seems to indicate that they are somehow related to the ‘monster’ and the island’s automated defense system.
It’s ridiculous. If you’re paralyzed, you are still breathing, and your body is still warm – and it doesn’t go into rigor mortis. Wouldn’t one of these people have noticed that Nikki and Paolo were still breathing, warm, and flexible?
It is extraordinarily out of character for Charlie to tell Sun that he was the one who kidnapped her, and for Sawyer to give away the diamonds. And we get very little emotional ‘bang’ from Sun. I would have thought that she would have been absolutely devastated by this news.
"I’m a guest star, and we all know what happens to guest stars."
Hurley: Nikki’s dead.
Sawyer: Who the hell’s Nikki?
Juliet: That him, Shephard?
Juliet: He's cute. Why are we doing this? Shephard will never agree to do the surgery.
Ben: No, I can convince him to do it.
Ben: Same way I get anybody to do anything; I find what he's emotionally invested in and I exploit it.
Juliet: So, what? We just grab all three of them? Ford and Austen too?
Ben: No, they need to come to us.
Juliet: And, how do we make that happen?
Ben: Michael, of course.
Shannon: (to Boone) If you quit flirting with random guys maybe we could actually get on the plane!
Nikki: (to Paulo) Promise me we'll never end up like them.
Sun: Charlie told me it was your idea to kidnap me.
Sawyer: You're gonna tell Jin?
Sawyer: Why not?
Sun: Because then we have to dig another grave.